Galm Galgallo is a village in Sagante Ward of Marsabit that has a population of a couple hundred people.
75% of the households in this village are dependent on food aid. The youth find work as casual labourers and boda boda operators in Marsabit town and Dirib centre.
Two years ago, we introduced Community Conversations into the village. This development tool enables communities to have discussions at the grassroots on some of their common challenges and forge solutions from within. The villagers were resistant at first as expected. They soon began changing their attitudes and embraced the process.
Women, men, the elderly and youth were all represented in this process. Galm Galgallo, the head of the village, confirmed this:
“We have been engaged by development partners in the past and paid to attend meetings but we gain little because these payments do not bring any changes to our livelihood in the long term. With this process, we are not paid to meet. We bring everybody on board to discuss issues affecting us and try to find solutions for them. When community meetings were held in the past, the poor were not always invited. If they were invited, then they were not expected to contribute much, what determined one’s ability to contribute to the discussions was the size of their herd. The ones with the large herds of livestock decided on behalf of the lowly, young and aged. With community conversations, every member of the village is invited and expected to contribute to the discussions.’’
The youth of the village can also now call for village meetings as opposed to the past. “The youth were not allowed to call for meetings. I was trained as community facilitator and have now gained the confidence and trust to initiate meetings and address community members including the elders”, says Diba Galgallo, a community facilitator.
So many good things have come out of this process. A Galm has been constructed, a traditional structure that is now used for social events and adult literacy classes. The village now also takes an active role in education by contributing for school uniforms and monitoring their children’s school performances.
The community also took up the HODI Saving Scheme and now every household pays KES 100 into a common kitty every month. Through this Scheme, eight parents have paid tuition fees for their children from loans borrowed from the kitty.
Galm Galgallo is one of a hundred and thirty five community groups that we are working with in three sub counties of Marsabit through the Community Empowerment program supported by Concern Worldwide.