Eliminating a long walk for water offers women time for income generation and a path out of poverty.
With the time gained not having to walk for water every day, women in our well communities now have time to develop income-generating businesses, care for children, become more informed about their human rights or send their children to school. In TSP well communities women have begun businesses and participate in agricultural initiatives, resulting in increased recognition of women as having skills and knowledge outside the scope of their traditional roles, strengthened voice for women in their families and communities to negotiate their own needs. Clean water is a catalyst for greater autonomy and independence for women.
To assist women in their roles in a modern world, TSP offers Women's Empowerment Workshops through a partnership with the Pastoralist Child Foundation.
THE WOMEN'S GROUP AT TREETOP WELL is TURNING WATER INTO BRICKS
Water from the Treetop Well is being used to generate income through a brick-making business. Mary, the chairwoman of the well committee and women’s group proudly displays the latest production of bricks. The women’s group is contracted by an individual, school, or government agency to build the bricks for the foundation of a new building. Since it costs a relatively good amount of initial capital to buy the cement (1000 KES or $12.5 for a bag of cement that yields 25 bricks) and it is too costly for the community to afford it, they agree to provide the dirt, water and labor for the job and in return the person who contracted the work will supply the cement. Mary said that they make around 50,000 KES or $625 every six months off of this brick making business! Also great news is the fact that the number of contracts have been increasing in the past couple of years due to the expansion of the local government offices. While this bodes well for the Treetop community, Mary revealed that they could be making 30 more shillings per brick (50 shillings versus 20 shillings) if they could buy and supply the cement themselves. They are also currently hiring/renting the machines used to make the bricks at 300 shillings per day.
BEADWORK collaborative at lolgerdad well
The predominant source of income for Samburu women is selling their bead work. With less time spent walking for water, women in our well communities have more time to make and sell their beaded jewelry. Women from the Lolgerdad well community have formed a beading collaborative. They sell their work through the Northern Rangelands Trust and and at the Kalama Conservancy Airstrip.
In 2017, TSP began a partnership with the Pastoralist Child Foundation to facilitate workshops in TSP well communities. These one day workshops are designed to offer further support to women who are facing a changing world. With water now readily available and the elimination of long walks for water, women who have previously received little to no education are seeking knowledge on many topics. These workshops include a curriculum on the following issues that affect Samburu women and their families:
- Women's leadership, conflict prevention and resolution
- The importance of education for the Pastoralist community
- The right to equality and personal freedom for Pastoralist women
- The right to decision making in the family and community
- Sexual & reproductive health, the increasing women’s leadership role in sexual and reproductive rights movements at the community level
- Myths and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and prevention of the disease
- The origin, myths and harmful effects of female genital mutilation (FGM)
- Ramifications of child marriage and teen pregnancy