Institutional Strengthening, Networking & Capacity Development
PELUM Kenya is a member-driven network with 56 Member Organizations across 42 Counties in Kenya. The network’s vibrancy is essential and vital for relevance and sustainability. PELUM Kenya is a network that understands that there is a need to strengthen and improve the capacity of network members for learning and information sharing of Agroecological practices. This involves training of member’s organizations, monitoring, and Evaluation visits to support member organizations in the implementation of joint activities. The capacity building also entail enhances the capacity of PELUM Kenya Secretariat for improved service delivery based on gaps identified during PELUM Kenya staff performance appraisal and Human Resource capacity needs.
PELUM Kenya endeavors to achieve this strategic theme through conducting Training Needs Assessment (TNA) and Training on the gaps, organizing for capacity building Trainings based on identified needs for the network and Secretariat; strengthening resource mobilization skills to ensure adequate funding and resource base for the network and individual Member Organizations; and, improving and strengthening the governance of the network and individual Member Organizations. All our activities will be geared towards targeting PELUM Kenya Network including Member Organizations, PELUM Kenya Board Members, and Secretariat. PELUM Kenya will invest and tap on the wealth of knowledge from the network and source outside whenever the need arises within the next five years (2021-2025).
Policy Influence & Advocacy on Agroecological Practices
The goal of PELUM Kenya in its advocacy and policy influence is to advocate for better policy outcomes that enhance agroecological practices and improve food and nutritional security and environmental conservation. This is realization that most of the existing agricultural and environmental policies do not promote agroecological practices, they promote conventional agriculture that is not environmentally friendly, unsustainable and lead to health complications. Most extension officers do not believe in agroecological practices and they discourage farmers from practicing agroecology. This is cross cutting approach which realises the importance of people participation in decision making and utilises the following key strategies;
- Media engagement
- Public awareness
- Engagement meetings
- Sensitization meetings
- Campaigns- E.g. Green Action Week Campaign
- Alliance and partnership building
Agro-enterprise and Market Development
The goal of PELUM Kenya in its promotion of agro-enterprises is to improveHousehold incomes among Small Holder Farmers through adoption, development of agroecological enterprises and access to markets. PELUM Kenya ha been involved in agro-enteripise and market development , intentionally incorporating emphasis on agro-ecologically appropriate farming practices Of particular interest are production and marketing of ecological organic products and healthy foods. The thematic area focuses on up scaling best practices such as PGS certification of organic products, information sharing, promotion of microfinance practices, market linkages and capacity development.
The small holder farmers have continued to generate low incomes from their farm produce due to poor farming practices, failure to engage in value addition/ processing and weak marketing strategies. Poor farming practices are attributed by poor agroecological practices in soil health, pest and disease management, inaccessibility to quality farm inputs and weak technical skills. This results in low yields and poor-quality farm produce that do not yield adequate incomes for improved livelihoods among the farmer groups. Failure of farmers to engage in value addition and processing makes farmers vulnerable to gaining fewer incomes from their farm produce.
Weak engagement of farmers in value addition and processing is attributed by poor capacities among the farmers and limited engagement of youth innovators in agriculture. The youth and women will be engaged in start-up and incubation projects to enhance their incomes and increase agricultural shelf life of products. Value addition will increase shelf life of produce and transportation hence creating cottage industries for youth employment hence increasing value for farm produce and pastoral products. There is a growing potential on organic agriculture markets with more consumers being more conscious about their health both locally and internationally. The consumers are however interested in getting assurance of the quality of organic products in the market. Accessibility to organic foods and lack of structured markets for farmers has continued to contribute to low incomes. To address these issues, SHF need to embrace agro ecological farming practices, value add their products and adapt good marketing practices.
Climate Change Resilience and Natural Resource Management
The goal of PELUM Kenya’s interventions on Climate change resilience and Natural resource management thematic area is to enhance resilience of small holder farmers on effects of climate change and natural disasters. PELUM Kenya promotes agroecology as a means of climate change adaptation, and also promotes indigenous knowledge. PELUM Kenya as well creates awareness on the subject of Climate Change and its effects in general but in particular building the resilience of the communities. PELUM Kenya as well focuses on climate governance and increased participation in decision making. The increasing frequency of climatic extremes has been a growing threat to sustainable development and poverty alleviation hence the need to enhance community adaptation measures to effects of climate change and natural disasters.
Notable effects include unexpected changes in farming calendar affecting good yields, loss of pasture leading to high migration rates among the pastoralists, water stress, persistent pest and diseases and disruptions of communities’ livelihoods which have highly affected food security. The natural disasters and pandemics have also led to big losses among communities due to unpreparedness.
PELUM Kenya seeks to influence policy makers at county, national, and regional levels and official development partners to systematically integrate CCA issues into policies and in particular to provide more support to the communities to respond, cope and bounce back from the negatives effects of Climate Change and natural disasters. PELUM Kenya endevours to engage the communities through the member organizations on the following key interventions; Natural Resource Management, Disaster preparedness, Climate governance, Soil and water conservation, sustainable water management including water governance, watershed management and rehabilitation, Diversification of Agro enterprises and Issues affecting pastoralists.
Women and Youth Inclusion in Agroecology
PELUM Kenya aims to to increase women and youth involvement in AE in Kenya through its women and youth thematic area. Men and women have a shared responsibility in producing agricultural crops, tending animals, processing and preparing food, working for wages in agricultural or other rural enterprises, collecting fuel and water, engaging in trade and marketing, caring for family members and maintaining their homes.
According to existing data, women comprise over 50% of the agricultural labour force in Kenya. It is evident that women are key agents for development. They play a catalytic role towards achievement of transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. Women produce 60-80 percent of the world’s food, and women due to this important role they play, women are inherently better stewards of the environment than men. Therefore, within this narrative, there is a great need for women to drive the AE agenda. But how are they prepared to play this leadership role? Available evidence shows that AE is dominated by Men. Equity is a social justice issue because in many cases, women have less access and control, fewer rights and opportunities, than men. For example, out of the 52 MOs of PELUM Kenya, only a paltry 12 are CEOs and of this, their organizations are weak. There is a clear need for to strengthen women leadership in AE.
Young people are usually not interested in Agriculture because of their perception of farming being antiquated and unprofitable. The image of agriculture traditionally has been more about subsistence – producing enough for you to eat. There is a need to change this narrative and bring in the element of agribusiness in Agriculture. This will encourage the youth to take up farming without bothering about the market risks.
Agricultural literacy initiatives should focus on helping teachers make connections with the environment, how food is produced, and the importance of agriculture in students’ lives. An important implication is the avenue agriculture provides to help students learn about the ecosystem.
While earning their undergraduate degree in agricultural education, students become involved in field experiences related to teaching agricultural education in public schools. Graduates find jobs in a wide range of fields including secondary education, agricultural extension, sales, marketing, finance, and management.
The justification / rationale for strengthening women and youth leadership in agroecology is brought about because of:
- Most farmers are women and hence resonate / connect and learn well from women trainers.
- There is a need to mobilize and organize ad empower women leaders to push for their space in leadership in agroecology.
- Women are best in practicing and scaling up what they learn.
- Women are best placed to feed the family and the world hence placing them as leaders in agroecology is putting agroecology in sustainable and safer hands.
- The youth are ambitious, enthusiastic and energetic and hence can push the AE to help