This month, SANGO-Kenya introduced two new programs we believe will make a great difference in the food and nutrition security of the farmers, their children, and other household members. As in the past, the more than 110 women farmers have embraced the new programs so enthusiastically! With rising food costs and limited availability of food and other items such as fuel, the work of SANGO-Kenya is all the more important.
These are some of the problems the SANGO-Kenya farmers, team, and advisors are trying to solve. We have increased training to try to help them have the most successful growing seasons possible. But it is a moving target – the rains are becoming more erratic and we can’t control the environment.
Therefore, it was no surprise when Constance, SANGO-Kenya’s co-founder and Director of Programs and Research, met with the farmers in Kenya and, without exception, all reported that water is still their main concern. Also, not surprising, given the determination and dedication of the farmers, and their recognition of the many benefits they and their children receive, the farmers remain committed to the program.
The first new program is a very efficient way to grow vegetables that will enable farmers to increase the quantity and diversity of crops while requiring very little space and water. Called multi-story gardens, they are a type of vertical garden that uses very cost-effective, readily available, and sustainable materials: reusable sacks, rocks, sticks, soil, manure, and seeds.
The multi-story gardens have so many benefits. They have a small footprint, but are large enough to support 120 plants. They use water very efficiently with very little evaporation and can be placed close to the farmers’ homes, making it very easy for farmers to use the household “gray” water (water from washing and cooking) to irrigate. They are suitable for planting all year round. Additionally, many different crops can be planted in the same garden, increasing the diet diversity of the farmers’ households. In addition to increasing the vegetables the farmers have to feed the nearly 600 people directly impacted by SANGO-Kenya’s programs, these gardens also have the potential to provide surplus vegetables that the farmers can sell at local markets!
SAVING and LOANING TRAINING PROGRAM
The other new program we introduced is training for saving and loaning – teaching the farmers about alternative savings programs to help them increase their economic status, which is critical to being food and nutrition secure. In this program, we train the farmers how to form groups, set goals, make agreed upon financial contributions to the groups, and then provide loans (which will be paid back) or grants (which are not paid back) to members.
Some of the farmers had already started small groups following our first discussions and commented that they learned ways they could make their groups better. All the rest were very eager to start their own so they too could begin saving money.
We are so excited — and, more importantly, the farmers are excited — to introduce these two new programs, and we hope to introduce more later this year and next year. We have been able to add both in part due to the addition of our new Senior Agriculture Advisor, Maurice Okiah. Maurice is a Crops Development Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture in Seme Sub-County, where we work. His extensive knowledge in agriculture and experience working with women farmers has already benefited SANGO-Kenya in so many ways. He is such a great addition to the team and has been instrumental in identifying new programs and ensuring SANGO-Kenya farmers are benefiting from his and other experts’ knowledge.
We can’t solve the problems of rising food costs or failed harvests due to drought or floods from climate change. But we can give the farmers more knowledge and skills so they can have greater control over their lives to strengthen their food and nutrition security and that of their families. And we couldn’t do any of it without your continued generous support of SANGO-Kenya.
SANGO-Kenya farmers, Winnie, Peter, Maurice, Constance, and Kit
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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Write me! I love hearing from you! kit@SANGO-Kenya.org