Sebastian M. is coming to volunteer at CBSM in a few weeks time. Sebastian is studying geography at the University of Marburg in Germany. He is especially interested in the topics of education and sustainable agriculture. We are thrilled that he is coming to Kimilili and work together with the CBSM Gardening Vocational Training Program.
Chris (Australia) and Arthi (USA) have been working hard to make up learning modules for the women gardening co-ops. Sebastain will use these learning modules to hold a series of agriculture workshops for these groups during his visit in August: Composting, Maize pest prevention, Seed identification, handling and storage. These are all subjects of great interests to the women and youths of CBSM.
Sebastian and Wilfred (or Kimilili supervisor) will also be working together with the youth group to build “zero emission fridges” for the storage of seeds, maize, and beans. These silos were originally made in Mozambique, but are easily reproducible in other rural areas. We are all very interested to see whether or not they will help reduce loss of seeds through various diseases (e.g. weevils). If they do work, this will mean that the women co-ops can store maize in bulk and then sell the seeds at times when the prices are higher and the demand is greater.
Starting in 1991, the nonprofit social enterprise organization KickStart began selling low-cost, human-powered irrigation pumps to enable smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (mainly in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, and Tanzania, but also other countries) to enhance productivity, improve household incomes, and sustainably contribute to poverty reduction. Approximately 130,000 pumps have been sold across Sub-Saharan Africa, irrigating over 31,000 hectares of land. With a $35–95 MoneyMaker pump, a farmer can grow and sell enough additional produce to make considerable progress from poverty toward middle class. For the people using them, KickStart pumps have led to an increase in annual household income of 100–200 percent.
In our last workshop, private donors donated enough funds for us to be able to give 3 kickstart pumps to the various women's co-ops. They have been proven to be saving devices in combating drought conditions.