7 November 2022
Transforming Tsavo: powering sustainable growth
For over five years the Robert Walters Group has partnered with the Global Angels Foundation, supporting the Itinyi Valley community in Tsavo, Kenya.
As drought and the effects of climate change increasingly impact the community, our year-round support is making an impact every day to help the community build sustainable business and infrastructure projects.
We take a look at some of the key projects we have funded and delivered in our partnership with Global Angels and the local community in 2022.
Since January the project has focused on building staff accommodation at the Mkulima Information Centre. The word ‘mkulima’ translates to ‘farmer’ in Swahili and the Mkulima Centre is a community information centre that empowers farmers through the provision of information and advice to assist with the growth of the local agricultural community.
In response to the long drought, we've built a community water kiosk on the roadside edge of the Mkulima Centre to provide drinking water to local residents. Consisting of two 10,000 litre tanks to store water pumped in from the Taveta water supply, the stand allows families to fill their jerry cans at a cost of just 7 pence for 40 litres.
A local water company has inspected the kiosk and plans have been proposed to work alongside Global Angels to help provide water to local residents. The Global Angels team are now in the process of purchasing a piece of land below their farm to build a second kiosk for the community with the funds raised by our Robert Walters Group Walks to Kenya fundraiser.
Renovations on the Mkulima mill, teaching center and grain storage building have been conducted, while extensive trenches have been dug for drainage to protect the Mkulima buildings from flooding. Work has been done to pull down old buildings on the property, using the old brickworks as hardcore for the Mkulima accommodation, new goat building and road at the Global Angels Farm. We have upgraded the abattoir and poultry buildings to support opening a Global Angels Farm Shop as well as training for locals.
We have also been building security guard staff housing for the security of mill buildings and getting Government accreditation for the mill so that grain produce can be sold, which is expected to be completed within the next six months. Essential equipment has also been bought, including an industrial mill vacuum cleaner, generators, freezers, aquaponics and hydroponics equipment.
With the drought continuing, Global Angels are exploring new ways to help the farm project become sustainable by upgrading infrastructure ready for the next rains and studying and experimenting with new farming methods for poultry.
Training and upskilling
People in the local community have been provided with essential training and qualifications such as a three year course on Community Development for one of the residents of Tsavo, Lydia. Lydia’s training allows her to work alongside the Global Angels team by connecting with the community and engaging local women for work. Other residents are receiving training and qualifications on mill management and are receiving paid salaries for poultry and farm management.
The team have also connected with Local Government Extension Officers who will join the Global Angels community teaching programme. This free teaching programme is offered to local farmers and allows them to develop skills to manage the mill and farm produce on the Global Angels farm. The weather conditions in Kenya are so arduous that the farm functions as a ‘trial and error’ space for how to successfully grow crops. This allows local farmers to end the cycle of saving up for months or years to buy seeds/crops only to fail at growing them due to lack of knowledge on how to harvest.
With a recently bought incubator, around 100 indigenous chicks are now hatching weekly with a future goal of having 1,000 indigenous birds alongside 1,000 birds to be raised for meat production. The team has also been experimenting with growing feed for the poultry, such as insects grown in waste food products from the farm, and barley grass grown in large quantities from germinating barley grains - one kilogram of barley provides seven kilograms of barley grass in just seven days.
The team has also completed the first stage of an enlargement to the free-range area using ‘live’ fence posts, trenches to capture and store water and with trees and ground cover added to provide more natural food for the poultry. Experimenting with regenerative farming techniques, Global Angels and the community have also developed a small vermiculture farm which turns plant material into fertile compost and nutrient-rich plant feed.
“We’re really passionate about coming alongside the people here in this community, and helping lift them out of poverty” says Molly Bedingfield, Founder of Global Angels. “To do that, we need to be here long-term and build a really solid project that is a model that can be replicated right across the valley.”
The Robert Walters Group is committed to playing an active role in transforming Tsavo — not only by raising funds for key projects like the ones above, but also by putting ‘boots on the ground’ in Kenya and helping ourselves. Each year, we send eight volunteers to Tsavo to work with the Itinyi Valley community, building critical pieces of infrastructure to support sustainable farming and provide access to clean drinking water. You can read more of their stories here.