Pamella Akoth Okoth

0129 Yala - PamellaARI Name:  Pamella
at ARI: 2001
Country:  KENYA
Home: Yala, Siaya County
Organization: Ulumbi Secondary School
Position: Administrator
Work area: Yala, Siaya County
Other activities: Family farm

“When you come back to your place, to your country, you feel at least you have the guts of standing before people.”

For the last 10 years Pamella (and she likes both of those ‘L’s in her name) has been serving as an administrator at the Ulumbi Secondary School, where she works closely with the school principal in managing operations and also assists in preparing examinations. She advocates hard to the school’s agriculture club to move toward organic practices for their long term health benefit, but this has proven to be an uphill battle as chemical fertilizers are subsidized and heavily promoted in Kenya and the students believe they are the key to getting quick and abundant yields. But this doesn’t temper her enthusiasm for organic farming, as she practices it energetically on her home farms, where she has avocado, papaya, banana, and passion fruit trees and a variety of vegetables like kale, tomatoes, and cow peas.

Her gardens are her joy and she takes pride not only in their produce, but also in the big compost pile she has built up. “You will never find me in the house,” she says with a chuckle. “I’m always outside working in the garden.” She also raises chickens, hatching her own chicks, and for a time she had milk cows. Sadly, in 2005, she lost her husband Charles, who was also a graduate of ARI, but with her school job and her farm produce she has been able to provide her two children with a good education.