Using Eco-friendly means to combat poverty and promote environmental conservation

Kwale

Over 80% of the Kenyan population derives their livelihood from agricultural activities. Poor communities suffer when environmental resources are threatened or exhausted. UNDP’s projects address this need to use these resources in a sustainable manner, in turn alleviating poverty.

Kwale is a district  around 30 kilometres from Mombasa. Here, in a converted shed that operates as a nursery, twelve local women nurture seedlings, selling up to 1,000 young trees a month, raking in Kshs. 400,000 (USD 5000).

Christine Nguli, in her 35th, waters the seedlings while Amina Porepore, 28 years old, is hard at work planting saplings in small pots. “These seedlings will take about 2 years to mature, before they can be harvested for construction,” the older woman, who is the Chairperson of the Lima Self-help Group, says with a smile. The women supply seedlings to tree farmers, local community and conservation groups.

Highlights

  • Founded in 2003, the Lima help Self Group, located in Kwale District- 30 kilometres from Mombasa, run a tree nursery and produce bio-products derived from the Aloe Vera plant.
  • Many of the rural women are uneducated and hence use their indigenous traditional knowledge to manage the resources
  • UNDP's capacity building inputs and support, through the World Wildlife Fund, helped the women of the Lima Self-help Group to create economically and environmentally sustainable projects within their self-help group.

Founded in 2003, the Lima Self-help Group, located in Kwale District, run a tree nursery and produce bio-products derived from the Aloe Vera plant. Rich in Vitamin B12, Aloe Vera is the main ingredient in Lima Group’s skin cream, lotion, shampoo, hair food, beauty soap and detergent. Their purely natural products have been endorsed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and are sold to schools, hotels and restaurants in the area. “We hope to get more customers through selling our products in major supermarkets,” Amina says of the group’s future plans.

Lima is joining forces with a neighbouring group to come up with strategies to penetrate the mainstream market. Many of the rural women are uneducated and hence use their indigenous traditional knowledge to effectivel manage the resources.  “Our mothers’ taught us how to use the land as their mothers taught them. The training we received improved what we already knew,” reflects Amina.

As a result of UNDP’s capacity building inputs and support, through the World Wildlife Fund, the women of the Lima Self-help Group have been empowered to create economically and environmentally sustainable projects within their self-help group. “Now we can pay school fees and even buy land together for shambas (small farms),” says Christine as she tallies the monthly sales for their products.

UNDP’s adapted self-help group approach is a successful instrument for combat ng poverty in a sustainable way. It does this by empowering the very poor, majority being women, economically, socially and even politically in order to live a life of greater hope and dignity with their children and families within the community.

 

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