Update Youth Test Farm Kenya

The past months a lot has happened on the farm and by now the training hall is finished, the youth is selected and the first trainings already started! I (Loes) got the opportunity to see the progress with my own eyes while staying in in Kenya for a few months. I worked together with the team in Kenya which was an amazing experience.

In August we started with a piece of bare land with only some bushes on it. We had a few challenges with the planning and budget because of the energy crises, increase in material and fuel prices, national elections and a very unpredictable rainy season. Especially the construction of the foundation of the training hall took longer than expected. But despite these challenges and with hard work of our team the past months, we were able to construct a safe and sustainable training centre for the youth. Now we have a beautiful big training hall where the youth can be trained including a small kitchen area, office area and storage space. Toilets were constructed outside the training hall because there is no sewage system present. The training hall is powered by a big solar panel since it is not connected to the main grid and also because of sustainability reasons. We also created a big lined water reservoir to store water in the wet season to be used during the dry season to water our crops through drip irrigation. A shallow well was dug from which we pump water to the water reservoir by using a water pump on solar energy. We are still to construct a roof water harvesting system to also harvest water from the roof to fill the water reservoir. Just before new year we invited all the people who worked on the construction of the farm and prepared some dinner for them to appreciate their efforts.

Part of the land will stay bushland where we will plant trees and create a small forest where we would like to introduce beehives in the future. The other part of the land has been cleared and prepared to start farming on by the end of February. We organized a successful stakeholder workshop where we invited stakeholders from the area and informed them about the project. We also selected the first cohort of 20 motivated youth from around the area which already had their first trainings. The youth will be trained 3 mornings and will also be actively involved in work on the farm. We hired an agronomist and youth trainer and developed a training curriculum covering a range of different topics like soil management, business development, insect and pest management, climate change and water management. The trainings consist of a short theory part given in the training hall with a practical training or demonstration afterwards. This first cohort will graduate mid-July after which we will select a second cohort. The team and the youth are looking forward to learn and farm on the youth test farm the coming months and see the results!

Check out the video we recorded recently on the farm: