Akili Communities

Akili co-invests with communities to develop sustainable inclusive value chains
which earn them more for their agricultural activities
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What is an Akili Community?

Life in the rural area in Kenya is often presented as uneconomical with most small-scale farmers being subsidized by relatives in urban areas and/or government write-offs of debts. Our dream is to establish enough partnerships with small-scale producers in so many parts of the country, that all of them operating at a profit will transform Kenya.

“Akili dreams of a transformed Kenya in which small scale producers can support themselves from the work that they do.”

About an Akili Community

An Akili community comprises an organised group of small scale agricultural producers, living in one area, who have signed up a Nyumba Kumi (ten household) Charter for social and production accountability. Each Nyumba Kumi is lead by a Lead Farmer who organises training, distributes inputs, schedules farm inspections and coordinates produce harvests and collection. 

Shared Sense of Responsibility

Through production-linked loans, education, and accountability, members of the Akili Community work individually on their plots but rely on the group strength to realize the efficiency and scale they would not otherwise realize working alone. The goal: profitable production and sustainable wealth.

How the Communities Work

Together members of an Akili Community represent an institutional strength that is able to facilitate learning, efficiency and scale. Through value-linked loans, education, and accountability, members of the Akili Community work toward the goal of profitable production and sustainable wealth.

The First Akili Community

The first Akili Community was born in Kangema, in Murang’a County. The community reviewed, discussed and identified and removed loss-making practices through a weekly “Saturday School”.

Examples  of their Initiatives

  • They identified that growing napier was more profitable than keeping cows…

  • They identified techniques for growing yams that resulted in high yields that resulted in increased income…  

  • They improved their nutrition by blending local vegetables and avoiding overcooking…

  • They presented their products to the Kenya Agricultural Show in Kangema and won first
    prize over a period of several years in a row. They were declared by the government a focal area as a result, and went on to train other communities through their experiences.
     

Current Projects

Groups linked to the Hifadhi Project

Groups linked to the Hifadhi Project in Embu North, Embu East and Mbeere South comprising users of Carbon Offset funded energy efficient cookstoves. We are working with groups in this project to identify and develop a value chain of choice: beekeeping; poultry; dairy development; agroforestry among others.

Beekeeping groups in Kirinyaga & Embu

Beekeeping groups, through their Community Forest Associations, in Kirinyaga and Embu. Specialised training is provided to members of the project to site, maintain, harvest, and GPS-mark hives owned by other memers of the CFA and by investors for an income sharing arrangement.

Horticultural producing groups in Kirinyaga and Embu

Akili is working in partnership with small-scale production groups in Kirinyaga and Embu Counties to supply a buyer that has the capacity to absorb weekly container-loads of vegetable dehydrates. This project is currently at the start up stage, with the factory setup currently ongoing. The overall object of the intended horticultural development programme is to create an avenue through which producers will have access to a guaranteed large market (a container load of dehydrates requires 225,000 kgs of fresh leaves), and, through participation in the value chain, record measurable profit and other holistic gains.

Dairy Farmers in Kirinyaga and Embu

Smallholders from these 2 counties are keen dairy farmers contributing a significant portion of the milk produced in Kenya. However, the constant fluctuations in prices and quality and feed through the year as a result of the unavailability of raw materials and greed of suppliers has resulted in farmers experiencing a lot of frustration in their milk production. Akili responded by formulating a balanced dairy feed product that is suitable for dairy cows. A pilot released has commenced in these counties.

Past Projects

Kirinyaga County: Gichugu & Mwea

The Akili Village Model as implemented in Gichugu Constituency

The (Kenya) County Governments Act 2012, 48 (1) states that each county government shall be decentralized to the urban areas, sub-counties, wards and to such number of village units in each county as may be determined by the county assembly of the respective county.

This new focus on ‘The Village’ that the country’s constitution supports has been demonstrated by Akili and the Private Sector Development Trust (PSDT) through a pilot implementation in Gichugu Constituency, and, after adoption by government, the model is now being rolled out in the entire Kirinyaga County.

