Acres of Mercy, Kenya

Acres of Mercy is a Non- Governmental Organization registered in Kenya currently working in Nguluni Location, Matungulu District, Machakos County. The NGO is currently working in this area of the country as a starting point to be the launching pad to other parts of Kenya. The NGO is working in three broad areas and include:- 1. Early Childhood Education and Development 2. Health Interventions 3. Community Empowerment and Mobilization
Mar 27, 2012

Green House Project: Special Report

Rains Come
Rains Come

The Challenge of Delays

The Acres of Mercy GlobalGiving project is geared towards helping about 150 children stay in school so as to enable them get the basic right of education and literacy.One of the main challenges in doing this has always been the state of food insecurity especially in Nguluni area, a problem worsened by the inconsistent rain patterns.In the months running up to Aug-Oct, the project was affected to a great extent by a delay in the rains.

Delays in disbursement also affected our response to the challenge of delayed rains as getting water was just plain difficult in the village. We would all queue up for hours to get little water which was not sufficient. Due to this severity of water shortage, fertilizer scorched the tomato crop within the green house.The Drip System which would have been used to fertilize via mixing was not in use due to the fact that water could not be pumped through to the smaller tank because the well was dry.To use the drip lines at least 5 days a week would have required us to fill the 6000 litre tank with water from a nearby community water services provider for both the green house and external crop use. This would have cost us about $ 700 a week or $ 2800 a month until the rains fell. For this same amount we can now work on getting a permanent solution to the perennial water problem by deepening the well. Our project(http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-us-attain-food-security-for-those-with-hiv) focuses on raising support for it.

I would like to make a special appeal to you to help enable us sustain the project through these times by giving repeat donations.

The Tomato Fruit Harvest

For this first season we harvested close to 200kg sold at an average 70/= per kg.The Tomato harvest was good at some points (see photos) but the lack of water affected our ability to get optimal yield.The tomatoes are a good ingredient for tomato sauce as they have a sweet taste and are a good thickener. The tomato paste from it is also really good. We are working on developing this further according to our business plan on value addition.Customers have liked the quality of the tomatoes and are well pleased with them. It means we have built a client support base that we can further grow in the coming months.

Next Steps

We are shifting focus on how to get the well deeper for a more consistent source of water. We have another project on global giving focused on this aspect. (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/9833). We also are replanting in the first week of April in anticipation of the long rains which were set to begin at the end of March but have delayed.The replanting will cost about 35000/= ($435) This will result in a harvest beginning of July and ending in December 2012.

Appeal

We appeal to you our partners to consider giving recurring gifts that would help us reach the minimum $250 required to disburse on a monthly basis. We thank our reccurring givers and partners and encourage you to continue doing the amazing work. Without you it would be impossible to manage the project. Doing the above will help us have at least 16,000/= monthly to properly manage the greenhouse on a month by month basis.We also would like to ask those who can give their expertise in working towards continued sustainablity can contact us directly to work together. Once again I thank you on behalf of the children and staff at Acres of Mercy, Kenya for your continued support and understanding of the situation

Links:

Feb 19, 2012

Green House Project: Special Report

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

The Challenge of Delays

The Acres of Mercy GlobalGiving project is geared towards helping about 150 children stay in school so as to enable them get the basic right of education and literacy.

One of the main challenges in doing this has always been the state of food insecurity especially in Nguluni area, a problem worsened by the inconsistent rain patterns.

In the months running up to Aug-Oct, the project was affected to a great extent by a delay in the rains. 

Delays in disbursement also affected our response to the challenge of delayed rains as getting water was just plain difficult in the village. 

We would all queue up for hours to get little water which was not sufficient.

Due to this severity of water shortage, fertilizer scorched the tomato crop within the green house.

The Drip System which would have been used to fertilize via mixing was not in use due to the fact that water could not be pumped through to the smaller tank because the well was dry.

