Because of the violence that surrounded the last cycle of elections in Kenya, many people are anxious for the upcoming vote. One woman is less concerned. Named Nyobaki Wamuyu, she is trying to develop a system of communal agriculture that would hopefully help to eliminate tribalism in her area of Molo and prevent malnutrition.
According to AllAfrica, communal agriculture was more popular decades ago. Then the effects of climate change began to take hold, which made agriculture more difficult and fueled tensions. Ms. Wamuyu and some other women are attempting to bring it back. Groots International, for example, is an organization founded last year that seeks to get women involved with income-generating agriculture.
If the movement takes hold, it will help subside many of the problems in rural Kenya. Many Kenyans are living in poverty, but communal agriculture may help to improve the economic well-being of the impoverished. Many women, and therefore their children, are malnourished; more crops will help eradicate their hunger. Ms. Wamuyu says that working together may help rub away some of the resentment felt between the tribes in rural Kenya. Because it is women-led, activists hope to elevate the stature of women in Kenyan society.
The idea can also be an extension of the work of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who was an environmentalist, a women’s rights activist and, as Divya explained it to me, “planted a lot of trees”.
Still, it’s striking to note the many gains that Kenyan women have left to make. Women only recently became equal citizens to men in the new Kenyan constitution, which was ratified in 2010. One women quoted in the piece mentioned how her husband allowed her to work on the farm; I get upset if my boyfriend suggests I wear make-up. Regardless, while the gains may seem small to us, they are gains nonetheless. Every group needs to start from somewhere. And maybe, if the experiment in communal agriculture works and the region becomes more prosperous due to the influence of women, their daughters can push the boundaries even further.