In partnership with Uwezo Kenya, we held a two days training of 60 volunteers at Trailer
inn hotel in Busia on 24th to 25th September 2009.The aim of the training was to equip
volunteers with necessary knowledge and skills in order to carry out an assessment in
schools and villages. On 26th September 2009 we dispatched them to 30 villages namely
Mauko A, Marachi, Bulako, Mayenje, Nangoma Khuyala, Sigomere, Lunga, Madibo,
Mayanja, Kitale, Sibembe South, Esidende East, Bulibuli, Mashambani, Kaludeka,
Agoloto, Namakholo, Chengo, Busirangombe, Ematsanza, Emasinde, Murumba, Siguli,
Emamba, Randago, Ebusaba, Esigomere A, Ikonzo B, Bukhula, and Lumini that were
randomly sampled in Busia District for a two day exercise. In each village, all children
aged between 6 and 16 years in 20 households were assessed in basic English and
Kiswahili literacy and numeracy. Class two pupils in primary schools that were sampled
in those villages were also assessed. Findings were communicated to parents of the
children that were being interviewed and the teachers.
The pilot survey was important because there is international acceptance that quality
education can be determined by the extent to which it equips learners with specific and
measurable learning outcomes. Data is a vital measure for monitoring these learning
outcomes. The survey offers indicator for learning outside of formal examination
processes. As a household based study, we captured both in-schools and out of school
children therefore providing the most comprehensive data to date, in the participating
villages, that can be used to gauge progress towards attainment of EFA, both in terms of
access and outcomes of learning.
(B) Food Security Project
We organized for field activities for short rains and long rains during the year 2010 in
Matayos division. RICO focused towards working with participating farmers and self
help groups on soil fertility improvement and soil management practices of household
farms and this was done in the following ways:
a. On farm trials
The objectives were to work with small holder farmers to help them understand the
reasons for poor soil fertility and develop recommendations necessary in improving the
soil fertility of their farms.
We designed on farm research protocols to determine the nutrients limiting crop
productivity and at the same time to determine appropriate inputs and management
practices for increasing the productivity of staple food crops.
An easy soil fertility kit consisting of a plan and materials for small plot experiments was
developed. This exposed 547 farmers on the benefits of Integrated farming technologies
and enabled increase in staple food production. RICO designed a 4 plot trial protocol.
The trial can be quickly and simply laid out and is suitable for use by agriculture
extension officers, RICO extension officers and trained cluster farmers.
b. Home made compost
RICO aims at making it increasingly important that small scale farmers have to improve
their food securities through soil fertility improvement even if they are inaccessible to
fertilizers due to lack of cash. We equipped 119 community members with knowledge of
compost making using locally available residues, weeds and farm wastes.
Each participating household made at least one compost heap under the help of RICO
officer. The aim of the project was to quickly and cost effectively help members of
Bugengi sub location to improve food security of poorest small scale households using
locally available resources at their disposal.
Activities were done with a group of 5 farmers. Farmers were mobilized to collect all the
materials they required for compost making. Initially the exercise was done with all the
members on one farm. Where manure and ash were not available, mobilization was done
to borrow little manure from those ones who have animals.
c. Kitchen gardening
RICO pioneered the establishment and advice into management of kitchen gardens. The
objective was to quickly and cost effectively assist 95 small scale farmers in the
establishment and advice into proper management of kitchen gardens as an important
aspect of food security.
Poor small scale women farmers were encouraged to work in groups of five. One person
was required to head the team as a group leader. RICO and Ministry of agriculture
extension officers worked closely with each team to develop one kitchen garden after
which group members continued with these activities following advice and
recommendations from the officers. Follow up was made to ensure that all the kitchen
gardens were properly established and managed.
d. Local poultry production
According to the PRA that RICO field officers conducted in collaboration with the local
administration, problems hindering local poultry production featured as a very critical
issue of concern. As a result RICO assisted almost 50 households in solving some of the
problems related to local poultry production such as diseases and management. RICO
collaborated with the department of livestock ministry of agriculture and other
organizations promoting development in the field of agriculture, organized for routine
vaccination campaigns against fatal poultry diseases such as Newcastle, fowl pox, fowl
typhoid so that losses related to poultry diseases are drastically reduced.
e. RICO also educated the households on proper management so that losses incurred as a
result of poor management are reduced for the maximization of profits.
f. We collaborated with ECHO to enhance food security in Busia District. Currently we
are holding trials to introduce Moringa oleifera tree (Horseradish) in the District. This is
because of Moringas variety of uses. First of all it is resistant to most pests and diseases.
It is high drought resistance. Its leaves, flowers, and pods are a food source for humans
and animals. The flowers are a good nector source for honey, and the seeds are a rich oil
source for cooking and lubricant uses. The roots are a source of a spice and many parts of
the plant have been used in medicinal preparations. Whole plants have been used as
living hedges, fences and windbreaks. The dried, crushed seeds can be used as a
coagulant similar to the chemical alum to purify water. We are working with 15 self help
groups to sensitize them on the importance of Moringa, how it is grown, cultivated,
harvested, cooked, seed production so that they can replicate the project for guaranteed
g. RICO is currently organizing and seeking for funds to establish a strong micro – credit
scheme to enable small scale local poultry farmers access feeds, feeding equipments and
building materials such as chicken wire mesh for the construction of their poultry houses
to be paid back to RICO after a certain period when birds are ready for market so that
other farmers can also benefit from these services. This is because approximately 70% of
households in Matayos division are female headed. Many women receive little financial
support from their husbands or their children who have left home. The situation is more
serious for widows who have no cash at planting time even to purchase 1Kg of planting
seeds or fertilizers. RICO through its food security project is pioneering an approach to
make seeds more accessible to groups of 5 widows. Each group shall receive 50 kg of
planting fertilizer on credit which will be divided equally amongst themselves for use on
their own plots of land.
