IT CAN BE DONE – Weruini Community Transformed
CCS started working with the Weruini community in 1999. Weruini means the desert like area. The community had continuously suffered drought and on average had to rely on relief food and handouts for five months each year. On the first day that CCS visited the village many of the local people met us at the local Church with baskets for carrying relief food.
The CCS focused on training the community to grow more food using methods that were appropriate for semi arid areas. Traditional multiple cropping methods were revitalised and drought tolerant seed varieties introduced. CCS worked with 100 households that had formed into learning groups of between 15 – 20 people (field schools) that call themselves the “the enemies of hunger”. This anti-hunger movement has spread to neighbouring locations where 22 groups have been formed and are learning skills from those trained in Weru-ini and also from CCS staff.
The food situation has improved and by mid 2008, none of the 100 core families were buying food. The groups have build relationships with the Ministry of Agriculture extension workers and a local commercial farmer who is supporting them with training in new ways of farming. One farmers’ group has even been funded and contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture to build the capacity of other farmers!
The farmers groups have been saving money together throughout the year for buying seeds and also for attending agricultural shows and visiting of other farming groups outside of their locality.
The farmers have organized themselves to market excess produce which is earning them much needed income. Besides the growing of food the targeted households also keep small animals for supplementing their diet. In all the households, rabbits and chicken are reared and consumed.
The one time hungry village has enough food for itself and an opportunity to feed visitors and tell them of where they (villagers) have come from is never lost.