The Compassion Network

The Compassion Network is a cooperative of small local groups. Membership of the co-operative entitles the groups to receive training and support by Compassion CBO. Compassion CBO helps members of the network to write their constitutions and register with the Kenyan Government, which then enables them to receive small loans and grants.
Each member group subscribes to a common ethos of supporting the rights of women in the community and working together to fight poverty.
The network includes groups with a wide range of interests from all different parts of society from people working in the same area, such as flower growers, to groups of HIV+ people, Women's Groups, Cancer Survivor Groups and many more.

Membership of the network is free.

Igakiramba Mercy Mothers Women Association

Igakiramba Mercy Mothers Women Association and Wendo Tharaka Association

Igakiramba Mercy Mothers Women Association works with Compassion CBO to eradicate poverty and Female Genital Mutilation. The group helps the most underprivileged in society through financial and material assistance and runs guidance and counselling seminars on FGM and HIV.

Started in 2008, Igakiramba Mercy Mothers Women Association works with Compassion CBO to eradicate poverty and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The group has 45 members and meets every Friday at Igakiramba Catholic Church.

The group helps the most underprivileged in society through financial and material assistance and runs guidance and counselling seminars on FGM and HIV.
Mercy Mothers Women Association collaborates with Wendo Tharaka Association, which has twenty members, on all projects.

The groups are composed of retired teachers, practicing teachers and local members.

Compassion CBO board member Festus is a retired teacher and lives there on the ground leading Compassion CBO advocacy against FGM in the larger Tharaka-Nithi Area. He is very vocal in public meetings and, during his teaching career in the area, he was promoted to deputy education officer in Tharaka-Nithi. Two board members of Compassion CBO are also from Tharaka-Nithi.

Through Merry-Go-Rounds (collecting weekly contributions from members and giving in turn to each member), the groups provide guidance and counselling on social and health issues, especially to teenagers, and income generating schemes, and thus aim to empower the most needy in the community.

Both groups strive for the economic empowerment of their members, this is mostly done through farming. The groups rent land and collectively farm it, splitting the profits and using the money to buy other things that can generate income, for instance a tent, chairs and tableware that is then hired out.

These activities have meant that every member of both groups now has their own home and latrine.
During the holiday period, Igakiramba Mercy Mothers Women Association and Wendo Tharaka Association hold alternative rites of passage and seminars against FGM for girls aged 12-17 to empower girls against FGM and bring the whole community towards the discussion of FGM and its eradication.

The main challenge for both groups is a lack of financial resources, which hampers their plans for expansion of projects and means that they cannot carry out as many activities as they otherwise could. The area mostly relies on relief food due to drought.