Jenifer Limakeris, a resilient 37-year-old mother of seven, has undergone a profound transformation from a life of societal constraints to becoming an entrepreneur in her community, thanks to the transformative impact of the Women Economic Empowerment through Climate Smart Agriculture project.
Born and raised in the remote hills of West Pokot County, Jenifer's early years were marked by relentless toil and a society that deemed women as lesser beings, confined to the roles of childbearing and daily labour without property rights. However, today, she stands as a testament to the success story emerging from the women economic empowerment project, breaking cultural barriers to become one of the first female cattle owners in Kerelwa village, Batei Ward.
The project is implemented by UN Women, FAO, Village Enterprise, and with the support of the County Government of West Pokot and funding from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Kenya, through regular trainings, on different topics like public participation in policy development to Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies, Jeniffer and her group the Kang’ota Women Self Help Group have been empowered.
Jenifer's smile radiates the impact of CSA adoption. Moving beyond subsistence farming, she has transformed her agricultural practices, cultivating high-value crops such as bulb onions, kales, Blacknight shade, and spinach, coupled with improved indigenous poultry—all promoted by the project. This shift not only ensures access to high-value products for consumption and surplus sale but also turned farming into a lucrative business.
Reflecting on her early life in Kerelwa Village, where education was an elusive dream for a girl in a polygamous family, Jenifer found herself married after primary school, bearing the responsibility of seven children as a second wife. Through the project she has been equipped with skills that transcended traditional roles, propelling her from maize farming to a diversified and profitable agricultural enterprise.
The tangible success is evident in the revenue generated from her venture, enabling Jenifer to purchase a small bull, now a substantial asset with increased value. Her products, sold in Ortum market, bring in a weekly income of Sh1,200, allowing her to save a minimum of Sh500 per week.
The Kang’ota Women Self Help Group's embrace of table banking further amplifies the project's impact. With increased incomes, members now save between Sh300 – Sh1000 weekly, fostering economic independence. Jenifer's savings, amounting to Sh12,000, became the capital that transformed a small bull into a valuable asset, showcasing the financial empowerment achieved through collective efforts.
The success of Kang’ota Women Self Help Group has caught the attention of the WEE-CSA project, which plans to support them further with a Poultry feed crusher and mixer. This additional support aims to enhance access to affordable poultry feed, not only benefiting the group members but also the local community, ensuring sustained economic growth for all.
Jenifer's journey is a testament to the transformative power of community-focused projects, turning fields of hardship into fields of freedom and economic prosperity. She is full of praise to leadership of FAO Kenya.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.