Project Length – 9 Months
Lamu County is classified as a semi-arid county. On the mainland, the only freshwater source is Lake Kenyatta, fed from the Tana River. This means in times of drought freshwater is a serious challenge.
Within the mainland county, small scale farming is a predominant economic activity, contributing to 90 percent of household incomes. Farming and crops are highly dependent on rain fed agriculture and cash crops are farmed intensively in a monoculture fashion. Little rain and intensive farming are a leading cause of soil erosion and land degradation.
As more land become degraded leads communities to encroach on the receding Lake Kenyatta area in times of drought, blocking inlets and outlets into the river and causing siltation of the lakes, this has an onward negative impact on the soil fertility and access to water.
Biodiversity loss in these ecosystems is a key concern due to common practice such as slash and burn, shifting cultivation, the planting of non-indigenous crops, and the extensive use of pesticides. Loss of biodiversity on land affects plant and animal health, hinders carbon sequestration of soil and contributes to increased greenhouse gas emissions.
After community consultation during the first phase of this project ‘Contributing Towards Sustainable Ecosystems in Lake Kenyatta’, it became clear that farmers don’t want to continue farming so intensively yet feel bound by the cycle of buying seeds, fertiliser and ever stronger pesticides. This project aims to break the cycle giving communities the knowledge to farm regeneratively that will increase biodiversity, increase carbon sequestration, increase yields, and increase the nutritional content of food produced.
LOYI will establish a regenerative agro-forestry demonstration farm with aims to;
- Create practical awareness of the social, environmental and economic benefits of regenerative agriculture.
- Change the understanding and empower target communities through skill improvements.
- Transform communal attitudes & relationships by building channels for collaboration among disparate groups.
The project will do this by running a month-long Practical Permaculture Design Course for 15 community members. In doing this, the group will use the development of the demonstration farm as a space to put new knowledge gained into practice.
During the creation of the demonstration farm, local farmers, stakeholders and governmental organisations will visit the farm to understand the positive effects of regenerative agriculture and how it can fight land degradation while increasing economic opportunities and food security.
Outcomes of this project include:
- The creation of a regenerative demonstration farm
- 15 community members trained in regenerative agriculture, these community members will also be trained as community trainers so they can educate their communities and share their expertise effectively.
- Raising the awareness of the positive benefits of regenerative agriculture through community visits and sensitisation sessions.
About the Organisation
Lamu Outreach Youth Initiative (LOYI) is a youth led, Community Based Organisation based in Mpeketoni, Kenya. They aim to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation through transforming conflict and preventing and countering Violent Extremism (VE).
During their years of activity in their local area, LOYI found that a leading cause of unrest and risk factor in VE was a lack of economic opportunity. All it would take was a few unexpected economic turns (e.g. drought or flood) or increased competition for resources (e.g. land or water) and there would be more violence and more youths becoming at risk for VE. As these causes were largely environmental, they turned their attention to environmental justice to see how they could use their skills to benefit their environment and community.
LOYI employs people to people approaches to build resilient communities through intercultural exchange, promoting peace and enhancing interfaith cohesion. LOYI harnesses and develops the power of young people in peace building and environmental initiatives by increasing their skills as well as providing opportunities for constructive engagement among and between different groups of the society to discuss sensitive security issues and develop mutually agreed actions to address them. This will create the much needed, sustained trust and collaboration to achieve sustainable peace and development.
Earth Love LTD. Will be providing technical expertise in the creation of the demonstration farm, building on their extensive knowledge of regenerative agriculture in Lamu County that they’ve already completed through projects supported by LEF such as Permaculture in Kipungani and Practical Permaculture Design Course Specifically for Lamu Island.
LEF and LOYI are also very excited to partner with Wetlands International on this project, who have made a contribution towards water access and seedlings.