A dream is coming true in Kenya for more and more village farmers. From a marginal life without much hope for a better future, the OTEPIC directed by Philip Munyasia is bringing knowledge, empowerment, and joy to communities.
Since 2003, the OTEPIC project is bringing change and hope to communities in Northern Kenya. Founder Philip Munyasia is a young man who grew up in this area and knows the current conditions well. As one of seven brothers, he was the only one given the chance to go to school. A deeply grateful and dedicated individual, he took every educational opportunity available to learn as much as he could. He had a clear aim: help his people to create a better life. Then the next miracles came, enabling him to study at an agriculture college in Kenya and then to study bio-intensive agriculture in the USA for 6 months. He took in all information with great eagerness and intelligence, understanding what a radical change this knowledge can bring. In his free time, he worked and earned money, so that he could buy his first piece of land.
With the purchase of the land in 2003, the project was born. Together with one companion, Philip started to grow a variety of organic vegetables, making compost, saving seeds and planting trees. From the beginning he used his knowledge to train other people. Groups of farmers are learning to work their land organically, providing a variety of crops for their families and the local markets. The growing self-reliance in food and income brings health and happiness to the village communities. Many of the participants are women. Philip strongly believes that the women play a central role: ‘Through training women, the whole community is empowered.’
The core staff has grown to four people. They now train hundreds of farmers each year on the OTEPIC land. Each of the participants is required to teach at least another 5 people, so the effect spreads ever wider. A follow-up and farmers’ exchange program has been initiated, where they visit each others farms. This brings not only deepening of knowledge and exchange of local varieties of seeds; now that they meet and work together, the different tribes also start to be friends despite their history of conflict.
Philip is avidly working on project proposals in these different directions. His strong wish is to buy a bigger piece of land (5 acres) in the neighborhood in order to establish a research and education center. Here, the first water retention space is to be built, with terraces for growth of a healthy variety of edible crops and trees together with native herbs and other supporting species. This development will create more stable growing conditions throughout the year, provide a solution for water scarcity, greatly decrease the loss of crops from pests and diseases, and create living environment for wildlife. In the coming year Philip hopes to train many more farmers, women, youth and children and to bring happiness to people’s lives.
The activities of the OTEPIC project can be continued thanks to financial contributions by many individuals. When you decide to give, you are providing an opportunity for OTEPIC to teach people and put food on the table for many families in a year.
For the development of the permaculture training and research site, more funds are needed. Contributions to make this possible are also warmly welcome.
Donation are highly appreciated, they can be transferred to this bank account:
IBAN: AT05 3200 0000 5953
Adresse: Wichtelgasse 45/1