It is important for families relying on subsistence farming to find ways to generate additional cash income to help meet household expenses and meet costs such as health care and education. PCAT is working with its partners agencies to develop small-scale and appropriate ways to support local families to diversify their incomes.
These include providing breeding goats to increase milk yield, supporting projects such as bee-keeping (for honey production) and sisal planting (for use in basket weaving). PCAT has also funded the provision of greenhouses which enable a wider range of fruit such as tomatoes and peppers to be produced both for local consumption and sale in local markets.
In 2011 PCAT gave a grant to Kisesini self-help groups for 16,000 sisal plants for five women’s groups who are members of Machakos District Co-operative Union. The sisal will be used to make sacks as well as baskets. Sales of the baskets (called kiondos) provides additional income for families whose only other source of income is subsistence farming.
A grant was given to develop a bee-keeping project, working with a number of women’s groups in Machakos County. The aim of the project is to develop local honey production, the sale of which will increase incomes for the women involved. Initial grants were provided to meet the cost of purchasing beehives. Initially five beehives were supplied to each group but this may be increased depending on availability of funds. This project has been developed by MCU in liaison with the Agriculture Department.
In 2015 PCAT provided a grant to meet the cost of training women’s groups involved with the bee-keeping project. The grant will be used to provide training with regard to the production, processing and storage of honey. The training has been developed in partnership with a technical team from Machakos County with expertise in bee-keeping and honey production. Over 3,000 women will benefit from the training.
A grant to Mathima self-help group towards the cost of constructing a commercial greenhouse. The greenhouse will be irrigated using micro-irrigation techniques by water pumped from the Mathima Dam and will be used to grow tomatoes, peppers and other crops for sale. It is expected that the project will benefit 30 households comprising over 200 people.
In 2014 PCAT provided small grants to a number of local self-help groups for the purchase of chickens. The chickens are used for breeding as well as egg production – the chicks were then supplied to members of the group who had not benefitted from the original allocation.
The Trust has begun developing projects in partnership with the Little Sisters of Francis in the Kasarani district of Nairobi, supporting marginalised women in the local area. In 2015 PCAT provided a grant to develop a poultry rearing project. Income from the sale of the chicks helps to meet the cost of basic protective equipment for members of the Joy Women’s group who earn money sorting and recycling rubbish dumped on a local rubbish tip.
A second grant was subsequently provided to the Joy Women’s Group to develop a pig rearing project. Each member of the group was provided with two pigs for breeding. Members of the group will use the additional income gained from selling any young pigs to meet essential daily living costs and the cost of school fees. In 2016 in response to a request from the Little Sisters PCAT provided a grant to set up a loan fund managed by the Little Sisters. Members of women’s groups that the Little Sisters work with (including refugee groups and single parents) can apply to the fund for loans to help establish micro-enterprises, including small businesses focusing on dress-making and the production of shopping bags.