My face to face mentorship took off from the lowest part of Kenya Diani -33km from Mombasa - to the highest peak at Mt. Kenya on the leeward side Nanyuki .
A distance of 689km google maps by road, this was an exciting trip as my mentor Patricia wangui and I have been having our progress updates session remotely via skype , phone calls, email and on text.
She picked me up at Nanyuki town and we visited a project where they are in the process of setting up a conservation agriculture project at Thingithu Mixed Secondary school which has 300 students.
Thingithu school is just one of the project sites they are working on. The project is a collaborative effort involving the school, community and Zeitz Foundation where the school has provided the site 2 acres, security, access for training while Zeitz provides technical support through their field officers, drip irrigation systems, inputs such as seeds and manure, rain water harvesting using underground tanks as part of the conservation agriculture projects more so with the coming el nino rains.
They also mobilize the farmers for field days at the different sites. The choice of produce is dictated by the school as they are the primary consumers. This amazing arrangement is inclusive such that, the surplus is sold out and the profits shared by the school and the community that provided labor i.e. 80:20, School: Community.
The project which is funded by the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) aims at addressing climate change and variability by educating the Laikipia community on appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures through 10 training and demonstration sites spread across the semi-arid county.
We later had a very interactive session with one of the stakeholders/partners. It was quite exciting to meet with Mr. Peter Murage of moofafrica who has extensive experience working with small holder farmers in Organic Agriculture. I have worked with small holder farmers also in organic agriculture and it was well in .We exchanged ideas on challenges experienced whilst working with small holder farmers in providing support, advice and extension. The success stories that included visible socio-economic changes that motivates all of us to still love doing what we do. It was so interactive that I am challenged to get into consultancy KijaniKibichi which is in process and provide the energy, innovation much needed in providing extension services. Peter got more in sight about YPARD and stated that if he had been part of such a great opportunity as we have in the mentoring process. His career path would have definitely been different. Thoughts on him getting into mentoring were even discussed.
"Determination is contagious. The fresh energy I get from my mentee and enthusiasm plus the commitment makes me want to go out of my way to be a mentor. " says Patricia
"Mentoring keeps me in check. The direction and focus coupled with experience of my mentor helps align my path." says Emily
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