In Kenya, food consumption is outpacing food production which is set to widen further due to low productivity in the agricultural sector and rapid population growth. Although agriculture remains the main economic driver, unpredictable rainfall patterns and recurring droughts continually disrupt crop production, placing increased pressure of food security for many in arid and semi-arid regions which make up 80 percent of the country’s land area.
The most severe social and economic inequalities are prevalent in the arid north, which is highly underdeveloped and inundated by drought. Children who grow up in these food insecure households often lag behind others in terms of cognitive, emotional and physical development, also exacerbated by the net enrolment of children in primary education which remains well below 50 percent.
Our strategic goals are to transform the local schools into dynamic learning centers for sustainable land use; to implement permaculture techniques and scale up the permaculture-energy-education model, to benefit the local children and communities, increase food security and provide a mechanism to be financially sustainable.
So what exactly is permaculture?
While many people mistake it for a simple set of gardening techniques, it’s much more comprehensive. Designed and developed by two Australian’s named Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, this agricultural system focuses on the natural way of practicing agriculture and maintaining the ecological system.
This unique system is designed to improve the quality and productivity of society and the environment, all the while increasing food security through greater crop yields - turning our negative ecological impact into a positive. Once established it creates a closed loop system, where the waste of one element feeds another.
On the ground, Keystone are designing a community-based clean energy programme that provides energy through the creation of biogas. While helping to power the local school and combat energy poverty, it also produces nutrient rich fertilizer that is used in their permaculture farming methods.
So what are the benefits?
Using the natural components of the ecosystem, waste products are recycled back to earth in the form of compost and used as a natural fertiliser. This reduces the need for chemical intervention and allows the natural system to perform the functions that pesticides normally would. Most importantly, however, is that it can be applied to different agricultural systems that are already functioning, giving communities the means to give life and transform the surrounding barren landscape.
It has also brought about huge social benefits such as increasing the farmers’ self-reliance, who are now able to supplement and diversify their diet, and incentivize children to attend school with regular meals. Furthermore, it has strengthened the local communities and invigorated the local economy by providing an opportunity for many to sell their surplus crops.
Want to learn more about our permaculture programmes in Kenya? Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org