Rural Outreach Africa (ROA) partnered with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to promote Drought TEGO™ maize hybrids, a water efficient maize variety in the four counties of western Kenya: Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma. The project ran from 2011-2014 for phase one and then 2015-2018 for phase two.
Project activities involved setting up on-farm demonstrations on land donated by farmers, for 10 TEGO hybrids and a farmer variety, planted side-by-side. The host farmer is part of a group, and group members help in demo maintenance (planting, top-dressing, weeding) assisted by ROA field staff. Planting TEGO hybrids alongside farmers’ varieties allowed farmers to see for themselves how the TEGO hybrid does in comparison to farmer-saved seed, in both long and short rains seasons.
In 2015, ROA established 360 demos (30 demos in 12 sub-counties) for each of the growing seasons, long rains and short rains. ROA conducted 12 field days (one per sub-county) for each of the seasons, with at least 300 farmers attending each field day. Following successful promotion of TEGO, ROA increased the area of coverage in 2016 and 2017 to 17 sub-counties, and 510 demos in each cropping season, so as to reach more farmers. In 2015 and 2016, ROA held 22 field days each year, and in 2017, ROA held 24 field days in this project.
In phase one, the WEMA project reached about 6000 farmers and in phase two, 12,000 farmers. ROA’s ability to mobilize farmers and other stakeholders was important in achieving success in this project. ROA partnered with Ultravetis Seed Company during field days to ensure that farmers who were interested could purchase the seed right there.
What did we learn from the WEMA project? The variety was truly drought tolerant, and it also had good cooking attributes and made good “ugali”, the much revered local staple. The stems were strong, thus the plants would withstand strong winds when other varieties would not. To sustain the robustness of the attributes, seed multipliers have to be well selected, trained, and monitored, otherwise the drought tolerant trait gets lost quickly.
ROA is a partner in the implementation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-funded Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project, in Kakamega, Vihiga and Nandi counties of Western Kenya.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-funded soil health project dubbed Integrated Soil Fertility (ISFM) was implemented from 2011 to 2014 for phase one, and 2015 to 2018 for phase two.
A pilot research project looking at human-centred design approaches in addressing the labor burden of ageing smallholder farmers in Kenya by improving the design of farming tools.
The Food Security and Nutrition Improvement intervention in Western Kenya came at a time when the country was reportedly 400,000 MT in deficit on the main staple crop. This resulted from the fact that 4 million people were in dire need of food aid after the country was hit by its worst drought in 37 years and was expected to worsen.
The project mainly concentrated on Corchorus olitorus (Jews-mallow) Crotaloria brevidens (Sun hemp), Gynadropsis gyanandra (black nightshade), Amaranths ssp (amaranths) and Vigna ungiculata (Cowpeas). An impact assessment in the last year of the project revealed that 70% of the project beneficiaries were women, and 12% youth farmers.
The project was initiated in 1998 with the generous support from the Headley Trust, UK ( one of the Lord Sainsbury’s Trusts) and it envisaged to ensure that: community members from Butere/ Mumias district access clean potable water, better health and sanitation, clean environment, and better protected and utilized riverbeds.
ROA in collaboration with Gatsby Foundation-UK set up the Shikunga HIV/AIDS Resource Center in 2003 in Butere sub-county. This was a community-initiated project derived from the need by the local community project management committee to respond to challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In October 2018, ROA distributed sanitary pads to girls in a few schools in Kakamega County as a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism. ROA staffs Doris, Makeba and Andala presented 99 packets of pads to classes 7 and 8 girls in Emukangu primary school.