Monthly Archives: June 2016

Group adopts modern farming method

In most cases, refugees are construed as needy and desperate and thus largely helpless. However, a farmers group in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County- known as ‘Umoja ni Nguvu’ (Unity is strength) – has defied this notion thanks to the introduction of modern farming technology.

Through this new innovation, farmers are provided with skills to draw water from shallow wells to irrigate small-scale vegetable gardens using solar pumps and drip irrigation system.

The group is benefitting from this technology through the support of AAH Kenya, in a livelihood programme. The support is through the Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP) aimed at promotion of self-reliance and improved livelihood among the refugee community. Through access to agriculture and business development, AAH Kenya established two operational model farms used as demonstration gardens for farmers using modern irrigation and improved crop production methods.

As a result, farmers are able to save over 70 per cent of labour costs for irrigation and watering of vegetable gardens which has proved valuable as opposed to manual hand pump irrigation method currently being used by farmers across the camp. Furthermore, through drip irrigation, water is also conserved, which is beneficial due to the low water levels in the area.

Nabigira Kandida, a Burundian and a mother of six children is happy; being a member of ‘Umoja ni nguvu’ and says their farming has greatly improved. The group’s farm has a range of vegetable that include kales, okra, tomatoes and water melons that were planted late August 2015. Some of the kales and okra are at the initial harvesting stage.

“We are able to get fresh vegetables for our consumption to supplement dry food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP). Part of the crop harvests are also sold to generate income for the purchase of additional seed and pesticides,” remarks Nabigira, 30.

The group keeps farm records on all its farm activities that include purchases, crop harvests and income.

Women group eatery gaining momentum

Grace Angelo believes refugees can empower themselves economically. Angelo, 40 a South-Sudanese is a single mother of three foster children. She came to Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya 25 years ago. She lived in the camp without a source of income for several years.

A few years ago, she was among a few women that were trained by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) as a dress-making trainer. Upon completion of her course, she was employed as a dress-making trainer for several years in the Livelihood and Women Empowerment department. However, she had to quit her job due to ill-health in 2013.

In order to make ends meet, she set up a shop selling food products and dress-making, but the proceeds were insufficient to meet her family’s needs. Being a vulnerable woman, she sought for financial support from National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) to improve her business.

“NCCK Community services department put us into groups of five members of single women and referred us to AAH Kenya in May 2015 for loan provision. Late August; we received training in business and entrepreneurship skills. We then opened an account and we were issued with a Ksh 96,000 ($960) loan a few days later,” says Angelo.

“One of the most exciting aspects of our group business (Imotong Group Hotel) is the flexibility in selecting the location and mutual trust. NCCK gave us space in the public market. It is a busy area, and thus accessible to many potential customers. We established our business at the end of September 2015,” she explains. She says they currently serve about 30 customers daily, with foods and snacks, including ugali, rice, meat, and vegetables.

The eatery is a relatively small venture, but with skilled personnel working under the helm of Grace; and riding on previous business entrepreneurial skills. Other members include Joyce Kasiano Paul, Rose Kanuto, Akelo Gloria, and Fanttete. Their vision is to make their business the best in the area.

“We have recorded monthly profit of Ksh1, 380 ($138). Since we started the business, three months ago, we believe it will grow,” says Kanuto, 26, with a grin, adding: “We are ready to repay the loan on installments, according to the agreement signed.”