Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya

by Sadhana Forest Kenya
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Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Long-Term Food Security for 4000 Samburus in Kenya
Lari
Lari

Lari is a watchman at Sadhana Forest Kenya (SFK).  Not only does he look out for the campus and project, but he also contributes greatly to the overall daily running of activities.  He says it's a very good job and he loves working at SFK.  It's somewhere he can help out in many different ways.

Lari lives with his family, both older and younger generations, next door to the SFK land.  He has five brothers and three sisters and they all grew up in the same homestead where the family still resides.  Like his two older brothers, he started school around the age of seven or eight years old.  However, he was only able to attend for two years.  To allow for the older children to continue attending school, Lari dropped out to help with the family's cattle, sheep, and goats. This was the beginning of a very rough time for the family.  For a number of years there were extreme droughts and the animals became sick.  Lari's father had to travel farther and farther away to find suitable grazing, and had to hire other people to help with his herds.  When Lari was 11 years old, his father died.  Eventually, all of their animals became sick and died as well.  Animals represent Samburu families’ wealth and livelihood.  So, without any animals, the family was ruined.  Lari and his two older brothers moved to Nairobi to find work in order to provide for the family.  As soon as they had saved enough money, they would be able to buy a few sheep and cows to begin to recover.

During a particularly harsh drought, Lari visited home and became very close friends with the man he was herding livestock with.  The difficult experience connected them so deeply that, at the end of their time together, the friend offered Lari his niece to marry.  Everyone was pleased with the arrangement and worked together to prepare for the wedding.  Lari and his wife now have three children of their own.

Recently, we sat down with Lari to ask him about his experiences with Sadhana Forest and what it means to him.

What is a typical day for you here?
In the morning, I wake up knowing exactly what to do.  I come straight to Sadhana Forest to water trees.  After breakfast, I often prepare lunch for the team of volunteers. In the afternoon, I am involved in a variety of activities - different every day.  Sometimes I plant trees or take care of the nurseries.  Other times I help around the campus with construction and repairs.

What has Sadhana Forest Kenya changed about your life?
When I worked in Nairobi, I was very far away from my family.  Now I live right next door to where I work.  Not only I am making more money than I made at my previous job, but I am also at home more often to care for my family.  I can manage how the money is spent and I can see for myself that my family is fed and well taken care of.  I am so happy that I have enough food to share.  Other people in the community who need food can come to my home and eat.  SFK has made a huge improvement in my life.  Before, my elderly mother and my sisters had to walk very far to fetch water, and the water they could access was from the river and dirty.  Now my family and I have constant access to clean water from Sadhana Forest Kenya's bore hole, right next door, like the rest of the local community.  We have also received trees which will bear food for generations to come, so my family does not have to experience a crisis whenever drought comes. Finally my family can relax a little and they don't all have to work so hard.

I am sending this as a part of a newsletter that will be read by many people all around the world; is there anything that you would like to say to them/if you could send any message around the world, what would it be?
Come to Sadhana Forest Kenya!  SFK has made my life so much easier and I wish that everyone in the community and surrounding region can benefit the same way.  I know that for this to happen, Sadhana Forest Kenya needs support.  So I ask for people to please assist in whatever way they can so that the Samburu people can have a little bit of an easier life. The more support given to Sadhana Forest Kenya, the more of my people will have clean water and trees to grow food for their future.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The whole community now knows what it means to be trained.  Everyone knows about how to grow a tree.  We all have clean water to drink, to cook with, and to wash ourselves.  So if Sadhana can get even more assistance, life will change for everyone here.  Life won't be so difficult.

Currently, we have 9 volunteers living on-site at Sadhana Forest Kenya in Samburu County and we are working hard to construct the Animal Sanctuary.  Look for our next report for a detailed update!  We truly appreciate the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

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Resinoi's New House
Resinoi's New House

Most likely, the first person you will encounter at Sadhana Forest Kenya is Resinoi (pronounced “rez-e-noy”) who, to be greeted by, is certain to brighten your day with her smile alone.

Resinoi comes from a nearby village called Lakirding'ai.  After she married and had her first child, her husband took a second wife (common practice in Samburu, Kenya).  In the Samburu culture, the husband provides financially while women oversee everything required to run the household.  Over the years, Resinoi and her co-wife alternated childbearing; Resinoi having eight children of her own.  Then, during tribal wars and Somali fighting, a blind and elderly family friend was in need of support due to living in a most tumultuous area. So, she and her own children came to live in the household of Resinoi, husband, co-wife, and their children.  Resinoi’s husband died a few years ago, but in spite of the immense challenge she and her co-wife would face without a husband (to take care of the total of 15 children and elderly woman) in his last words, her husband asked the women to stay together; to not give up on the children; to take care of each other; to continue as a unit.  They have done exactly that and there is a good relationship amongst the whole family.  Resinoi thanks God that she has received employment without expectation.  Her situation is rare in Samburu.  She is now able to live like a woman who has a husband; her children, as if they still have a father.  Resinoi says that this job has replaced her husband.  Recently, she has begun to build a new house; this shows her strength and is a symbol of how she can keep up with the community without a male provider.

