Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maize at Ruuju Primary School ready to be harvested

The maize grown in the Ruuju Primary School farm is ready to be harvested. The yield will be a fraction of what was expected because there has not been enough rain. The Ruuju horticulturist, Fareda, is waiting for the parents “to be called” to harvest the maize and put it in the school store. The maize will be part of the lunch program for the children.

Souris Village Feast cookhouse being used by children at Kamuketha Primary School

The third cookhouse funded by the Village Feast in Souris is being used to prepare lunch and morning porridge for the 140 children at the Kamuketha Primary School.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week 3- Erika Kubik

It’s sad but true, this is my third and final blog posting which means my African experience is about to come to an end. Before I give my good byes, I shall first recap since my last blog posting.

Rested up from our weekend off at the resort, our “educational tour” took us back to where it began in Ishimara. This is where we put on more seminars and treated more individual animals. As this was our last week and we had gone over similar topics in previous seminars we as students had more participation where we got the chance to answer the questions posed. This was both a thrilling and slightly intimidating task as the farmers are very keen listeners and one has to speak in slow and simple terms so that things don’t get lost in translation (see attached photograph for Erin and Murray answering questions). I would like to think that we did an excellent job overall as many heads were nodded and only one or two people were caught falling asleep.

Our final day in Kenya was spend in Nairobi where we met up some of the veterinary students that we had spend time with over the past few weeks. It was at this time I learned a very valuable lesson, which I will pass along to you and that is to always wear a seat belt. On our way into the city we were stopped by the police who after looking into the vehicle noticed I was not wearing my seat belt and announced quite sternly that he wanted to arrest me. Fortunately he was joking, but did it ever give me a scare of the lifetime! Trust me, I learned my lesson and will never go without wearing a seat belt again.

I also learned that veterinary medicine truly is one medicine, which crosses both species borders (pneumonia in a goat as seen on a post mortem in Kenya looks very similar to pneumonia in a cow as seen on a post mortem in Canada) and language borders (as demonstrated by the translators). This rotation and experience has definitely been an eye-opener and one that will not be soon forgotten. I would like to thank Farmers Helping Farmers and all its partners who have allowed me this great opportunity. I have met many great people through this experience, both Canadian and Kenyan, and I am very fortunate to have been a part of their lives.

Week 3 - Murray Gillies

Unfortunately week 3 came to an end, and with it our stay in Kenya. For the last week we moved back to Ichimara and continued to work with the farmers through the local dairies; treating more animals and putting on more seminars. The work we did was great but there is definately a lot more work that can be done. Our final day had us driving to Nairobi for a visit to the veterinary college to re-unite with our Nairobi vet student friends before we boarded the plane for Paris and then home.
Without this amazing opportunity I never would have been able to see Kenya as I did. Never would have been able to make a difference, even though it was only small. Never would have been able to meet new friends halfway around the world. And never would have been able to see two of my most cherished heroes in Paris (Charlemagne and Joan of Arc). I can't thank anyone enough, the organizers, the co-ordinators, my travelmates and everyone who donated or helped out in anyway except to encourage them to continue their work and to encourage more people to get involved so that other students behind me can share in such a great experience. So again, thank you, and to the students going next year and in the future, brace yourselves because you are in for an experience of a lifetime!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wakulima SACCO Building

Wakulima Dairy Sacco. A Sacco operates like a credit union. The Wakulima Dairy Sacco has just located in the new “Office Tower” which is a multi storey building built on top of the existing dairy offices and laboratory. The office also contains the dairy Board room, managers office and all dairy accounting. This building is located adjacent to the milk cooling plant which has a large generator to supply stand by power.
The Sacco was established in 2004 with core funding from FHF. The original Sacco was established in small rented quarters in the town with all entries made in legers. The milk payments from the dairy were all made into the Sacco accounts and then could be withdrawn by the members. The current range of services is impressive. Withdraws can be made at ATMs or the payment can be sent to a members mobile phone as a money transfer. The member can go to an Empasa outlet and use his mobile to get cash which is deducted from the account. This saves the member from traveling to town and standing in line to wait for payment. Inside the Sacco it looks like any modern bank with rows of flat screens and busy clerks.
The original core funding continues to be used as a revolving fund for loans to farmers. Originally it was used only for cow purchase but it has expanded to include cow sheds, equipment for feed preservation and the purchase of biogas units. The fund has grown and in the last two years 136 members had loans.
Another Wakulima dairy success story

Ken Mellish

Hot water heater at Othaya dairy


FHF funded a wood fired hot water heater at the Othaya dairy. The heater was necessary because they were not using hot water to clean the milk cans. Gradually a film builds up on inside of cans which only can be removed with hot water. This affects milk sanitation and taste. The water heater is very efficient as the water jacket is built outside the fire box and the water is recirculated to an insulated tank. It takes a small amount of wood to heat the water and one heating will wash cans for two days. We watched them wash cans with hot water with detergent and the cans looked and smelled clean.

