SANGO Diaries, Ch. 44. SANGO-Kenya’s Lead Farmers

“Being a Lead Farmer pushes me to work harder. If I don’t do everything well, how can I expect my group to do well?”

Lead Farmers are critical to SANGO-Kenya. When we began the program, we had only 19 farmers in the program, but even then, we realized the benefit of having groups of farmers, each with one lead who would help us disseminate information and solve any issues that might arise.

We now have 500 farmers in the program and 50 Lead Farmers. Their role is eve more important today. In fact, it is because of them, in large part, that we have been able to grow from one village with 19 farmers to eight villages with 500 farmers. And they will play a major role in our ability to continue to grow and continue to impact the food and nutrition security of even more women and children.

Lead Farmers as Trainers

Today, one of the key roles that lead farmers play is that of trainer. Last week I went to a training on Planning — household planning, farming planning, economic planning, all the things the farmers need to think about to ensure that they are able to strengthen the food and nutrition security of their households as much as possible.

This is one of the most important trainings we provide — and this training was entirely presented by two Lead Farmers!

The training was very detailed, and the Lead Farmers wrote all the key messages on a whiteboard so that the farmers attending could write the information in their own notebooks.

The Lead Farmers also fill another critical role — they really help the members of their groups bond. They bring their group members into their homes. For this training, we all gathered at the home of one of the trainers. She — and her children — set up chairs in a shaded part of her homestead where we all sat.

Leading by Example

And they take their responsibilities very seriously. “Being a Lead Farmer pushes me to work harder. If I don’t do everything well, how can I expect my group to do well?” one of our Lead Farmers told me. She pointed to her multi-story garden above, one of several she has, as an example. “If I tell the farmers in my group they need to have multiple multi-story gardens, then I must have several first.”

This is just one example of the impressive leadership I see from the Lead Farmers whenever I am in the field….They are always so eager to take on more responsibility; they are always concerned about the farmers in their groups; they are always available to provide input as to how we can solve farmers’ problems.

They are leaders in every sense.

Erokamano! Thank you! With much gratitude,

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Photos: Etan Rozin

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