One of the very active chapters of HWB is East Africa, coordinated by Jeanne Hughes. She and her network not only work to train herbalists and deliver significant amounts of much needed herbal medicines to local communities, but they also work to provide critical human sanitation items, water, and more in the midst of political strife and escalating tensions. These conflicts and political instability make daily life a challenge, yet they continue, even at great risk.
Jeanne first started training local herbalists in the Rift Valley near Eldoret in 2005. By 2007 the post election violence had deeply divided the country. In 2008 Jeanne and her network hosted workshops in 3 regions to about 300 people, and in 2009 a private donor provided funds to support a 3-day workshop for 30 herbalists to attend. During that workshop tribal tensions were running high, so Jeanne and her group had each group share one favorite remedy and success story, to break the ice and highlight the common goals and interests!
Today, after years of working and growing the network in Kenya, all of theses groups in various regions form a network of herbalists, community healers, and citizens who grow, harvest, share, and barter botanicals and information to improve the health of their communities.
Kenya is a large country and has several groups who work in their local regions. The number of families they serve, medicines they distribute, kits they create and wells they have rehabilitated are truly inspiring. Here are a few of the groups and the VERY important work they are doing right now:
Shwari Group: 15 villages served; 170 families have clean water in 2016 thru the rehabilitation of 5 wells. 134 Days for Girls Kits (Sanitary Hygiene) were sewn and distributed in the Butere/Sabitia area of Kakamega County in Western Province. Submitted by Moses Makacha, Chairman.
Nyamira County: From Dr. Nehemiah Ndubi Okerio; 3000 litres of liquid soap were created and distributed to slum dwellers and the poor and needy to help control Cholera. 500 kg of various powdered herbal medicine were also given to approximately 30,000 persons through the efforts of 2 affiliated clinics.
Ramah Herbal Group; Likuayani area. Served 22 communities, 53 Families and 450 individuals near the Rift and Western Province border. Trained TEN Herbalists; Created and distributed 27 Days for Girls Kits; (plus 18 sent from USA), and distributed 13,500 litres of liquid and 1,500 kg powdered herbal medicines (Eucalyptus, charcoal, cypress, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and other barks and leaves.
Chep'ngasuretin Herbal Group; Uasin Ngishu County, Rift Valley, near Eldoret. From the Chairman Dr. David Muigei. This growing group of 40 trained herbalists serves 10 villages with a total population of 2,500 persons. Almost half of those persons now have clean water thru the efforts of this group. 20 Days for Girls hygiene kits were sewn and distributed in 2016. Over 80 litres of liquid and many Kg of powdered herbal medicines were given to persons in these communities.
Spark A Life Kenya is an affiliate group that Jeanne has worked with in schools to improve sanitation. 114 Days for Girls kits have been created and distributed to Primary and Secondary schools in Munjiti, Emulade, Mulufu, Eshibongu, Kwisero, Mundah and Mulwanda Villages. Richie Otiende is the Spark A Life Kenya Director, based in Kisumu.
Africa is 1/5 of the worlds land mass and has 54 countries - it is a vast continent full of traditional healers, great beauty, plant knowledge, and medicinal botanicals. Yet, it is also a land of great humanitarian need with human trafficking, female genital mutiliation, drought and strife. Donations to HWB and also the East Africa HWB help them mobilize to make medicines, get water and supplies to communities, prevent more victims of human trafficking and educate about FGM. Your support of HWB directly helps HWB chapters such as HWB East Africa - every dollar makes a difference.