As a community leader, my mission is to bring organic permaculture to my region of Western Kenya. My name is Raymond Benson Orenda. I am married to my sweet wife Jacky and we are blessed with one baby boy called Allan Raymond who is 4 years now.
Recently I managed to mobilize the community members and formed a CBO (Community Based Organization) a grass-roots project called Organic Food Kenya. I felt the need to give back to the community and share what I have learned.
The learning and connection we have experienced already by being involved in organic permaculture has been transforming. My dream now is to build on the gained knowledge to improve the living standards of many families.
I am already teaching and sharing the ideas in my community near Lake Victoria and my ambition is to become a better and more effective teacher.
Our project is based at Kamiyawa Village, Kodera Sub-location, West Kasipul, and Oyugis Sub-county in Homa-Bay County. It is run by 8 volunteers. The goal is to establish a working organic farm that not only provides organic food but helps to educate other farmers in organic practices and the importance of clean and safe drinking water sources.
Organic food Kenya is teaching the community members to become "smart fishermen/women", fishing themselves and their families out of poverty, lack of food, minimal or no illness permanently, instead of giving them fish for a day.
So far we have started training both theory and practical experiences on compost making, correct planting, rural enterprises like soap making, cake baking and how best the community can conserve their vegetables during the rainy season to use them during the drought season. Community members come to learn then they go and implement the learned skills back in their homes and villages.
We also produce Moringa plants and Roselle plants at our farm and sell to the community members at a subsidized rate they can afford. Our aim is to see them lead a healthy life. Many people in our community are Positive with HIV/AIDS. Moringa and Roselle have medicinal benefits like boosting the immune system. We felt it is very important to produce these plants locally.
The importance of Organic Permaculture education in communities is measured not just in the creation of clean food but in the creation of community. People naturally gather around water and food and it is the base of all civilizations. A clear path to the future is created in the process.
When communities are provided with opportunities to work together, caring for their farms and clean water, it offers so much more than food security. It is the healing power of success and community transformation that comes for feeding ourselves and our families. The practice also removes many fears about the future. One key to it all is, of course, clean water. The truth is that where there is clean water there is life and when that source is contaminated the project itself becomes impossible.
Organic Food Kenya is an inclusive project supporting equality. We know that everyone is needed, all community members are included regardless of sex, age, race, and social status. The most marginalized groups of people like the orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAS) and the old are all cared for in this project.
Our volunteers, both locally and internationally, work tirelesly, planting our small fields, fighting deforestation, planting sweet potatoes, kales, cowpeas, and local vegetables and doing trainings. We are always updating our supporters with pictures of every step we make.
Permaculture teaches us to learn from nature. To build resilient systems that are more than sustainable; they regenerate degraded lands and also help build communities. These are exactly the kinds of projects we need in Africa now and our aim is to create a beacon of hope, inspiration, and learning for our brothers and sisters in Kenya, all over Africa and around the world.
All this has not been a walk in the park. Many times we are faced with financial challenges. It is only through the support of friends and community efforts that reached the place where we are in today. Because of this, we have registered a nonprofit organisation called ORENDA FOUNDATION. Our objectives are to support the above mentioned small scale farmers by providing impact knowledge and eventually small loans. Supporting sustainable farming, clean water projects and permaculture also includes many forms of community support, like shelters for widows, support for orphans, enabling children to go to school, drilling boreholes for communities to get access to clean drinking water, help build terraces and control soil erosions in communities (MSL), support environmental projects like tree planting, provide vocational training like crafts- and computer-skills, support for people affected with HIV/AIDS and communities as a whole on HIV/AIDS counseling and how to take care for themselves, and many other positive, transformative effects.
We are looking for people like you to help us: please contact me if you can help build a website, volunteer with fundraising and marketing efforts for our Foundation and to help us transform our community. in return we will certainly be grateful but more importantly, we will be determined to reach out to and share this experience with as many people as we can. Together we can make a difference, together for a better world.
Note from Caryzma: We have been in contact with Raymond about his project. We think it is great and you should support it. However, we only publish positive stories and can not be held liable or responsible for any fundraising or support issues arising therefrom.