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November 2007: International Partners

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Hope Rural Community Development Organization (HRCDO)

By Amos Bwire, Project Coordinator

            HRCDO was started in 2004 by a group of casual farm laborers looking for more independence and financial growth. The area has the highest unemployment rate in the province—15.69%—and the lowest average income. Over half of the people are categorized as living in absolute poverty. Since Trans-Nzoia district has good soil and rainfall, many people buy land there, driving prices up beyond the means of the local populace.
            These farm laborers—who earn about $1.50 a day working on large-scale farms—organized themselves into HRCDO and established a demonstration garden on one-tenth of an acre of land. On this small parcel is a 2-bedroom house, a double-dug kitchen garden, units for goats, sheep and two cows, bananas, sugar cane, passion fruit and a tree nursery. With income from the sale of farm outputs, the group has managed to buy an adjacent 0.6-acre plot where it has started a Biointensive mini-training center with 30 double-dug beds for kale and indigenous vegetables, 10 bee hives, 5 compost piles, a fish pond and napier grass for the animals.
            The group’s objectives are to fight poverty by enhancing food security and training members in sustainable management of local resources; to promote viable agro-based enterprises among poor farmers to enhance commercial competitiveness of their produce, with a special emphasis on participation of women; and to strengthen the organization’s capacity to provide extension services in a wider area to small-holder farmers. The group has networked with other NGOs and receives extension services from the Ministry of Agriculture.
            The project and in particular the demonstration plot have inspired many people from within Kenya as well as students from Moi University, Eldoret Baraton University, Iowa State University and Uganda.



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