Our work overseas
We believe that our world being interlinked, we all depend on each other.
Our work with grassroots communities in the UK inspires our committment to the poorest countries in the world.
We listen. We gain deeper insight of the challenges posed by poverty and exclusion in overseas countries. We implement projects and programmes to tackle those challenges.
The aim of our work overseas is to create decent employment for young people and women in rural and urban areas.
Our focus is on food security and livelihoods.
WHERE WE WORK
We currently work with young people and women in Homa-Bay, Migori, Kisumu, Siaya, and Nairobi Counties in Kenya.
THE OVERARCHING ISSUES IN THE COMMUNITIES WHERE WE WORK
- FOOD INSECURITY: caused by inadequate efficient farm tools, inaccessible quality farm inputs (improved seeds etc), continuous practicing of traditional and obsolete farming technologies, negative perception of farming as an economic enterprise and its value in house hold nutrition and food security, lack of irrigation technologies hence over-reliance on seasonal rains .
- UNSTRUCTURED MARKETS AND MARKETING: Poor infrastructure, poor post harvest handling technologies and storage facilities, lack of efficient distribution system, poor branding and packaging technologies.
- REDUCED FOREST COVER: which interferes with the ecosystem; the main backbone of sustainable agriculture
- INFERTILE SOILS: as a result of soil erosion, poor farming practices, lack of knowledge on conservation and sustainable agriculture
- YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: over 66% of the population is aged 25years and below. This growth is not matched by increase in employment opportunities leading to inequality and declining job opportunities for young people and Women and girls are most affected.
- HIGH HIV/AIDS prevalence: which stands at 23% in Homa Bay County and 26% in Ndhiwa Constituency.
- RADICALISATION AND POLITICAL CONFLICTS: Idle and unemployed youths at high risk of radicalisation and mobilisation for political conflicts.
WHY FOOD SECURITY AND LIVELIHOODS?
- Food is basic human need and is a right of Kenyan child. Our research found out that over 20% of the children are under malnourished and 15-20% of the community is food insecure.
- The community’s outcry through public consultation unanimously agreed that their urgent need is to put food on the table. They further noted that better nutrition is basic requirement for better health, better education and better school grade attainment, dignity and self-esteem.
AGRICULTURE IN KENYA: FACTS AND FIGURES
Agriculture is central to Kenya’s Economy:
- Accounts for 26% of Kenya’s GDP
- Accounts for 65% of export earnings
- Provides livelihoods for over 80% of Kenya’s population
- 46% of Kenyans live below poverty level (less than a dollar a day)
- 36.5% of Kenyans are food insecure
- 35 per cent of children in Kenya under five are stunted chronically malnourished)Kenya’s population is expected to reach 81 million in 2039. As a result of this rapid increase, land parcels in the areas of high agricultural potential land parcels are increasingly reducing in size, thus becoming uneconomical for both subsistence and commercial agriculture production which consequently affects food household food security
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
RIANA believes in prudent management of resources to achieve big impacts.
- Worked with women groups on food security through goat distribution to the most vulnerable.
- Worked with 77 families through agribusiness in (Vegetables, maize and beans) value chains-
- Introduced on farm sugar cane processing to reduce waste and conserve the environment by supporting cottage industry to build skills and resilience in providing alternative sources of income i.e. Jaggery business, handicraft for sale, commercial production of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato, peanut production and processing.
THE STORIES THAT INSPIRES: PEOPLE CHANGING THEIR OWN LIVES THROUGH RIANA PROJECTS
(1) CHANGING LIVES: MATTHEW’S STORY
Before this project, Mathews a 52-year-old Riana resident was not able to afford food or utilise his small land to provide for his family. He instead took to senseless consumption of local brew. He was persuaded to join the trainings conducted by RDN. After Riana trained him in better farming methods, supplied him with seeds and funding for land preparation and maintenance of his farm for just one season, Mathew now harvests 28 bags of maize, 4 bags of beans, 8 bags of millet per season. He now sells some to educate his children and has the rest for his family consumption which lasts him till the next harvest. Mathew confesses, “I no longer need assistance with free seed and other farm inputs, I have enough to eat and sell to meet other household needs. Thanks to RDN. I have since overcome my food insecurity challenges and have even stopped drinking and gone to church”
(2) WE CAN ALL START AFRESH: INSPIRING STORY OF CHRIS
Drawing families who had left home to go to town back to agriculture.
Chris is a victim of post election violence of 2008 who lost everything in Naivasha. He came back home bare-handed. Thank God he had reasonable piece of land. Riana Development Network enrolled him in the project and supplied him with farm inputs and tools to begin planting vegetables and sugarcane. He was able to supply these vegetables to the local markets, sugar cane to the factory in the neighbourhood, and eventually made enough money to enable him settle down, open a mini hardware and also build a descent house. He currently supplies building materials and farm equipment as a businessman and supplies local schools with maize up to the tune of 100 bags per season which excludes what he uses in the family. Due to the support, he got from the project which was his foundation to his current status; he offers voluntary counselling support to those who faced similar challenges.
“With determination, persistence and hard work one only needs a little material assistance and knowledge (from training) to overcome what might be impossible in eyes of doubting Thomases”, says Chris.
WHERE DO WE SEE SUCCESS INTO THE FUTURE?
At RIANA, we believe in incremental learning;
What works, we share and upscale. What doesn’t work, we learn and explore.
Our strategic direction for overseas work is anchored on:
- Influencing policy within the County and National government in Kenya based on the insight which we gain from our programmes.
- Building transferrable skills so that we can utilise our people and their expertise in the UK to transform communities in Kenya and vice versa.
- Building on technological advancement to create impact with communities where we work
- Inter-generational dialogues, we want to bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and modern technologies. This includes preservation of seeds, protection of the ecosystem, and making farming and agriculture dignified
OUR NEW PROJECT IN KENYA
We aim to contribute to SDG 2 (zero hunger) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) by supporting job creation in the agricultural sector for youth (18-35yrs) and women (35+) in Ndhiwa Division, Homa Bay County, in Nyanza province of Kenya. 70% of the beneficiaries will be women
- Improved income generation & decent employment opportunities for Youth & Women in Rural Agriculture in Homa Bay, Kenya
- Women and youth having modern agribusiness skills
- Establish an ICT hub which will facilitate ease of access to up-to-date knowledge and information.
- Improved perception of rural agriculture as a viable and decent employer for Kenyan youth