Solving Food Security in East Africa

Developing Sustainable Climate Smart Farming

Brian Owino established Kilimo Sasa Initiative with a mission to contribute to climate resilient communities through food using technological solutions and policy stream. Read more about his journey.

Published: 15 September 2021

“Aid Too Little or Too Late for Famine Victims in Kenya”, that was the title of the news on 13th of August in 2011. I was taking a course on combating desertification at Kenyatta University in 2017, when I was reviewing previous occurrences of hunger including starvation in the drylands of Kenya that hit the news. This sparked my desire to be a part of the solution just as another famine hit the Turkana County and the drylands of Kenya claiming many lives.

Being an environmental enthusiast with a clear understanding of the impact of climate change on food security, it became a matter of urgency to solve this challenge before we reach the tipping point of global warming.

As of June of 2021: FAO estimated 2.5 million people at risk of starving in Kenya’s ASAL’s, 28,000 women and children facing acute malnutrition in East Africa, acute malnutrition rising in children and lactating mothers, and to make it worse – COVID-19 further pushed 7 million people to starvation in East Africa. Equally, National Drought Management Authority of Kenya warned that more than 10 counties were at severe risk of being pushed into an emergency scenario.

While food aid is vital in these regions, secure food production models are critical. Agriculture is a key pillar in Kenyan economy. Agriculture injects approximately 25% of the annual GDP and contribute to about 65% of the total Kenyan export, (UNEP 2014). Since 80% of rural population in Kenya relies on agriculture, our journey towards building sustainable agriculture for small scale farmers amongst the community indicates how important our project course is key in building food security. We believe in our solutions and transforming the society to end food poverty.

Who we are: Kilimo Sasa Initiative is a non-profit social innovation led organization offering sustainable climate smart farming solutions in arid and semi-arid regions. Our Mission is to Build Climate Resilient communities through food at interphase of technological solutions and policy stream. Our Vision is to be the leader in an effective small scale climate smart technology and policy streamlining for community resilience in climate adaptation in agriculture. We believe in our Values: We create, build, and enhance climate smart focused solutions for livelihoods. Our Philosophy led by young people, we believe in a youth led innovation for food security and that youths can be part of the journey to a food secure world.

Like many African countries, Kenya climate change is a major concern. The Arid and Semi-Arid regions of Kenya cover 81% of the total Kenyan land hosting over 10 million of the Kenyan population representing 39% of total population Vulnerable households affected adversely by the impacts of climate change and small-scale farmers.

As an outreach youth champion, supported by MasterCard Foundation – Sciences PO and Kenyatta University (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) I look forward to expand the solutions to support more people through these key elements:

  • Food security at the household level improved through availability, accessibility and improved nutritional content.
  • Improved savings thus reduced economic straining for vulnerable household who previously would strain to put food on the table. This entirely correlated to reduced chances of going hungry due to lack of food to consume.
  • Financial befits from the excess sales, individual households were able to sale the extra harvests for other economic values
  • Community empowerment through the This capacity building promoted an insight on the key role of youths and women on food security.

As a champion for the sustainable development goals, I am working around these solutions to provide timely food needs, efficiency and self-reliance to the households in the possible dimensions. As an initiative, we recognized that the fight of food poverty, we involve stakeholders in adoption success. We have accrued manifestations of the uptake benefits and experienced success stories.

At the core of our project implementation design is inclusivity, we are proud to be engaging the key persons in the community such women, authorities and youths who are vital in driving the success of a food secure world. Further we are expanding to map our people with disability as core beneficiaries in our project model.

As we open our arms to receive supporters and partners, we share this with the youth to encourage them to keep every small good they are doing in making the society better.

At Kilimo Sasa Initiative we build resilient communities through food!

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