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May 20 23


Far left KIWA director, Joshua Obiero, center and crouching, WEFOCO director, Esther Mumia. During a visit to Kisumu West Aid CBO widows meeting at Rambara, Kisumu, KE.
Jun 7 22

Training in vertical bags

Our EUAV Alice came to Shianda from Italy almost three months ago. Her mission? Support and improve the ongoing agricultural activities and income of smallholder farmers and increase their resistance to the impacts of changing climate and weather patterns.

Her first month here was mainly spent visiting the various community groups that are supported by WEFOCO in their activities. The purpose of these visits was that of conducting a needs assessment and draw a new baseline on the ongoing situation, both in agriculture and poultry keeping.

The findings showed that most of the smallholder farmers in the area are facing the same challenges:
– fertilizers and chicken feeds are too expensive (also as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine);
– chicken houses are costly to build, but keeping chickens in simple cages overnight makes them an easy target for thieves. Therefore, people prefer to keep chickens inside their houses, in their bedrooms, or in kitchens;
– draughts pose a real threat to most of the crops, especially now, during the rainy season;
– land prices are too high for many to afford, both for leasing and buying.

Together with WEFOCO, her local and Estonian mentors, and the community members, Alice found a possible solution to two of the above problems.

When visiting Msalaba, one of the community groups, and walking between its “shamba” (field in Swahili) and poultry house, both Alice and Eve noticed two big black bags covered in kale plants. One PVC bag had been bought from a local agriculture company, while the second one had been obtained from an old sack used to store cereals. After taking some pictures of these curious bags, Alice started researching this cultivation system.

So-called “vertical bags” can be an opportunity for farmers to grow vegetables in a reduced space, even in their garden, increasing their yields, without needing to lease or buy additional land. Plus, the crops in these bags require less water, since it does not dissipate in the dry local soil, but is retained inside the PVC bag. Using vertical bags (and reusing them again up to 8 years) the groups would be able to grow not only kale but also other crops like amaranth, nightshade, spinach, herbs, and onions, allowing them to:
– diversify their diet, since the lack of land pushes them to grow mainly (if not solely) maize and beans. These can be intercropped and easily make for a complete and nutritious meal for many families, at the expense of a more varied and balanced diet;
– generate income as many farmers have problems growing vegetables due to lack of rain, and prices for imported yields go up, then the selling can become very profitable.

After getting the support of WEFOCO and Mondo, it has been possible to organize a theoretical training and a demonstration on the 24th and 25th of May. The purpose of this 2-days training in vertical bags was simple: to provide farmers with the knowledge and skills to create vertical gardens from old and cheap materials in a reduced space, using little water. This would allow farmers to plant vegetables that they usually do not eat, in order to balance their diet, or sell them and make a profit.

The training has been a success, with 39 participants from 14 groups that make up more than 200 members. Now we will proceed with the follow-up. We gave the groups two cheap sacks commonly used for the storing of cereals and two packs of kale seeds. We will be following how their kale nurseries are doing, and we are also planning to visit them when the seedlings will be ready for transplanting, in order to make the vertical bags together with them.

The potential in these community groups is evident, they only need training and some backing. For now, we would say we are satisfied with the work the beneficiaries are doing, and we think we will achieve great results together.

Jun 7 22

June monthly meeting


Yesterday, as every sixth of the month, we held our monthly meeting at WEFOCO office.

We volunteers had the opportunity to talk with most of the chair ladies from the community groups.

We discussed the new management of the tailor shop and shared ideas on how to improve its functioning among the local community. Eve, our EUAV from Estonia, and Caroline, the new leader of WEFOCO tailor shop, noted all the suggestions. They also preannounced some future changes.

Lisa, EUAV from Italy, gave her feedback on the visits she made to the disabled members of the groups and the special schools of Shianda. She also shared her plans to improve the living condition of children with disabilities during the upcoming months.

Alice, EUAV from Italy, congratulated all the groups for their participation in the training in agriculture and poultry keeping during the last month. She is now going to visit the groups to check on their nurseries before transplanting the seedlings in vertical bags.

It was a unique meeting, also because Esther introduced our new German EUAV: Eugenie! She will work in counseling with local teachers and other community members.

We will keep you updated on the latest!

May 30 22

Recap training in poultry diseases

A story of success does not mean it did not go through some difficulties!

During my first month in Shianda as an EU Aid Volunteer in charge of advising smallholder farmers, I have been visiting 14 community groups to conduct a needs assessment on how their activities are going.

I have been the first EUAV to hold this position since the COVID pandemic outbreak, and I wanted to see if the poultry project was still working after two years. The great majority of the groups are still keeping chickens, and they sell their eggs or newborn chicks. They told me they use the money they get from this activity to buy stationery for children, or they put it into an “emergency fund” which can financially help members when they are facing unexpected expenses, such as funerals or hospital fees.

However, there were also some complaints about the health condition of the chickens. Despite training in poultry diseases and vaccination at the time when the chickens were given to the groups by WEFOCO and Mondo, the groups are still witnessing the sudden death of young chicks.

Together with the chair ladies and chairmen, we decided to go through training on poultry diseases for a second time. The participants were very interested, and they also took the opportunity to share their own experiences regarding the treatment of diseases, or the keeping of poultry in their houses.

Our objective is to see the number of chickens increasing in the future. We have a baseline on the number of chickens that are currently kept by a group, starting from the initial 30 chicks given at the kick-off of the project.

We will keep you updated about the health of the birds!

During the recap training
Esukura Women Group’s chickens
Namulekhwa group’s poultry house
Mung’ang’a group’s chicks
Waiting for the eggs to hatch and fill Msalaba group’s cages with newborn chicks
Sep 22 19

World Clean Up Day 2019

Every third Saturday of September is World Clean Up Day! 

For this occasion, we cleaned the centre of Shianda to raise awareness on the importance of keeping the environment clean. We have also reached out officials and encouraged them to create a waste management system in the area.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came and join us in this act! 

More pictures on Facebook