To use the drip lines at least 5 days a week would have required us to fill the 6000 litre tank with water from a nearby community water services provider for both the green house and external crop use. This would have cost us about $ 700 a week or $ 2800 a month until the rains fell. For this same amount we can now work on getting a permanent solution to the perennial water problem by deepening the well. Our project  (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-us-attain-food-security-for-those-with-hiv) focuses on raising support for it

I would like to make a special appeal to you to help enable us sustain the project through these times by giving repeat donations.

The Tomato Fruit Harvest

For this first season we harvested close to 200kg sold at an average 70/= per kg. 

The Tomato harvest was good at some points (see photos) but the lack of water affected our ability to get optimal yield.

The tomatoes are a good ingredient for tomato sauce as they have a sweet taste and are a good thickener. The tomato paste from it is also really good. We are working on developing this further according to our business plan on value addition.

Customers have liked the quality of the tomatoes and are well pleased with them. It means we have built a client support base that we can further grow in the coming months.

Next Steps

We are shifting focus on how to get the well deeper for a more consistent source of water. We have another project on global giving focused on this aspect. (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/9833)

We also are replanting in the first week of March in anticipation of the long rains set to begin at the end of March.

The replanting will cost about 35000/= ($435)

This will result in a harvest beginning of July and ending in December 2012.

Appeal

We appeal to you our partners to consider giving recurring gifts that would help us reach the minimum $ 200 required to disburse on a monthly basis.

We thank our reccurring givers and partners and encourage you to continue doing the amazing work. Without you it would be impossible to manage the project.

Doing the above will help us have at least 16,000/= monthly to properly manage the greenhouse on a month by month basis. 

We also would like to ask those who can give their expertise in working towards continued sustainablity can contact us directly to work together. 

Once again I thank you on behalf of the children and staff at Acres of Mercy, Kenya for your continued support and understanding of the situation.

The Scorching Effect
The Scorching Effect
Water Tank
Water Tank
Juicy Toms Despite the Scorching Effect
Juicy Toms Despite the Scorching Effect
Fruiting Tomato Plants
Fruiting Tomato Plants
Junior farmers sorting the fruit
Junior farmers sorting the fruit

Links:

Nov 21, 2011

Scorched But Not Destroyed

Picture of Hope
Picture of Hope

Thank you dear partners for your continued support to helping keep over 150 children in school.

 In our effort to this we have succeeded in starting the project , but in every success we face challenges.

Challenges

The project faced a major challenge with water.

The reason being the project start date delayed .

 The rainy season also came late and this meant investing in fetching water. With little resources this has struggled and forced the greenhouse manager to use untested water which introduced bacterial wilt into the greenhouse.

The drip system  was not in use due to unavailability of enough water. This forced the use of  knapsack sprayer which broke down due to heavy use which is yet to be replaced.

The lack of water affected the quality of fruiting.

Bacterial wilt affected the quality of fruits as well as subsequent harvests due to 150 plants being affected.  These had to be uprooted to stem the spread of the bacterial wilt inside the greenhouse.

The returns lost from the above would total about 200,000 in sales.

These will however be countered by the tomatoes that were planted out side the green house (50 plants)

With proper rains coming in the end of October, we managed to plant water melon that are now being weeded.

Earlier on we tried covering for the damage by planting capsicum which did not take off.

We later succeeded in planting more tomatoes in the nursery and these will be ready for replanting in about seven to fourteen days.

 Labour

The greenhouse employed 1 casual worker being paid 3,500 per month (36$).

Parents were also involved in fetching water for the plants. This contributed towards their children's fee payments. This has helped 5 parents pay for their children's fees, a total of about 15 children.

 Sales 

The greenhouse has been able to sell 2,000/= for the last two weeks since full harvesting started.

Plans are to be able to sell maximum produce from the greenhouse to be able to purchase a Refill kit that costs about Ksh 30,000 ($316) and fumigation of Ksh 20,000 ($211)

Other plans include working to build The Community Poultry Project which involves 8 of our school children . This will contribute towards our Kids Entrepreneurship Program with a focus towards Agri-Business Sector.

To be able to do this great work, Acres of Mercy will need partners continued support. We thank you all in advance for the continued support .

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