We’re thrilled to be working together with Rotary on an agriculture business training program called Strong and Healthy Families. The project will be implemented by the Care Centre (now United Kenya Rising) in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Kakamega and the Rotary Club of Freeport, Maine.
The grant-funded project will train the guardians of 120 families over two years. Its core focus and most unique aspect is inspiration and exposure. Trainees will undergo several months of exposure and basic lessons in thematic areas like fruit orchard farming, aquaculture, livestock, poultry, and horticulture. They’ll be able to visit thriving business farms and also learn from teaching-demonstrations at agricultural colleges. They’ll also see, experience, and learn about profitable agricultural activities that they may have never seen before, including things like beekeeping, mushroom growing, hydroponic fodder production, red worms, local greenhouses, and so much more.
After learning about so much, the trainees will design their own business plans and form groups based on their chosen farm business activities. These groups will then undergo deep-dive learning from experts in their chosen ventures.
About six months into the ten-month program, trainees will receive a start-up capital micro-grant of $150 to help launch their new business ventures. This is a serious disbursement that can really start something. We also hope to see some of the families cooperating and working together by pooling their money in order to accomplish even bigger things. We do not give loans because we are not in a position to collect loans from needy families, but we will absolutely connect the trainees to microlenders and teach them about smart borrowing.
The training program will continue for a few months after businesses launch, to see that the new farm ventures are robust and stable. At that point, about ten months after starting, we will be done with the first group of 60 families and begin planning for the second group of 60 families.
In the long run, we hope that this program will be sustained as a core part of what we offer families in our programs. Much like the Strong Young Women farm training on which this program was based, we hope that this new ten-month agribusiness program will be on offer for years to come as one option for families to undergo economic strengthening.
We wish to thank our donors and 11 Rotary Clubs from around Maine and New Hampshire for supporting the project, which leveraged $29,200 in donations to earn $41,000 in matching funds, to make $69,200 that will support this two-year effort. The cost works out to around $570 per family trained, inclusive of the start-up seed capital given to each trainee so they can launch new ventures. We think it’s a fantastic investment in children’s and families’ economic future, and we’ve very grateful to the individual donors, Rotary Clubs, Rotary District, and Rotary Foundation for all helping to make the program possible.