ARI Name: Kisi
at ARI: 2009
Home: Kabuchai Constituency, Bungoma County
Organization: Faith Kenya
Work area: Kabuchai Constituency, Bungoma County
“The spirit of farming…if we share to plant, we share to eat, we share problems, we share happiness, then there is no way we can fail.”
Faith Kenya was established in 1996 by ARI graduate Wenslause Mukhwana because he wanted to work closer with the people at the grassroots within his own community. Sadly, he passed away unexpectedly in 2009, while Kisi was still in Japan. Upon his return, Kisi took up the reigns, but was soon hit with another devastating blow when his wife, and active member of their farming group, also died. These events caused the near collapse of the organization, but over time they have been able to resurge.
Operating in the village of Kabuchai, Faith Kenya consists of a demonstration farm, a very small office, a board and staff, and 70 members representing 21 families. They hold weekly classes where they teach organic options for farm inputs, crop rotation, and other organic methods emphasizing horticulture and animal husbandry.
Members are provided seeds for free and crop diversity is promoted over the traditional practice of planting only maize for the commercial market. This alleviates them from the perils of price fluctuations or a whole crop failure and ensures a variety of healthy foods are available in the home. Everyone participates in the farm work, where they share their knowledge and experiment with new ideas.
The organization is also active in reforestation, in which they take the approach of planting both local trees for environmental preservation, and faster growing “exotic” trees for much needed firewood. By pooling their money in a small micro-savings scheme as well as careful use of locally available natural resources the group works hard to be self-sustaining. One member, Anton, puts it this way, “We are trying to scratch from zero. Anyway we are trying because we have the ability. We discovered we have the resources.”