Community mobilisation and partnership is an essential element in creating community self-sufficiency. Building partnerships early requires multiple conversations to achieve successful outcomes within a community. Our methodology includes seminars involving stakeholders from county administration, the education, agricultural and health ministries, the village chief and deputy, school head teachers, staff and community representatives. The community must be involved so meetings for local people are arranged. With the support of stakeholders, we are able to share our vision for the development of a sustainable school meals programme, free from external donors. Understanding the plan and the responsibilities involved helps people to sign up with commitment to working in partnership.
Strengthening and maintaining capacity for change
Strengthening the capacity of local organisations to support our project activities have been a key concern for Feeding Futures from the beginning. Essential to success is the involvement of relevant local organisations to facilitate change.
The commitment and involvement of the head teacher and staff to the partnership is critical. The school is a focus for the community. As well, it is a meeting point for parents and others to gather to hear and discuss their involvement. Commitment of working together towards the goal of providing sustainable cooked school meals every day for every child regardless of income is required.
Experiences so far
The co-operation of parents in attending meetings is dependent on multiple factors. With the help of people with influence within the community meetings have been well attended.
The clergy have very key roles in Kenyan society. Involving clergy from 12 churches in a workshop resulted in the creation of a ‘clergy together’ gathering that now meets regularly. One participant commented “thanks to Feeding Futures we have sat down and had tea together for the first time ever!” The Clergy Committee have played an active role in supporting the project’s activities during a period adversely affected by the Covid pandemic. They have been encouraging involvement in the training groups and motivating the community to engage in achieving a more sustainable future in this rural area.
We have worked with two rural communities and learned that they are no different to any other group of people in terms of change. Everyone has a different response to change. There is a strong donor-dependency culture which is hard to break. We often talk about, the little boy who picks up a starfish from the beach and tosses it into the ocean. He hasn’t helped the other million still on the shore but he has for that one! The little he did made a huge difference to the one. And so, we believe the little that Feeding Futures can do with your help, makes a big and lasting difference to rural people where we work.
Creating community self-sufficiency
Creating community self-sufficiency is also stimulated when the children take home messages from their farm training at school. Parents learn from their children about how to increase crop yields.
Although the article here on self-sufficiency was published some time ago and does not reference Kenya, it is worth a read to help the reader see some of the aims we are starting to achieve.
Community mobilisation and partnership is happening! We will share the stories and progress in the News section of this website or you can sign up for our newsletter.