Kenya trip moving and motivating for FHF volunteers from P.E.I.

Why this year's Holiday Campaign matters to our partners in Kenya

FHF President Judy Loo (left) and past president Wendy MacDonald meeting with project partners in Kenya

A small group from Prince Edward Island was in Kenya in November, and witnessed firsthand the impact of the worst drought in decades on the women’s groups, farmers, dairies and schools that are the partners of Farmers Helping Farmers. 

This was the organization’s first trip to Kenya since March 2020 when travel was restricted because of COVID-19. Farmers Helping Farmers volunteers Judy Loo, Wendy MacDonald, Ken and Teresa Mellish visited partners and projects, along with the group’s staff who have been supporting the work of FHF on the ground in Kenya through the pandemic. 

The Island delegation toured schools, dairies and farms, and talked to Kenyans.

“When we asked about their lives, they described hardship–cows dying, crop failure, no access to good water, and hunger,” said FHF president Judy Loo.

“I asked members of a women’s group if their children went to school hungry and was surprised when they began to laugh. The answer was that many of the kids only had food in school, no meals are eaten at home on a school day, so of course they went to school hungry.”

“We heard about one school that had to close two weeks early because they ran out of food and didn’t have money to buy more.”

Loo said it was a moving but important testimonial to the realities of life in rural Kenya during the drought.

“It was hard to see hungry children, and to hear of the extreme hardship experienced by many,” Loo said. 

“But it brought home the importance of FHF’s work as we saw the difference between those we have been working with, and those with whom we have not yet begun.”

A grow bag ensures a steady supply of healthy greens even on small pieces of land.

“We are making a difference, and we can improve the lives of many more people by providing water tanks, grow bags, seed, fuel-efficient stoves and solar lights, as well as training, to more women and their families.”

Loo said there were also brighter moments on the trip. 

“It had rained before we arrived and there were a few ‘good pours’ while we were there so the landscape was green, crops were growing, and people had hope,” Loo said.

“Again and again women, members of the women’s groups that we work with, and teachers at the schools we support, greeted us with joy, expressing deep appreciation for the support provided by FHF.”

“There was laughter, singing and dancing, and hugs, as we were greeted as old friends. Some of them are doing well now, thanks to the initial materials and training that we provided, and their own initiative to make the most of it.”

Loo said she hopes the 2022 Farmers Helping Farmers Holiday Campaign will raise enough funds to bring help to more groups in the near future.

Last year, supporters of Farmers Helping Farmers helped to raise almost $100,000 during the 2021 Holiday Campaign. 

Loo said it is easy to donate online by visiting the FHF website and clicking on the DONATE button.

There is also an ad in the December edition of The Buzz for people who prefer to mail their donation.

Loo said another group of volunteers will be heading to Kenya in late January, and she hopes they will be able to bring word of a very successful Holiday Campaign. 

Farmers Helping Farmers is an Island-based, award-winning organization of globally-minded people. The group’s goal is to assist Kenyan farmers in becoming more self-reliant in agricultural food production, and their work with dairies, women's groups, schools and farmers has been ongoing since 1980. 

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