Ester, a mother in Kenya, describes how a project targeting women and young mothers has had a profound effect on many aspects of her life.
My name is Ester. I am a mother of three children – two girls and a boy. My homestead is in the driest outback in Kajiado district in Kenya. I was married when I was 19 years of age like most girls of my generation here.
Motherhood was difficult; I didn’t know how to take care of my young children. The ChildFund Loipi project assisted us with mother-to-mother training on pre-natal as well as post-natal care. The Maasai old aged tradition of “Iloipi” where an older mother teaches young mother on how to take care of themselves and their families was enriched by the modern teaching from the government hospital doctors. The project brings doctors from the government hospital every three months to de-worm and immunized our children. We no longer have to travel to Kajiado town, some 50 km, to take our children to the hospital.
Our water is mostly gotten from surface water dams and wells. We used to get sick because much of it was contaminated. During those days we used to visit the hospital frequently. This stopped from the time the project started providing us with water treatment kits for every household.
We were trained on how to treat our drinking water before using it. Thus we no longer go to hospitals anymore because our water is treated and is clean for human consumption. The project has also planned to drill a borehole to supply water to our newly built ECCDs and to the surrounding home states. This will lessen the burden of we mothers and the children.
Every lactating and pregnant mother was also given a mosquito net. We were trained on how to use them in our traditional huts. Now everybody has a net to shield herself and her baby from mosquitoes and the malaria infection.
The project also assisted us to form self-help groups to start small enterprises. Our group is called Oltepesi self–help group. We started with 15 women and are now 120 members. We sell milk to the nearest shopping centres and Kajiado town. We are now part of the dairy cooperative society, thanks to the Loipi project. Every week each member deposits fifty shillings towards our micro insurance scheme for the education of our children.