YOUR SUPPORT TODAY WILL HELP SANGO-KENYA EXTEND ITS PROGRAMS THROUGH DECEMBER
For the past two years, SANGO-Kenya has provided small-scale women farmers in-class training and field support to increase food and nutrition security during the long rainy season. The rains for this period begin in March and extend through May, with harvest lasting until August.
This year, 2021, we more than tripled the participants to over 73 women farmers in two villages. We have seen, through our evaluation assessments, that participation in SANGO-Kenya is associated with increased consumption of more nutritious foods.
Now, we want to extend the program for the second growing season, called the short rains, during which the rains begin in late September or early October and generally last only last one month.
This growing season is important but can be more difficult than the long rains for growing crops because it is so short. For example, when Constance and I arrived in Kenya in January 2020, we saw that the maize plants were tall, but had no maize, just stalks, because the rains had not continued long enough for the maize to grow.
Nutrient Rich Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes
In August, we are launching a new program that will extend the SANGO-Kenya training and field support for our 73 farmers through the end of the year. We will continue to promote the growing of the African traditional vegetables we have supported so far, however, we will introduce a new crop: orange flesh sweet potatoes.
This new program will help the farmers in many ways:
- Orange flesh sweet potatoes are well suited to the short rains, as they grow fast and can grow in unpredictable rainfall.
- They provide beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A and enhances both the mother’s and infant’s immune systems as well as promoting healthy vision.
- They are filling, taste good, and provide additional calories.
- The leaves of the sweet potatoes can be eaten, providing an additional green vegetable that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
- The additional training will give support to farmers through December, keeping the farmers involved in SANGO-Kenya’s sustainable programs year-round.
We need your help. The farmers, their children, and other dependents need your help.
Your tax-deductible donation will be matched thanks to a generous grant, so your contribution today will provide twice the impact.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE SANGO-KENYA FARMERS WITH A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TODAY
F/FFor more information, please contact me: kit@SANGO-Kenya.org
Tax-deductible contributions can also be made by check, payable to SANGO-Kenya, Inc, and mailed to:
c/o Kathryn K. Goldfarb, Executive Director
196 Walnut Grove Lane
Washington, VA 22747
SANGO-Kenya’s EIN Number is 844299802
For more information: kit@SANGO-Kenya.org
SANGO-KENYA IMPROVES FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY FOR MOTHERS, CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
Children’s nutrition is one of the key driving factors behind SANGO-Kenya. Undernutrition in children is associated with cognitive impairment – deficiencies that can have lifetime impacts, hindering education, and limiting future work and income.
SANGO-Kenya’s programs are designed to address food and nutrition insecurity among households and communities of smallholder farmers in rural Kenya. They focus on solving the problems identified in research conducted in Kenya’s Seme-sub-county in 2016-2017 by Dr. Constance Gewa, SANGO-Kenya’s Co-founder and Director of Programs. Seme sub-county is located in Kisumu County, on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria.
Her research was conducted in households with non-pregnant reproductive age mothers with young children. The research examined consumption of indigenous and traditional foods (ITFs), which are nutrient-rich and well-suited for growing in Seme’s challenging and changing climate conditions, characterized by torrential rains often followed by drought.
The study found that approximately 60% of households experienced food insecurity across different seasons of 2016-2017. Despite having the potential to contribute to nutrient and food security, consumption levels of indigenous and traditional foods were relatively low. The study showed that over 50% of mothers reported that neither they nor their young children consumed as many ITFs as the mothers would have liked. Non-availability, high cost, and taste preference were cited as significant reasons for insufficient ITF consumption.1
Focus group discussions, key-informant interviews, and community meetings conducted in 2017 and 2019 identified multiple challenges to improving food security in Seme. These include environmental factors (specifically inadequate and unpredictable rainfall and deteriorating soil conditions), institutional factors (lacking agricultural policies, poor extension service), economic factors (lack of access to farming resources and technology), and personal factors (agronomic knowledge and skills, attitudes towards indigenous and traditional foods, gender issues).
1Gewa CA, Onyango AC, Obondo Angano F, Stabile B, Komwa M, Thomas P, Krall J (2019). Mothers’ beliefs about indigenous and traditional food affordability, availability and taste are significant predictors of indigenous and traditional food consumption among mothers and young children in rural Kenya. Public Health Nutrition, 22 (16), 2950-2961.
SUSTAINABLE FARMING, INDIGENOUS AND TRADITIONAL VEGETABLES
SANGO-Kenya’s programs, developed in coordination with leaders and members of the local communities, help improve food and nutrition security among mothers, children, other household members, and the community.
Program components focus on:
- SANGO-Kenya’s agriculture experts train smallholder farmers, mostly women, to use environmentally sustainable agricultural practices that maximize crop yields, improve harvesting methods, and preserve seeds so they can be used in the next season.
- We train the farmers in the nutrition and climate-resilient benefits of growing and consuming African traditional vegetables, as well as preservation techniques so they can continue consuming them post-harvest.
- Nutrition experts train the participants in the nutritional benefits of the vegetables the farmers grow, especially regarding pregnant mothers, infants, and young children.
- We emphasize the need to consume a variety of foods for maximum nutritional benefit.
- We train them how to prepare recipes that enhance taste and preserve nutrition.
- SANGO-Kenya provides farmers inputs such as quality seeds and reusable farm materials such as netting for protecting seedlings.
- We provide on-going support from agriculture experts during land preparation, planting, growing, and harvesting to ensure maximum crop yield and maintenance of soil health.
Developing Leaders for Sustainability
- Part of SANGO-Kenya’s ongoing training and support focuses on preparing the farmers to become community leaders who serve as ambassadors to the community, explaining the benefits of sustainable farming and nutrient-rich African traditional vegetables.
- SANGO-Kenya utilizes the Training of Trainers model, identifying Lead Farmers who receive additional training so they can supplement the agriculture consultants’ support to the farmers.
USING EVIDENCE-BASED ANALYSIS TO MEASURE OUTCOMES
SANGO-Kenya collects data in order to accurately measure and evaluate our programs. Data collection includes:
- Pre- and post-project questionnaires
- SANGO-Kenya conducts detailed surveys with all of the farmers prior to the beginning of the pilot and when the pilot has concluded.
- Food consumption diaries
- Farmers record their dietary intake prior to the beginning of the project, when harvest began, at the end of the harvest, and two weeks post-harvest.
- Post-training satisfaction surveys
- Farmers fill out questionnaires at the end of every training session.
SANGO-Kenya implemented a pilot from January – August, 2020. Working with our advisors and consultants from the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, along with other community members and leaders, we identified 21 members of a women’s group (19 women and two men) to participate. Training sessions were concentrated in the first month, with some additional training during planting and harvest.
We held a graduation ceremony upon completion at which all participants received a certificate. (See the SANGO Diaries, chapter 7 for more details.)
Initial findings from data analysis include:
- SANGO-Kenya farmers felt their crop yields were greater than their neighbors’.
- They had more money from (a) spending less money on buying vegetables for home consumption and (b) selling more surplus vegetables at the market than in previous years.
- Farmers feel confident that they can help their neighbors learn the methods they used in the program.