$30,030 needed of $60,611
In Meru County Kenya, farmers have experienced repeated crop failures as a result of droughts and erratic rainfall. This program is working to improve the food security situation in the Igembe area through a variety of activities including:
- the formation of savings and lending groups;
- training farmers on conservation agriculture, poultry rearing, cultivation of dryland crops and other strategies for reducing risk from drought;
- the promotion of water, sanitation and hygiene practices at the household and community levels;
- nutrition and cooking demonstrations.
Shocked By Her Own Success
In 2019, after years of poor farming results, Saweria experienced a complete crop failure because of a severe drought. In order to feed her three children, she says she resorted to stealing forest firewood to sell, risking hyena attacks and government sanctions. Less than a year into the start of this new program, she was pleased – “shocked” is how she put it – to harvest 29 bushels of maize on her 1.5-acre plot, something she didn’t even know was possible.
She credits all the sustainable dry-land farming practices she learned as a member of her local Farmer Field School. For example, she applied manure as fertilizer and organic materials to retain soil moisture, planted her maize early, and later added beans as a cover crop and additional source of food. Using minimum tillage technology decreased her workload and allowed her to diversify her farming practices.
The improved yields aren’t Saweria’s only success. She is now growing vegetables in her own kitchen garden, something else she’d never dreamed of. She’s also raising improved indigenous chickens. After learning more about hygiene and sanitation, she has built a toilet to replace one she admits “wasn’t very sanitary.” And for the first time in her life, she has a room in which to bathe.
“No government extension staff has ever stepped in to help, so I’ve been doing things my own way, to the best of my abilities,” says Saweria. “Through this program, I have been able to improve my food production. I will continue using this knowledge to ensure that my family is food secure. What a relief to think I’ll produce enough for us to eat and sell this year and won’t have to struggle anymore.”
During the 2020 pandemic restrictions, local partner ADS-Mt. Kenya East worked through village leadership to introduce to small groups and individuals the concepts that farmers like Saweria are employing to improve their farms, homes, and family health and well-being.
Kenya Igembe Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East