In the Field with SANGO-Kenya Farmers. Seeing the Impact First-Hand
I am writing from Kenya, having arrived a couple of weeks ago for a very busy visit. It is always so heartwarming and rewarding when I come back to Kenya and visit the farmers. There is no substitute for seeing their farms and hearing first-hand the impact SANGO-Kenya has on them, their children, and the community around them.
In addition to visiting individual farms, I attend the weekly meetings our team has with the Lead Farmers. The Lead Farmers, along with our Program Officer Winnie, Project Officer Evance, and Field Officer Peter, are the backbone of SANGO-Kenya. Using a trainer of trainers model, SANGO-Kenya provides additional training to Lead Farmers, who are selected by the farmers in their groups, and each Lead Farmer then becomes an important conduit of training and support for the 5-10 farmers in her group.
Over the years, the SANGO-Kenya team has built up great trust with all of our participants. They are very open, and when we meet, they tell us what is working and what isn’t working. They also provide tremendous support to each other.
I was so excited in the last meeting when the Lead Farmers told us how much all of the farmers appreciate the new rain gutters and how they are improving their lives. They talked about the many benefits to their entire households: They are capturing much more water that they can use for cooking and cleaning; they are saving money from not buying water; because there is no debris or rust, the water is much cleaner than the water from open metal gutters, meaning less disease; and they are saving precious time because they don’t have to fetch water, an effort that can take hours, depending on how far they have to go and how much water they need.
I was especially pleased when so many said they are inspired to use the saved money not only for school fees and other essential household items, but also to buy additional and longer rain gutters to capture more rainwater, as well as additonal water storage containers.
Such a response is key to sustainability and self-reliance. SANGO-Kenya focuses on education, knowledge. We have heard time and again how the farmers recognize that the knowledge they are gaining is invaluable, that it will stay with them for years to come. They are taking the knowledge and benefits they are gaining from SANGO-Kenya and investing in their futures.
SANGO-Kenya has introduced many new ways of approaching sustainable farming. Another important component is making organic compost, one of the first training sessions we conduct in November or December, before the beginning of every new program. So we were very pleased when we saw a farmer proudly show us how much compost she has — in October. She has been making and using compost throughout the year because she has seen how much it improves all of her crop yields.
These newly learned methods will have lasting impact on our farmers’ lives. When Constance and I founded SANGO-Kenya in 2020, this is exactly what we hoped to achieve!
There is still more work to be done here, more farmers to reach and I look forward to telling you about more innovations and reporting on our continued progress along the way. Meanwhile, our great thanks for your support that helps to make all of these advances possible.
As you may know, Giving Tuesday is just a few weeks away. Some of our very generous donors are providing a matching grant — that means that every $1.00 you donate will have twice the impact! Stay tuned for more details!
With much gratitude from Kenya:
The SANGO-Kenya farmers, their families — and Winnie, Evance, Peter, 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