SANGO Diaries, Chapter 36. 2023: SANGO-Kenya and Farmers Face Climate Together

This farmer, as many do, must buy water and then transport to their homes

2023 was a challenging year. Climate change brought more extreme droughts and floods than in recent years. Before the long rains in March, the drought was so severe that even some bore holes dried up, meaning farmers couldn’t even buy water. (Bore holes are wells found in Kenya and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa where water can be purchased.)

When the rains did come, they brought floods, washing away seedlings and even topsoil. Extreme rain in the short rains in November and December brought floods again to farmers living near rivers.

While we can’t control the climate, there are other ways we can help — and we do.

New Techniques Improve Outcomes

Board member Owen Calvert demonstrates proper way to install plastic gutters

Rainwater harvesting by capturing the water from rooftops is very effective, but can be very costly and beyond the reach of most of most of the farmers in SANGO-Kenya and the broader region. This year, our Board Member Owen Calvert introduced an effective, relatively inexpensive, and easy-to-install method of attaching a plastic pipe to the rooftops. The new plastic gutters allow farmers to collect more water — most reported 2-3 times more — than they had been able to capture without them. They store the water in 20-liter jerry cans and tanks, meaning the water can last several days, even up to a week, depending on the amount of rain and their storage capabilities.

There is an added health benefit. These gutters are made of plastic, not metal, so they don’t rust. Additionally, they are enclosed, so leaves and other rooftop debris isn’t captured in the water. The result is the water is cleaner, and healthier, than the water they usually collect.

With the new gutters, the farmers are also saving time and money, as they don’t have to walk to bore holes to purchase water.

Raising poultry is a good source of income for farmers

We also introduced comprehensive poultry training programs, focusing on best practices encompassing everything from vaccinations and tailored feed solutions to optimal poultry housing (like the structure pictured above) and effective marketing strategies. The impact has been remarkable, with numerous farmers already experiencing significant increases in profits after adopting these innovative practices!

Preserving vegetables allows farmers and their families to continue eating vegetables beyond harvest

The heart of our program, of course, is sustainable agriculture and nutrition. Since the beginning, we have emphasized growing and eating African traditional greens. So many farmers didn’t raise greens before they joined SANGO-Kenya. Now they and their families love the greens — and the mothers love that their families are healthier.

So that farmers can continue to eat vegetables post harvest, SANGO-Kenya training includes how to dry vegetables, using methods that preserve most of the nutrients. Most farmers are now preserving some of their surplus vegetables. Some of the farmers report that they preserve enough greens so they can continue eating them up to two-three months post harvest.

The SANGO-Kenya farmers are always so inspiring. They have shown that despite all the many challenges presented by climate change, rising food prices, and other forces beyond their control, they will not only survive, they will thrive, utilizing the knowledge they gain from SANGO-Kenya to improve their lives, the lives of the children, as serve as examples to their communities.

Erokamano. Asante. Thank you. None of this would be possible without you.

With much gratitude,
The SANGO-Kenya farmers, their families — and Winnie, Evance, Peter, Junior Franck, Constance, and Kit

None of this would be possible without you and your support

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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