FOOD SECURITY & HYDROPONICS
In 2019 we embarked on a Hydroponics Urban Farm pilot project to test the feasibility of:
creating a Safe Spaces Urban “Commercial” Farm that could provide vocational trainingfor our Peer Educators, help fund Safe Spaces’ programs and serve as a center of expertise in nutrition and urban farming.
developing women-owned micro-businesses in urban farming in order to put nutritious food economically within reach of low-income families and to develop women’s entrepreneurship skills. These are now being organized into a “Community” Farm.
15 Safe Spaces Peer Educators are gaining financial training, agribusiness expertise, work experience, and recognition as leaders in their community.
72 Mathare women (mothers of Safe Spaces girls) are improving the food security and lowering the stress of their families (about 350 people). The women are acquiring assets and the knowledge to manage them, thus increasing their independence and influence.
Food access: Fresh vegetables in the slums are adding to the nutrition and health of more than 200 developing children.
Accomplishments and Status
Fifteen Safe Spaces Peer Educators and 72 mothers of Safe Spaces girls successfully completed courses and earned certificates in December. The workshops provide the farming, business and financial knowledge needed to build and run an urban farm business. The Peer educators were also trained in how to support the women Micro-entrepreneurs.
In 2020 gardens were moved from individual households to St Brigit school. 50 new circular garden installations for the school and 250 new installations for the farms were completed. The school grounds provide a secure environment and space for both a community farm and a Safe Spaces Farm. Grouping the gardens also allows for more comprehensive water solutions, sharing of farming tasks, teaching and learning opportunities, and social interaction. It has also
benefited the school with food for its programs.
Safe Spaces is working with several partners – Hydroponics Africa, Climate Circle, Trinity Credit – to evaluate the lessons learned from the pilot so far and create sustainable business plans and markets for both Safe Spaces Urban Farm and the micro-farms in the Community Farm. They are being supported in this effort by Open Capital.
Safe Spaces Director, Peninah Musymi, summed up progress so far: “I am so happy to see such a great impact in the community that this project has had! The Peer Educators and the women entrepreneurs have already taken responsibility and are growing into community leaders. This is already affecting families’ nutrition and bringing hope that they can create their own futures”.