Back in 2019, Right to Smile started an agriculture and water security project in Rift Valley, Kenya. This project was co-financed by the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, through the Official Development Assistance scheme. This project was disrupted due to the pandemic, and it could not reach the full intended potential.

However, the people living in this Kenyan community could still reap the benefits of such a project. Through the training and materials given to the farmers, the community members managed to develop their skills to grow their own food. This proved to be extremely beneficial during the pandemic, as it helped in sustaining the community and battling the lack of food supplies brought by the pandemic. Many participants have turned their kitchen garden into small fields and they managed to grow surplus. The project also gave the opportunity to community members of all ages and gender. Most of the participants were female community members who had no type of employment.

This project took into consideration the area’s ecosystem. We made sure that the skills acquired are sustainable practices in order to not stress the limited water resources available in the community. Trees have been planted in the community to regenerate the area and also to help combat soil erosion.You know that the project has been successful when you look at the individuals who made part of this, and see their success stories. Below is a snapshot from the End of project report sent to us by Simon Loomu, the project coordinator in Kenya:

Jane Pariken and Anne Tajeu: Apart from being the women in charge of motivating the community during the project, they were also at the forefront to make their farms a lead example to the whole community. This led to them earning a steady flow of income which they used to increase the number of trees in their compound. It also helped them in paying school fees for their children.

Leah Sakuda: She has been at the forefront in taking care of her garden and she has reaped the benefits of the project. She started off with zeal and managed to harvest a lot of spinach, which she sold and earned some cash.

Esther Kasieye: She was always a hard worker and when she was integrated into the project, she took it up with a lot of enthusiasm. Although she suffered a small setback when she moved from one location to another, she never deterred. She still made it to harvest from her garden and sell to the local area neighbours, to the point of even chipping in the construction of the new house.

Gladys Naggirro: Her family couldn’t be involved in the project before the pandemic. But as the pandemic eased, the trainers managed to visit the last remaining five families to give them the skills they required. Gladys showed a lot of interest and took up the task. When her grandson had a small occasion, she gave him some of the money which she had earned from her garden.

These are only a few of the success stories. The project is proving to be of benefit to the whole community, as well as to the neighbouring communities and markets. The project has also proven to be sustainable in that once the project ended, the community had enough seeds and seedlings to continue producing crops. The proceeds from the farms will be able to sustain the farmers to buy inputs, helping to alleviate themselves from poverty.