In many of the cultures and communities in which we work, the women have many responsibilities that make life challenging. They are most often the primary caregivers for the children; they collect the family’s water and firewood; and they cook, clean, and perform many other household chores. In addition, many herd livestock and plant, tend, and harvest crops, as well as doing a variety of other things to help support the family. They often don’t have adequate healthcare, making pregnancy and childbirth dangerous and, sometimes, tragic. When people who are struggling to provide for their basic needs are given access and opportunity to improve their situation, it is often the women who are eager to take advantage.
While each person has their own strengths and talents, we’ve found that it’s frequently the women who are the game-changers in a community since they are most often the ones watching out for the overall health and welfare of the family.
It’s so exciting and encouraging as we see women, often with very little formal education, combine their skills and innovation with the knowledge they receive through our moringa training. Each group, and every individual, develops their own unique way of utilizing this opportunity to make positive improvements in their own lives, in the lives of their family members, and even in their entire community.
The experiences we’re sharing below of Afi, Jaymala, and the Maasai Women’s Savings Groups, are just three examples in which the powerful motivation and creative ideas of women have united with their newly acquired knowledge, giving them the power to create a better future. When we put the knowledge of moringa into the hands of motivated women, dramatic change happens!
We are humbled to be a part of this; we’re grateful to all who partner with us; and we invite everyone to join us! By providing access to opportunity for these amazing women we can all be part of the positive change they are bringing to our world.
Women’s Savings Groups in Tanzania
Sometimes life takes a winding path to bring us to the very thing we need. That was the case with bringing water to families living in a remote part of Tanzania.
As we trained groups of Maasai women to become Moringa Peer Educators (including Eliza, in photo), they saw great improvements in the health of their families by adding moringa to their daily diets. Next, they started selling moringa in their weekly market to help support their families.
Maasai culture is very communal, so as they brought new income into their homes, they started to talk together about how to use that income to improve their community. Out of these conversations, the Women’s Savings Groups were born (these are self-funded microfinance banks). After the women took the government training and became certified, Strong Harvest helped them get started by buying a lockbox and all the supplies needed to run each group.
The savings groups are funded by the money the women earn through selling moringa, goats, their beading work, and any other small business activities in which they participate. Their motto is:
“Put in the savings, take the loan,
work your business, return the profit.”
One of their most exciting projects is making water accessible to rural families. They live in a very arid place and to get water the women and children walk, with their donkeys and jerry cans, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) round-trip to the nearest spring. Since they only have jerry cans for water storage, they need to make the trek multiple times a week. The savings groups came up with a plan to change that! Maasai homes are traditionally round, but they decided that if each family builds a rectangular structure, the savings groups will loan them the money to buy the metal roof and gutter materials to capture rainwater. Once the roofs and gutters are in place, Strong Harvest provides the cement pad and a 1,000-liter (264-gallon) water storage tank. Easy access to water is a total game-changer for the health of these families!
Metal roof, gutter, and water tank system – ready to capture the rain!
Naha (left) with members of her family and their new tank.
The Women’s Savings Groups have taken their moringa training to a whole new level and are bringing an incredibly positive change to their community. This is the FIRST TIME EVER that this community has been able to capture rainwater to store and use in their daily lives. We never imagined something like this coming out of our Moringa Peer Educator training; this is totally community-driven action. We are thankful to work with such forward-thinking, enterprising women!
Nalarami (left), with her husband and daughter, next to their new tank.
Smiles all around! Noondomono (center) is excited for the rains to start.
So far, our amazing donors have given the funds for cement pads and water tanks for 27 families and you can help us bring water to even more families!
Just $225 will provide one cement pad and water tank.
Jaymala in India
Jaymala cares deeply about the needs of rural women in her area. Most of the women are housewives with little education and their husbands earn only about 300 rupees ($4) a day. Due to the lack of education and resources, the women’s health is often very poor as they struggle with undernutrition, high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes.
Jaymala’s passion is to help women and girls to improve their own health. Since 2021, Strong Harvest has partnered with Jaymala and her husband, Gautam, to bring the life-changing knowledge of moringa to their local villages. Since then, Jaymala has trained many women how to grow and use moringa for its rich nutritional benefits, which have been proven to target the very issues with which they struggle. Many of these women are reporting that their health is improving. Jaymala shared with us that, “I look, and they are becoming changed day by day!”
Teaching women about the rich nutritional benefits of moringa.
Jaymala (kneeling in orange/red) teaching how to make and package moringa powder.
As she shares about moringa, Jaymala is also teaching the girls about menstruation and hygiene, working to remove the stigma surrounding this very normal part of life. Often, girls in rural areas have no feminine hygiene supplies and must stay home when having their periods. Jaymala distributes reusable cloth pads to the girls, giving them more dignity and control over their own lives, allowing them to go to school and participate in life at all times of the month.
Sharing with young women about moringa and feminine health and hygiene (Jaymala is at far left). Each girl is holding a supply of reusable cotton pads.
With your generous support, we will be able to teach many more women and girls about moringa and health in India and the other countries in which we work.
$150 will help provide training for 10 women and girls.
Afi in Togo
Afi is the busy mom of 8 children – 6 boys and 2 girls – and having enough of anything is always a challenge.
When she attended Strong Harvest Moringa Peer Educator training in May 2021, she learned how to make moringa soap and skin ointment. Afi saw an opportunity to provide for her children and immediately made a plan to start a small business.
At first, it was difficult to find the money to buy materials, but our Strong Harvest Field Rep, Jean, and his wife Olga, gave her some start-up funds and now her business is flourishing. She sells her products in the local marketplace and has plans to train an apprentice and hire young people to assist her with sales.
Afi is providing for her family and creating jobs in her community! This is grassroots community development at its best!
When you give to Strong Harvest, you become part of the success story of entrepreneurs like Afi, helping them get their businesses up and running, and changing their lives.
Afi, with two of her sons.
Afi (at left), receiving her Strong Harvest manual and some start-up funds from Strong Harvest Assistant, Olga.
Afi (at right), showing moringa products (skin ointment and soap) to Strong Harvest Assistant, Olga.
With your help, we can provide seed money to other entrepreneurs!
$75 will help future business owners.
Your support of any amount to the above areas, or to our area of greatest need, is an amazing blessing. You are putting the power of sustainable change into the hands of the people!
Rick and Jeri & the Strong Harvest Team