Parents of children sponsored through Unbound's program in Meru, Kenya, take part in conservation agriculture training.
Dec 16 2015

Unearthing potential

Families get more out of Unbound’s sponsorship program than just consumable benefits.

While helping parents send their children to school builds toward the future, parents also need reliable ways to support their families now.

Through workshops and livelihood training, Unbound helps parents unlock their own talents and potential.

In Meru, Kenya, many families served through the Unbound program rely on farming to earn a living. But despite their hard work, the traditional, local farming methods they use yield unsatisfactory results.

When the mothers groups requested livelihood training, the Meru staff took their agricultural background into account. They suggested intensive training in conservation agriculture, a new type of farming methodology that would build on skills and resources the parents already had.

Thirty parents took part in the first training, though some were skeptical when first approached with the idea of a new way to farm.

“Conservation agriculture mainly emphasizes proper spacing and soil protection to ensure sustainable use,” said Marius Wanjiku, the Meru program coordinator. “The families felt that the spacing would mean they would plant less.

“Most of them promised to try it on a portion of their farms and continue with the old methods [on the rest]. After the first harvest, [they] now plan on practicing conservation agriculture on their entire land.”

Evangeline, mother of a child sponsored in Kenya, practices conservation agriculture on a portion of her land.

Evangeline, mother of a child sponsored in Kenya, practices conservation agriculture on a portion of her land.

Evangeline is a mother of five children, two of whom are sponsored through Unbound, and is one of the parents who took part in the training. She decided to try conservation agriculture on three-quarters of her land.

“What I have learned is unimaginable,” Evangeline said. “I have learned a lot of things; for example, land preparations, weed control, crop rotation, spacing and soil conservation. … The training has already made a notable change.

“Unbound has empowered many families, including me, with knowledge that has really helped us to develop our own capacity for personal and economic growth.”

The parents trained in conservation agriculture are also creating a larger impact in their communities.

“The families that received the training later passed it on to other community members,” Wanjiku said. “This means that eventually the entire community can become empowered through conservation agriculture. The families therefore became agents of positive change.”

Donations to Microfunding help parents develop creative, practical ideas aimed at generating income in their communities.

Jordan Kimbrell

Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor
Jordan joined the Unbound family in 2011, just a few weeks after completing her masters in English: Creative Writing from Kansas State University. Jordan is constantly inspired by the hope and creativity displayed by the sponsored members and their families and loves being able to share their stories with the rest of the world.

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