Resinoi holds a very important position at Sadhana Forest.  She takes care of our welcoming area where we provide free clean water and a phone charging service, available to anyone.  The availability of clean water helps the community avoid typhoid, which is present in the other local sources of water. At any given time at our front entrance, there is a crowd of people collecting water and, in a typical day, anywhere from 50 to 100 phones being charged.  Resinoi also spends much of her day interacting with patrons and visitors.  She says the most interesting part of her job is getting to interact with the many travelers who stop by, such as drivers of large delivery trucks and units of the Kenyan forces – who enjoy teasing her for not being in uniform while she receives radio calls like a soldier would.  Resinoi maintains her traditional attire – vibrant colours and beads – while she is overseeing the front entrance, just as she does while she attends to her household responsibilities and the Saturday market.  Resinoi is an ambassador for Sadhana Forest Kenya, explaining what we do here and answering many questions.  Being in this drought-prone, “grid”-free area, a common exclamation she responds to is “Phone charging and water; and both for free!  How are you able to do this in these conditions!?”   Resinoi is becoming very popular in Kenya and now, while many of us living within the Sadhana Forest campus are foreigners and therefore known as “mazungu”, the public have endearingly nicknamed her Mama Mazungu.

Resinoi would like us to know that the community says “Thank You”.  Until Sadhana Forest arrived, this area was very dangerous, but we have brought settlement and created a safe community.  We are so grateful to have Resinoi working with us; she sets the perfect tone for visitors to Sadhana Forest Kenya.

Currently, we have a 7 volunteers living on the Sadhana Forest Kenya land and, to date, we have planted 715 trees in Samburu County.  We truly appreciate the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Visiting Resinoi, Family, & Home
Visiting Resinoi, Family, & Home
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Local Volunteer, Felix
Local Volunteer, Felix

Admittedly, many times in my life, when told to expect rain, feelings of disappointment would arise; “Everything will be wet and muddy… laundry won’t dry… plans are ruined”.  But now, at Sadhana Forest Kenya, I love the rain.  I appreciate the rain.  I welcome the rain.   Only weeks ago, the land was struggling to produce.  Stepping off a path meant a likely demise to any vegetation that ended up under foot.  ‘Dust devils’ would stir up, tossing around everything in its path, blowing away the mulch and drying out the soil.  Starting mid-October, we have been very fortunate with generous rains; the most since we landed here in April 2014.  In order to manage it, we have given a huge push to plant more trees and implement additional water diversion and catchment areas on the land.  The recent rains were finally able to soak into the ground.  Trenches and ponds filled, swales were saturated, trees drank, and Sadhana Forest Kenya is now green!  It is lush and teaming with plants and animals we are seeing for the first time.  The difference is inspiring.  We are eager to show the Sadhana campus to our Samburu neighbours and let them see what is possible in their own backyard.  This rainy season is expected to extend into January and so now I say “The rain, the welcome rain!”

Since April of 2014 we have trained well over 1200 people, both young and old.  We've planted over 700 trees within our campus, around schools and churches, and within local homesteads.  We have welcomed 110 volunteers, staying with us for varying lengths of time, and over 1100 visitors have toured our project campus.  We would like to give a warm welcome to local youth, Felix, as our newest volunteer.  He is a beneficiary of two trees and lives with his family in the neighbouring village of L’kisheki.  Felix comes to Sadhana Forest three days a week to lend a hand with a variety of projects.  He is such great help and we are thankful for him volunteering his time and efforts with us.  Thank you Felix!

As the holiday season is in full swing for many, perhaps you are in need a great gift idea.  How about a donation in honour or in memory of someone, or a GlobalGiving Gift card?  It’s the perfect time for it!  Sadhana Forest Keya is taking part in Global Giving’s Year-End Campaign and needs to raise a minimum of $3000 from at least 30 donors before December 31st.  After reaching this goal, we will be eligible for one of nine bonus awards!  You can make your donation go even further; if you set up a monthly recurring donation (for a minimum of four months) during the month of December, 100% of your initial donation (up to $200) will be matched!  No matter the size, every donation is helpful to us.  Monthly recurring donations provide us with security and sustainability and allow us to plan and move forward most effectively.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at Kenya@sadhanaforest.org.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Before and After the Rains
Before and After the Rains

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Phone Charging
Phone Charging

We know that “haste makes waste”, right?  So why do many of us continue to test it?

In April 2014, we got on the ground here in Samburu County, Kenya with a pioneering team of about 30 volunteers.  Our goal was to establish basic infrastructure on the land and, to do so, we had these helping hands available for about two months.  Solar and wind energy systems were soon installed and needing connections to various places on the land, namely, the free public charging station.  We hired a professional electrician who worked quickly and was skilled in his trade.  In addition to electricity, we required a lot of plumbing to be laid throughout the land.  We needed a water line from the borehole to a junction that splits the line to two separate water holding tanks; one leading to the free public water supply and one branching off to numerous locations within our internal community. Over a kilometre of trenches were dug by hand, with the same length of PVC pipes needing to be laid; hundreds of parts to be fitted and glued.  Needless to say, it was a big job and we needed someone skilled specifically with working with PVC pipes.  Some work that the electrician was doing with PVC was similar to what was required for our plumbing, so, rather than take the time to research a reputable plumber we hastily offered the job to the electrician. 

When he completed the piping and the glue dried, that glorious moment came that we had all been waiting for; to hear water flowing throughout the land.  And flow it did.  As water leaked from every fitting, we realized that not a single piece had been connected properly.  The entire plumbing system would need to be redone.  Our great team of volunteers was scheduled to depart, leaving the project director and a couple volunteers to undo and redo everything, at the same time as continuing to establish and direct the rest of the project.  With a lack of helping hands and not wanting to retract from the quality of tree planting trainings (in addition to rains that pushed mud to bury many pipe trenches), it took four more months to see the plumbing to completion.  Time, we admit, that could have been much better spent.

From this, we have learned to take the time to do a job right and find the right person for the job; to develop relationships with quality people.  Learning to do the job ourselves has also been very beneficial, as we have a couple volunteers who have acquired fantastic plumbing skills through kilometres of practice!  And let’s just say we are thankful that our “only” plumbing is for water coming in – a huge benefit of the dry composting toilets.

During the drought, like the last few months, we focus our efforts on community outreach.  We visit our beneficiaries to check on trees we have planted, offer advice, and deliver water from our borehole.  In August and September we visited 75 beneficiaries.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at Kenya@sadhanaforest.org.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

New Tree
New Tree
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Samburu women teach us to build a manyatta (house)
Samburu women teach us to build a manyatta (house)

Wow!  After months of preparation, our Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course is already complete.  During June and July, roughly 50 participants and teachers from all over the globe and here in Samburu came to live and learn together in our Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre.  Over those two months, much more than the theory of permaculture was taught, because Sadhana Forest loves getting their hands dirty with practical learning.  Participants designed parts of the Community land and the property of one of our Samburu neighbours.  They used food forestry techniques to plant gardens and trees, implemented water conservation methods by digging swales and hand-wash stations, and put local resources to use by constructing fuel-efficient rocket stoves.  One of these stoves was built in our training centre where we can teach this cooking method to locals – potentially reducing the number of trips women must make to collect firewood.  Going forward, we are keen that each participant, with their hard-earned Permaculture Design Certificate, will share their new knowledge and use it sustainably in their own lives in Samburu, the rest of Kenya, and all over the world.  “I learned how to fight poverty and will share that knowledge with my neighbours. I will plant more fruit, create soil… grow a food forest” – John Leadura, 57, Samburu PDC participant.

In the midst of the course, we had an exciting visit from the Governor of Samburu County.  Over 500 Samburu people showed their support for Sadhana Forest Kenya and welcomed H.E. Moses K. Lenolkulal with colourful song and dance.  We were delighted that the Hon. MP Lati Lelelit, the Chairman of the NGO Coordination Board of Kenya the Hon. Joshua Leparashau, and many other senior Government Officials joined the Governor in planting trees at our training centre.  The Governor spoke very well of our community-driven approach to improve long-term food security and disaster resilience of agro-pastoral communities of Samburu County.  He looks to a bright future in strengthening our relationship.

Since we hit the ground here in Samburu last year, we have planted a total of 450 indigenous and food-producing trees in 20 Samburu communities, directly impacting hundreds of individuals and their families.  We successfully increase these numbers through our continuous community outreach efforts made possible by donors and volunteers.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at Kenya@sadhanaforest.org.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

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Organization Information

Sadhana Forest Kenya

Location: Kisima - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Aviram Rozin
Kisima, Kenya
$206,675 raised of $294,338 goal
 
2,304 donations
$87,663 to go
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