By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
Poverty-struck communities in Samburu which are hunger-prone under the harsh climate and lack of support, have been assisted by Ripples International through self-help groups.
John Baidoo, a legal program officer at the organization says they have also launched financial literacy programs, in addition to helping the groups set up small-scale businesses to sustain their children and other family members.
The community members can set up small businesses and engage in a profitable trade and as a result improve their children’s living conditions.
“Empowering the communities financially has improved education standards, and even nutrition,” he said.
In Samburu where poverty is a major causative factor in sexual and gender-based violence, Ripples International has started self-help groups and injected funds and training, for income-generating activities.
“The idea is to reduce poverty levels and have peaceful families,” Mr. Baidoo said.
Loruko region is one of the places the organization is having activities that have benefited thousands of women who now have small businesses to feed families.
Its work there, a place which witnessed bloody clashes involving the Samburu and Rendille as they fought for the scarce resources.
The violence saw women sexually assaulted and families rendered homeless.
Ripples International has also injected funds and training on conflict resolution to elders, youths and other groups as it bids to achieve lasting peace among the communities.
Gender-based violence and conflicts due to lack of resources are cited for family and clan disagreements, but Ripples International’s projects have led to the reduction of violence in the region.
Frequent medical camps are organized to take the services closer to the communities in Samburu, as some are not able to access public health facilities with ease.
From time to time, when the need is, the organization distributes relief food to cushion them against perennial drought.
The organization has also provided a safe house for girls rescued from early marriage and those who suffered sexual abuse from Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo and other counties in the region.
Some who found refuge at the center was previously forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) while others were rescued before undergoing it.
Ripples International Director Mercy Baidoo, said: “It is unfortunate that the communities’ cultures conflict with the Kenyan laws which protect the rights of the girls. We are carrying out awareness campaigns among the communities on their harmful cultural practices.”