Makesh* grew up in Meru County in central Kenya. Her family farmed under the shade of Mt. Kenya, a sacred mountain revered by local tribes. For generations, Makesh’s ancestors have prayed for rain and fertile lands. Her parents, peasant farmers, worked their small family farm for income and sustenance.
While there wasn’t much money, she has fond memories of her childhood, and her parents worked hard to ensure both Makesh and her siblings obtained an education.
*not her real name
When Makesh completed high school, she recognised that her community would benefit from learning modern farming methods. However, farming is not respected, and many in her community attempted to discourage Makesh. Nevertheless, she remained committed to her passion and completed a diploma in general agriculture.
Today, Makesh is the Technical Supervisor for the Growing Strong Project. She advises the dairy on working effectively and efficiently, trains the local community on sustainable urban farming methods and advocates for agricultural empowerment within the community around Embulbul. Makesh’s greatest joy is witnessing the small-scale agricultural ventures appearing in homes within the community. These endeavours improve family nutrition and provide economic empowerment for families, particularly for women who sell excess produce at local markets. Makesh is also proud of the improvements to her family farm. She has taught her parents about crop diversification, pest management and producing organic manure leading to improved harvests.