Originally named “Mwanzo Proud Farmers”, our first years were centered on building the agricultural capacity of the subsistence farmers in the communities where we work. We focused on increasing the diversity and quantity of food and cash crops grown by farmers, by creating a collection of small, farmer-owned cooperatives. The first cooperative was built around sunflower oil and seed production.
Although our overall focus has shifted from agriculture to a more education-based, holistic approach, Mwanzo is committed to continuing its support of subsistence farming as the number of villages we supplement with improved seeds and better farm inputs increases. Within our agricultural program, this change is reflected in our training model: we train everyone in these communities, instead of centering our efforts on women only. As a result, our reach has expanded – both geographically and demographically.
Currently, Mwanzo emphasizes the need for famers to raise a diverse set of crops, to respond to changing weather patterns, reduction in available grazing land, and other environmental and social factors. We work closely with the Kenyan government’s Ministry of Agriculture, our chief advisors, and purchase seeds from the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Institute. These partnerships are important for promotion and implementation of good, climate-smart farming practices. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture recommends planting grevellia, for both soil and atmospheric benefits.
Mwanzo, along with our Kenyan and international partners, encourages sustainable, and environmentally sound farming practices.