Visiting the community and offering wellness services is part of the vision at Umala Mission.…
Education is the most imperative investment for the Dorcas Women Group.
This investment aims to train in agricultural best practices, change
negative perceptions about farming, and prevent toxic charity or overdependence on charity.
Firstly, agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan and African economies, but the population widely regards it as dirty work.
According to the USAID, in Kenya, agriculture employs half of the overall
population and 70% of the rural population, with a majority being women and youth.
The industry is the leading economic producer, accounting for 33% of the GDP (USAID, 2023).
Therefore, education and awareness are crucial investments to change this perception, revitalize the economy, and eradicate extreme poverty.
Another important aspect of education is to ensure sustainable charity.
The viable approach to aid should awaken personal initiative and empower recipients to take responsibility for self-reliance. Conversely, non-collaborative financial aid disempowers and paralyzes recipients, teaching dependency and disregarding their potential to change their lives. Furthermore, food poverty is a chronic problem that can only be
wholesomely solved by arousing personal initiative to revitalize their lives and the national economy.
The women attending the trip to Bukura Agricultural College were delighted and took pride in their sense of belonging to a group with a worthy cause that dignifies them.
Some women dressed in their Sunday best, while others wore group uniforms.
The bus was full of chatter, comparable to a high school outing. The tour guide taught imperative agribusiness topics tailored for their smallholder producer level.
They were taught a variety of agribusiness knowledge, from crop to livestock management, handling pests and diseases, to marketing and sales.
They were allowed to ask various questions about their farms.
They learned about fertilizer varieties and the timing of application.
Sustainable agriculture, such as the alternative use of manure and agroforestry, was also covered.
The instructor amazed the women with new knowledge; for example, Calliandra – a rampant weed in the region, is a fodder crop high in proteins. If consumed by ruminants, it boosts cow milk production. Additionally, it is free of toxic substances and can be used to make manure.
Later, the women inquired about the unfamiliar seedlings they sponsored, such as watermelon, among other questions. It was an exciting, engaging learning session.
One crucial aspect that the trip achieved was opening up farmers’ minds to the potential in agriculture. The trainer understood that despite the intricacy of the industry, negative perception affects productivity.
The instructor reiterated a Swahili phrase, “mchanga ni pesa,” translating to “soil is money,” stating that women could earn a decent livelihood from their plots, similar to white-collar jobs, and it does not have to be laborious.
For example, when inspecting tree seedlings in the college, the instructor used agroforestry to calculate possible output, explaining
that the women’s locality has underutilized land and stating that they can plant tree seedlings such as pine and Cyprus, requiring little labor.
In conclusion, agricultural development is a powerful tool to end extreme poverty in Africa, and investing in education is essential as the right mindset often precedes success.
The educational trip was engaging and left the women widely enlightened.