#10Women: Joyce Dafarday, Chairlady of Songa Conservancy Women’s Group.

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“Some of us used to sell charcoal, but we have learned about climate change. Burning charcoal creates a lot of smoke, which is bad for our health and the atmosphere. It also means we’re cutting down trees which are important for soil and rain. Our businesses don’t rely on harmful environmental practices like this.” - Joyce Dafarday, Chairlady of Songa Conservancy Women’s Group. Part 5 of our #10Women series. 

In the semi-arid lands surrounding the densely forested Marsabit National Park, it can be tough to make a living. That is why the savvy businesswomen of Songa Conservancy have formed a group that has diversified into 3 businesses: beekeeping, tree seedlings and bead craft, with support from the French Development Agency (AFD), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). Together, they have decided that profits from these businesses should be put into a savings and credit cooperative, through which their members can access loans. 

The group own 25 beehives, and have undergone a 5-day training course to learn about managing bees and harvesting honey. While they wait for their first honey crop, they are busy with their tree nursery. Here, they grow trees for agroforestry, as well as fruit trees and indigenous seedlings. These are bought and planted by local farmers and schools. Their businesses are not only providing a stable and growing income, but a chance for the women to get together and support one another. "A problem shared is a problem halved!” says Joyce! 

Sophie Harrison