Hi everyone, 2018 has been a great year as we have been able to make strides through Rare. After the training at Manor House on C4C which was held between 11th-23rd March 2018, Kiini Sustainable Initiative has walked the journey with Courage and determination to have a solution towards Conservation through Organic agriculture campaign. Kiini was lucky to secure Rare 1st phase grant to carry a survey focusing on a number of objectives as indicated below:-
i. Determine whether participatory trainings and demonstrations on organic agriculture do take place in Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Laikipia counties.
ii. Identify the existing organic agricultural practices among small-scale farmers.
iii. Determine level of knowledge on how to access and use organic products for food production.
The survey covered three counties namely Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Laikipia with specific focus in Mugunda, Kabare and Ngobit wards respectively. The target population was between 21-69 years of age.
The findings revealed the following:-
i. Majority of the target audience are between the ages of 28-55 and are mainly small-scale farmers.
ii. Majority of them grows maize, beans, onions and potatoes as a source of livelihood.
iii. Very few farmers grow orphaned crops like cassava and arrowroots.
iv. Majority rears animals thus utilizing the farm yard manure and composts.
v. Very few of the target audience keeps beehives leading to loss of pollinators thus low food production.
vi. Few farmers know how to access open pollinated seeds as well as organic product.
vii. Majority of the target practice conventional farming as a way of food production.
i. Some target audience were not comfortable sharing their birthdays.
ii. The farmers already understand the dangers of use of inorganic chemicals yet very few have embraced alternative ways of food production.
iii. Though farmers continue to grow maize and beans they always have food insecurity and eat poor diet which is not balanced.
iv. Limited resources to carry the survey effectively and train the enumerators on modern technology on survey.
v. High expectation by some farmers.
vi. Non response from the respondents on some questions especially on incomes, thought to be associated with fear for government taxation requirements.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION PHASE 2
i) Two demonstration sites established in Ngungu and Nyeri farm view whereby they will act as a model gardens
ii) 1500 seedlings of Giant Bamboo distributed and planted in the target areas especially along river banks and forests.
iii) 3 public forums held in Ngungu, Muthangira and Ngobit respectively where a population of 3,000 farmers have been reached directly.
iv) Held a tree planting exercise at Manyatta primary school with an intention to save Mt Kenya Glacier.
v) Two group of beekeepers formed that is in kiritine and Muthangira areas.
vi) We have been able to bring on board a number of partners that is the Kenya forest, Kefri and CCMI who are on forefront in conservation of forests who have supplied us with 1500 Giant bamboo seedlings
vii) An apiary has been set up at Ngungu area and ten beehives erected.
i) There is power in networking and building synergies.
ii) Small-scale farmers have solution to some of the challenges they face, they only need to change their attitude and embrace change.
iii) Pollinators play a key role and so farmers need to be encouraged to keep bees as well as reduce use of inorganic inputs so as to increase food production thus improved livelihoods.
iv) Alternative livelihood skills such as beekeeping, seed multiplication have to be imparted to farmers to ensure increase in production.
v) In order to reduce cases of tree logging the community forest action groups have to plant alternative trees in the forest such as Giant bamboo as well as working closely with forest conservationists to ensure the youths who are unemployed and who are involved in illegal tree logging, are allowed to set up apiaries and tree nurseries in the forests so as to generate income and see the value of trees.
I) The negotiation are ongoing between Kiini and Central regional conservator of forests on how the community near the forest can be allowed to set up apiaries and tree nurseries as a conservation measure.
II) More demonstration sites to be established in strategic locations.
III) A one stop shop for bee products to be established to ensure the common interest group access the products. For that matter “adopt a hive save the nature” campaign will be launched soon.
IV) Murals will be drawn in strategic zones with a theme on campaigning for conservation
V) Local song on organic farming to be composed and released.
Demonstration at Nyeri farm view academy
Demonstration on Mulching
Site selection at Kirathimo group
Organic production of kales
Beekeeping training session
Tree planting exercise at Manyatta
Water recycling at Nyeri farm view
Pest control Measure
KWS director addressing at Manyatta tree planting day to save MT Kenya Glacier
Mission to save MT Kenya Glacier
Giant Bamboo distribution
Farmer counting the number of Giant Bamboo
Public meeting at Ngobit market
Phidel, Bimala, and Daniela aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo in their communities — nor to challenge their perceptions of how to change it.
Hailing from rural farming communities in Kenya, Nepal, and Ecuador (respectively), in 2018 each female leader attended an intensive 10-day training in her country, hosted by Rare, to learn how to use and apply the principles of behavior-centered design (BCD) to social and environmental challenges facing her community. The training equipped each woman with a global theory of behavior change, social marketing tactics, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, and effective campaign design for her local challenges.
