Empowerment Partners: Seed Savers Network Kenya & Seed Programs International
Partners are critical to Seed Programs International’s work. We could not do what we do without them. We’ve shared stories about one of our East African partners, Seed Savers Network Kenya (SSNK), in earlier posts and we’d like to tell you another story from our partnership.
Seed Savers Network Kenya is a not-for-profit grassroots organization working with resource-poor farmers since 2009. SSNK promotes sustainable rural livelihoods and women’s empowerment to achieve sustainable food security. Together, SPI and SSNK established a training program specifically designed for rural women. Through our ongoing partnership, the women’s program is restoring hope and opportunity for families by providing agricultural training, good vegetable seeds, and tools. Mary Ngendo is one of those women.
From Shop Attendant to Farmer: Mrs. Mary Ngendo
Mrs. Mary Ngendo is a farmer in the Kasambara-Gilgil region of Kenya, who began planting vegetables early in 2016. Working as a shop attendant, she had always dreamed of becoming a full-time farmer and eventually bought a small piece of land with her earnings. Mary soon left her job and bought some grain seeds in a local farmer’s store.
The seeds were very expensive. Mary could not break even from her farming activities, as the cost of buying grain seeds was higher than what she earned from maize farming. Unable to fully support her family while farming, she began looking for casual work to supplement her farming income.
Mary eventually received seeds as part of the partnership program between SSNK and SPI. She is now planting 1⁄4 acre of her land with bell pepper, which is looking very promising. She says, “I used to spend 5,000 KSh on maize seeds until I went broke with no returns, but I am now hopeful that seed donations and training will make my farming profitable.”
Further, she plans to expand her garden area and her income from coriander is expected to rise to KSh 15,000 per month. Mary is a brilliant example of farmers who are adopting vegetable farming and producing more with less.
Next Month: Focus on East Africa & Mary and Esther’s Update
If you’d like to read another story from this partnership, read about Esther in Graduating from Maize to Vegetables. Next month, we’ll focus on what’s happening in East Africa and tell you a little more about Mary and Esther.
Just as SPI can’t do what we do without our on the ground partners, we can’t do what we do without the support of the fantastic folks at Sweet Blossom Gifts! We rely on their support, through your purchases, to strengthen our partnerships — thank you!
Honduras: Women Taking the Lead in Community Development
Part 2 of 2, August 2017
In last month’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative story, we introduced Seed Programs International partner, FIPAH (Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers), who is working with local farmer groups in field schools and community-led farmer research teams (CIALs) over five regions in Honduras.
Honduras: Women Taking the Lead in Community Development
This month’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative story comes from Honduras, where Seed Programs International partner, FIPAH (Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers), is working with local farmer groups to lay a foundation for self-sustainability through community-led education and local seed production. Farmers are organized into field schools (ECAs) that train community-led farmer research teams (CIALs) over five regions in Honduras.
A typical woman in Liberia has a lot of work on her plate in addition to the work of managing her household. And to be clear, this is work, often unpaid and unacknowledged — gathering firewood, fetching water, cooking, hand washing clothes, and taking care of family members. Household work can be a huge burden that limits a woman’s ability to take on paid employment or broaden her skills through training and education.
Women Passing It On
This month’s program highlight brings us back to Liberia, where SPI partner REAP (the Restoration of Educational Advancement Program) is providing women with access to resources and education.
One way REAP facilitates empowerment for young girls and other students is by integrating school gardens and agriculture training into primary school curriculums. More than 30% of students in the schools return to rural areas to farm for a living after graduation.
Did you know that women farmers produce more than half the developing world’s food, yet own less than 2% of land?
Did you know that if women had the same access to quality seeds, tools, and knowledge as men, the increased agricultural output in 34 developing countries would lead to 150 million fewer hungry people (UN)?
Women’s Empowerment Initiative- Graduating from Maize to Vegetables
Esther is a farmer from Makongo village and a member of the Makongo Farmers Network in south-central Kenya, where she owns ½ acre of land. She was forced to relocate from Eldoret in western Kenya due to political instability during the 2007-2008 Kenyan Crisis , which displaced about 600,000 people. A single mother, today she supports eight children, five of whom are in school.
Last month, we highlighted DBCO’s (Diaspora Burji Community Organization) partnership pilot program with Seed Programs International. This program established…
Diaspora Burji Community Organization’s (DBCO) mission is to create educational and livelihood possibilities in partnership with poor, rural African…
For over ten years, Seed Program International has partnered with Church Aid Incorporated (CAI) in Liberia to support capacity-building for…