Empowerment Partners: Seed Savers Network Kenya & SPI

Empowerment Partners: Seed Savers Network Kenya & Seed Programs International

Partners are critical to Seed Programs International’s work. We could not do what we do without them. We’ve shared stories about one of our East African partners, Seed Savers Network Kenya (SSNK), in earlier posts and we’d like to tell you another story from our partnership.

Seed Savers Network Kenya is a not-for-profit grassroots organization working with resource-poor farmers since 2009. SSNK promotes sustainable rural livelihoods and women’s empowerment to achieve sustainable food security. Together, SPI and SSNK established a training program specifically designed for rural women. Through our ongoing partnership, the women’s program is restoring hope and opportunity for families by providing agricultural training, good vegetable seeds, and tools. Mary Ngendo is one of those women.

From Shop Attendant to Farmer: Mrs. Mary Ngendo

Mrs. Mary Ngendo is a farmer in the Kasambara-Gilgil region of Kenya, who began planting vegetables early in 2016. Working as a shop attendant, she had always dreamed of becoming a full-time farmer and eventually bought a small piece of land with her earnings. Mary soon left her job and bought some grain seeds in a local farmer’s store.

The seeds were very expensive. Mary could not break even from her farming activities, as the cost of buying grain seeds was higher than what she earned from maize farming. Unable to fully support her family while farming, she began looking for casual work to supplement her farming income.

Mary eventually received seeds as part of the partnership program between SSNK and SPI. She is now planting 1⁄4 acre of her land with bell pepper, which is looking very promising. She says, “I used to spend 5,000 KSh on maize seeds until I went broke with no returns, but I am now hopeful that seed donations and training will make my farming profitable.”

Further, she plans to expand her garden area and her income from coriander is expected to rise to KSh 15,000 per month. Mary is a brilliant example of farmers who are adopting vegetable farming and producing more with less.

Mary Ngendo harvesting peppers.

Next Month: Focus on East Africa & Mary and Esther’s Update

If you’d like to read another story from this partnership, read about Esther in Graduating from Maize to Vegetables. Next month, we’ll focus on what’s happening in East Africa and tell you a little more about Mary and Esther.

Just as SPI can’t do what we do without our on the ground partners, we can’t do what we do without the support of the fantastic folks at Sweet Blossom Gifts! We rely on their support, through your purchases, to strengthen our partnerships — thank you!

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