The features of the village government model include:

  • A deepening of the Private Sector Stakeholder Partnership framework to the District, Ward, Village, Sub-village and Nyumba Kumi (ten household) levels
  • The creation of the village council comprising vetted and elected leaders in the village
  • Creation of stakeholder oversight committees for security, infrastructure, social audit, women, public health and youth affairs, at the village, ward and district levels
  • Creation of a District Security and Economic Development committee, chaired by a citizen and with the sub-county administrator as the convener

Benefits realized

The implementation of the pilot model of the sub-county framework has demonstrated that:

  • The model has been very effective in the fight against crime.
  • Empowered, the citizens are more effective in the enforcement of government policies
  • Self-regulation is very effective in ensuring compliance of the law within sectors (boda bodas, matatus, licensing), repayment of group-linked loans and adherence to production guidelines
  • Organized, an entire community is able to implement large scale, value-chain linked abd profitable production, eg beekeeping, horticulture, dairy, fish farming, with government or financiers funding the supporting infrastructure.

Kagamu Self-Help Group

Akili’s contributions in our partnership with Kagamu involved provision of;

  • Startup equipment and capital to kick-start a dairy project
  • Beehives, with loans secured through Kiva.org, with Akili as Trustee
  • Moringa Oleifera seeds for growing and leaf product for sale in their agrovet shop.
  • Training to commence a production improvement by dairy and beekeeping members.
  • Guidance and support in starting a direct marketing channel.

Kangemi Youth

Akili has a partnership with the youth of Kangemi, Nairobi’s 3rd largest slum. Our contributions so far include:

  • Assisting in the formation of a Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) and registering it with the government
  • Assisting in proposal writing that has resulting in securing funding from government to sensitize the people of Kangemi in the conservation of water catchment areas by among others, initiating income generating activities
  • Developing a micro plastic recycling ‘plant’ for converting waste plastics into fencing poles.

Eliye Springs

Eliye Springs, also known as Ille Springs, is a remote village on the western shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya, near the mouth of River Turkwel. It is located 50 kilometres west of Lodwar and 40 kilometres south of Kalokol.

Poverty levels (i.e. the number of people living below poverty line) in Eliye are estimated by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics at around 64-74%. The local people are of Turkana descent, and maintain a semi nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, with their young and older men moving with goats and camels in search of pasture, and returning back to the village when the weather becomes favorable. Illiteracy levels are also high.

The local springs for which it is named produce lush vegetation along its section of the otherwise barren lakeshore, and support a community of about 5000 people with fresh drinking water.

Akili has partnered with the Eliye Community, the National Christian Council of Kenya and Canada based volunteers linked to Partners Worldwide to implement a water bottling plant – targeting Lodwar and surrounding towns as the market for the product. Part of the income from the sales of bottle water (on a per bottle basis) will be used from commencement of the project to mobilize the community and support its members in the planting of beneficial plants, including nutrition-rich plants such as the Moringa, and trees that have leaves or ponds whose search for keeps the Turkana community’s boys out of school. So far over 12 tree species have been targeted for production including: Edome, ek alale, ewoi, esekon, ebei, engol, epuu, esanyanaeit, elim, ekadeli, ekunoit, epetet, ebenyo, edurukoit, eipa, elamach, epeduru etc.

Grafco Sacco

With initial support by Partners Worldwide, this entity has implemented a dairy value chain through which more than 50% of the members have doubled their milk production within the first year. Akili works with the value chain to promote knowledge, implement value chain management processes through its Akili eT which facilitates management of groups, aggregation, selling, payment processing and generation of production and other reports.

Past Projects

Suggest an Akili Community

 

The Akili project is open for expansion into new territory. The Akili method requires that communities organize themselves into accountable units to work together for economic output and as peace promoters. Akili also requires partners committed to assisting in the establishment of a bulking centre for  produce we are either currently dealing with  or which we can initiate.

To suggest a potential Akili Community, please contact us

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