Ken Mellish

Ken training with Stephen

Boda-bodas: motorcycle taxis

Boda-bodas are motorcycle taxis in Kenyan rural areas.
They are 125 cc motorcycles usually driven by young men. For a small fee you can hop on the back and they will take you where you want to go. Helmets are optional for the driver and rare for the passengers.
We have seen up to four people on a motorcycle. We have seen cans of milk; a pig on another, a goat on still another. We have seen bags of feed and a whole stock of bananas.
On the rural roads, they seem to try to drive close as possible to people on foot and then honk their horns making people jump out of the way.
Yesterday I saw about 12 bikes waiting at the boda –boda- stand in Mukurwe-ini where they wait for passengers- but they will also pick you up anywhere if they are empty.
I will attach a couple of photos I took yesterday and will try to add more photos as I see them.

Teresa Mellish
Feb 16, 2011

Bio gas group

Bio gas digesters use cow manure that is placed in a black tube and turn it into methane gas which can be used by farm women to cook food. This reduces the use of fire wood and the work of collecting it.

The 32 people who are demonstrating bio gas digesters in the Wakulima area have formed a self-help group. They have called themselves the “Wakulima Dairy- Farmers Helping Farmers Biogas Beneficiaries Self-help Group”.
I met with 20 of them this morning and they aim to help each other improve.
Among other things they have formed a micro finance scheme to allow members to get “soft loans”. The Wakulima SACCO is helping them with this.
They are also considering getting training in how to make kikoys- these are woven cloths which women wrap around their shoulders.
When I asked the group how their bio gas is working, most of them said it is working well and providing an average of three hours per day of methane gas for cooking. One said hers was providing methane for 6 hours per day. Four of them said theirs was not working: three had been punctured and one had a faulty discharge. They all said they would like further training .
So the Wakulima coordinator will arrange for further training and will get the bio gas installer to visit the four who have problems. He will also check up on the other 12 who did not attend the meeting.
This should work towards ensuring the sustainability of the bio gas digesters.

Teresa Mellish
Feb 16, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Erin Ramsay - Week 3 Blog

Week 3 FHF Kenya Adventure

A new week is upon us! We have quite a few seminars to do this week and a likely just as many sick animal calls to respond to. Unfortunately the University of Nairobi vet students are writ ting exams and unable to join us this week. We will definitely miss their company and experience.

This snap shot is one I caught of the gang after a deworming a cow and calf at a local shamba. This picture illustrates the degree of cooperation between farmers, an Animal Health Technologist, a board member,employee and chair of Gakindu Dairy, and of course the vet team! This was a really great day - in fact one of my favourites in Kenya. We toured the Chairman's' farm that was intending as a demo for local farmers. Our seminar was attended by very inquisitive farmers with great questions. Afterwards we dewormed a few animals and had a Fanta in the shade of a few banana trees.

Later the same week we examined a cow that had chewed and or consumed half of a D battery. Much to our dismay D batteries are a common sighting on shambas! Weird huh? The cow was treated and will hopefully be okay. Also, we got to perform a post mortem exam on a buck (goat) with a local vet. The cause of death was apparent but a definite diagnosis of the underlying disease was not attainable so this case will remain an x-file.

Our visit to Nairobi on Thursday was a highlight of the week. We visited the University of Nairobi to see the facilities and hang out with our new friends one last time before flying out tomorrow. The Nairobi vet students are very proud of their school and gave an excellent tour. Erika had a scare on the drive to Nairobi. If she doesn't write about it in her week three blog I will have to post it later this week. Stay tuned for more information...

Week three is a bitter sweet one for all of us at the chairman's' house in Ishimara. It was more difficult than expected to say goodbye to our friends we have made here. I enjoyed getting to know more about my travel buddies and took full advantage of their good sense of humor over the past three weeks. The vet component of the FHF team has accomplished a lot here and at the same time it feels like there is so much more to do and we need more time! A large thank-you is in order for the hard working and organized active members of FHF. I really enjoyed participating in the ongoing FHF dairy project in Kenya. Also for the opportunity to experience first hand the positive impacts of such projects on the day to day lives of Kenyans. I wish that every student had the opportunity to participate in an international project like this one. Walking away from a project I feel like I have had the chance to learn/apply technical and communication skills integral to the workplace in any country. Thank you for everything! Sincerely,

Erin Ramsay

It will be a shock to our systems to go back to Canadian winter after three weeks of gorgeous weather here in Kenya. I am confident we will be fine!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ruuju School Revisited

We were back to the Ruuju School for a visit and what a pleasant visit. We had visited first in 2004 and it was a very basic school with treeless grounds and no real pride in the school. Since then Farmers Helping Farmers has assisted the school to build an efficient kitchen and dining hall. This is supported by a kitchen garden that supplies vegetables for the feeding programme for over 500 children. The event was a celebration of the school having the highest average score in 2010 national exams in public schools in the zone. What a surge of school pride ! The parents slaughtered a bull to have a celebratory feast feeding children, parents and visitors. The cookhouse was put to maximum use with the energy efficient cookers filled with beans, maize, rice and beef stew. The school feeding programme is widely credited with making it possible for well fed children to study and excel at their school.
The women’s group has become a partner of Farmers Helping Farmers and have , among other things, accepted responsibility for the school garden. The school garden is an oasis in a dry land. The area around the school is not as dry as some other areas but the drip irrigated school garden stands out with its neat rows of cabbages in all stages of development, kale plants for greens and shade house full of tomatoes almost ready to harvest.
However, the biggest thrill was the fruit tree orchard. Starting several years ago we brought eachyear some fruit trees. Mangoes, paw paw, passion fruit and banana trees are planted in the orchard. These are from improved varieties and are grafted or derived from tissue culture depending on the kind of tree. These trees are producing!! Big mangoes hang from small trees and large bunches of bananas sprout from rows of trees behind the dining hall. We had the water-hungry bananas strategically planted below the hand wash station and the dish washing stand so no water would be wasted. New rows of trees planted in the last long rains push out the orchard towards the classrooms. Soon all that will be left treeless will be the foot ball pitch. These trees provide food and shade for the children and have become a source of learning about improved varieties for all the community. What a great partnership with the school, the parents and Farmers Helping Farmers working together to make the school the best in the district.
Ken Mellish
Feb 13, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ruuju crops are bad too

Ruuju crops are bad, too
By Teresa Mellish Feb 11, 2011

Earlier this week, Angus, Susan and I interviewed 6 randomly selected members of the Ruuju Womens Group about their crops.
The members of the Ruuju Womens Group have very small shambas- frequently an acre or two. They each lease pieces of land (often 5 acres ) outside their homes to grow field crops, especially maize and beans. This land is at a lower altitude.
They will get a crop at their home shambas- not as much as they expect, but still a small crop.
After we were done our interviews, we took a drive to see how the crops looked on their leased land. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was wall-to wall dried up maize as far as the eye could see. We drove 15 km and the lower the altitude the drier and hotter it got. The maize and beans crops were completely dry and there will not be any maize crop at all. At one of the farms we stopped, there were several women “harvesting” black beans. There were very few bean pods with beans inside and those with beans inside had only a couple of skinny black beans. However, the Ruuju Womens Group member felt she would get a few black beans for family consumption.
They did not get enough rain for a crop.
This is so different from last year when they had a good crop on these same fields.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 2- Erin Ramsay

Week 2 of FHF Kenya Adventure

Week two has been both busy & rewarding so far. We held a walk-in clinic which was a great success! We de-wormed a lot of cows and inadvertently ourselves in the process. Also we saw a number of individual sick cows that needed more attention and specific treatments. We saw so many ticks- I am still itchy. With the aid of Dif Quick stain we were able to more definitively diagnose a number of blood born parasites and implement treatment. The local womens group presented us with gifts for our work at the walk-in clinic- I received a necklace

This week we have a number of information seminars with local farmers. Except we are taking turns answering general questions from the farmers with the help of our peers and the daktari (Dr. VanLeeuwen). It is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. Keeping answers simple and straight forward has been paying off (I did drop an a scientific name for a tick by accident). Also, it is a challenge to speak slowly since all of the subjects are really interesting/exciting. All of these in addition all the key facts! It is going to take some more practice.

