The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with ActionAid Kenya, launched the Kenya chapter of the Three Strategic Dimitra Club approach in Kilifi County in May 2022, with the goal of promoting inclusive community engagement and empowering individuals, particularly women, in rural areas.
For more than a decade, Dimitra clubs have been powerful drivers of people’s empowerment in rural areas of sub-Saharan African countries. These clubs are voluntary groups composed of men, women, and young people who come together to make positive changes in their communities.
The Dimitra Clubs approach is based on self-development and self-reliance. These clubs enable members of the community to identify common challenges, discuss them, come up with solutions, and implement them together. This approach has been highly successful in promoting gender equality, economic inclusion, and overall community development. (Source: FAO)
Since the launch of Dimitra Clubs in Kilifi County in 2022, the project established 23 Dimitra Clubs in 20 villages in Malindi and Magarini Sub Counties. These clubs meet weekly or monthly, and their combined a total of 1004individuals.
The Dimitra Clubs Forum, organized by FAO and ActionAid Kenya, took place in Malindi on the 28th and 29th of November. The event was designed to exhibit the experiences, results, challenges, and lessons learned by Dimitra Clubs to local authorities, stakeholders, and the
media to gain support for the approach and encourage its expansion.
Speaking at the event Samson Orao, Programme and Strategy Lead at ActionAid Kenya expressed gratitude for the partnership between AAIK and FAO and emphasized the importance of addressing livelihood and food security issues in the community, especially considering the flooding emergency that Kenya is experiencing.
The event continued with presentations from FAO representatives, the Deputy County Commissioner, and other stakeholders. Representatives from six clubs presenting their results and sharing their experiences, with a focus on various aspects, including infrastructure and roads development, improved education, youth engagement, food security and nutrition, access to clean water, and economic empowerment through income-generating activities.
Dimitra Clubs have brought about transformative changes both personally and within the community, leading to significant changes.
“Individuals involved in the clubs have experienced increased self-esteem and a sense of empowerment” explained a representative from one of the clubs.”
“Our club has given us a platform to share our concerns and contribute to community development, as well as taught us how to use our own resources to address challenges. It has given the youth a voice and an opportunity to demonstrate their potential and highlight successful actions.”
“Prior to the establishment of the Dimitra Club, there was a significant lack of open dialogue and exchange of opinions within our community.” However, since the creation of the Dimitra Club, all of us have an equal opportunity, regardless of age or gender, to express their opinions, contribute to the community, and actively participate in forums with peers and stakeholders.” explained a representative Tabia – Maoni Dimitra Club
Grace Mwangi, Community Engagement and Gender and Empowerment Specialist of FAO provided an in-depth explanation of the Dimitra Clubs approach highlighting the significant impact the clubs have had on various areas, such as nutrition, agriculture practices, education, health, behavior change, and women’s rights. The approach has also promoted gender equality and empowered women to participate equally in community decision-making processes.