The post-election violence that rocked Kenya in 2007/2008 left hundreds of thousands displaced in various parts of the country. Four years later, UN Volunteer Eric Oyuyo knows just how arduous the journey to recovery has been for the many that were displaced in and to Kisumu.
Eric serves in the lake city as the coordinator for UNDP’s Post Election Violence Livelihood Recovery project with the Disaster Risk Reduction unit. Over the last three years, his work has involved working with the IDPs through government ministries and institutions to help them recover their livelihoods and move on from the PEV losses.
“People think that there were no IDPs in Kisumu…there actually were very many of them, in addition to all the ones who were displaced from other towns and came back to settle here,” Eric explains as he talks about the many beneficiaries of this project.
One of the groups that Eric has supported is the GREDCO self help group, an IDP group based in Muhoroni District of Kisumu County.
The group comprises 15 members who were displaced during election violence in 2002 and 2007, mostly from the Rift Valley region, and who have integrated and settled in their community back in Muhoroni, Mutwala area.
The group involves youth who after the violence opted not to go back to where they used to work but rather settle back home and find alternative means to meet their livelihoods needs. Given the food need in the area horticulture farming mainly planting kales became handy as a starting point to meet their household food requirement and earn income to meet other family needs. The initial target market was traders from the local market in Muhoroni town.
In August 2011, the project organized for a business management skills training for IDPs in Muhoroni and members of the group were identified as part of the participants for the training. From the training ,which covered among other topics marketing, record keeping and resource mobilization, the group got their business skills improved which they put into practice after the training.
The group has been able to source for other markets for kales which included two secondary schools within Muhoroni town, which gave them contracts to supply the schools with vegetables. Because of the training, the group also appreciated the need to diversify their products to include watermelon and butternuts, the latest project being local poultry keeping which they have just initiated. Currently the group has ½ acre of kales soon to be harvested, 1 acre of water melon ½ acre of butter nuts and 27 local chicken almost starting to lay.
Because of the group’s hard work and impressive progress, the project has since granted their request for and provided them with a water pump which they are using to irrigate their farms. This will enable them produce vegetable and other crops all year round hence being in business throughout the year. The group has started a revolving fund scheme, with the project, through the Ministry of Trade granting them a seed capital of Ksh.60,000. Members are able to borrow from this fund up to a maximum of Ksh.10,000 and use the money strictly to finance their individual businesses. Some members have initiated their individual farms; this is the ripple effect of the group horticulture project.
On average the group is making a net income of Ksh.15,000 from the sale of kales and butternuts. This is expected to increase with the coming in of water melon and poultry. With the constant follow-up from the Field coordinator and other partners in the project the group is set to be the food basket of Mutwala village in Muhoroni District of Kisumu County.
For Eric, this one group is a prime example of the reason why his volunteering matters!
Photo © UNV GREDCO Chairperson (in white cap) shaking hands with Muhoroni District Officer as he appreciates a gift of water pump for irrigation from PEV-Livelihood Recovery Project. Handing over the pump is Erick Oyuyo (in brown shirt) the UNDP/UNV Field coordinator of the project.