Since October 2021 Make Me Smile has been witnessing and supporting the growth of a beautiful project that literally started under a tree in form of a reproductive health talk session.
The small group of youths has grown to 30 active members that not only engage in promoting reproductive health awareness, but also focus on reforestation activities and sustainable agriculture as a form of self-employment.
Going beyond sustainability – the “Under The Tree” youth group sees the need for regeneration of existing ecosystems.
In the course of the Gender Equality Hike 2021, some of the members of the “Under The Tree” group joined the hike up to Nandi Rock, the highest point of Kisumu County. From up on the mountain they could see big parts of the county deforested which made them see the need to start planting trees and dive into sustainable agriculture practices. Only a couple of months later over 1000 trees have been planted and there are more to come.
Through the support of Make Me Smile two of the members of the youth group attended a 12-day Permaculture Design Course that was organized through the local NGO KCEP (Kipepeo Community Empowerment Programme) in cooperation with the german organization SONED-Brandenburg. Inspired by the knowledge they gained, they started implementing the Permaculture principles on a piece of land right next to the Craft Center that was provided to the group by Make Me Smile. The organic permaculture gardening techniques already bring a yield of vegetables that support the lunch project of the Craft Center and generate an additional income for the group through selling to the community.
As climate change champions, the young men and women also plan to advocate for climate change addressing environmental issues and possible conservation methods with the local authorities to foster behavioral changes on a bigger scale.
Permaculture is more than conventional agriculture
Permaculture can be understood as the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a more sustainable and self-sufficient way. Through learning from nature and its natural cycles inspiration is drawn to develop synergic and resilient farming systems based on crop diversity. Apart from that it is seen as a holistic way of designing all aspects of life.
In Permaculture lies a potential that our empowered youth is just starting to tap into. As self-reliant and independent key players in the community, the young men and women are motivated to put their hands into the earth for a better future.
There are many ideas and dreams that need your support to come true:
Vertical kitchen gardens, Introduction to Permaculture Courses for fellow youths, tree nurseries and greenhouses, establishment of grey water systems, compost toilets, native seed conservation through seed banks
and many more …