Written by Donald Akanga, Project Management Associate
The first Millennium Development Goal – Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger – continues to be among the top priorities of the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector. The commitment towards poverty eradication has attracted quite a number of agencies and organizations, who have dedicated immense resources, determined to attain this seemingly elusive goal. KOMAZA has dedicated itself to poverty eradication not only by words but also through actions; principally through tree growing with the rural families in Kenya’s Kilifi County. Unlike some organizations and initiatives that “give fish” to the poor, KOMAZA goes an extra mile to “teach the poor how to fish,” by empowering communities to be self-sustaining. In addition, the short term crops programme addresses food security issues among farmers as they await the long term goal of getting income from the eucalyptus trees.
Farmer training and awareness-creation regarding the issues related to poverty eradication has been a key element in KOMAZA. Farmers have been trained on the various climate resilient measures of dealing with the effect of rainfall variability.
Introduction of drought tolerant crops such as sorghum and cowpea enables farmers to make optimum use of the little available rainfall. Provision of farm input and seed in form of soft loans to farmers who cannot afford cash purchases has been a commendable initiative for the rural farmers. The farmers who excel are identified and rewarded as a way of boosting their morale, and encouraging others to aim at similar or even greater heights.
The inception of the Training and Community Outreach Department in the organization has gone a long way in strengthening this aspect of sustainability, which is a fundamental tenet in the development sphere. The organization understands the importance of instilling the appropriate values among the little ones in a bid to foster environmental conservation and sustainable development. During the 2013 field day, we hosted an interesting category of community stakeholders. These may pass for normal kindergarten pupils, but they have a vital role in shaping the future. Their decisions in years to come will, to a great extent, determine the direction of the unborn generations in the critical issues of climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as sustainable development.
In early 2014, KOMAZA plans to host fourth year students of Environmental Studies and Community Development from Kenyatta University as part of its outreach activities. The aim is to provide a learning platform to the young scholars on the practicality of promoting sustainable development through social entrepreneurship. These, among other programmes within KOMAZA, contribute to the improvement of livelihoods not just today but also tomorrow. At KOMAZA, we are seeing beyond today.