Chalice built the eRoots initiative to empower the families and communities of our sponsored children in Africa. Working with small Community Development Groups (CDGs), the eRoots Programme provides resources, education, training and formation so they can grow their own food and develop sustainable agri-businesses. eRoots provides the structure, oversight and accountability required to ensure farmers move toward independence.
In 2013 we assisted four eRoots sites that oversee 65 CDGs in Kenya. This means more than 9,600 people have made the move toward self-reliance.
Organic farming has been incorporated into most of the agricultural production throughout the eRoots Program. The most preferred technique by the community is mulching and the use of organic manure. Most community members are also practicing other cultural methods like crop rotation, double digging and permaculture in their farms.
Four sites - Mercy Care, Tumaini, Kooje (Meru) and Mikinduri introduced superior breeds of Toggenburg goats to upgrade the local stock for increased milk production at the household level. Increased dairy farming has been recorded among the group members across all sites.
The poultry project at Guawa group in Baraka Site is a true success. Each homestead that entered the project with a single chicken has increased their numbers and now the total population is about 730 birds. Families benefit from selling eggs and hens.
Due to the unpredictable rainfall pattern and prolonged drought experienced in most of the sites, the use of water harvesting and micro irrigation is helping farmers turn their lives around. In the Mercy Care Site, a hand pump and a drip irrigation kit was installed for vegetable farming. The Tumaini Site embarked on a project of assisting 350 families by providing water tanks to harvest rainwater (to date 90 families have benefited) and the Baraka Site successfully installed gutters for harvesting rainwater in collection tanks for drip irrigation and to support greenhouse farming for the groups and the community at large.
The eRoots Program also supported 28 households most affected by water shortage from 10 groups in Meru (Kooje) with tanks to collect water in their homes for domestic use and for watering their kitchen gardens.
School Projects and Community Resources
Local eRoots Managers engaged with schools of Chalice sponsored children to establish demonstration plots. The goal of these plots is to teach practical agri-business skills that children and parents are able to use at home and most importantly, to support school feeding programs.
All the groups' parents and the community hold monthly meetings to carry out savings and loan activities in the groups. Other meetings are usually held in the resource centres to discuss various eRoots Programme agendas.
Monthly follow-up visits to groups and individual farms to monitor crop and livestock performance, as well as overall group performance in the microfinance scheme, have continued across the sites. This has been done both by the site staff and the Regional Office.
One of the most exciting developments of the eRoots Program is the creation of commodity groups. These economic empowerment groups come from the same geographical area with a common interest to grow and prosper. The opportunities of these groups are exponential: farmers can learn about marketing systems, marketing linkages and improving yields and since they can access credit from their microfinance groups, they are able to expand their scale of production for subsequent marketing. This is already happening in Saidia Site, where economic empowerment groups have come together and are now involved in agro-based enterprises.
Population: Over 44 million
Age of Population: 73% of the population is below age 30
Currency: Kenyan Shilling
Time Zone: EAT (UTC+3)
Language: Kiswahili and English
Entertainment: Has an extensive music, television and theatre scene
Independence Day from Great Britain: December 12, 1963
Size Comparison: Roughly half the size of Ontario
Capital City: Nairobi (home of one of the world's largest slums-Kibera)
Volcanoes: over 20 volcanoes; last eruption was in 1921
Home Of: David Rudisha, 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Runner
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Sponsor with Chalice today, and see the difference $37 a month can make in a child's life.