Kenyan farming groups ready to face the future with confidence as AID’s project moves to new communities

Jun 27, 2024

On a recent visit to Kenya, ABM AID’s Julianne Stewart heard about the exciting plans of one of the Community-based Organisations (CBOs) that AID has been supporting through our partner, ADSE, now that the project funding will soon be ending and moving to new communities.

Over the last five years or so, our “Food Security in a Changing Climate” project has aimed to build strong community organisations, improve people’s access to water and improve hygiene, increase crop and livestock productivity, minimise the effects of climate change, increase household incomes, and improve social inclusion and community cohesion.

On behalf of the 150-strong Kyumbuke CBO, Chairperson Benjamin said:

“We are asking ourselves if we can continue the activities now that the project is coming to an end. And we are saying, ‘Yes!’ We have bought our one-acre plot of land and we employ three people on it. A woman to mill the maize, a man who takes our threshing machine to the farmers to help them grind their maize, and a security guard.

“Most of us are now growing amaranth and selling it. We are also growing three varieties of green grams (mung beans) including a variety that brings in more money.

“The project taught us to make our own poultry feeds and supported us with sorghum, cowpea and sunflower seeds, which we planted and harvested. As we continue to grow these seeds, our home-grown poultry feeds will reduce the cost of poultry production.

“There is employment here. We don’t need to go to Nairobi any more to get work. We want those people in Nairobi to see that we are rich.

“We bought this land with our savings, and we got the idea from an exposure visit to another group. We will use the land as a collective marketing centre, selling all the crops we grow – amaranth, maize, hay banks, green grams and local poultry feeds. This centre will help farmers aggregate what they produce to sell in the market.

“The plot will keep our group together and keep us active.

“We have met other people who want to work with us: The Ministry of Agriculture, as well as GIZ – a German agency which promotes environmental conservation through supporting construction of energy-saving stoves, and we have asked the County Government to help us build an office and a store on the plot.

“We are willing to work with other groups with a similar vision.

“Our members now have five or six thousand chickens and numerous Galla goats. We are being encouraged to go into the local towns and sell our chickens and goats to local restaurants. If we club together, we will have more bargaining power.”

These successes have all been facilitated by our project, through the work of the participating communities, supported by ADSE.

In addition to the successes mentioned by Benjamin, the group members have transformed their farms through terracing, and conservation agriculture techniques such as zai pits, as well as kitchen gardens. They have developed tree nurseries, enabling thousands of trees to be planted in their farms and local schools, and they have the knowledge and skills to replace their traditional stoves with energy-saving ones.

17 Village savings and loans groups are active, and regularly make credit available to their members, enabling many small businesses to grow. Some of the farmers now also have sideline businesses weaving mats, baskets and other household items for sale – something they can work on during rainy seasons, or drought, when the farm does not produce enough to live on.

None of this has happened without the involvement of people with disabilities who have been part of the program since it began in Kyua, a community of poor farmers in Kenya’s Semi-Arid Lands, over five years ago. They, too, are part of a greatly strengthened Kyumbuke CBO as the members move into the future confident that they can succeed.

ABM AID congratulates Kyumbuke CBO, Kiangini CBO, and the other many groups and individuals who have taken up the challenge of improving their livelihoods and addressing the challenges posed by land aridity and climate change, as part of this project.

We also thank our partner, ADSE, for their expertise, hard work and sheer commitment to supporting local communities.

We thank our generous supporters for their prayers and donations.

This project also receives funding from the Australian Government’s ANCP program.

Logo Australian Aid

You can also watch a short video clip of Benjamin congratulating Kyumbuke CBO on their great work throughout the project here: