MISSION: Strengthen Food and Nutrition Security
SANGO-Kenya’s programs help alleviate food and nutrition insecurity by providing in-class training and technical field support to women smallholder farmers in nutrition and sustainable agriculture practices. Our programs focus on African traditional foods and other nutritious, climate resistant crops such as cassava, all of which are high in nutrients and grow well in the challenging farming environment of Seme sub-County. SANGO-Kenya’s programs are designed to be easily replicated in other areas facing similar agricultural and food security challenges.
SANGO-Kenya was founded in 2020 by Director of Programs and Research Constance Gewa, Ph.D. and Executive Director Kit Goldfarb, MPH. SANGO-Kenya grew out of 2017 research in food security conducted by Constance that found that 60% of households in Seme sub-County are food insecure. Seme sub-county is located in Kisumu County along the eastern shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. It is a challenging agricultural environment, characterized by sandy soils and a semi-arid climate, which is made even more difficult by climate change.
Constance and Kit returned in 2019 to meet with study participants and community leaders to present the findings of the research and gather feedback. SANGO-Kenya’s programs grew out of the feedback from these meetings.
A pilot program was conducted from January – June 2020 with 19 women smallholder farmers in one village in Seme. Since then, the program has expanded to four villages and includes more than 110 women farmers, directly impacting more than 500 women, children, and other family members.
The 1000 Days
SANGO-Kenya’s programs focus on the first 1,000 days, an approach driven by the recognition that the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and the first 24 months of her child’s life are critical for all aspects of the child’s health and development. Adhering to that focus, SANGO-Kenya provides nutrition and agriculture training for women who are of reproductive age (15-49) and are pregnant and/or have children, especially children under two years of age.
Our programs are community based. The concepts originated with Constance’s 2017 research in food and nutrition security and are developed with continuous feedback from community members and leaders, including partnerships with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, local women’s groups, and other community-based organizations.
SANGO-Kenya empowers the women farmers through increased knowledge and skills. This year, we expanded beyond agriculture and nutrition and added training in saving and loaning concepts as well as marketing, to increase the money they make from selling surplus crops. These programs will enable farmers to purchase tools and materials needed for water conservation and other projects that strengthen food security.
SANGO-Kenya is committed to sustainability. All of our staff and trainers are from the area. We include leadership development in our training programs for all of the farmers. Additionally, we use the trainer of trainers model, providing additional training to Lead Farmers, who provide other farmers on-going support during the growing season. We use smart phone technology, training local Community Health Volunteers and others to collect data using online forms instead of paper questionnaires.
We are also committed to environmental sustainability: we promote organic farming methods, using manure and natural pesticides. With the increasing cost of food and other requirements such as fertilizer, our methods are becoming all the more important for farmers.
Who we are
Constance A. Gewa, PhD, MPH, Co-Founder, Director of Programs and Research
Constance is Co-Founder and Director of Programs and Research for SANGO-Kenya. An Associate Professor at George Mason University, she has 20 years’ experience in conducting food and nutrition research in rural Kenya, with a strong emphasis on dietary practices among mothers and children. She has established relationships with community members, local leaders, and government officials in Kisumu County as well as collaborations with researchers at Maseno University in Kisumu County. Her analysis of the food and nutrition security situation in Kisumu County showed that 60% of the households in the area were severely food insecure.
Constance has participated in numerous evaluations of food security and nutrition projects including USAID’s SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovation in Nutrition Globally) projects in Zambia and Rwanda. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters on nutrition and food security in peer-reviewed publications.
Kit Goldfarb, MPH, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Kit is Co-Founder and Executive Director of SANGO-Kenya. She has more than 30 years’ experience in both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Kit and Constance have collaborated on several projects, including the community and government meetings in Kenya; study on overweight and obesity in Kenya; and a Link NCA scoping study for building and sustaining capacity.
Kit has worked with NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa focused on women’s economic development, health systems strengthening, HIV/AIDS, and clean water. Kit has also worked in conflict situations with programs fostering cooperation through economic development and community-based programs for women and youth.
Kit has more than 20 years of business, management, and entrepreneurial experience in the private sector, focusing primarily on communications and marketing. She has successfully launched numerous start-ups and their products in the US and abroad. She also established and served as president of a successful communications consultancy.
Winnie Atieno Odhiambo, Project Officer
Winnie is SANGO-Kenya’s Project Officer, responsible for nutrition training and coordination of SANGO-Kenya’s field activities.
A nutrition officer in Seme Sub-County, Winnie’s experience includes: High Impact Nutrition Interventions (HiNi); Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN); Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) trainings promoting breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding; NAWIRI, a project in Maternal and Child Nutrition that trains mothers and fathers, encouraging male involvement to help ensure optimal nutrition for all family members; and management of acute malnutrition and nutrition-related medical conditions.
Winnie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics from Egerton University. She is also a licensed member of the Kenya Nutrition and Dietetics Institute (KNDI).
