Frequently Asked Questions

Project details

How much money has been raised?
Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) update us of the running total every month - you can find the latest figure on the homepage.

Is there some detail/breakdown of the curriculum?
You can see the curriculum here. Margaret and her team use it as a guide to track the progress of each group and to ensure that all content is covered. The team are fairly fluid in their teaching because each group has particular interests and tend to work at different paces. Flexibility is built into the curriculum to allow groups to spend more time on different topics depending on needs or interest.

When does the programme actually end? How much time do we have?
Fundraising efforts stop at the end of 2018, however the project itself will continue until the end of 2019 as it wasn’t started until the end of 2016 because and CIFORD couldn’t plan and budget without knowing how much was available.

  • November 2015 - Partnership agreed
  • March 2016 - Project launched
  • August 2016 - first activity launched (ARP weekend)
  • November 2016 - Agricultural programme commenced with 1st intake stages 1&2


  • March 2017-February  2018 - 1st year long course with 160  participants
  • August and December 2017 - ARP week sessions for girls 
  • November 2017 - 2nd Intake stages 1&2 commence
  • December 2017 - first launch of boy’s sensitisation sessions


  • April 2018 - Graduation of Intake 1 and 2nd intake commence year long course
  • July 2018 - Mother’s nutritional training course launched
  • August and December 2018 - ARP week sessions for girls
  • August and December 2018 - boy’s sensitisation sessions continue
  • November 2018 - 3rd Intake stages 1&2 commence


  • January and July 2019 - Mother’s nutritional training courses
  • 2019 - Graduation of Intake 2 and 3rd intake commence year long course
  • August and December 2019 - ARP week sessions for girls
  • August and December 2019 - boy’s sensitisation sessions continue
  • April 2020 - 3rd intake graduate

Can you provide further information on the withdrawal of Breakfast Clubs and perhaps explain the change to the initial programme by giving information about maternal nutrition etc. which was put in it’s place? 
The Breakfast Clubs were a part of the application originally put into Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) but on further conversations with Margaret and based on our own experience, we feel those funds can be better utilised.

Margaret has little experience of working within school settings and we have seen many school feeding programmes fail for multiple reasons (the ministry of education is in flux in Kenya and staff changes are very common. Agricultural activities in schools aren’t prioritised because they’re expensive and difficult to manage). We felt that promising to have a self-sustaining project after three years was unrealistic so worked with CIFORD to look at alternative way of supporting women and girls whilst improving children’s nutrition in the region.

The suggested change was agreed by SIGBI management and the plan is to launch the mother's nutritional training which has not yet begun and is being planned for next year (2018) once the first agricultural training group is completed. You can also find updates about the nutritional training on this page.


Can we have an overall year to year projection of the budget?
It’s very difficult to develop a definite plan or budget without knowing how much fundraising the groups will have provided. We can’t promise an amount to CIFORD without knowing that the funds are available. This is why the Y1 intake couldn’t start before this year. Once we knew how much was available we were able to budget the following:

  • 2016: £3,840.74 for the ARP weekend, planning and preparation and Stages 1&2 of the agricultural training
  • 2017: £31,407.26 for the year long training of 198 participants, two ARP sessions and one boy’s session. This doesn’t include allocation for identification of the 2nd intake for stages 1&2 of the selection but this should not not exceed £2,000.
  • 2018: Currently uncertain but based on the currently fundraising total we have over £30,000 to budget with and we’re expecting that to increase, meaning we can work with at least the same number of women, girls and boys, hopefully more.

In the original plan in the bid we had planned to work with 360 women in total over the three year period. If fundraising continues at the current pace, we should be about to increase that to nearly 600.

In addition to these women, we’re aiming to work with:

  • 350 girls to promote staying in school, health education and the alternative rite of passage to FGM

  • 300 boys to promote health education, women’s rights and reducing their expectation of girls undergoing FGM

  • 90 young mothers on nutritional training.


What’s the cost of training per woman?
Based on the Y1 intake, the cost of the training per woman is £172.22.

This cost includes:

  • Identification and selection of the groups

  • Weekly training at the group’s’ locations

  • Monthly indepth training for group leaders held at CIFORD centre

  • Tools and seeds

    • Tools include spades, forks, machetes, rakes, wheelbarrows - these are to share between women (approximately one in three - one wheelbarrow per group)

    • Energy stoves (one each)

    • Seeds include amaranth, spider weed, kale, onion, butternut, black nightshade, mangoes, papaya and moringa (for all women)

    • Water tanks, accessories and transport (approximately one between four but this is dependent on their current access to water and need in each location). So far we have purchased 10 water tanks for a total of Ksh 260,000. Each water tank costs Ksh 26,000 which is around £182.50 per tank (the breakdown is Ksh 24,500 for the tank and Ksh 1,500 for transporting them to the location they're installed in).

