SANGO Diaries chapter 11. OUR 2021 PROGRAM HAS BEGUN!

Despite all of the challenges that COVID-19 continues to present, SANGO-Kenya continues to exceed expectations. We have expanded our team, more than tripled the number of participants, and added more in-class training.

SANGO-Kenya’s Field Officer Winnie Odhiambo

Winnie organized and led orientation sessions for each of the new groups prior to the first training sessions.

Our newest addition to the team is Winnie Odhiambo. Winnie joined SANGO-Kenya in mid-January as our Field Officer. She worked with Constance as a research assistant on the 2017 food security research that led to the founding of SANGO-Kenya. With a degree in nutrition and experience working on nutrition and health projects in the communities where SANGO-Kenya works, she brings a lot of knowledge and capabilities to all of our activities. She hit the ground running, helping us recruit new participants, organizing the orientation sessions, and launching both the nutrition and agriculture training classes – all since mid-January!

Over 70 Farmers from Two Villages

I must confess, as late as last December in the throes of the pandemic, we thought the most we might be able to do this year would be to maintain last year’s programs. But due to your generosity and support, the effectiveness of COVID-19 restrictions in Kenya, and the hard work of Winnie and our Advisors Fred and Dominick, we have tripled the number of participants – we now have 70 farmers participating in SANGO-Kenya! We have added 20 more farmers to the 20 who participated from Kanyaloo village last year. Additionally, we have expanded into the neighboring village of Kadera, where we recruited 30 farmers.  

Farmers are given notebooks that they can use throughout the program

Increased In-Class Training

A critical part of the SANGO-Kenya program is training. With so many farmers, we are providing in-class training sessions for participants in each village – both to enhance the learning experience by having fewer people per session as well as to limit the numbers of participants because of COVID.

In February, Winnie kicked off the first week of the program with two sessions for each of the villages. She and Fred taught the participants the basics of nutrition. The sessions were enthusiastically received by the farmers: I was very excited when I woke up one morning to find a text from Mercy, one of our returning farmers, who texted because she wanted to tell me how great the training is and that they are so happy to learn how to eat a balanced diet – which is, of course, one of the key goals of SANGO-Kenya.

Dominick provides five days of in-class training on all aspects of the land preparation, planting, and harvesting to participants from each village.

After the week of nutrition training, Dominick commenced agriculture training. Five consecutive days of in-class training will be given to all of the participants. He has added a few new items, such as the preparation and use of organic pesticides, to last year’s curriculum, which also includes land preparation, planting, land maintenance, and harvesting.

As we did last year, we are also using the Trainer of Trainers method: Dominick and Winnie give additional training to Lead Farmers, and they, in turn, provide additional support to the farmers in their groups. In this way, we are also helping to provide sustainability by ensuring that there are several farmers within each village who have deeper knowledge and understanding of the farming methods that we use.

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a year since I left Kenya.  Constance and I both look forward to going back when the pandemic recedes, but we are so grateful to the Sango-Kenya staff for their continued commitment and so proud of the progress the farmers have made.

Erokamano!

Kit and Constance

kit@SANGO-Kenya.org

cgewa@gmu.edu

Your generosity has made all of SANGO-Kenya’s programs possible. Your tax-deductible donation today will help SANGO-Kenya continue to recruit, train, and support more farmers so they can improve their nutrition, food, and economic security for themselves and their families. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you.

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