Empowering Lives and Communities: PlantVillage's Transformative Journey on International Humanitarian Day 2023

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As we mark International Humanitarian Day 2023, under the banner "It takes a village", PlantVillage proudly showcase it’s strategies to uplift the living standards of individuals, transcending social boundaries.


Through impactful initiatives such as Agroforestry, Warrior View, and Biochar, PlantVillage aims to elevate livelihoods by fostering employment opportunities and vital skills, enabling individuals to achieve self-sufficiency.


Among these, the agroforestry program stands out as a resounding success. This initiative offers training and assistance to local communities in establishing and managing tree nurseries, creating employment avenues, and contributing to environmental enhancement through tree planting.


Linet Amoi stands as a testament to the positive impact of PlantVillage's agroforestry program. 


"Our lives (Linet and her husband) were a struggle before we joined PlantVillage," reveals Amoi, a former casual worker at PlantVillage's Machakusi nursery in Busia County.

Empowering Lives and Communities: PlantVillage's Transformative Journey on International Humanitarian Day 2023

This is Linet Amois' house before joining PlantVillage. She used to live in a grass-thatched hut until kind-hearted donors provided her with iron sheets to replace it. Photo credit PlantVillage.


Linet recounts how the lack of employment opportunities pushed her and her husband into labor-intensive tasks like weeding and tilling, which barely provided enough for their family's needs.


"Starting our days at 3 a.m, my husband and I undertook plowing jobs even on empty stomachs, earning a mere $2.4 collectively a day. This meager income fell short of meeting our necessities," she shared.


Over time, Linet's family, comprising her and her two children, faced worsening living conditions. Their grass- thatched house began to deteriorate with leaks and cracks threatening its stability, a clear reflection of their financial struggles.


"Our earnings couldn't even sustain our house; leaks and cracks emerged, jeopardizing our walls and roof," she lamented.

The then PlantVillage’s Machakusi tree nursery. Photo Credit Dennis Avokoywa.


Light at the end of the tunnel.

However, the establishment of a tree nursery by the organization in Busia County marked a turning point in the hardships faced by Linet's family. Joining forces with her husband, they embraced employment as casual laborers at the nursery.


"One evening, amidst preparing supper for the family, my husband, Ali Makhokha, shared news of a non-profit organization seeking local individuals to join their tree nursery as casual workers. 


This organization offered a collective daily compensation of $5.60, occasionally extending to weekends based on the task at hand," Mrs. Makhokha recounted.

The recently constructed 20-sheet iron house that was built by Linet Amoi and her husband Ali Makhokha, who diligently saved funds from PlantVillage's nursery. Photo credit: Fredrick Ocholla.


Navigating through the necessary procedures, the couple successfully secured positions within the organization. Comprehensive training in nursery practices followed, encompassing tasks such as potting, pricking out, and nurturing tree seedlings through irrigation.


"I came in while I was green; I was taught some of the basics that I perfected, and now locals have nicknamed me a forester", she proudly declared.


Linet establishes her own tree nursery


After dedicating three years of diligent work as casual laborers at PlantVillage, Linet and her husband reaped the rewards of their efforts. Their first priority was to construct a new home, along with establishing their own tree nursery.


"Our time at PlantVillage brought substantial earnings, enabling us to construct a 20-iron sheet house, secure quality education for our children, and successfully launch our very own tree nursery.


"Through a single supply, my earnings can exceed $138.80. I am immensely grateful to PlantVillage, as without their support, I wouldn't have reached this point.


Linet Amoi nurtures Grevillea robusta tree seedlings in her carefully tended nursery. Photo credit: Fredrick Ocholla.


The organization further assisted me by providing field officers to aid in maintaining the nursery,” Linet shared.

Linet specializes in cultivating Grevillea robusta seedlings, which she supplies to the organization in exchange for a fee. These seedlings are subsequently distributed free of charge to local farmers and schools, representing an initiative the organization seeks to expand as part of its commitment to combat climate change.

From a single batch, Linet generates more than $138.8, a sum of money that has significantly elevated her living standards. Photo credit: Fredrick Ocholla. 


"We support tree nurseries owned by lead farmers by purchasing potting tubes, training on nursery management, and then purchasing seedlings from the lead farmers and distributing to their following farmers, thereby reducing carbon (IV) oxide emissions because no transportation is required and improving farmers living standards through earnings from the sale of seedlings.


Through the project, PlantVillage has created employment for 20 Dream Team members and 275 youths in local communities, who work around the clock to ensure our tree seedlings are in good condition,"Said Fredrick Ocholla, PlantVillage's Dream team Agroforestry Officer.

"We are enormosly grateful to Cisco Foundation who supported his work" said David Hughes, founder of PlantVillage. "They really challenged us to think of ways we could capture carbon, create green jobs and increase community climate resilience" 


Other than free tree seedling distribution, PlantVillage has also established a training program on how to nurture trees.


The story of Amoi and her transformation mirrors the profound impact of PlantVillage's endeavors, serving as a beacon of hope and opportunity for those who once bore the weight of economic adversity.

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