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Women Together Create Powerful Change

Help Women Sow Seeds of Friendship

Hellen and Sylvia are two mothers from Kenya.

At first, they were nervous, and a little scared, to meet each other. You see, they live in communities separated by 250 miles and divided by tension. They belong to different Indigenous Peoples, whose communities are often pitted against each other, sometimes violently.

Often, it’s drought and food scarcity that push communities to fight each other for access to what little resources exist.

These days, the tension has been even worse, as recent contentious elections led to violent protests. And just days ago, Kenya's Supreme Court threw out the election results and called for a new vote. Remembering past elections that triggered widespread bloodshed, people have braced themselves for even more deadly upheaval.

Despite these fault-lines that work to keep women like Hellen and Sylvia divided, they have formed a transformative friendship – one that helps nurture peace and prevent violence between their communities. And they did it with your support.

Your support of MADRE helped make Hellen and Sylvia’s inspiring story possible.

two women hugging
Hellen is a mother of five from the rural town of Chepareria, Kenya.

She is a member of the Pokot People and works hard on her one-acre farm to support her family. She sells the crops she harvests in the local market.

Sylvia is a Maasai woman and mother from the town of Ololulunga, Kenya.

Her maize crops were dying due to drought, and the extra money she earned from selling what little maize she grew in the market was not enough. Her family needed another option to survive.

Selina leading a dance in Kenya

Solution

With you by our side, MADRE and our local grassroots partners support struggling women farmers. We install clean water tanks in communities. And we train women farmers in ways to adapt to climate change and to survive drought.

We also bring women like Hellen and Sylvia together for community exchanges. Your generosity helps give them an opportunity to visit each other, share ideas on how to raise money for their families, and learn new strategies to build peace together.

When you support MADRE, you bring women together across divides to build peace, in Kenya and around the world.

Earlier this year, Sylvia made the eight-hour bus journey and traveled to Hellen’s town for a MADRE- supported exchange. Without this opportunity — and without your support — Hellen and Sylvia would have never met. For many of the women we support in Kenya, these exchanges are the first time they will travel outside of their own communities, to meet with Indigenous women from different communities and ethnic groups.

Exchanges like these are more than just a way for these women to meet one another. They are an effective way to prevent violence. After all, it’s much harder for people to turn against each other when you’ve visited each other’s home, met each other’s children and formed meaningful friendships.

And that’s just what Hellen and Sylvia did.

Sylvia was immediately impressed by what she saw when she visited Hellen’s farm.

In addition to farming fruits and vegetables, Hellen started a poultry farm.

When she needs extra money, she sells her chickens in the market. It helps her to put food on her table, pay school fees, and care for her children — and your support with equipment for her farm helped make it possible.

Hellen feeding her chickens in West Pokot, Kenya
Sylvia was so inspired by what she saw, and Hellen told her exactly how to get started on her own poultry farm.

One short month later, Sylvia’s farm is up and running back in Ololulunga!

Already, she’s earned extra money by selling eggs in the local market and has raised enough money to pay for her children’s school fees!

Sylvia feeding her chickens in Kenya

Through your support of MADRE, women like Hellen and Sylvia learn life-sustaining strategies from each other.

woman turning soil

Thank you for making this story of peace and friendship possible!

Your support helps important relationships form that otherwise would not be possible — friendships that contain the seeds of peace in dangerous times. Through hard times, these women know they can rely on each other.

Your support reaches far and wide. You provide emergency shelter and care for women in Iraq... healing art therapy and counseling for former girl child soldiers in Colombia... safe birth kits to help Palestinian and Israeli midwives ensure maternal health in the West Bank... and so much more.

Please make a gift to MADRE to help even more women around the world with life-changing support.

Learn more about our ongoing work in Kenya

Paulina standing in front of crops

“When I started my home, I started with empty hands, with nothing. But now, I have a farm, I have food, and all my girls are in school. I’m proud of my children. And I am proud of my hands that work hard to make something.” - Paulina, West Pokot, Kenya

Christine cooking over a jiko stove

Christine from West Pokot shows off her new energy-efficient jiko stove, provided with MADRE support! It’s an updated Indigenous design that uses 80% less wood.

Women planting tree saplings

 MADRE and the Indigenous Information Network, our on-the-ground partners, just delivered 30 clean water storage tanks to farming communities in the Transmara region of Kenya. With these clean water tanks, women farmers will be able to store clean drinking water for their families through drought.

Partner

The Indigenous Information Network (IIN) is a women-led organization that connects Indigenous Peoples, sustains their communities and strengthens their demands for human rights.

Issue

Climate change is a global crisis that threatens the survival of humanity. While it affects us all, poor and rural women are hardest hit by food shortages, droughts, floods and disease linked to climate change. But they are more than victims.