The Story Of Rid Wiyi Self-Help Group: By Susan Akoth

Kaudha East Sub Location has population of 3449 people. The area assistant Chief is called Susan Akoth and the story is centered on her as a local leader and a beneficiary. She is married with 4 children and is a member of “Rid Wiyi Self-Help Group”. Her family owns 4 acres of land of which 2 acres were in need of reclamation because of soil erosion.

In 2014, the Gem Water and Sanitation Project (5343) supported the Rid Wiyi group to start environmental conservation activities. The group established a tree nursery and Susan and her husband donated their eroded land to be used as a demonstration field for land reclamation by the project. Group members fenced the land, planted trees and undertook reclamation. Today the trees have grown and the family is able to utilize the land for farming. Besides, the tree branches are used to feed goats. She says, “The community members now see the importance of environmental conservation”.

Susan explains that clean and safe water was another major challenge and in her village, community members had to walk for at least 3kms to fetch water from River Yala which however has contaminated water. As a result, the community was constantly suffering from water borne and water related diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid. Besides, children especially girls were often late to or absent from school since they would accompany their parents to fetch water. “I was always late for work too.” she adds. To deal with this, the community partnered with the project and drilled a shallow well which now benefit 40 households though the figure reaches 70 households during the dry season. “The shallow well is a blessing to the community. Children now go to school early, and am no longer late for work”, she adds. For maintenance, community members with exception of less privileged such as the elderly, disabled and orphan headed households contribute Kshs 50 monthly. In addition, community members have been sensitized on hygiene and they now understand the importance of good sanitation and hygiene.

In 2015, the livelihood department from the Gem Integrated Community Development Project trained the group members and supported them with one-month old improved chicks which are currently laying eggs. Susan informs me that the expectant mothers have also been sensitized by the project on the importance of attending Ante Natal Clinic and accessing skilled delivery. Children under five also benefit from immunization outreaches. In conclusion she says, “The community is very thankful and wish this work is replicated in other villages”.

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