  • Their graduation ceremony at the end of the year

  • Staff, office and travel costs at CIFORD to support the training


Have the first gardens taken shape/what crops are they growing?
The women are currently in the middle of their practical training and their gardens are taking shape. They are growing useful crops such as kale, onions and spinach which is enabling them to save money on purchasing food for themselves and their families.

There have been a few problems due to the recent drought which has meant some haven’t grown as much as they (and we) would like to see. This issue should be solved in the very near future with the imminent purchase of water tanks for the women to share access to.

The water tanks haven’t been purchased before now because they are the most expensive tool that the women are provided with in this programme. Margaret waits till the women have enrolled and are participating well before she and the team can confidently decide who will possess the tanks.

Can you tell us about the land used to grow the crops? And if women don’t have land what will they do?
CIFORD has land at their office and their newly developed training centre. CIFORD uses this land to teach the in depth sessions with the group leaders on a monthly basis. These sessions offer slightly more detail and demonstrations to a few members of each group so that they can take the knowledge back to the groups and support the rest of the group.

The majority of the group members have their own or family land to cultivate. Those that don’t are encouraged to use the skills they’re learning to cultivate the land on friends and/or family to improve yields. Some also use their skills to find employment.

During the survey at the beginning of the course, we asked "Do you own, rent or use any land for agriculture?"
Out of 109 women, 108 answered:
Yes - 100
No - 8

If yes, what size is the piece of land? (100 women answered)?
<Quarter of an acre -11

<Half an acre - 29

<1 acre - 23

<1.5 acres - 15

More than 1.5 acres - 22

What is covered in the ARP sessions?
The educational sessions cover important social issues including the repercussions of teenage pregnancy, early marriage, HIV/AIDS, drugs and substance abuse, as well as the short and long-term effects of FGM.

The first Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) ARP weekend that CIFORD ran back in August 2016 was used as an opportunity to conduct valuable research in order to gauge the girls’ understanding of important social issues surrounding FGM and how effective an educational Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) was to their future protection against social exploitation.

The girls were chosen based on their perceived vulnerability to female circumcision, a practice that has been illegal in Kenya since 2000 but is still commonly occurring, particularly in rural areas. The girls, aged between 10 and 16, were housed, taught, fed and watered for free for the entire weekend, which has not always been possible for earlier ARP’s due to financing issues. Relying on parents to make a contribution to cover expenses created an unfortunate barrier for some of the most vulnerable girls in the community, many girls consequently missing out on an education that could potentially save their life.

After looking at the data, we learnt that:

  • Before the ARP weekend, 67% of girls agreed that FGM is a necessary part of growing up. After the weekend, just 6% agreed with this.
  • 83% of the girls who attended the weekend said afterwards that they feel a responsibility to help other girls understand the risks of female circumcision.
  • When asked if they would recommend the weekend to a friend, 100% of the girls agreed. One girl stated, “it is teaching girls how they are supposed to do so that they be strong women in their community”.
  • The 83% can be contrasted with 52% who said they agreed they feel a responsibility to help other girls BEFORE the weekend.

Has solar energy or more specifically solar stoves been considered for the project?
We understand that Solar Energy is something that the Soroptimists have supported and seen benefits from in the past but in this case it is not the focus of our activities.

The training is focusing on giving the women specific farming and agricultural skills to help them better their lives and their communities rather than giving them access to renewable energy. Setting them up with solar stoves and other technology would require more time and resources than have been allocated to this project and Margaret has been clear that it's not appropriate to this context.

For the women in Meru we are using eco stoves which encourages them to protect their local land by helping them save wood (meaning it will last longer and prevent them from cutting down more trees). They're very similar to traditional stoves meaning minimal behaviour change and training are necessary. We have seen solar stoves being used in Kenya but they haven't taken off as an efficient energy saver for a variety of reasons; primarily that they require training and the right conditions for use, which just isn't conducive in these communities.

Are the women being taught an alternative to double digging? (As new research suggests it is no longer the most effective way).
The women are being taught to create sunken beds which is almost like double digging but the steps are easier to understand and learn. It is also physically easier - especially for the elder member's of the groups. This has been an effective way for them and so far the results of this type of digging have been beneficial to their crops. 


Who are Margarets team and what do they do?
CIFORD has a few interns who work a mixture of full time and part time. They support Margaret in all aspects of the projects CIFORD run and their responsibilities range from running training sessions with the women’s groups to collecting and inputting data. You can see who they are at the bottom of the CIFORD about us page.


All submitted questions will be addressed in the next conference call and added to FAQs. 

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