(C) HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Programmes
In order to increase knowledge on HIV/AIDs, promote behaviour change, a total number
of 3,640 community members were reached with HIV and AIDS information during
community outreaches held in the project site. The forums provided opportunities to
community members to learn about HIV and AIDS by asking questions. Video shows,
music, theatre activities and testimonies from PLHIV were used to disseminate
information’s on HIV/AIDS. We managed to distribute 15, 000 condoms to members of
the community free of charge.
In communities with high HIV prevalence such as Busia, the best projects targeting
households infected and affected by HIV and AIDS are those projects that strengthen and
empower communities to take control and responsibility of problems facing them. This
can be best done with projects that aim at enhancing livelihoods of the target groups.
High poverty level in Busia for instance has not only worsened the impact of AIDS
within affected households but it has also exposed young women, children affected by
HIV and OVCs to HIV infection. We work with AMPATH to promote agri business
among people living and affected with HIV/AIDS.
RICO intends to work with the Busia community, targeting households infected and
affected by HIV and AIDS to reduce the impact of AIDS on the infected and affected and
also to reduce the vulnerability of affected households, ovcs and young widows to HIV
infection. From RICO experience working with PLWHAS, we have come to the
realization that there is a close link between poverty and stigma and discrimination
against PLWHAS. Positive people earning an income and who support their dependants
face fewer stigmas compared to those who depend on family members for support. In a
survey carried out by RICO to establish the level of stigma and discrimination among
PLWHAS, it was established that clients experienced more stigma when they were
dependent on relatives but family and community attitudes towards them changed when
they started earning an income through their IGAs.
(D) Entrepreneurship Small and Micro Enterprise Training
The training was designed to provide requisite knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship
small and micro enterprises to trainees. Trainees were expected to secure both self and
gainful employment in their communities.
With this training 250 youths were trained on Leadership skills, Entrepreneurs in small
business, Decision and steps to become an entrepreneur, sources of business finance,
fund raising, proposal writing, financial management, marketing, costing, accounting,
financing, regulations and taxation, selection of business opportunities (individual
counseling), business opportunities for MSE sector. Trainees were given technical advice
on entrepreneurship small and micro enterprises. They explored their own strengths and
developed their motivation to achieve and seek challenges and influence other people to
achieve their business goals. They assessed and further strengthened business skills such
as goal setting, risk taking, self confidence, concern for quality and efficiency, planning
orientation and business management skills.
Despite the training and technical advice given most of the trainees complained that
getting capital to start business is difficult. This is because guarantors and security is
required for them to be given loans which they are not having. There is need to start
income generating activities for youths, people living with AIDS, widows, orphans etc so
as to enable them to alleviate poverty.
(E) Mitigating the effects of Environmental Degradation
The environment is one of our priorities. We aim to play a leading role at mitigating the
effects of climate change to minimize its effects on our economic and social wellbeing. In
2009, we implemented a campaign to engage community members on the importance of
climate change and protecting the environment and the actions they can take to make a
positive difference, both at home and at work. For the first time RICO organized an
environment week to mark World Environment Day. This took place on the week of 2nd –
7th June 2010. Recognizing that developing nations – Kenya included are suffering the
brunt of global warming and its attendant effect, RICO staff, volunteers, and members of
the community engaged whole heartedly into activities organized to heighten awareness
of human impact on our environment.
Much thanks to Tearfund which provided us with useful resources such as training
Trainer of Trainers manuals, DVD’s, CD Rom and other useful publications on health,
environment, human rights, HIV/AIDS, advocacy etc. This enhanced our knowledge and
(F) Child Protection and Human Rights
RICO has been working with vulnerable groups in Busia since 2009 and recently started
working in child protection and human rights. Thus RICO carried out a survey to
establish the link between poverty and HIV. It is through this survey which targeted
PLWHAS that it was established that poor positive people face more stigma and
discrimination compared to those with an income. Last year RICO held a three day
experience sharing workshop with 100 ovcs. The children identified food, clothing,
inability to access medication and lack of basic school needs like uniform, books as their
main problems. These are all related to poverty at household level. In trying to access
these basic needs, children are often exploited and abused. In Busia for instance we have
dealt with cases of little girls who have given sexual favors in exchange for food, school
uniform and pens. As a result, the best project is therefore that which aims at reducing
poverty at household level by supporting target groups to improve their incomes.
Children affected by AIDS are also not able to accomplish their dreams in basic
education despite the free primary education programme. OVCs are often sent home due
to lack of school uniform, books and other unofficial payments required by schools.
Many end up dropping out all together. Other rights like food and clothing are still a
challenge while for some children shelter is a major challenge.
The rights of children that are not being accomplished are related to poverty. This is the
area that RICO should focus on. If bigger ovcs and caregivers including widows with
children are able to earn an income, they will be able to afford to take care of their
children in all aspects – food security, education, medical treatment and even improve on
their shelter and general quality of life.
(G) Community awareness meetings on human rights
This involved conducting a series of 4 meetings in the community and schools.
Participants were sensitized on human rights and actions to be taken if these are violated.
This was especially so in respect to child rights, PLWH, widows and property
inheritance. The community was sensitized on their responsibility in ensuring that their
rights are respected and what legal action they should take against those who violate their
rights. This activity was facilitated by the members of the legal fraternity including
human rights bodies and FIDA.