Hivos’ Supervisory Council visited the East Africa region from 2 to 5 November 2016. The delegation, led and hosted by the Regional Director Mendi Njonjo, set out to experience the East Africa hub’s work first hand through field visits to its projects.
During their visit, they held meetings with Hivos East Africa’s partners and beneficiaries to gain insight into how fruitful relationships with the hub have impacted their lives.
The delegation made their first field visit to the Oserian flower farm in Naivasha, where they toured facilities from the health and baby care centres to the flower packing plant. Oserian farm is the largest rose grower in Africa and has been recognised widely for its role in providing workers with a living wage. The team discussed possible collaboration with Hivos’ Women@Work campaign to advocate for similar wages throughout Kenya’s horticultural sector.
In Limuru, the delegation visited a farmer who has installed a biogas plant on his homestead. The farmer told them how biogas has transformed his life since he started using it, “I used to cut trees from Kijabe forest and sell them to earn a living. I can confess that biogas has enabled me to become more environmentally responsible, and to date I have planted over 50 trees as replacement for the ones I cut,’’ he said. He sees the bio-slurry (a by-product of biogas used as fertiliser) as the biggest win in owning a biogas plant, “My wife uses the clean energy for cooking but bio-slurry has boosted my yields from 10 bags of maize to 20 bags annually,’’ he added.
Another stop was at Africa Uncensored, Kenya’s premier investigative journalism organisation, to witness the impact it is having on alternative journalism in the region. Together with director John Allan Namu, they discussed the challenges and opportunities in current Kenyan media spaces, and how the organisation seeks to shape investigative journalism in Africa. Africa Uncensored was previously supported by Hivos East Africa through the Kenya Media Programme.
At the Nest Collective, the delegation was inspired by how the company is revolutionising the art and creative scene in Kenya through the infusion of music, film, visual arts and fashion.
Finally, they met with advocates of transgender education and rights to gain insight into the hub’s support to sexual minorities in Kenya, and visited the flagship programme Making All Voices Count, jointly run by Ushahidi and IDS, to find out more about Hivos East Africa’s transparency and accountability efforts.
After their week of learning and inspiration in East Africa, Hivos’ Supervisory Council concluded that Hivos East Africa has not just been inspiring lives but transforming them to be pace setters in their own societies.