The progress was quickly halted by the town council pumping water intermittently for two weeks and shutting down our supply. The crops dried up in Mid November(pics)
We sunk our well deeper 48ft-71 ft. in an effort to get a more permanent source of water and to stop solely relying on the council water and rains.
This season we will take yet another chance to replant but with different crops.
We have purchased coriander seeds to plant in between the tomatoes.
This would increase our income as at the second month of planting instead of waiting till the fourth month.
We are also working to purchase rabbits to loan to students who can take care of them for two months before we sell them for food.
We thank your continued support to keep the children in school.
To all our friends with recurring donations; THANK YOU. Your unwavering support keeps hope alive here in Nguluni.
Dear friends and partners,
Allow me to take this time to share what we have managed to achieve together over the last 3 months. I will recap, then give progress summary, share a few challenges and then also give a brief on the way forward.
The last time the tomatoes had just flowered and we were beginning to work on how to get them to market. We also talked about beginning to look at value addition of the tomatoes and how to go ahead and begin rabbit keeping (it cost us $ 610) to get the hutches and chicken coop ready.
Since July 2012 we have achieved the following:-
1. The green house had good fruit mainly due to the attention the green house workr put in
2. We had at least one more recurring donation so this has given us more resources to work with
3. We have managed to produce at least over 150 kgs of tomato fruit
4. The children have not had as much challenges with food even without government support.
NB. For two weeks though they had no lunch because of a delay in incomes. We are working on a relationship with local distributors who can give us food on fair payment terms- to be paid maximum 30 days
5. Financial summary ( We have managed to sell $103 since the first harvest on September 14th)
6. Marketing- We have used facebook to market outside to other places and obtained a request to supply 300kgs a week (This is a huge order for us and we are working on how to meet it) At full capacity we can produce 590 kg a week)
1. Water is still a challenge. The council have not been reliable in pumping water. This has led to post harvest losses of 25%. And Production quality has not been as expected (590kg) a week.
The water inconsistency destroyed the crop and we are replanting
Our Solution: We have mobilised support from other quarters to sink our well deeper so as to hit a more permanent source of water. Please join us in extending the well through a one off donation. it costs $ 85 a week. We are about two weeks away from hitting a permanent water source from the well, if the short rains do not start within the said time
2. Security: The fence around the school has been compromised and we have been getting losses due to pilferage and stealing of tomatoes.
Our Solution: We know a solution- surround the entire school using chainlink fence which would cost us about $1400 or $ 7 a metre.
3. Public Health Directive: Our public health officials visited the school and advised us that the chicken coop and rabbit farm were very close to the classrooms and hence we would need to either move the students or the classes if we wanted to keep the animals.
Solution: We are currently fundraising for classes.
We will also redesign our farming model to comply with the directives
4. Sales: The sales have not been as expected and this will mean operating expenses like teachers salaries will still not be covered for at least another 4 months. That brings us to 2013 February by which time we hope to increase our current 7 teachers salaries from current average of $ 65 to $ 100 per month and have two more for 2013 when we start a new class in January 2013.
We are replanting the parts in the greenhouse that dried up. We will conduct a soil test to determine the health of the soil- testing for disease and nematodes (cost is $30)
The well should be done soon, and with the onset of rains we will reach our targeted production of 590 kg a week in the next 4 months.
We will also start chicken and rabbit farming once
The designing of the farming model will take centre stage. I will keep you posted
Thank you for continuing with us. Your generous giving has seen lives being touched. Because of your help we have children able to concentrate in class. And performance is improving. With average performance across classes being improved by about 20% for each class subject. We can attribute this to a more consistent supply of food this year for our feeding program.
Together we have steadied the ship and now its time to get to shore...a sustainable program to give the children a foundation in education
I would still urge as many as can to consider making recurrent donations so we shift disbursement from once every 3 months to at least every month.
Thank you and God bless you all
Dear partners, It is an exciting time full of expectation. I just wanted to share a few more pictures from the green house 3 weeks after transplanting. The plants are actually flowering and we are due for a good harvest. Thanks to your support in this journey. We are also in the process of looking at various methods of canning tomatoes. Any one with ideas of simple technologies of doing this would be much appreciated. A local rabbit farmer has also approached us and has rabbits to sell, about 8 does and 2 bucks to start us off. Our plan is to have these going on in the next two months. The hatches are just ready. We have also begun marketing initiatives in earnest and reconnecting with local restaurants in readiness for the harvest season I have attached some pictures just giving a feel of what is happening here. It is indeed an exciting time and indeed things are looking up. We have been adjusting our green house business plan and hopefully we should be sharing it especially with regard to the value addition aspect; chicken production and rabbit production. This will effectively get us on to the next phase of the project. My request is to help support the worker managing the greenhouse. He needs monthly wage of $64. If we could have a few friends partnering with 4 recurrent donations of $ 16, we would continue with the good work. Thank you for your continued support. .
Its another time when we share progress with you and also take the opportunity to thank you for the great support you have continued to give us.
The last few months have been challenging for various reasons. All in all it has been exciting and full of promise.
At the end of the last reporting the project had embarked on installing electricity to enable pumping of water from the open well to the green house. This was to ensure the drip system works well after replanting. The electricity installation cost over 34,000/= ($400)
We also managed to purchase and transport a green house replanting kit or refill pack consisting of greenhouse inputs for one season worth 29,000/= ($341). Transportation to the project site cost the project 2,000/= ($24)
We also had to employ another green house manager at the cost of 4500/= ($53) per month since May 2012.
Total expenses for the period came to Ksh 69,500/= ($818).
Events in the last quarter were interesting given the submersible pump was stolen from the school compound in March but recovered at the point it was being sold by local policemen. This also set us back two months since the pump was used as evidence in the court case that followed.
Another major challenge still remains slow disbursements from the global giving team. This means implementing other phases of the project has been slowed down considerably.
Despite the challenges we have managed to replant another crop of tomatoes and we expect to get a good harvest in about three months beginning September 2012 with harvesting expected to last till March 2013. We place expected sales at 300000/= ($ 3529)
We will not be able to do all this without the support of our faithful friends.
As one of the pictures shows consistent supply of meals is beneficial to the children. The children are enjoying meals donated by the government which is not consistent, but a situation we expect to move away from soon.
We continue to ask for ideas, suggestions and comments on how to make this project better and able to have the intended impact on the children and other beneficiaries
Thank you on behalf of the entire board, teachers, and especially the children- we appreciate your support
Goodwill to you all.
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.
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.
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
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