It seems we are travelling a lot this week- which is excellent given the interesting landscape. This week we are staying in the fairly busy town of Meru. We are spending a lot of time travelling back and forth between Thubuku and Exlewa Dairies. This week a fair number of stalls were demolished & re-built to be more functional (IE the cows would actually choose to lie in them). Lets just say I saw a new side of my travel buddies... I like it.

This week we are travelling with three University of Nairobi vet students (Susan, Allan, and Joseph) they are fun to have along. They are an energetic bunch! On my birthday they told me it was a Kenyan tradition to surprise the birthday boy or girl with a splash of cold water and then wash them... I was a little worried for a day or so- they gave me a card instead :O). Very cool.

This week we saw two really well managed shambas. There is a lot of room for improvement for most and these farms are shinning encouraging examples of what can be achieved here. These farms were paying close attention to feeding high quality forage and appropriate minerals. The calves were being reared in appropriate housing with optimal nutrition. These shambas had stalls of the ideal length, width, as well as good placement of the brisket boards/neck rails for the size of the cows.

At the end of the week we took off for Meru National Park. There were no cows there... However, it was pretty cool to see Murray and Erika's reaction to the wild animals- that was definitely a highlight. It was nice to hang out with the entire FHF team. I was a little concerned that Murray was going to sign up to become a park warden and not return to Canada. We managed to get him back.

Well I think that is all for now. Until next time!


Week 2 - Erika Kubik

Why hello there! Welcome to my week 2 blog from Kenya, where the weather is warm and hospitality is warmer.
This past week we continued our "educational tour" moving toward Meru and visiting Ex-Lawa and Thubuku dairies putting on seminars to educate producers and visiting farms to treat animals. A lot of the same questions are arising at the seminars, such as nutrition (especially minerals), mastitis, cow comfort, skin diseases, and ocular discharge which means as students we are becoming more comfortable with these topics. I'm also finding the questions are focusing more an cause than treatment, which is different than most Canadians who focus more on treatment than cause.
Another difference I am noticing from Canada is the number of animals per family, where in Kenya it is usually 2-5 if not 1 and Canada is 60-80, if not more. The herd size in Kenya does translate into a much more sustainable industry and a smaller environmental footprint.
In addition to putting on seminars and farm calls, we put on a 1 day "walk in" clinic where owners literally walked their animals to the clinic. We dewormed ~350 cows and ~50 of which were examined for a variety of health issues such as mastitis, ringworm, dermatophilosis (rain scald), ocular lesions, and East Coast Fever. This was my first first-hand experience with ticks and I certainly saw quite a few of them. The simple act of appropriately dosing an appropriate dewormer was appreciated by patients and owners alike. This was for myself was by far the highlight of my trip and am very thankful to be a part of this experience. Asante sani (Swahili for thank you very much) to everyone who helped to make this experience possible.
Another family saying, this time from my grandmother is "All work and no play make Erika a dull girl", to prevent this from happening we took a weekend off from treating animals to watch animals at the Meru National Park. We stayed at a very lovely resort where we watched the sun rise from our beds. There were also daily morning "Game Drives" where we saw animals such as zebras, water buck, giraffes, elephants, rhino, hippos, impala, crocodiles, African buffalo, baboons, monkeys, ostrich, and many more. As a child I always wanted to go on a safari and I finally got to fulfill that dream and it was certainly worth the wait.
Stay tuned to the same channel (website) for the third and final installment of my blog, where I will give a wrap-up on my time in Kenya.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 2 - Murray Gillies

