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In Their Own Words: The beneficiaries of the JNI-backed Gideon’s Empowerment Project The Gideon’s

The Gideon’s Empowerment Project is an ambitious project launched in Western Kenya with the aim of changing the fortunes of hundreds of poor farmers.

Previously, the farmers had been dependent on Gideon’s Orphanage, which receives aid from all over the world and has recently made some impressive steps towards self-sufficiency. The project aims to provide the knowledge and expertise for the farmers to never be dependent again.

It is a life-changing project and is now in its third iteration. The first cohort featured 100 farmers and it was a resounding success. The second cohort had 250 and the third has 500.

At JNI, we have backed the project all the way, and we are hoping and praying that it turns out the way we hope and expect.

The work of Kevin Omala

Kevin Omala is one of the field supervisors who was in charge of 25 of the most recent cohort of agricultural start-ups. His work was invaluable for the project and he shared his experience and insight with us:

“The GEDP acted as an eye opener to both the beneficiaries and the surrounding communities. This is because of the knowledge and interest gained during the exercise. The lives of the farmers and their households were so severe and could be explained from their conditions of stay. This was clearly confirmed from the data collected during the first stage of the project.

The hopeless families who thought that the life has come to an end show light at the middle of the exercise. At the initial stages, they could not understand what actually the project meant and how it could change their lives. As the activities were progressing, crops that were actually favoured by the good ecological conditions found within the localities and the farmers who had never seen such productions were really surprised and impressed by the condition. At the harvesting time, an unexpected harvest was realized whereby most of the farmers (80%) harvested twelve to sixteen 90kg bags of maize. This was never expected, and the farmers were surprised to see the vast harvest.

The families that could always go without food had more than expected to eat. Some of the farmers could now think in different economic lines for instance some targeted to buy some heard of goats and sheep from the maize harvested so that they could rear to assist them in their future days. Some farmers had a plan to sell some part of their harvest to enable them start other smaller businesses that indeed they believe could grow and change their lives. The lives of the beneficiaries actually changed out of this project that was started as a trial exercise. Sincerely Gideons empowerment Development Project was a life-changing project and thanks be to the pioneers, risk-takers and the wholehearted individuals who decided to sacrifice their resources in aid of the suffering souls.”

As for Kevin himself, his work was rewarded with a 5% cut of the harvest made by those start-ups he supervised. For Kevin, this was life-changing. He was able to plaster the walls of his house which, as he described, “had been in a poor muddy condition since the day it was built.”

The future of the GEP

The last couple of years have been a whirlwind and the fact that the GEP has even reached its third iteration is incredible.

Covid-19 as well as various other issues with the land, education, and weather have made the task a difficult one. However, the results have been well worth the pain as many farmers have been blown away by their newfound self-sufficiency.

Many families have gone from a ‘one-bag mentality’ to believing that every year can be a year of plenty and, crucially, a year of surplus.

Having surplus grain means the start-ups and families can invest further in themselves by purchasing cows, goats, chickens, or more seed.

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