In the first ever EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC) CSR competition, Kakuzi’s kitchen garden project has won the EUACC-Be Inspired Award 2014, in the distinguished project category. Voted the most ingenious project and best sustainable practice, our Kenyan kitchen gardens impressed the jury with their commitment to helping employees and the local community become self-sufficient.
The aim of the programme on our Kenyan estates, which support some 7,000 people, including employees and their dependants, was to make much better use of the land available to our employees and so enable them to grow enough food for a family of six - all in the gardens around their house.
In 2004, we brought in Grete Davey, a permaculture trainer, who educated local villagers on the huge diversity of fruit, vegetables and traditional crops they could grow themselves. Jane was just one person who signed up for a kitchen garden. She followed the kitchen garden demonstrations attentively - memorising every procedure, which she then implemented on her little patch of land.
The effects of the scheme have extended far beyond Jane’s immediate family. Now feeding her family of seven people, the family’s health has significantly improved; they also run two kiosks to sell any excess vegetables, with the extra income helping her 21 year old brother return to education. Jane herself has been instrumental in instructing local women and farmers about the kitchen garden concept - so now she is improving the lives of her neighbours and bringing prosperity to the wider community as well.
The business benefits have also been wide-reaching, including improved employee productivity due to better health, morale and industrial relations - and cost savings, as fewer drugs are needed to combat disease and malnutrition. Overall, improved food security smooths the path to peace and order.
In accepting the award, Simon Odhiambo, CSR Manager, Linton Park Regional Office in Kenya commented,
“With a goal to ensure adequate and equitable access to basic needs sustainability, this ‘food security’ initiative is just one part of our bigger employees’ ‘household livelihood’ security programme. Each one of the 1,300 employees, their dependants and managers deserves credit for what we believe is a forward-looking programme, not only for today’s generation but also for generations to come.”