Week 2 was nothing short of a dream! One of those lucid dreams where everything seems so real but you know it can't be real because there is no way things could be this good. Except this one is real ... I think?
We moved to the city of Meru. A very warm city bustling with people all around. We enjoyed the hospitality of The White Star Hotel as our home base of operations. The work didn't slow down because of the move however. Our walk-in clinic made for a very long, busy day and some tired, thirsty and sunburned vets (some of us were smart enough to wear sunscreen ... not me). The clinic took in over 300 animals for de-worming and general health exams, in just one day! Ticks were abundant on the cows that came and likewise we saw a lot of tick-borne diseases like east coast fever. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of Farmers Helping Farmers and the donations from the various supporting drug companies, all of these animals were treated! We continued to work very hard in the Meru area, putting on seminars and treating animals. Its amazing the difference that was made in many of the farmers and dairy groups that we worked with, and we hope this work will continue in the future.
Although the joy of helping is the only reward one really needs ("You don't need a reason to help people" - Final Fantasy 9 - That's right, you all knew I was going to make a video game reference sometime!). We were treated to a very special event. AN AFRICAN SAFARI!!! Spending 2 nights at the fabulous Elsa's Kopje resort in Meru National Park was absolutely amazing. You haven't lived until you get a 6:30 am wake up call from an elephant just outside your balcony, or until you drive a van through a stampeding herd of zebra and waterbuck, or until you top a hill to find a mother rhinocerous with her baby, or until you catch a glimpse of the ever elusive lion stalking the plains, or until you have had your picture taken with the very photogenic Charlie the lizard (me not so photogenic). That is only some of the experiences we had and I could go on for pages and hours. It was easily the most amazing experience of my life and I can't thank enough people enough times for it. I only hope that what little work I do here will be adequate for the great thing I recieved.
Week three is fast approaching and will soon be over, but I know it promises to be a good end to a great trip! Stay tuned for week 3's blogs and final remarks, and please help support this great cause anyway you can.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Muchui Women have crop failure

Angus, Susan and I surveyed seven of the 63 original members of the Muchui Womens Group today. These visits confirmed what we have been observing in the community since we arrived two weeks ago.
All seven of the women planted hybrid varieties of maize and all seven had either partial or total crop failure . This is because of the drought. The maize started growing well but before it elongated, it dried up. This is in spite of the fact that they had the ground worked ahead, planted the right varieties, used fertilizer and compost, and spaced the plants the right distance apart.
They also planted wheat and will get very little yield from it. We saw them harvesting the crop by hand or allowing their cows, goats and sheep into the fields to harvest the little that is left.
Their kitchen gardens are producing little or nothing. They are using their drip irrigation but the onions and the kales they have planted are totally dried up. We think that they do not have enough money to pay for piped water.
When plants in the kitchen garden do come through the ground, the birds swoop down and eat the seedlings. They don’t eat an entire tomato- they just take a bite of one and then take a bite out of the next one.
We are exploring the purchase of bird netting from a greenhouse supplier company- particularly for the vegetable gardens at schools. However it is expensive.......

Teresa Mellish
Feb 7, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 1 - Erika Kubik

My mother always said "good things come to those who wait" and that saying is perfect for this rotation. I have wanted to be a part of this rotation since first learning about it before I got into veterinary school so the one day delay in Charlottetown and 25 hour delay in Paris was nothing compared to the five years I have waited, especially since being selected to participate in the Small Dairy Holdership rotation in December of 2009.
Up to this point in my life I have never been outside of North America, so being in Africa is a long distance away. However despite being so far away there are several similaries between Kenya and Canada. These include from the perpective for veterinary medicine, mastitis, nutrition, and reproduction being important topics, money from the monertary perpective and family from the moral values side of things. It is all of these similarties that bring myself and Farmer's Helping Farmers to this beautiful country.
One of the ways Farmers Helping Farmers does this is through seminars, which are held not only when Dr. VanLeeuwan is here but also an employee who does talks throughout the year to answer any questions and to follow up on the advice given. All of the farmers from each of the dairies, whether it be Gakindu, Othaya or Ex-Lawa, are all very appreciative and inquisitive on the causes and prevention of diseases, such as tick-borne disease, retained placeta and mastitis.
I am very grateful to Farmers Helping Farmers for allowing me the opportunity to not only interact with such great people in such a fantastic place but also discuss and inform others on topics, I myself, find very interesting.

Week 1 - Erin Ramsay


During our first week we stayed in a rural area of western Kenya called Ishiara. Almost immediately we met a lot of very interesting & fun people! Two final year veterinary students from the University of Nirobi named James and Ibriham. We had a lot of fun pooling our knowledge when working up cases we saw on local farms. We were able to compare notes about our vet school experience and from them we learned a few new Swahili words. Simon our driver is a pretty cool guy, he knows a lot about Kenya and rasing livestock. We were also lucky enough to travel with Steven a local agronomist. Wow! We met so many people I can't even mention them all.

From there we had the opportunity to participate in training sessions for members of the Ishiara, Mikinduri, and Oythya dairy groups. These days usually began with tea/coffee meet and greets at the dairy headquarters. Then we would move to a shamba were there could be anywhere from 50-100 farmers underneath the shade of a tree! It was really cool to see how responsive the crowds of farmers (men, women, and children) were to the knew facts about animal health, husbandry, and nutrition they were aquiring. It is clear that these farmers care very much for the health and productivity of their animals and are more than willing to make changes around their own shambas (farms).

