$40,698 needed of $66,974
Located in Meru County, Kenya, this program is enhancing food security through savings groups, farmer field schools, nutrition and sanitation. Village savings and lending groups are being formed to help households diversify their sources of income. Farmer Field Schools are teaching conservation agriculture methods, poultry rearing, cultivation of dryland crops and other strategies that help farmers to reduce their risks in times of drought. Communities are also encouraging better stewardship of water, soil and forest resources. Nutrition education and cooking demonstrations are being included in Farmer Field School activities for improved household diets, and good practices around water, sanitation and hygiene are being taught and encouraged.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty with Savings
Dorcas, a farmer who participates in one of the program’s Village Savings and Lending Associations (VSLA), can hardly contain her excitement about the improvements program activities have made in her life. “Before this I only grew crops, and did not have any other sources of income or protein. Look! I now have chickens running around in my compound, and they give me eggs and meat. I am also selling them in the market and making some cash. For a 4-month-old chicken I’ve raised I can earn up to ten times what I paid for the chick.”
All of the farmers involved in these VSLAs are like Dorcas – they have limited sources of income and have always relied mainly on rain-fed agriculture to feed their families. After the staff of local partner ADS-Mt. Kenya East convinced Dorcas and the other farmers of the importance of saving money together, they began meeting regularly to encourage each other to save and to share learning and experiences. They also received training on group leadership, managing loans, and establishing by-laws to ensure that all members respect the rules of the group.
Periodically, group members take out loans from the pooled savings, and pay them back with modest interest. Annual payouts from the collective savings can be heady experiences: many members are astonished to learn they have saved a substantial amount for the first time in their lives. Most use their loans to purchase farm inputs, pay their children’s school fees, and diversify their farm activities, and now see a way out of poverty.
Dorcas says, “I am definitely happy to be a member of my VSLA.’’
Caption: Dorcas feeds some of her chickens
Led by World Renew and Local Partner