cardinal-john-njue-launches-milky-project

Cardinal Njue Launches Milky Project

During the 3rd Caritas Nairobi Annual Farmers’ Day, the Archbishop of Nairobi His Eminence John Cardinal Njue officially launched the Milky Project aimed at the development of sustainable dairy chain.

The project which targets 2, 000 farmers has been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), will be implemented in partnership with Caritas Italiana, Celim Non-Governmental Organisation and Caritas Nairobi. Milky Project will be implemented over a duration of three years in 4 sub counties in Kiambu County.

In line with the Kiambu County Dairy Strategic plan of promoting sustainable economic growth, the Milky Project seeks to assist farmer improve the quality and volume of milk produced, process and market the milk and enhance the conservation and transformation capabilities of Limuru Archdiocesan Farm.

Speaking during the launch, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue said, “The Church recognizes that agriculture plays a critical role in the development of our people and more so dairy farming, by empowering our farmer’s dignity. Therefore, the Archdiocese of Nairobi will ensure that the implementation of the Milky Project is successful as the project will also make an important contribution towards the realization of food security, a main component of the country’s Big Four Agenda.” 

The Archdiocese of Nairobi Day is a knowledge exchange activity which brings farmers together to share their farming experiences and learn about new developments on agricultural practices. This years’ event under the theme “Sustainable Dairy Value Chain Development” was attended by over 1, 300 farmers from different parts of Kiambu county.

Kiambu County is among the highest milk producers in central Kenya given its higher population of dairy cows compared to other areas in central Kenya. Dairy farming is an integral contributor to the country’s economy as it accounts 14% of the Agricultural GDP.

During the 3rd Caritas Nairobi Annual Farmers’ Day, the Archbishop of Nairobi His Eminence John Cardinal Njue officially launched the Milky Project aimed at the development of sustainable dairy chain.

The project which targets 2, 000 farmers has been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), will be implemented in partnership with Caritas Italiana, Celim Non-Governmental Organisation and Caritas Nairobi. Milky Project will be implemented over a duration of three years in 4 sub counties in Kiambu County.

In line with the Kiambu County Dairy Strategic plan of promoting sustainable economic growth, the Milky Project seeks to assist farmer improve the quality and volume of milk produced, process and market the milk and enhance the conservation and transformation capabilities of Limuru Archdiocesan Farm.

Speaking during the launch, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue said, “The Church recognizes that agriculture plays a critical role in the development of our people and more so dairy farming, by empowering our farmer’s dignity. Therefore, the Archdiocese of Nairobi will ensure that the implementation of the Milky Project is successful as the project will also make an important contribution towards the realization of food security, a main component of the country’s Big Four Agenda.” 

The Archdiocese of Nairobi Day is a knowledge exchange activity which brings farmers together to share their farming experiences and learn about new developments on agricultural practices. This years’ event under the theme “Sustainable Dairy Value Chain Development” was attended by over 1, 300 farmers from different parts of Kiambu county.

Kiambu County is among the highest milk producers in central Kenya given its higher population of dairy cows compared to other areas in central Kenya. Dairy farming is an integral contributor to the country’s economy as it accounts 14% of the Agricultural GDP.

jane-nimi-agriculture-programme-caritas-nairobi

Jane Nimi: “I Have Something to Call My Own”

Jane Nimi, 40 years, is one person full of life and she has a vision, that of bettering her life. She paints a very vivid picture of a business idea she hopes to bring to life in future. But perhaps what captures my attention is the articulation of the business idea given that Nimi is a class four drop out. I cannot help but wonder, what if she had the opportunity to finish school and attend university? Well that’s for another day.

Nonetheless, about a month ago, Jane Nimi attended a family gathering and was offered an alcoholic drink but she turned it down. Some relatives made fun of her and while at it dared her to carry the drink home which she did. Two week later, the drink was still intact.

By now, you probably are wondering why this story matters. Well, for Nimi turning down an alcoholic drink is a major achievement, she is recovering from alcohol addiction. “It is six months since I stopped consuming alcohol. The journey has been difficult because addiction is an illness,” says Nimi.

For Caritas Nairobi this story matters because it is one about empowerment, transformation and self-reliance. Nimi is a beneficiary of the Agriculture Programme Heifer Exchange Project in Gituamba, Gatundu North. At the time of Nimi’s recruitment into the project in 2016, she was an alcoholic.

Lack of a reliable means to cater for her family needs drove Nimi to alcoholism as a coping mechanism. “Sometimes, a day would pass without having made money from casual work. On lucky days, the most I made was Ksh.300,”says the single mother of 7. One of her children is physically challenged.

More often than not, she has turned to her siblings and old parents for assistance, “My parents live nearby and have really been supportive,” she says adding that having to depend on her parents at an advanced age is somewhat demeaning.
The Heifer Exchange Prorgamme was rolled out in 2012. Under this programme farmers are given heifers on a loan basis which is payable in three years once a farmer starts earning from the cow. Since its launch, the project has enabled low-income households access high yielding cows which were beyond their reach. These families have been able to generate income from milk sales.

For Nimi the story is not any different, she sells 10 litres of milk on average per day at Ksh. 37. “I am assured of an income every day and at least I do not have to rely on handouts for survival. I have something to call my own,” she says adding that it is through the project that she got encouraged to stop taking alcohol.

Nimi learnt about the Heifer Exchange Programme through her local parish. Caritas Nairobi works with Parishes to mobilise and identify beneficiaries. The essence of this project is to reach out to many farmers therefore project beneficiaries commit to passing on the first heifer calved to a new beneficiary in the project. To encourage this, once a farmer passes on the heifer, the loan is halved.

Nimi’s testimony represents other farmers who have received heifers and are making an extra shilling. Beneficiaries have also received training on live stock keeping and fodder management. Nimi who received a Self-Determination award during the 2017 Caritas Nairobi Annual Dinner, plans to better her dairy farming techniques to boost milk production.

“Share the Journey” Embracing Immigrants

In solidarity with immigrants and refugees who flee their countries mainly due to civil war, Pope Francis last year launched a global solidarity campaign ‘Share the Journey’ aimed at enhancing cohesion and peaceful coexistence between migrants and communities.

Speaking during the launch at St. Peter Square, Rome, Pope Francis said that combating the indifferences in the world today means seeing through the eyes of others rather than turning a blind eye. “Not just to see but to look. Not just to hear but to listen. Not just to meet and pass by but t stop. And don’t just say what a shame, poor people, but allow ourselves to be moved by pity.” Pope Francis said. ‘Share the Journey’ campaign will be coordinated by Caritas Internationalis with other Caritas agencies implementing the same in their respective countries.

As such, Caritas Nairobi through the Urban Refugee Programme has since 2013 been working closely with refugees, empowering them to be self sufficient. The programme mainly targets youth, women and young mothers and so far the project has supported over 1, 000 refugees.  Additionally, Caritas Nairobi provides legal services and micro credits for start-ups.

“Tailoring’ my happiness.” The story of refuge and hope in a foreign land

Every day at 8.30am, Monique Nishimwe, makes way to the Kivuli Vocational Centre, where she is attending a tailoring and dress-making course sponsored by Caritas Nairobi. The sessions start at 9am, so Monique wants to settle down before then.  This has been her morning routine for the last nine months when she was recruited into the Caritas Nairobi Urban Refugee Programme, which focuses on building sustainable and resilient livelihoods by promoting education and vocational skills.

The 20 year old from Rwanda tells me in a rather boastful manner, “Five months into the course, I was able to cut and stitch an outfit, skills I did not have much less dreamt of ever having,” she says as she proceeds to set a bobbin in the sewing machine.

I understand why Monique would want to boast about her newly acquired expertise, it is simply an achievement and in her words, “A source of renewed hope in a foreign land.” Monique is among the 30 refugees who have benefited from the sponsored vocational training in Nairobi’s Riruta area.

The tailoring and dress making course ended last month and already Monique is earning an income. “I repair and design clothes on a regular basis. I do not own a sewing machine yet but whenever I get clients, the Kivuli Centre hosts me. In due time I am sure that I will open my own tailoring shop.”

Monique came to Kenya in 2016 in search of her father after her mother passed on. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Monique’s parents were separated by the war and at the time, Monique’s mother was pregnant with her. Monique was able to locate her father and they currently live together in Riruta. She explains that though they struggle to make ends meet, they are much happier and hopeful.

Alice Mwangi has been teaching at Kivuli Vocational Centre since 2005, the bigest challenge she encounters with refugees is language barrier. In addressing the issue, Caritas Nairobi also sponors a six months basic literacy training course before the refugees proceed to the next stage that is vocational classess. “The basic literacy training has really boosted the teaching process,” says Ms. Alice.

Currently, Kenya is host to over 600,000 refugees with over 80, ooo residing in Nairobi and its environs. If empowered to be independent, this huge refugee population can greatly contribute to the country’s economic and social development.

Under the Relief programme is also the peace building intervention in the slum areas. The peace building activities being implemented in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) targets community members & leaders, school going children and youth aged between 18-35. The initiatives include peace building youth training workshops, peace clubs and annual peace building competition where participants compete in songs, debate and essay writing. The peace building centres are Holy Trinity Parish in Kariobang and St. John Paul in Mathare an outstation of St. Teresa Parish