Food security child champion helps community tackle drought challenge
By Sarah Ooko, World Vision Senior Communications & Media Officer, Kenya
Eleven-year-old Anita is a food security champion in her village situated in Narok County, Kenya.
She has been leading on the front by growing a wide variety of crops on her family's kitchen garden while also inspiring other children to do the same. They do this during their free time, under the supervision of their parents, when they are not in school.
Anita’s home is situated in an arid area that is frequently affected by food shortages during dry seasons.
This challenge motivated her to embrace farming, after learning about effective agricultural practices from her dad, who was trained by World Vision on climate-smart agriculture.
"I began farming because I wanted to help my parents grow a variety of crops which we could eat, sell and also store for use during the dry season when people often lack enough food in my village," says Anita.
"I usually go to the farm each morning, during the school holidays. When we go back to school, I do some work in the evening and over the weekends after studying," she adds.
At school, Anita enjoys learning about agriculture. This has increased her knowledge on best farming practices such as intercropping, mulching, use of animal manure and crop diversity that she applies on her kitchen garden back home. She also shares the information with her parents.
"Instead of maize only, we now grow bananas, sugarcane and fruits such as apples and mangoes. We also have vegetables and sweet potatoes that provide us with different types of food. So, even if the maize does not do well, we will not sleep hungry because we have alternatives. My parents will also continue to get income from the other food crops," she says with a beaming smile.
Anita is also happy that the increased crop diversity has helped to improve the nutrition status of her family.
"I learnt in school that a balanced diet is important because it keeps us healthy and protects us from diseases, by boosting our immunity. Since we grow many food crops, we are able to get carbohydrates, vitamins and proteins in our diet. I also help my parents to take good care of our cows at home, which give us manure for fertilising the soil as well as meat and milk that is good for our diet," she says.
Anita has gone ahead to influence her fellow siblings as well as other children in her community on the importance of embracing farming so as to help their families boost household food security and income levels.
"I remind children that even though we are young, we can still make a difference and improve our lives, as well as the lives of our family and community at large."