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Upscaling the livelihoods of individual farmers through Village Savings and Loanings

Mrs. Judy Kathini Musyoka, 34 years old, married to Musyoka Kiema who is a hawker in Mombasa and they are blessed with four children; Sarah and Dickson Musyoka are enrolled in Form four and two respectively while Kelvin and June Musyoka are in standard six and nursery school respectively hail from Maaini village, Kitungati location, Mbitini ward in Kitui Rural Sub County in Kitui County. Judy is a member to Itambya youth group which is among the 14 groups constituting the Kitungati Development CBO.

“In our location we rely on rain fed Agriculture which is not reliable. On my 1.5acre piece of land i inherited from my parents and I grow Maize, green grams and beans for my household consumption. I also practice small scale poultry and goats keeping.”

However, the 180 kilograms of maize, 45 kilograms of beans and 20 kilograms of green grams was inadequate to feed the family thus making Judy buying food from the market and support from well-wishers. This was attributed to lack of good Agricultural practices and the changing climatic conditions in the area resulting to changes in rainfall pattern. Inadequate access to food to feed the family subjected Judy to undertake casual jobs within the neighboring farms to supplement the income earned with charcoal burning in attempt to ensure the basic family needs are met. Her involvement to meet the household needs made her children lack parental care since most of the time was spent doing casual jobs. Often, the family had to skip meals when the casual jobs were not promising. With lack of nutritive and adequate food, Judy’s children were malnourished as they were not getting enough supply of vitamins and this affected their schooling due to frequent illness coupled with unpaid school levies and this negatively affected their performance.

When ADSE in collaboration with other actors trained the group on governance, good agricultural practices, tree planting, child protection, village saving and loaning, soap making, poultry farming, animal production, financial literacy among others. Judy and the Itambya youth group started to practice village and loaning activities and thus they have saved lots of money amongst themselves.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Judy was trained on good agricultural practices, soil and water conservation, and soil fertility management and she intensified farming on her 1.5acre farm by purchasing certified seeds among other Agricultural inputs after she accessed Kshs. 10,000 as credit from the Village Saving and Loaning group. Judy harvested 8 bags of maize and 2.5 bags of green grams despite the below average rains received. Her children were happy because they had enough food reserves to feed them throughout the year. She sold 3 bags of maize and 1.5 bags of green grams at Kshs. 30,600 which she cleared school fee balances and saved the balance in the VSL loaning kit to earn interest.  For the 2021 March, April May rains, Judy leased an extra 1-acre piece of land with the purposes of commercial farming and poultry farming. Judy was able to construct a poultry house and purchased 50-day old chicks from the selling of the surplus food. With the savings from the sale of my farm produce she was able to purchase solar light for the house enabling her children to study in the evening hours.

“My family now has enough balanced food and my children are not in and out of school anymore and their school performance and self-esteem has really improved”

“It’s my prayer to see water structures like Earth dams, boreholes and farm ponds established. The water structures will provide sufficient water for both domestic use and irrigation of our farms. This will enable us establish vegetables and fruit tree both for subsistence and surplus for sale to generate income”

“I feel very happy as a resident of this area due to the support accorded to us by ADSE and the other actors they have been collaborating with as they have changed our live.”

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