After spending a week here I realize that I have underestimated the value and contribution of one or two cows to the lives of the people that care for them. After visiting the Wakulima Dairy Group we have heard so much about it is obvious that FHF has greatly improved life for the people in the community it services. I am very proud to be here and a part of team FHF.

Week 1 - Murray Gillies

Mother nature seemed to disapprove of our trip to Kenya, but finally after a storm cancellation in Charlottetown, a mechanical cancellation in Paris and a few hours worth of delays we arrived in Nairobi. Although we were 2 days late and lost a lot of time to delays and cancellations, it was well worth the time; and this has only been the first week! After a short nights sleep in Nairobi we departed on the long drive to Ischmara. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking! It is always changing and is never the same. Shadowed by the magnificent mount Kenya, the country stretches out in all four directions as completely different landscapes. All of which kept us wide-eyed as we drove to where we would be working first.
Working with the farmers and the animals here has been very rewarding. The farmers are incredibly nice and eager to learn anything that you may have to teach them. From diagnosing and treating individual animals to teaching at seminars put on by the different dairies, it fills oneself with a great sence of pride at being able to teach, knowing it does make a difference and seeing how grateful the farmers are that you were willing to help them out. I can only imagine the next 2 weeks will be even better than the first, which was already amazing!

Composting A Success Story

Susan MacKinnon
In 2010, Winston Johnston and I introduced the Ruuju and Muchui Women’s groups to composting. The composting process allows the women to convert locally available plant materials, manure and wood ash into a valuable soil amendment that can be use alone or in conjunction with their commercial fertilizer. Good quality compost can be made in this climate in 2 -3 months.
The training was definitely well received. As Angus Mellish and I visited farms this past two weeks in Ruuju and Muchui we saw compost piles at nearly all the farms. It was exciting to hear that many of the Ruuju women did not have to purchase starter fertilizer for this years maize crop because they had made sufficient compost. If the look of their maize crop is any indication I expect that the women will continue making and using compost in the future.
In Muchui , a lot of the women used their compost in their kitchen gardens and on vegetable crops they plan to sell. It is really interesting listening to the women describe how they modified the recipe to fit the range of inputs they have available on their farms. The women are now making more compost in preparation for the next rainy season. Hopefully the rains come.

Sweet potatoes

When the UPEI nutrition students visited the Meru area last summer they identified that the diet of many people is deficient in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is very important for vision, immunity from disease and healthy skin. It is especially important for young children to prevent night blindness.
Orange sweet potatoes are a very good source of vitamin A, one small one will meet a persons’ daily needs. Kenyan farmers grow sweet potatoes, but they are white and not high in vitamin A.
Susan MacKinnon and I did presentations to both the Ruuju and Muchui Womens groups about the benefits of orange sweet potatoes and how to grow them. We also purchased some orange sweet potatoes in Nairobi and cooked them for the women so that they could try them.
We have made arrangements for both groups to get slips of orange sweet potatoes to plant during the next rains.
Angus Mellish

School lunch feeding programs

School representatives from four twinned schools in the Mukurwe-ini area, namely Gikondi, Mutwewathi, Ithanji, and Matuto Primary schools, were invited to visit the school feeding programs in three Meru area twinned schools, Kinyenjere Primary, Ruuju Primary, and Ndunyu Secondary School on Tuesday, Feb 2nd and 3rd, 2011. The group consisted of the coordinator of the Wakulima Dairy, one Wakulima director, three head teachers, two twinning teachers, and two parent members of school management committees.
The objective of this visit was to give the Mukurwe-ini group an opportunity to see first-hand how these three Meru area schools were able to provide both uji, a maize-based porridge, at break and githeri, maize and beans, at lunch.
None of the twinned schools in the Mukurwe-ini area currently has a school feeding program.
The nine people attending visited the school gardens, saw drip irrigation systems, screen/green houses and admired three of the four school cookhouses which have enabled over 1000 children to be ensured food on a daily basis. Two of these cookhouses were built as a result of the Souris Village Feast.
The group were very excited about the possibilities they saw for their schools and learned a great deal! FHF is hoping that these schools will engage their school communities to initiate feeding programs in the Mukurwe-ini area.