International Women’s Day 2023

International Women’s Day 2023

Ecologia is a female-focused charity, support our work on International Women’s Day, 8 March

Dr Karambu Ringera Spotlight on the inspiring women leading our partnership projects 10-year partnership history Ecologia Youth Trust has worked with Dr Karambu Ringera’s organisation in Kenya, International Peace Initiatives, since 2013.

Dr Karambu Ringera is an inspiring, dedicated leader whose untiring efforts to empower women have enabled hundreds of women, in Meru County in particular, to take care of their own children in the face of poverty, and disease, in particular HIV/AIDS.

How Dr K, as she is called, got into supporting hundreds of young women and children

When Dr Ringera returned to Meru, Kenya from the USA where she had completed her doctorate at Denver University, the women in her town came to her in numbers, begging her to take care of their children as they were dying of AIDS. She told them that they did not have to die as medication was available. But, they said, we have no money for bus fare to the hospital.

We have no jobs, no family support, and the fathers of our children have abandoned us. Well, she said, we can get you training to develop your skills so that you can generate your own income and be free and independent. With the help of funding from Ecologia Youth Trust, Dr Ringera has made it possible for over 500 disadvantaged women to step away from poverty and build bright, sustainable futures for themselves and their children.

Between 2013 and 2015 Dr Karambu has provided training to 140 women who were either living with HIV/Aids, single mothers, widows, or mothers whose husbands were unable to work. 40 women completed training in tie-dying, 40 completed catering training, and 30 were taught how to knit. 30 women gained skills in weaving, detergent/soap making, jewellery making and tailoring. All were supported to start their own small businesses from home, provide for their children, and share skills with other women in their communities.

The Empowering Young Women Project

The Empowering Young Women project has provided free skills training to 105 vulnerable young mothers (25 in year 1, 35 in year 2, 45 in year 3) who have been forced to work as commercial sex workers in Meru, so that they can secure an income to improve their lives and the lives of their children.

It is a community-led initiative developed by the young women to give them a means to grow sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their children and contribute to their local communities while stepping away from commercial sex work or begging as a means to survive.

Women in the communities we work with have identified training in hair/beauty as most likely to increase their future earning potential. Research shows that hairdressing is popular in Kenya, but there are inadequate local salons to meet demand, and that, despite the harsh economic climate, working class Kenyan women spend an average of KSH. 10,000 (£65) a month on facial beauty products alone.

The project is being delivered in country by our long-term grassroots partner, International Peace Initiatives, with whom we have a long-standing record of engagement with the communities in and around Meru.

We are providing free skills training to 105 vulnerable young mothers over three years in the field of Hair & Beauty.

Years 1 and 2 of the project have been completed successfully.

This proposal of funding is for year 3 of the project, supporting 45 women.

Why is it needed?

In Kenya, one in five adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are mothers.

They come from families struggling with poverty and disease and have low levels of education. Their opportunities become limited and most (13,000 each year) drop out of school. Many are rejected by the father of their child, their families and community, and become homeless with no decent job prospects. Poverty forces them into commercial sex work to survive and provide for their children, where they are exposed to health risks, gender-based violence and unplanned pregnancies.

This project helps to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) which aims to, ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.’

Show your supportfor gender equity and a more inclusive world.

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About Ecologia Youth Trust:

Ecologia Youth Trust is a Scotland-based charity, established in 1995. To date, we have helped transform the lives of over 56,000 children, young people and families affected by poverty, inequality, disease and climate change. We work with partners in Uganda and Kenya.

Our vision:

A world where every young person thrives.

Our mission:

We support children and young people to shape their futures and grow stronger sustainable communities. With a holistic approach, we work alongside partners to give community and family support, quality education and the means to regenerate their environment for immediate and long-term security.

Learn more about us:



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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.