HealthyFoodAfrica’s Food System Lab Nairobi aims to promote small-scale crop and livestock farming by supporting women and youth community organized groups in Korogocho and Viwandani slums in Nairobi. In fall 2021 a one-week training was organized for 25 selected groups.
Authors: Everlyn Kasina, Antonina Mutoro, David Osogo, Faith Kathoka, Maureen Gitagia, Florence Sipalla, Michelle Mbuthia, Elizabeth Kimani-Murage
High levels of poverty and consequent food insecurity are common features of Korogocho and Viwandani informal settlements, affecting over 80% of households. Close to 90% of residents, depend on purchased food, exacerbating their vulnerability to food insecurity. Only 41% of infants in these settings attain the minimum dietary diversity and 27% attain the minimum acceptable diet, which partly explains why childhood malnutrition rates are high.
The African Population and Health Research Center has set up a Food System Lab in Nairobi, which aims to address these challenges by promoting sustainable food production in partnership with Resources Oriented Development Initiative (RODI) and City Shamba. The Food System Lab-Nairobi (FSL Na) aims to promote small-scale crop and livestock farming by supporting women and youth community organized groups (COGs) in Korogocho and Viwandani slums in Nairobi to either scale up their existing farms or establish new farms, which can be a source of income to the groups.
The trainees welcomed bokashi and other new topics with enthusiasm
A total of 25 COGs (21 are based in Korogocho and Viwandani, and four from other informal settlements) were shortlisted through a competitive process and later underwent a one-week training on urban farming in fall 2021.
The training was held in Korogocho and Viwandani and was facilitated by RODI with support from City Shamba. Officials from the Nairobi County Government’s Department of Agriculture also supported the training and provided input on the various topics that were covered.
The COGs were trained on various aspects of urban farming namely: preparation of organic manure, establishment of nurseries, value addition (yoghurt production), mushroom growing, production of organic pesticides and small livestock rearing. The training sessions included a mix of theory and practical sessions.
The participants were enthusiastic about the training:
“I learnt how to make Bokashi (a fermented organic manure) which adds nutrients to the soil and replenishes it. I also learnt that creating awareness among farmers on the importance and advantages of organic farming is very crucial. Poultry farming is also a topic that I found very educative since I learnt the different breeds of chicken that can be kept to address different needs. Yoghurt making was another interesting topic as I can now do it for both commercial and home use.”
“I learnt new farming methods and preparation of Bokashi, ash brew and bio fertilizer which is going to improve our farm produce in general. Mushroom farming is another avenue for increasing group income.”
Some of the recommendations made included:
- More time to be allocated for the training especially the practical sessions
- A site visit to already established farms like RODI-Kenya to benchmark
- A session on water recycling and management to be included in the training package
The way forward
After the training, the COGs were invited to submit proposals highlighting the urban farming activities they would like to undertake. They were then invited to pitch their ideas to the team and other COGs for feedback after which they were invited to update and resubmit their proposals. Successful COGs will receive seed grants that will enable them to implement their proposed urban farming activities.