As the year 2018 comes to an end, TVT has been having consultative meetings with supporters and partners to review impact of the joint interventions aimed at women and youth empowerment and to approve the strategic plan for addressing needs and challenges of 2019 and beyond.

On 8th of November 2018, TVT hosted GinCo, a German based organization whose main focus is girls’ empowerment. GinCo teams from Meru, Kibera and Germany met at the TVT women training center for the year end workshop which was a huge success. In attendance were 20 orphan girls in class 7 and 8 who are under the sponsorship of GinCo and their teachers. TVT works very closely with teachers in mentoring and following up on the performance of the girls who are in various schools.

The young girls normally refer to the GinCo and TVT women as their mothers and they say without the TVT intervention they would have been married off to old men to bear children for them and take care of their cows. Their message of appreciation was not only moving but inspiring and in the words of Dr. Sarah Kilemi, TVT Leadership and Economic Advisor, “the expectations of these girls give us an extra dose of energy to go that extra mile in ensuring that they achieve education that would enable them to live dignified lives”. Let us not let these girls down

Teachers from schools where the girls are pupils were also present, in their capacities as mentors of TVT- GinCo girls. They were full of praises for the mentoring curriculum that has not only enabled the girls to gain confidence in participating in class discussions but has strengthened their self-esteem tremendously. They requested that in 2019 the mentoring seminars should be held in schools in order to benefit a larger number of students. They also requested TVT to consider having a programme for empowering the boy child who feels left out. It was reported that boys were developing resentful attitudes towards the girls who are being supported.

A human being having education and living in a damaged and degraded environment will not last long to enjoy the fruits of the acquired education. It is on this understanding that TVT- GinCo approaches to women and girls empowerment take into account the welfare of our common home, the Earth, by protecting and conserving environment. Tree planting was therefore one of the 2018 projects and will still be in 2019. The TVT- GinCo teams have been supporting efforts of greening schools and homes by facilitating the planting of trees in school and homes of the girls. Unfortunately, the areas where schools are located are arid and semi-arid and efforts to plant trees has been met with a lot of challenges due to lack of water. Nonetheless most of the tree survived and there is a plan to plant even more trees during the next rainy season. The intention is to create GinCo forests in each of the schools where GinCo girls are schooling.

TVT took the opportunity to show case the initiative of keeping girls in schools by producing reusable sanitary pads. TVT Outreach Coordinator took the participants through the process of making pads, using and cleaning them. Materials used for making TVT reusable sanitary pads are 100% biodegradable and very healthy for the environment as opposed to materials used for making disposable sanitary pads. This is in keeping with the policy of retaining girls in a clean and healthy school environment. TVT requested the county governments to support the girls’ education and preserve the environment by buying TVT reusable sanitary pads.

Participants were finally taken for a tour of the TVT grain bank and they were impressed at how TVT has managed to save the peasant farmers from the exploitation of the middlemen/brokers by storing grains and using them to secure loans from TVT Sacco for their immediate use. The participants were so impressed to note that the concept of trading in futures has been so well articulated by TVT as a way of empowering women economically.

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