Over the last few weeks, we’ve been travelling with Nelly, a 10-year old girl from Dzinkunze, Kenya. Nelly’s family – as well as her community – gets most of their nutrition and income from farming corn and cassava, particularly through a technique called zai pits, which enhance plant nutrients.
World Vision has been working in Nelly’s area since 2007, helping the community to develop a safety net through agriculture. More than 1,300 people, in this community of 3,500, participate in agriculture programming similar to those benefiting Nelly and her family. By diversifying food sources through zai pits and adopting drought tolerant crops, more families are becoming hungerfree.
In fact, zai pits have helped families double their crop production, generate income from the sale of surplus crops and improve nutrition. Farmers are learning how to care for the land and plant trees, reducing soil degradation and enhancing soil nutrients and water retention. World Vision has also improved access to water for drinking, agriculture and livestock. As a result, the distance travelled by community members has been reduced in half, creating more time for individuals to work on their farms, go to school or generate income. The access to water also helps improve the condition of livestock which in turn increases their price of sale.
As the community looks to the future, it recognizes that a hungerfree Dzikunze is only possible if it involves young people.
Across Kenya and much of Africa, the average age of farmers is 60 years and getting older – meanwhile, the population overall is getting younger. More than half the population of Kenya is under the age of 25. Today’s generation of young people are facing unprecedented unemployment and having difficulty finding a job, yet they are uninterested in agriculture. Many young people don’t see agriculture as profitable or sustainable.
World Vision’s HungerFree hopes to change that by training vulnerable young people how to not only use agriculture to feed themselves and their families but by also providing the skill training to run their own agricultural business and grow enough food to create their own future by generating sustainable income.
By being a part of the 30 Hour Famine, you are supporting opportunities to empower young people in Kenya with the skills they need to become hungerfree. But it is so much more than that. You are also joining a global community of young people who believe that the way the world is now isn’t the way it has to be in the future. You are questioning stasis and telling the world that we can change. You are accepting the challenge to build something better than what we have.
You are joining a movement that believes a hungerfree world is possible – and that it starts with youth. Are you in?
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