Sustainable Global Gardens has a distinct approach to the problems of development in rural East Africa. We believe in:
A participatory approach to development. We wish to support local communities, not individuals & their immediate families, and we begin by asking them what type of projects they wish to implement. As there are diverse needs it is inevitable that SGG has become a partner in a wide range of projects
Projects which can directly reduce poverty and hunger. As 80% plus of the rural population South of the Sahara have a livelihood based on farming, our prime interest is helping improve small-scale farming
As SGG is a small charity, we look to promote low cost improvements & appropriate technology to as wide an audience as possible
A moneymaker pump & the pipes needed for effective use will cost about £100. A shallow well of 25m depth will cost perhaps £2000. The photo on the left shows a much cheaper drip irrigation system. Here a plastic bottle has had the bottom cut off. It has then been pushed into the ground next to a young Grevillea robusta seedling and had the bottle cap half unscrewed so that water is released slowly. The bottle is then filled every 4 days, so that it provides sufficient water for the seedling to continue growing through the seasonal drought. Which system is the most effective?
Sometimes it is a new crop, which we promote, rather than a new technique. Here [see right] members of the Omufa enjoy produce grown following SGG’s promotion of tissue-culture bananas in Busia. Sometimes community groups require a small addition of capital to start a new income-generation project, so in 2009 SGG initiated a table-banking project for member groups in Maendeleo Mashinani Organisation
SGG’s first technical innovation in 2007 was the moneymaker footpump, being used here by Khabondi Youth Group to grow sukumawiki for the Busia market. This footpump allowed Khabondi Youth to grow sukumawiki in the dry season when market prices are quadrupled. This meant a great increase in Khabondi’s income, far greater than the initial cost of the moneymaker pump. More recently SGG has funded wells, partly for domestic use but also for microirrigation of horticultural crops.
Kenyan farmers know that rainwater is essential for good harvests, but there is generally a lack of understanding concerning the need to maintain soil fertility. This is a wormery at Matayos near Busia. It is producing high-quality compost at low cost. Such vermicomposting is an appropriate technique SGG wishes to promote for small-scale farming.
Many community groups we meet focus immediately on their need for more money. We think this is the wrong approach. Our experience suggests that “a change of attitude” is the way forward - a realisation among African farmers that using their own energy & resources is a more sustainable basis for progress than waiting for external aid to come along.
After 5 years of development project experience it was decided that SGG should focus primarily on those projects which had most success. This includes tree-planting, promotion of horticulture, organic farming techniques especially composting, and table-banking.
If your community group wishes to work in partnership with Sustainable Global Gardens on any of the above themes, you can contact Paul Keeley. See ‘Contact Us’ for details