At SPI, we know food security is more than just food security. Food security is an imperative string in a woven tapestry of well-being. Food security must be matched with community health access, women's empowerment, financial access, among a slew of other factors, for communities to be healthy and thriving from a holistic lens. But it's even deeper than that.
Food security is at the intersection of people and planet. How, you may ask? Community well-being is dependent on their ability to access good, quality food, and food security is dependent upon the ecosystem being stable enough, resilient enough, and fertile enough to be able to produce food. The two are intricately interconnected.
Our partner in Kenya, AMPATH, knows this. That's why we've been thrilled to work with them in introducing vegetable gardening and horticultural practices to their Group Integrated Savings and Health Empowerment (GISHE) members in western Kenya. Both GISHE and AMPATH are supporting the new Universal Health Coverage initiatives in Busia County.
With nearly 600 direct farmer beneficiaries, we've been able to provide trainings on; land preparation using organic manure, nursery bed preparation and management, transplanting seedlings and spacing guidelines, pests and diseases management, the importance of vegetables in human nutrition, organic farming, marketing strategies, and post harvest handling of vegetables.
Read that again. You see, at SPI, we do our best to not silo our work. We provide holistic trainings that go way beyond just the input of seeds and tools. We believe that is what makes meaningful change.
Two participants have shared their stories about the impact of our blossoming program. The first comes from Ester, a founding member of Mama Murindi’s self-help group, in the surrounding village. In 2015 Ester started agribusiness activities with the help of her husband and children but reported having some difficulties managing crops. She knew she needed training but her opportunities were limited until AMPATH organized their vegetable garden training. She believes that through the best practices training she received she is better equipped to manage her vegetable crops and tackle disease/pest damage. When our seeds were delivered mid-April, Ester was one of our beneficiaries who received the seeds at no cost. Now, she can provide extra nutrition to her family and increase her business’s profits.
Our second perspective comes from Abdalla, a GISHE group trainer and farmer in Makunda village. He is also one of the farmers who received tomato, onion, kale, coriander, capsicum, watermelon and spinach seeds. Abdalla praises the vegetable gardening training for supporting him and his livelihood. He has also voiced concern about crop management causing problems with his production and sales. Abdalla cites the virtual Integrated Pest Management training, which provided pesticide-free avenues for crop protection, as being particularly useful and he plans to incorporate it on his farm. Producing safe, healthy crops for himself and the market enable him, like Ester, to ensure his family and community are well-nourished. Taking his skills further, as an experienced leader and trainer, Abdalla has offered to host a demo plot to help support other beneficiaries. He prepared the seed beds by applying the skills he learned at the January training.
New projects like our partnership with AMPATH are made possible by your continued support. We would like to extend a sincere thank you for your help to enable our team to make a difference in the lives of Abdalla, Ester, and nearly 600 others through this program alone.
-- The SPI Team
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