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Cooking Up a Storm at the Food Justice Festival

In May, Africa Initiative for Rural Development (AiRD) was invited by Fahamu, our partner in food sovereignty, agriculture and climate change program to participate in the Food Justice Festival in Muvuti, Machakos and in Gatundu North.

The Food Justice Festival was a way to celebrate the end of the sustainable crop care workshops that was facilitated by Fahamu for organic farmers in those areas for the past 2 months.

Odin Olaya, Sustainable Livelihood Advisor for AiRD delivered workshops on technologies for sustainable agriculture, composting, and treating drinking water using the Procter and Gamble water purifier, samples of which were given out to the participants.

Dinka Basuki, AiRD’s Communications and Social Media Strategies Advisor through her foodie workshop called Food From Farm, got the participants both men and women, young and old to cook a storm using ingredients from the farmers’ shamba such as banana hearts, sweet potato leaves and green paw paws among other ingredients that Kenyan farmers don’t usually use as food.

Some of the recipes that Food Justice Festival participants can now try at home are banana heart bhajias, green pawpaw salad, peanut chaat (peanuts mix with fresh vegetables) and stir fry sweet potato leaves.

The festival in Gatundu North saw us welcoming the Member of Parliament of Gatundu North, Hon. Francis Kigo Njenga who stopped by to give support to the organic farmers’ movement and to appreciate the local produce.

Both Food Justice Festivals in Machakos and Gatundu North were lively celebrated with food, seeds, local produce, and participants feeling grateful towards new insights, knowledge and skills that’s been shared by Africa Initiative for Rural Development (AiRD), Fahamu and other partner organizations. They also made new compatriots in the fight for food justice and sovereignty. What great way to connect with others through scrumptious food!

Gender Empowerment and Solar Lighting

At Africa Initiative for Rural Development (AiRD), we believe in gender empowerment and equality not in a sense of just verbally expressing it, but putting that belief into application, into something real.

Together with our implementing partner Technical Community Training Institute (TCTI), we have been teaching a technical course in solar light and electrical installation to both women and men, with women being highly encouraged to participate. TCTI has otherwise been offering technical skills development mainly targeted to the construction sector and which tend to attract only gentlemen, who after graduation are linked to employment opportunities locally and overseas.

Through the solar light and electrical installation course, we are teaching young women and men to be electricians so they can utilize their skills at home and at the community. Our desire is to have women having access to equal opportunities, to learn new skill sets that are commonly associated with men and to find sustainable employment.

Our objective is equally to have women step up and engage actively in addressing issues around climate change, especially in enhancing access to clean energy. Through imparting skills in solar lights development, repairs and maintenance, AiRD seeks to have a pool of women technicians who will reap in this emerging market.

AiRD also seeks to develop a solar pack that is affordable and very user friendly targeting the rural communities. We understand the economies of energy poverty and thus we strive to contribute to the addressing of the challenges associated with the move from traditional energy sources (kerosene) to renewable energy sources (solar lamps).

Solar light and electrical installation trainees are taught practical mathematics, how to use digital multimeters and soldering techniques. The women trainees are very enthusiastic in learning this new skill. We believe that when we equip one young woman with this practical skill, many more will be motivated to learn and will eventually light up the whole village. Who knows, in the near future, we might have solar lamps with mobile phone charging units made by our electricians!

Would you like to learn this interesting skill too? Come visit our AiRD office and inquire more through TCTI in Sarakasi Dome, 2nd floor in Ngara, Nairobi. We are open Mondays to Fridays from 9 AM until 5 PM. Karibuni Sana and we look forward to seeing you here.