Enrollment Season in Kenya

Posted on November 11, 2010

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Here in Bungoma, the entire month of November feels like the first day of school. We’ve hired a bunch of new field officers, and promoted the stars to field managers and assistant field directors, and everyone is busy enrolling new farmers for the next planting season. We’re up to 30,000 farmers in Kenya and Rwanda, and after enrollment we’ll be at over 50,000 farmers. This time last year, we were working with 12,000 farmers–it’s cool to think about how much we have grown since I moved here a year ago.

It’s also cool to hear how happy our farmers are with their maize harvests–their main source of income for the year. On many of my field visits, farmers are telling me about kids that they are enrolling in secondary school in January, land they are planning to buy next year, and money they are saving up to purchase cows. It’s great to hear people plan for the future, and to feel so hopeful. Also, the political mood has taken a huge upswing. In August, Kenyans approved a new constitution, which should usher in important political changes. Already, people are being suspended from minister-level positions for suspected corruption, and the local news is showing footage of crackdowns on police for taking bribes (hiding place for the cash: under the car mat). How real this all is remains to be seen, but I prefer to be an optimist, at least for now.

Here are some photos from Kenya, including a circumcision ceremony in August (nothing graphic, I promise), and my Kenyan Halloween costume:

http://picasaweb.google.com/snhanson/Kenya02

And here are photos from bean planting on crazy steep hillsides in Rwanda:

http://picasaweb.google.com/snhanson/PlantingInRwanda

And here are photos from some reporting I did in Ghana on the oil industry–I went to Accra in September for an agriculture conference, and took a few days for freelancing:

http://picasaweb.google.com/snhanson/GhanaOilReporting

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Posted in: One Acre Fund