FAQs – Isaiah 58: Project Kenya

 

Why Does LWR Focus on Agriculture?

  • One in eight people in the world, more than 840 million people go hungry every day.
  • By 2050, the world will need to increase its food production by as much as 50 percent to feed 9 billion people. To do this, the international community must devote attention and resources to agricultural development and research, including a global push to close the “gender gap.” While increasing production, the world must also protect and sustain natural resources, taking specific measures to adapt to changing climatic conditions.
  • Smallholder producers grow four-fifths of the food in developing countries.
  • Agriculture not only suffers the impacts of climate change, it is also responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. While agricultural practices in more developed countries contribute to a significant portion of these emissions, the FAO estimates that 70 percent of the mitigation potential could actually be realized in developing countries.
  • Societies with greater gender equity experience greater agricultural productivity and improved food security. (1) Yet a persistent gender gap remains in most of the countries where LWR works. If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent, which in turn could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent, up to 150 million people.(2)
  • Improved access to food can be achieved by increasing and diversifying household food production, increasing household income and consumption, and reducing the cost of obtaining food.
  • For households whose livelihoods are based entirely, or in part, on agriculture, limited access to land, water and other natural resources is often a leading cause of poverty. In addition, women-headed households are often those most affected by insecure or insufficient access to key natural resources.

 

Why are we working in Kenya?

Hunger is real in Kenya. 1.1 million people are living in extreme food insecurity, without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Rainfall is low and uneven, leaving communities struggling with ongoing extreme drought conditions. These conditions leave the land dusty and dry, vegetation brown and dehydrated. Farming is extremely difficult in these areas, and yet, farmers depend on agriculture to feed and support their families.

Water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene is equally scarce, leaving families sick and children unable to attend school, compounding the cycle of poverty.

 

What are we doing in Kenya?

Building off the success Lutheran World Relief has had with other communities in this region we will be providing training, education and new technology to help the people of Kenya increase their food security, income and ability to not just survive, but to thrive.

Farmers will be able to irrigate their fields after constructing systems like sand dams and planting trees to trap water during the rainy season. Solar energy will help farmers pump this water into their fields. Communities will learn to conserve and manage this water allowing them to grow food year round.

Farmers will learn to diversify their crops with vegetables like eggplant, peppers, kale, okra, and potatoes so that children are being nourished with a nutritious diet.

Local leaders will gain skills to troubleshot farm-level problems and provide technical advice, market information, and more to the community.

And our congregation will be holding these communities in prayer, celebrating their successes with them, learning about and learning from fellow children of God around the world. We will grow together in what it means to serve our neighbor, to love one another as Jesus loves us, to be good stewards of our resources—not only money, but also our abilities, our relationships, and God’s creation!

 

Who will we be working with in Kenya?

Lutheran World Relief — which has been working around the world since 1945 to bring an end to poverty, injustice and human suffering – is our partner in this work. With LWR we will work with local partners in Kenya to make this project a reality. That means change comes from within and community ties are strengthened.

The people of Kenya and their communities are our partners in this work. We currently estimate that we will be working with more than 6,000 farmers and their families throughout the life of this project, totaling more than 30,000 people. These families are not simply recipients of our charity but participants with us in this important work of strengthening their communities.

We are working with other LCMS congregations throughout the United States to make this project a reality. LWR is partnering with large congregations like ours in this innovative approach to putting faith into action around the world. Throughout this process we will learn from one another and celebrate with each other as fellow Lutherans and sisters and brothers in Christ!

Our congregation will also be working with our partners in Jesus to Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday (J2e3) to support the spiritual needs of these communities.

 

When are we working with the communities of Kenya?

This partnership will be continually developing over the next three years. In these four years we will see how these communities grow in their ability to produce abundant and sustainable food, overcome food insecurity and provide children and families the nourishment they need to thrive. In these three years we will grow as stewards of God’s good creation, as global disciples and in our love and understanding of God’s world!