Sitting beside a dried up riverbed in the middle of the desert in Eastern Kenya lies Loise’s modest yet thriving farm. Looking out across the field, one can see a variety of produce, from juicy mangoes to plump, green gourds, which will eventually make their way to the local market to be sold.
A little training goes a long way
Farming in this part of Kenya is not easy. Located in the ASALs (Arid and Semi-arid Lands) of Eastern Kenya, Loise and others like her are often at the whim of Mother Nature where frequent drought make farming a risky investment. With the increasing effects of climate change, Loise has had to use her new training and knowledge of agriculture to overcome the elements.
“I have been trained by agriculture experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and I now know how to prepare/irrigate my land, and also how to use pesticides to prevent damage and disease to the crops.”
The water pump Loise purchased with her first asset transfer has been a saving grace. Although the farm sits just beside a river, it often dries up after the rainy season, and without a water pump she would have no way to keep her crops alive. A lesson in piping systems has helped her manager her farm in a sustainable and safe way. As climate change continues to create further uncertainty in the normal seasons and weather patterns, something as simple as a water pump may mean the difference between life and death.
A family affair
Like most participants in the Programme for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies (PROFIT) Financial Graduation programme (funded by IFAD and the Government of Kenya),, Loise’s husband and children have not only directly benefited from her success, but have become an integral part of her business ventures. Tilling the fields and collecting produce for the market has now become a family chore. One can often see the entire family, including her son’s friends, working hard under the hot midday sun. Loise’s husband also commented, with a huge smile on his face, that he already sees the overall improvement in his wife’s health, happiness and spirit.
The Graduation programme, implemented by CARE International in Kitui, with technical assistance from BRAC, provides multiple enterprise options to participants to choose from based on their preference and abilities. Participants receive training from mentors and sometimes other experts to manage their chosen assets and create sustainable businesses that will last far beyond the end of the program.