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Helping Empower Women through Permaculture

The Agatha Amani House provides a shelter for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Kenya. Many vulnerable women are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. They are kicked out on the streets and separated from their children. Recent studies have found that 39% of women in Kenya between the ages of 15-49 have experienced physical or sexual violence during their lifetime with rape being a major problem.

In recent years Gender Desks were established in police stations to facilitate reports of domestic and sexual violence but even so, it will take years for women to realise their rights and safety under the law. Therefore, we are committed to provide help for our sisters in Kenya.

The Agatha Amani House is a grass roots safe house, completed in 2014 and the first of its kind in Kenya where women and their children can find safety from abusive situations.
We assess each victim’s situation on a case-by-case basis and the length of time they stay with us is determined by how well they recuperate. They can also stay on for longer to learn new skills which enables them to find work and become independent.

How we help empower victims and their children

Our goal is to protect and empower victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children whilst helping them become self-sufficient.
We also strive to provide education and training to women that will allow them to get jobs or start their own small businesses and to achieve financial independence. An affordable sanitary pad machine was purchased and installed so that women and young girls who cannot afford to buy them at regular sources can buy them at a very low cost, allowing them to continue school and work without interruption. A baking and sewing program were also introduced. All these efforts and more to come are intended to provide skills and options for women to become self-sufficient as they heal and leave the shelter. We are pleased to report that we already have a few success stories and are optimistic that many more will follow.
We work with social workers, counsellors and strategic partners seeking to end gender-based violence. All activities are overseen by the trustees of the AAH https://www.agathaamanihouse.org/about-us.html and an advisory board assists in helping management formulate new strategies and programs to help in the recuperation of the women.
Victims, their families and the communities we help today become advocates, sponsors and mentors of tomorrow helping to create social change whilst breaking down the cycle of violence and poverty.

Farming and livestock are important components of our sustainability program and we practice permaculture and organic farming techniques. In addition to growing crops at the shelter we have cows, goats, rabbits and chickens to generate products to sell in the local market and to provide nutritious food for the women.
Protecting the environment is important to us and the electricity at the shelter is provided by solar panels and gas for cooking is generated by a bio-gas digester. We recently drilled our own water well and cannot be more grateful. We hope to eventually also power our water pump using solar power.

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Nyakio Kaniu-Lake

Author Nyakio Kaniu-Lake

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