Saturday, July 11, 2020

Kitchen Garden: An unusual arsenal in Kenya’s fight against malnutrition

This article is by

Share this article

Vertical greywater filter used as a kitchen garden  |  Source: SuSanA Secretariat via wikimedia

Vegetable gardens have been in vogue since long across the world as a hobby to source  some fresh vegetables for household consumption. However in Kenya, the government and citizens both have moved towards taking it to the next level.

Hassani Oyo, a musician and resident of Nairobi, Kenya, has started vertical bag gardening in the backyard of his home to grow exotic vegetables like cabbage, spinach and kale for his own use as well as for sales to his neighbours and local vegetable vendors. This low cost method of gardening uses minimal farming space and very less water.

Another gardening story emerges from Busia County in western Kenya. where a local community-based organization, Sustainable Income Generating Investment (SINGI) is promoting the use of Kitchen Gardens. SINGI in partnership with other organizations are actively involved in training farmer groups about healthy agricultural practices and sharpening their production skills.

Roselida Orodi, the chairperson of Esikoma Ushirika Farmers Self Help Group states that, “Most households produce enough vegetables for domestic consumption with a surplus which is usually sold to the local market and beyond”. The biggest advantage is that these vegetables are able to withstand high temperatures. During summer, when the demand increases, they are usually sold for higher prices to earn good profits.

Jessica Muhonje of Singingire vegetable farmers group, says that she sells vegetables worth 15 U.S dollars per day. With indigenous vegetables gaining popularity, she adds that, “People flock to my homestead to purchase the vegetables”.

Kenyan government has also launched the “One Million Kitchen Gardens Plan” for households across the country. Brainchild of Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary, Anne Nyaga, the program aims to use kitchen gardens as a tool to achieve food security, fight malnutrition, and to deal with the food crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the initial phase kitchen garden kits were provided to 15,000 households of  Makueni county. “We would like to put emphasis on a balanced diet through these kits so that we can be able to boost our immunity and create an immunity that is able to fight COVID-19 and other diseases” says Anne Nyaga. She also adds, “The government is launching a campaign to establish kitchen vegetable gardens, we have issued guidelines to support both rural and urban dwellers with technologies for setting up within the resources available”.

These success stories inspire many others to join the kitchen garden bandwagon in Kenya. Setting up a kitchen garden is not tough, according to Mr. Oscar Ludelu, a landscaper and horticulturist. However, a few factors, like cost and what type of garden one needs is to be kept in mind before starting a kitchen garden.

Support us to bring the world closer

To keep our content accessible we don't charge anything from our readers and rely on donations to continue working. Your support is critical in keeping Global Views 360 independent and helps us to present a well-rounded world view on different international issues for you. Every contribution, however big or small, is valuable for us to keep on delivering in future as well.

Support Us

Share this article

Read More

October 23, 2020 3:57 PM

Male gaze, their female guardians and sports-wear

In Helen Cixous’ essay, ‘The Laugh of Medusa’, she urges women to redefine what their body means to them, not just physically but also socially, emotionally and politically. This could happen by re-writing about your body in a way you deem  fit, the expression you identify with and separating it from how your body has been written about by men. The expression could be how you view your body separate from the patriarchal lense.

It is no secret that a woman’s body is subject to critique. While clothing for men is just a tool to cover themselves as per the surrounding environment, clothing for women isa social and political narrative that dictates their life or as we affectionately call it ‘culturally appropriate’.

The clothing style could vary. It could be a woman covered head to toe in a Burqa, it could be a woman who decides to wear sports-wear in a park or it could be jeans and a top. Everything is critically evaluated by men and by women who work towards protecting the male gaze.

The male gaze is a heterosexual way of looking at female bodies that sexualises these bodies into an object. It is a gaze that runs on the self-affirmative notion that the bodies of women, and what they do with it, is directly linked to how they  appear in front of a man.

In a recent incident in Bangalore, India, popular Indian actress Samyuktha Hegde was abused and threatened by senior political leader of the congress party, Kavitha Reddy,  for wearing sports-wear, in Bangalore’s Agara Lake park. She was exercising with her friend.

Kavitha Reddy initially claimed she was in indecent attire and went onto morally police and then later abused the actress and her friend.  A supposedly progressive political leader gets uncomfortable by what women are wearing. It breaks into an argument and a fight where the politician is supported by five to six men. Later on, the police appear to be appeasing the politician instead of the women who were harassed. Although she did apologise, her apology came after her video went viral, and as a protection for her own political reputation.

To look at Samyuktha Hegde’s clothing as a threat is to view her clothing as an act of obscenity therefore bullying her identity and sense of agency and reducing her to sexual object, who, by putting her in public, apparently gives the men present a right to look at her? Nevermind that she was there to workout like everyone else, her actions were confused as to how men look at her. In the video posted by the actress, the politician is surrounded by men who are championing her on. The politician choses to side with the patriarchal figures in shaming these women. Asking to protect from the male gaze is a far stretch but punishing women for the male gaze is where we should draw a line.

What roles does Kavitha Reddy play? She is the guardian of the male gaze. We find her in our mothers, in our grandmothers, in aunties and sometimes our friends. She understands a woman’s body as an object that is there to be looked at by men. She gets angry at women for wearing certain kinds of clothing but she is not angry at men for looking. The agency in this case always belongs to men.

When Cixous asks women to re-define their identity, she urges us to strangle the moral police that comes alive in such instances. It is the moral police that shames women for wearing clothes that don’t flatter their bodies or clothes that do flatter them. She urges us to reflect upon the source of such vigilance. Do we shame other women because we believe in what we are saying or our identity is partially (or  wholly) shaped by the male gaze?

Whether we chose to wear a burqa, or a dress, or variations of the new type clothing produced everyday, the crux of the matter is that it should not worry anyone apart from the one wearing it. The identity of a woman, sexual or otherwise, has to be redefined to be separated from the men and their gaze. We have to draw a line otherwise people in power will continue to abuse their power and preserve patriarchy and male gaze.

Read More