Nestled within the rolling hills of Hombe, lies a woman whose story is synonymous to the term, women empowerment, embodying resilience, passion, and a deep-rooted connection to nature. Loise Wanjiru Ndegwa, a devoted mother from Mathera East, traces her environmental journey back to her childhood, where she eagerly assisted her father in his reforestation efforts. Reflecting on those formative years, Loise fondly recalls the joy of planting tree seedlings alongside her father—a memory etched in her heart and the foundation of her environmental ethos.

“My father would always come home from work with tree seedlings, which we would later plant together,” Loise Ndegwa says with a wistful look.  

As Loise matured, her passion for environmental stewardship flourished. Immersed in the serene embrace of the Hombe Forest, she assumed the mantle of secretary for the Hombe Integrated Forest Association. For a decade, she has been a tireless advocate for forest preservation and Women Empowerment, driven by her unwavering commitment to safeguarding nature’s bounty.

However, it was Loise’s pivotal role in the transformation of Hombe Nursery – a true picture of the beauty of women empowerment – that truly underscored her dedication to environmental sustainability.

Loise Ndegwa and her colleagues at Hombe Nursery

Alongside the Mathaga United Women’s Group, she helped nurture the nursery from humble beginnings to a flourishing enterprise.  During this period, a partnership was forged with Akili Group.

“Our contractual relationship with Akili Group, where they buy our healthy tree seedlings from us, means that we have a direct market that allows for an extra income stream. Of course, when other people hear that we supply an organization like Akili Group with seedlings for their projects, we increase our credibility, and sell more.”

Through this collaboration, Loise embarked on a new chapter by joining the organization as an ambassador for their projects, championing sustainable practices and empowering farmer groups with knowledge and resources. Since joining Akili Group in 2022  – an organization heavily involved in women empowerment –  she’s been able to mobilize a large number of farmers for the organization, who today benefit from energy-efficient cookstoves and tree seedlings for the farms.

“Because of my background,” Loise explains, her voice tinged with conviction, “I grew up to become very passionate about the environment, and have always wanted to help sensitize people about climate change.”

In partnership with Akili Group, Loise has a platform to amplify her voice and reach those who are yet to hear the urgent call for environmental stewardship and the urgent call to Climate Change Mitigation. 

Women Empowerment

Loise Ndegwa at Hombe Nursery, tending to her seedlings

“Not many farmers know that certain farming activities, such as those that encourage deforestation, and the use of the traditional three-stone method, play a role in accelerating climate change,” Loise laments. “But by working with Akili Group, I can spread the word, and reach people I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.”

As the years unfolded, Loise’s journey with Akili Group continues to evolve and play a part in her holistic empowerment. 

“I’m not only linked to Akili Group as a CFA contractor who provides seedlings to them, or as an Ambassador, I also work as a stockist for them.” Loise’s voice is cheery as she narrates, her excitement contagious. 

“This means, I can purchase health-based products such as Akili Foods Moringa Powder and Akili Foods Hibiscus Tea at wholesale, and sell them at retail price for a profit. This allows me to have, yet another stream of income.” 

Akili Foods Moringa Powder

Porridge Infused with Akili Foods Moringa Powder

The benefits don’t end there, as she eagerly adds, “Of course, I took advantage of having access to high-quality health products and bought a few myself. And can you imagine that after taking Akili Foods pruna tea, my arthritis-related symptoms diminished? Even their Green Tea has helped me lose weight!”

It’s clear that Loise Ndegwa’s story of empowerment, resilience, growth, and unwavering dedication has only just begun, and that she is set to do more incredible things for the community and the environment. 

“I would like to thank Akili Group. I get to learn and grow every day from my involvement with the organization. My knowledge and skills have grown, my network of friends increased, my experiences enriched and my income diversified in more ways than one.” 

It’s clear that Loise is on an exciting journey, and so is Akili Group, as it seeks more ways to foster women empowerment in the communities it operates in.