Making urban agriculture inclusive in Kenya
To raise awareness about the importance of including people with disabilities and develop strategies to include them in urban agricultural activities, a pilot project in Thika, Kenya was implemented.
By The New Agrologist
With the help of two agronomists from Real Impact – a Kenyan NGO that works to increase food security through community-based nutrition gardens – demonstration gardens were established in two schools that catered for children with disabilities. The aim was to enable students and other people in their communities with disabilities to learn about innovative urban agriculture techniques. Sack gardening and vermiculture were chosen because they require little space, are inexpensive and could provide people with meaningful employment. Both methods are also easily accessible for wheelchair users.
Lessons on the different techniques were introduced into the curriculum, providing children with practical experience of farming, with supervision from their teachers. School catering staff were also trained in different cooking techniques. Produce from the gardens was used to support feeding programmes in the school to improve the nutrition of the pupils and teachers.
To highlight the exclusion and prejudice people with disabilities face in accessing agriculture as a means of livelihood support in Kenya, Well Told Story developed a storyline in Shujaaz, a popular comic strip magazine and radio broadcast that has millions of readers and an audience of over 3 million listeners. The story about a girl called Sifa, who uses a wheelbarrow to move around as she is unable to afford a wheelchair, detailed her passion and talent for urban market gardening. Despite the prejudice she encounters, Sifa generously shares her knowledge with struggling local market gardeners and helps rescue their businesses. They are surprised and impressed and help Sifa buy a wheelchair, initiating community acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities.