Nkama Loitokitok, March 16, 2023 – In the serene landscape of Nkama Loitokitok, the sun rose on March 16, 2023, illuminating a significant event – the Wezesha Cohort One graduation of 312 smart farmers. This exciting, momentous occasion was a testament to the transformative potential of education and entrepreneurship in rural communities.The Wezesha program, is an initiative designed in collaboration with AIS, Safaricom Foundation, DigiFarm Kenya, and GIZ – Energising Development Program.
Founded in 2013, AIS’s goal is to share global commercial best practices and business models to enhance the local operational practices of micro and small-sized enterprises. By recognizing the pivotal role of agriculture in unlocking rural economies, AIS is dedicated to fostering rural development through agriculture, promotion of renewable energy and conservation of the environment, in an effort to promote inclusive rural development growth, poverty reduction, and improved livelihoods.
The Wezesha farmer graduation ceremony was a joyous occasion for the farmers as it was a culmination of all the time, energy, commitment and engagement that the farmers invested in during their training period at the demo farm. The event signified the farmers’ dedication, and enthusiasm demonstrated in their quest for knowledge and desire to improve their livelihoods by investing in sustainable farming.
The graduation ceremony was graced by the Hon Martin Moshiso, Deputy Governor, Kajiado County, Ms Lynda Kasina, Trustee – Safaricom Foundation, Ms. Hanna Salian, GIZ – EnDev Programme Director. Other guests in attendance included Ms. Jackline Koin County Executive Committee Member in charge of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mr. Eric Kimunguyi Chief Executive Officer, of the Agrochemical Association of Kenya, among others.
Jennifer Githinji, the director of AIS, delivered a stirring speech that captured the essence of the celebration. “Today isn’t just about certificates; it’s about taking responsibility,” Jennifer Githinji declared. “You are inheriting the duty to lead and bring about change in your local agricultural landscape. Your success embodies the potential of communities coming together to support one another.”
“I am proud of you graduates. You have proven that we can do it. You are the first of the many that we will train. So, as you receive your certificates, you are accepting to make a change and spread the knowledge to the community. Together, we are changing the future of Kajiado South for ourselves and the generations to come!” She added. Kimani, the Program Manager at AIS, also shared his vision for Wezesha. He emphasized the program’s commitment to rural development through agriculture, emphasizing its role in fostering inclusive growth.
“We have equipped you with the knowledge needed to practice smart agriculture. We are trusting in you to make a change in the community and Kajiado South. So today, as you receive this certificate, you are committing yourself and the community to make a change!” he concluded.
During the ceremony, two graduates, Jane Njoroge and Samuel Lomunyak, took the stage to share their 5-month journey at Wezesha. Jane spoke of her aspirations to become a successful agribusiness owner and how the program has opened her eyes to new possibilities for running a sustainable business by leveraging on solar energy. She also mentioned that she had the amazing opportunity to meet technical experts and consultants who advised her on the right sizing requirements for her solar ……..
When asked how she felt, Jane said, “Farming has always been a dream of mine. Now that I know about smart framing, fertilizers, and water management, I can fully realize this dream. Thank you, Wezesha, for the opportunity!”
Samuel Lomunyak, another cohort one graduate, emphasized the program’s transformative impact on his life. “Wezesha has transformed me from a traditional farmer to a modern agri-preneur,” he stated. “I can now apply sustainable farming practices, utilize modern technologies, and access markets effectively.”
As the sun set over Nkama Loitokitok, the graduates, joined by their families and community members, celebrated their success with excitement and pride through song and dance. It was a reminder that transformation and empowerment can flourish even in the simplest of settings.
The Wezesha Cohort One graduation was more than a ceremony; it was a celebration of rural communities’ resilience, unity, and potential.
The journey of empowerment continues as AIS through the Wezesha program remains dedicated to supporting farmers on their path to agricultural success. With a commitment to empower over 1,000 women and youth in the Wezesha program, this graduation is just the beginning. More training and opportunities lie ahead, promising a brighter and more prosperous future for Kajiado South and its determined farming community