Layering income challenges for resilience: Insights and opportunities from CREDEEP Project in Magina, Western Kenya
By Phelix Ouma
Kawere Sub Location, Western-Kenya – When the first few residents of this village in Magina received small ruminant animals, nearly two years ago, the only aim was to provide an incentive for the family through goat milk, as most families experience malnutrition due to lack of balanced diet and school drop outs because of consistent competition of resources between domestic needs and school fees. But today the community, in the middle of Magina in the HomaBay, is buzzing with healthy children and happy homes, supported by availability of milk for home use, exchange of milk for cereals, sale of milk for school fees and use of goat droppings on kitchen gardens.
Residents say they banded together to buy the shared feeds themselves, recognizing that the substantial upfront cost would create benefits for months to come. Those now include everything from vaccines to safe drinking water for the animals. “the smell of the mixture of goat droppings and urine has kept away the snakes, before we used to have cases of snake scare or bites,” said Mrs. Dola, the wife to Mr. Dola, a beneficiary of asset transfer by Riana Development Network (RDN).
In 2 years, some community members of Magina, impressed with the couple of benefits from asset ownership program and owing to their poor living standards, decided they wanted to join the program and become part of consistent development projects implemented in the locality. For this reason, beneficiaries are required to bring back the first kid of their goats, for transfer to the next family until everyone on the program has had a share of the available assets. “We gave them goats to help battle malnutrition with milk. We will collect first kids of the goats and transfer them to the next cohort of widows, orphans and vulnerable children” Said Mrs. Vivianne Nyambane – Area Chief. For this case, Mrs. Dola had sold one of the older kids to support with urgent schools needs for her oldest son. For the second round, Mrs. Dola’s goat gave birth to twins again. “I collect the goat droppings and use them on my kitchen garden, that has improved my yield because my home consumption. I sell excess harvest to buy other home needs”, added Mr. Dola. “This project when it was initiated, it targeted the disadvantaged group of mothers, in particular widows and mothers with disability. This project has become a stable source of family income” Mr. Simon Ochieng, Area Sub-chief.
Mrs. Dola and her family was grateful to RDN for the social capital that has improved both her living standard, deepen her community relationship and strengthen her family bonding capital against her disability. Social capital is valuable when it is fungal and can be traded for other capitals, such as economic (borrowing money) or human (learning something from a friend). Bonding and bridging can help mitigate the effects of trauma and discrimination.
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