Joe Heritage, Director of Uhuru Child, selling lettuce produce in Nairobi.
This example was contributed by Cara Smith through a World Health Organization (WHO) Health Promotion Internship (summer 2012).
Uhuru Child is an organization which began in 2009 to aid people in Jikaze, Kenya by creating a sustainable resettlement village for the 145 families living there. These families had to leave their homes due to post-election violence in 2008. When Uhuru Child began, everyone in the village was living in tents. The organization started by helping the villagers build permanent dirt houses and installing a borehole well for a reliable water source. After these projects were completed, the organization sat down with community members to decide what projects to tackle next, and decided the biggest needs were employment for the parents and education for the children. They set out to find a way to solve both of these problems together. As Joe Heritage, the local director of Uhuru Child, said, the goal was to provide “employment for the parent and education for the child.” Their solution was a decision to develop a farm. By farming, the adults of Jikaze could have steady employment and a cut of the profits could be set aside to pay for the children’s secondary school fees. Currently, the farm includes 5 greenhouses and a chicken house and grows lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers.
DECIDE WHETHER THE ORGANIZATION OR EFFORT NEEDS TO BE SUSTAINED AND FOR HOW LONG:
While the startup costs of the project came from grant funding, the goal is for the farm to be self-sustaining within two years. This way the Uhuru Child farm can remain as an income-generating activity for the people of Jikaze for many years, providing stable employment for the workers with no foreseeable end date. Uhuru Child felt that operating the farm as a self-sustaining project would provide more certainty for sufficient funding than reapplying for grants every few years, as many grant giving institutions do not like to provide endless funds. Additionally, the Uhuru Child leaders feel that the level of support to maintain the farm is very high for two primary reasons: 1) the idea and planning process was generated in part by the community members themselves and, 2) jobs are scarce and people are thankful for this employment opportunity. Thus, a plan for sustainability was created.
CLARIFY THE GOALS AND CONTEXT FOR SUSTAINING THE EFFORT.
The farm is already well down the path to sustainability. Enough money is generated to provide fair wages for 11 workers and subsidize the secondary school fees for their children. However, the goal is to expand, adding more greenhouses as well as diversifying into pig farming, in order to employ more people from Jikaze. To do that, Uhuru Child’s major funder, the Polish Embassy in Kenya, will provide additional financial support. Also, even once the farm is completely self-sustaining, continued support will still be necessary for Uhuru Child’s other efforts, including the startup of a local high school as well as the salaries of the two local Uhuru Child employees. One potential obstacle to sustainability includes changes in the market for the vegetables grown and other products of the farm, but diversification of crops should help mitigate this potential problem. Another potential obstacle to sustainability includes the possibility of severe weather. The weather in Jikaze can be very fierce; already one of the Uhuru Child greenhouses has needed to be repaired after it was knocked down by wind. Public awareness about Uhuru Child is steadily increasing. Several school and volunteer groups have traveled to Jikaze from the United States to help for short periods of time. There is also an effort being put in place to have Uhuru Child ambassadors in American schools in order to increase public awareness and support. The goal is to have “campaigners” in 500 universities and high schools within four years.
CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN TO ANTICIPATE WHAT RESOURCES WILL BE NECESSARY TO SUSTAIN THE ORGANIZATION OR EFFORT.
The products of the Uhuru Child farm are literally the lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers and chickens grown there. For example once they reach their current capacity, the farm is expected to make $200,000 each year from their lettuce harvest. Lettuce in particular was selected as a crop because it is fairly new to Kenya. Kenyans do not traditionally eat lettuce, and few farms grow it. However, the number of Western-style restaurants in the country is increasing rapidly, and they are creating a demand for the vegetable. Currently, Uhuru Child sells their lettuce yield to a restaurant in Gigiri called Zucchini. Lettuce, as do tomatoes and peppers, does well in the soil of the Rift Valley where Jikaze is located. There is competition from other growers, but the demand is high enough to keep buying prices decent. Uhuru Child currently sells all their produce to restaurants in the area, which have given the organization a good reputation as a trustworthy and respected producer.
IDENTIFY SPECIFIC TACTICS TO BE TO SUSTAIN THE EFFORT. WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY TACTICS YOUR ORGANIZATION WILL BE USE TO SUSTAIN ITS EFFORTS?
While grant funding has been the major source of resources for Uhuru Child during its first four years, applying and reapplying for grants is a time-costly and uncertain method. That is why the farm and other Uhuru Child efforts have been started to generate funds. Another endeavor being planned for the future is to have women from Jikaze make sanitary pads. This would serve as another employment opportunity for the villagers in addition to meeting a local need. Having the two local Uhuru Child employees provide leadership and guidance for all the Uhuru Child projects also saves costs, as separate individuals are not required to manage each effort. Further, there is a significant amount of funding generated from donors. Hundreds of fundraisers are conducted each year, and both recurring and one-time donations are also accepted on the Uhuru Child website.
DEVELOP A MARKETING PLAN TO SECURE RESOURCES FOR THE ORGANIZATION OR EFFORT. INDICATE HOW YOU WILL USE THE “4Ps” OF MARKETING IN IMPLEMENTING YOUR PLAN, INCLUDING:
While not much marketing has been done to support the farm project specifically, the Uhuru Child organization has done extensive work marketing itself and its mission, as can be seen on their website.
OUTLINE A SPECIFIC ACTION PLAN FOR SUSTAINING THE ORGANIZATION OR EFFORT. FOR EACH SUSTAINABILITY TACTIC YOU WILL USE (E.G., OBTAIN GRANT FUNDING), DEVELOP A SPECIFIC ACTION PLAN.
Here is a sample action plan for the Uhuru Child’s tactic of making the farm a fund-generating activity:
What activities will be carried out:
- More greenhouses will be built, and more land will be prepared for farming.
Who will do it:
- The current farm workers will conduct these activities with the guidance of the Uhuru Child leadership.
By when will the activity be completed, or for how long will it be maintained:
- The farm expansion will be completed within one year.
Resources that will be needed to complete it:
- Additional funding will be necessary. The Polish Embassy has agreed to provide these funds.
Communication – who should know what about this:
- All Uhuru Child stakeholders should be aware of this plan. These stakeholders include the people of Jikaze, the volunteers, the ambassadors, campaigners, and other supporters in the United States and abroad.
Uhuru Child Director Joe Heritage with volunteers Cara Smith and Ithar Hassaballa, and community members of
the Jikaze Internally Displaced Persons Camp
- Uhuru Child (Joe Heritage)
- The community of Jikaze
- WHO office in Nairobi, Kenya