By Evanson Njeru, Founder, Compassion CBO, July 2013
Kenya’s capital city Nairobi has some of the most dense unsanitary and insecure slums in the world.
Almost half of the city’s population lives in over 100 slums and squatter settlements with in the city with little or inadequate access to safe water and sanitation. Housing conditions in slums are deplorable and most residents have no form of secure tenure.
The UN estimates that Nairobi has the fastest population growth rate per annum on the continent. There are two counties that are under Nairobi metropolitan which are categorized as arid areas.
About 65 percent of the urban population live in slums. Those slums occupy only five percent of the capital’s total land area. They are more congested than any informal settlement in this part of the world, hosting 1,177 people per acre in grim 10*10 feet’s sacks.
Over recent years, Compassion CBO has initiated projects like pig keeping, pawpaw (papaya tree) farming, and sweet potatoes, within the Nairobi metropolitan area.
Compassion CBO started pig farming two years ago.
Pigs and Rabbits for Grandmothers and Orphans
The Kabae women's groups are made up of 11 grandmothers taking care of orphans.
Last year they benefited from a pig project which was sponsored by Kiambu people living with HIV/AIDS.
The project is aimed at benefiting women who have formed support groups and are taking care of orphans. The pig project will generate income throughout the year, empowering women economically. It is easy to keep pigs in small sheds and is easy to manage. It requires less time to keep.
Pigs provide manure which can be used to grow food crops producing high yields.
The pig has given birth two times and we have sold the first generation baconers; now we are waiting to sell this July the second generation.
Compassion CBO is also encouraging members of the community to start rearing rabbits as a means of income and food nutrients.
Rabbit meat is in high demand in this part of the world due to it high protein and its white meat. Many people living with HIV/AIDS are encouraged to eat the rabbit meat to keep them strong and prolong their lives.
One of the beneficiaries of these projects is Hannah.
“My name is Hannah. I am a member of Kawaida Orphan women support group. We decided to keep rabbits as a means of income. Rabbits is easy to keep. We benefit a lot from rabbit meat for it contains a lot of protein and is a white meat. Our group is made of the elderly women who are taking care of orphans.“
Sweet Potatoes for Children - and Leaves for Pigs
In some arid areas, food crops like maize and beans which are normally grown in Kenya do not do well.
Compassion CBO has come up with sweet potatoes farming which does not need a lot of rainfall and many members have started growing sweet potatoes.
Compassion CBO grows sweet potatoes and most of the time, donates them to children's homes.
Sweet potato leaves are used as feeds for the pigs, reducing the cost of buying feeds.
Compassion CBO is encouraging women to start pawpaw (papaya tree) farming. The pawpaws are selling very well in the market To promote paw paws farming, Compassion CBO has a nursery for the pawpaw seedling.
Over the last one year, Compassion CBO has donated more than 10,000 seedlings of paw paws to women support groups. One of the groups to benefit is Kiambu people living with HIV/AIDs, from Kiambu.
Each member benefited with 50 pawpaw seedlings.
“We are very happy to receive the paw paws. I am going to plant this to my small piece of land.”
Wanjiku a group member
A Solution to Starvation
Hunger is killing many people of low-income earners who are living with HIV/AIDS. Many of them don’t get the food nutrients which are required to keep them strong.
Compassion CBO has started Urban Integrated farming Technology (IFT) which uses very small spaces and provides food nutrient to malnourished children and people living with HIV/AIDs .
Our approach with integrated farming technology will completely do what they require most: they will be able to get fish, eggs, chicken meat, and vegetables within their compound.
The project will take two square meters and will comprise fish, chicken, and vegetables.
Fish will feed on worms invested from chicken dropping. The vegetables will get manure from the droppings and be watered from the water underground, and chickens can feed on leaves on the roof. A family will eat and sell eggs from the chicken and benefit from fish, vegetables, and chicken meat.
Compassion CBO is reaching out to donor communities to help implement and fund the projects which could see a population of over 7 million benefit directly or indirectly benefit through fish, eggs, chicken meat, and vegetables.
Now Compassion CBO is looking for well-wishers to help expand the integrated farming technology to most needy people living with HIV/AIDS. People living with AIDS need to eat a balanced diet to keep them strong, which is very difficult to get in this part of the world with an income of less than $365 per year.
Compassion CBO will adopt Integrated Farming Technology (IFT) and start pioneer projects. The projects aim to benefit 10,000 family units and people who own no land or small parcels of land. The project is urban-friendly and will occupy a small space of two square metres with a fish pond one metre deep, There will be chicken and vegetables, too.
Nutrition and Education
Mary Wairimu is one of the beneficiaries from the project.
Mary has lived in Nairobi environs for the last 15 years, She has six children: four girls and two boys all below 12 years. She has little knowledge on family planning.
She lives in a make-shift, one room house, measuring 10 X 10 square feet, and does not pay rent, for she takes care of the plot where she lives with her six children.
All her children attend Compassion Community Based Organisation's (CBO) Rescue Centre where they get an education.
Already, our pioneer Moist Bed Project is under way; Mary has moist beds in her compounds.
Thousands of women like Mary Wairimu are looking and waiting for someone who will come and help them overcome poverty by offering them initiatives that will give them bread for the day and help them take their children to school.
Helping to Meet Kenya's 2030 Vision Through Economic Empowerment
It is an understanding that the Kenya government will not achieve it’s 2030 Vision of middle-income economy without efforts of community-based organisations.
Our participation in economic empowerment plays a great role in helping the government of Kenya achieve it’s 2030 vision.
The Vision, “A national long-term development blueprint to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030, that aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment” is anchored on three key pillars: economic, social, and political.
One of the dreams of 2030 vision is “We want a Kenya that is able to adequately feed itself.”
The government of Kenya has invited all players in achieving Vision 2030. Community-based organizations play great role in achieving the vision. Compassion CBO is one among many communities based organization that have been given the blueprint by the government of Kenya to raise and apply for funds to carry out economic activities within the Nairobi Metropolitan area through partnerships with other stakeholders like the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Aids Control Council.