Following the training, Rare selected these three local leaders to join its delegation at the 14th global United Nations Biodiversity Conference (a.k.a., CBD COP14) held in Egypt in November. By training local leaders and bringing them to global forums to share first-hand experiences, Rare encourages and empowers local ‘disruptors’ to lead the changes they seek for their communities. In attending the 14th CBD COP, the local female leaders capitalized on the opportunity to share their local challenges — and their solutions — with a global audience (consisting mostly of government representatives alongside civil society, business, indigenous and local communities, youth, and others), and enhanced their networking, public speaking, and storytelling skills.
At the conference, Phidel, Bimala, and Daniela shared the proverbial stage with the launch of the Farming for Biodiversity report, published by Rare and IFOAM-Organics International, which unearths results of 338 community-led solutions to connect agriculture and biodiversity, sourced from across the world. In the foreword to the report, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, CBD Executive Secretary Dr. Cristiana Pasca Palmer stresses the importance of engaging local leadership in making change happen: “Community-led solutions that work on the ground and can be scaled and replicated elsewhere are at the heart of this change.”
Following the conference, we asked the local leaders to share what they plan to do with these new skills back home, and importantly, help us envision what a good life they help to create looks like. Here are their answers.
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Phidel Hazel Arunga
Phidel Hazel and YPARD-Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Development are making agriculture attractive to young people in Western Kenya. By introducing rural youth to entrepreneurial and environment-friendly farming practices, Phidel is opening doorways to employment opportunities and easing pressure from rural-to-urban migration — all while protecting the planet.
(On what she takes home with her): The training and event changed me. At the COP, I saw people sitting around a table, making decisions that will affect you directly. And I realized that if you don’t take part in these decisions, then your challenges and ideas won’t be implemented. [These events] reinforced my confidence, in myself and my work. I came away very confident in understanding an audience and targeting a message. One thing I took away, is that to believe in something, you have to follow it through… I now know that I can do this — I can believe in me.
(On how she envisions a better life): The future I want to make happen looks like this: youth have proper representation and seat at the table; and at the same time, create their own jobs, and their personal wealth, in a perfect environment. Even if I help to build a small community that can have that kind of life, that is an achievement — and it can have a replicative effect. Success attracts success.
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Bimala Acharya Dahal
Seizing on the growing global trend to “go organic,” Bimala left her career in business and turned to organic farming. Catering to Kathmandu’s growing market for healthy products, she is growing the urban organic movement by offering trainings on rooftop farming. Now, Bimala is going national: By encouraging farmers in remote areas of Nepal to obtain organic certification, she is helping them tap into new income opportunities.
(On what she takes home with her): The training energized me to work with the local community, which I hadn’t thought to work with before. Before, I just thought about my work — my farmer’s market, my rooftop garden, my women’s group. Now, I want to replicate what I am doing in Kathmandu with rural farmers. I came back from the training, and event, and people start to look at me differently — with respect. Now they believe in me and what I am doing. This is a kind of behavior change.
(On how she envisions a better life): Recently, I read a UN report stating that small-scale farmers can feed the world. I believe that where there is no farming, there is no life. A better life is that the young people stay in Nepal and grow everything the Nepalese need. By building a system that values organic farming, I can then rejoice in the respect they deserve and the income from organic agriculture that will make them, and the world, rich and healthy.
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Daniela Borja Kaisin
Daniela Borja is part of a rescue campaign for Ecuador’s indigenous seeds. On the producer side, the group supports farmers to act as “Guardians of the Seed,” increasing the number of available seeds. On the consumer side, Daniela and her team facilitate the development of a vibrant gastronomy based on traditional food products. With her Farming for Biodiversity campaign, Daniela is on a mission to make traditional crops the next big thing among the housewives of Quito.
(On what she takes home with her): Being surrounded by influential people, organizations, ideas, and decisions at the CBD COP, I was initially nervous and intimidated — I didn’t know how/if coming from a small organization I could contribute. But slowly, throughout the week, I realized that we are all humans, concerned about similar environmental issues and that it’s really important for decision-makers to hear about our experiences and practices at the local level. I left feeling empowered, knowing that my work is important and that what I learned from the training will make my work more effective and impactful. It gives me hope. I’m so inspired that I’m spreading the word about the training and sharing my learnings with everyone!
(On how she envisions a better life): I dream of an awakened community of people, who together care about our surroundings and each other. Conscious consumerism — urban gardeners are growing their food, communities are planting trees and protecting their water, networks of seed guardians are spreading throughout Ecuador and the world…and generally speaking, people are connected, partnering for good, and dreaming together of a better life, regardless of how far apart we may seem.