Peter Juma Akelo, Field Agriculture Officer
Peter is SANGO-Kenya’s Field Agriculture Officer, coordinating all of SANGO-Kenya’s agriculture activities, including developing the agriculture curriculum, in-class agriculture training, supporting the Lead Farmers, and field support to the farmers.
An agronomist with expertise in crop production and management, Peter has experience managing agriculture programs for smallholder farmers that focus on increasing crop yields by teaching new methods and skills. He has also developed and implemented a program for harvesting rainwater.
He worked at the KALRO Food Crops Institute as an extension officer, supervising field-related activities and research. He also has experience in soil and water conservation and management as well as animal health.
Peter holds a Diploma in Agriculture and has studied at Sang’alo Institute in Bungoma.
Dominick Ohore Akoth, Advisor
Domnick is the Ward Agricultural Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture for the West Seme Ward of Seme sub-county, Kisumu County, and is in charge of all agricultural activities in the ward. For the past two years, Dominick has served as SANGO-Kenya’s agricultural advisor and trainer, providing in-class training and field support to the smallholder farmers participating in SANGO-Kenya’s food and nutrition security programs.
Dominick has over 35 years’ experience working as an Agricultural Extension officer.
He has worked as a trainer for the Farmers Field School and as a Group Facilitator for the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Project for Local and Up-Scaling (SHEP PLUS) in Seme sub-county. SHEP is an approach that trains smallholder farmers to increase income from marketing their crops.
Dominick has a Certificate in Agriculture and a Diploma in Agribusiness.
Benta Oballa Bwana, Advisor
Benta is the Seme sub-county Home Economics, Gender, and Rural Youth Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Kisumu County. She has over 30 years’ experience in agricultural extension and community development work, both with the Ministry of Agriculture and civil society.
Benta has extensive training in gender and development, food security and community nutrition, nutrition management for people living with HIV/AIDS, planning, programming, monitoring and evaluation, institutional management, sustainable community development, basic guidance and counseling, conflict management, and human rights of women and children.
Benta is the Founder and Director of Women and Children in Development (WOCH), a community-based organization. She is also Chairperson for Kenya Professional Association of Women in Agriculture and Environment (Nyanza) and
Advocacy Chair for Soroptimist International Club (Maseno).
Benta has a Bsc in Agriculture and Home Economics, Higher Diploma in Community Health and Development, and a post graduate diploma in Development Leadership.
Naty Barak, Advisor
Naty Barak is Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Sustainability and Community Agriculture for Netafim, the pioneer and global leader in precision agriculture and drip irrigation solutions.
Naty has worked with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, environmental organizations, and companies on sustainability and multi-resource productivity issues. He focused his efforts on water, land, energy and other agronomic inputs, and their impact on global sustainable intensification of agriculture.
Naty served on the steering committees of the UN CEO Water Mandate and the UN Global Compact as well on the Core Advisory Group of the UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Agriculture Business Principles (SABPS) initiative. He actively participates in global water and sustainability discussions, sharing Netafim’s knowledge and expertise in water conservation and sustainable productivity. Naty was also the chairman of the Technical Committee for Water Reuse of ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.
Owen Calvert, MS, B.Ag.Sc., Advisor
Owen has thirty years of experience in food security, food aid, and rural development covering 25 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. He has a sound understanding of vulnerability assessment methodologies, emergency food security monitoring/analysis, and incorporating findings into development and relief interventions.
He has worked across many cultural settings and has strong field experience complemented by an increasing level of managerial and administrative responsibility, including 15 years at a senior level.
Owen has worked with NGOs, the United Nations, and US Government contractors in both technical and managerial roles. He has a wide professional network and broad technical background and knowledge. He was recently the Project Manager for an FAO program in South Sudan and is currently managing a project in Bangladesh focusing on manufacturing farm equipment for rural farmers.
Owen has an MS in Agricultural Development and a B.Ag.Sc in Farm Business Management.
Agatha Christine Onyango, PhD, MSC, Advisor
Agatha is a senior lecturer at Maseno University in Kisumu, Kenya. She has 10 years’ experience conducting food and nutrition research in Kenya, with a strong emphasis on food security and maternal and child nutrition.
Agatha and Constance have collaborated on research studies in rural Kenya on indigenous vegetables, nutrition, and food security; childhood obesity; and an intervention study in Seme Sub-county. She has also been involved in research and community projects on food security involving assessment of agricultural practices, dietary diversity in households, and assessment of the nutritional status of women and children.
Agatha is trained as a national facilitator in Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN). She is also a facilitator of ENACT (Effective Nutrition Education in Action) designed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She has authored numerous articles on HIV and AIDs, nutrition, and food security in peer-reviewed publications.
Agatha has an MSc and a PhD in Community Nutrition and Development from Maseno University.
Board of Directors
Din Tuttle, Chairperson
Constance Gewa, PhD
Associate Professor, Nutrition
Dan Lanigan, Treasurer
Retired Vice President, American Management Systems
Kit Goldfarb, MPH
Former President, KG Communications
Fred Oyombo, Secretary