Back to Basics

by | Sep 18, 2019 | Seeds: Our Blog

Finding solutions that impact the world, local communities, and us as individuals can initially seem crushingly overwhelming. However, TPP grantees prove that change begins with simply going back to the basics. They use the Earth’s natural resources to allow people to feed, nurture, and invest in their livelihood. They take teachable skills and turn them into full-fledged businesses to combat financial distress.
Most importantly, TPP grantees listen, engage, and stand side-by-side with their community to understand hardships and needs towards a better life. The first step towards improving systems and people’s well being is to truly commune with one another and utilize the abundant resources of our planet. Lending our time and heart fosters personal connection, which is the core basic need to move humanity forward.

Shitungu Women Empowerment Group

Shitungu Women Empowerment Group operates in Kakamega County and aims at improving the well being of women and the community by campaigning for a conducive and inclusive economic, social, cultural and political environment. The founder, Deborah Munyekenye, believes that to have an empowered society and community, women must be economically empowered, thus willing to positively contribute to the economy.

The group envisages achieving their objectives through capacity building, mentoring, coaching, training, and encouraging the community to use the locally and readily available resources of fertile land plus annual rainfall to partake in agribusiness to earn income and end poverty and hunger. This will lead to the achievement of sustainable goals, like “Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” and “Ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”

Kingsly Ayamba – Prisons Livelihood Support Project

In the southwest region of Cameroon, Kingsly Ayamba is working towards a holistic feeding program for the prisoners in the area as many prisons do not have the budget to feed their inmates. His work – Prisons Livelihood Support Project – builds capacity as well as engages and accompanies these individuals in establishing a fruit and vegetable farm. Kingsly noted the importance of this work, as he is a prison warden. He began to see that at times, inmates go a day without food.

For inmates who are HIV+, they are unable to take their medication on an empty stomach. This was when he decided to establish a program that not only complements the necessity for food but also empowers prisoners with the skills for a sustainable livelihood after their term is complete. Funds from The Pollination Project will help in acquiring local farming tools, seeds, and training supplies.

Annie Ngugi, Raphael Omondi, Geoffrey M – Sweet Potato Drying

The Sweet Potato Drying project is a dream come true for Annie Ngugi. After watching crops go to waste in her rural home in Maragwa, north of Nairobi, Kenya, Annie was inspired to do something about this. The project is in its infancy stage, with volunteer farmers bringing their yields for small-scale sun drying.

The Maragwa region produces a lot of sweet potatoes; however, since the crop is seasonal, it poses challenges of storage when the supplies surpass the demand. Annie’s vision serves the local community as it serves both as income from the farmers and addresses the communal nutritional need from the sweet potato flour. The grant from The Pollination Project will help purchase a drying machine that will help increase the output.

Ruangtup Kaeokamechun, Supawan Tayarachakul – Hinghoy Noy Explore Taboos Music Video

Thailand, known as the “land of smiles”, carries many secrets. Recent reports have shared that up to one million children and youth have been diagnosed with depression in the country. Due to many taboos in the Thai culture, children are afraid to talk freely to elders about their intimate concerns.

Hinghoy Noy, or tiny firefly, is a friend in the darkness of taboos. Hinghoy Noy organization wants to educate children and bring children and their elders to start conversations about taboos and any sensitive topics through a child-friendly music video.


PARC National Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team – Sparking The Conversation On Inclusive Herp Conservation

The most pressing conservation issues require us to work across borders and with people of different cultures, beliefs, and values than our own. To remain relevant in a globalizing landscape, conservation groups should reflect the diverse identities and perspectives of the communities for which they intend to serve. As a whole, North American and European conservation organizations have failed to meet this standard and often struggle to engage communities disproportionately affected by the environmental issues they seek to address. This lack of diversity amongst conservation practitioners and scientists, and the structural barriers that have led to it, demand a shift in our institutional cultures and policies.

In 2017, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) formed a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Team (DEITT) with the goal of improving cultural competency and providing an equitable platform for those who are working to conserve amphibians, reptiles, and the places they live. The task team oversees a variety of activities across the U.S. ranging from social media campaigns and diversity training for conservation leaders to demographic surveys and support for inclusive environmental outreach programs. The TPP grant will assist in expanding PARC DEITT’s reach and help them develop a sustainable framework to fund travel awards to PARC meetings. If you are interested in bringing these ideas to your organization or your meetings, PARC DEITT is  happy to share their products and expertise. See more at their website or please contact them at [email protected]

Local Development Catalyst Network – Access To Clean Water After Cyclone Idai, Mozambique

Cyclone Idai in Central Mozambique is one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere. More than 1,000 people lost their lives and millions were impacted by the devastating cyclone and the unprecedented floods that followed. Despite this tragedy, Mozambicans are a resilient and strong people that have come together and are working hard to overcome the difficult challenges and the road ahead.

Local Development Catalyst Network – LDCN – has been working in the affected region for close to 10 years helping provide access to education, clean water, and sustainable food production. Since first official starting our community project in 2011, LDCN and the locally community has collaborated to build a local primary school, drill 5 boreholes to provide access to clean water, and develop an agroecological demonstration farm to support local food security.

However, this small area where LDCN is based (Lamego Locality, Nhamatanda District, Sofala Province, Mozambique) was one of the hardest hit areas with flash floods completely destroying homes, schools and lives in addition to the community agriculture fields. This flooding has also destroyed LDCN community base and local infrastructure. In order to help support the community, for the last 6 weeks LDCN has diverted all of its yearly funds to providing emergency relief that includes food distribution, seed distribution and providing over 100 water filters to provide access to clean water and to prevent against water borne diseases such as cholera.

As LDCN moves beyond this first response effort, they also need to rebuild the communities infrastructure and provide some longer and more sustainable solutions to urgent needs such as access to clean water and food security. The first step in this process is repairing and replacing the solar panel water pump system that pumps water from our borehole to provide clean water to close to 97 families, approximately 750 people. This is an essential step in securing clean water for the months ahead. The Pollination Project grant will allow us to repair and install the first pump immediately. The water from this pump will not only be used for clean drinking water but will also allow us to replant vegetable gardens. The produce from the garden will be used to supplement a school-based feeding program for the more than 200 children at the local school.

Although there is no way to rebuild everything the community lost in a short period, these first steps are essential to healing and recovering from this tragedy through meaningful acts of solidarity and support. With more projects like this, more support from people and organizations like The Pollination Project and through community leadership and community solidarity, LDCN hopes to shift this awful tragedy into an inflection point for change that leads to a more resilient and flourishing future for the community and community members!

Ropeit Recycling Machine

Ropeit Recycling Machine is used to recycle P.E.T bottles into threads, which is then converted into ropes that are used to make furniture. The machine was made by a company called Leadpro Enterprises, located in Nairobi City, Kenya. This project aims at reducing plastic wastes that have clogged various drainage systems during the rainy seasons. As a result of this work, the environment around Nairobi is clean and by-products are created from the waste that people dispose of. Furthermore, this project creates job opportunities for individuals living in the area.

Sylvester Oketch, who helps lead this work, was inspired by cleaning the space he lives in and making it habitable for human use. Funds from The Pollination Project will help make sample machines that they will sell to women and youth groups that are equally as conscious about the environment while creating jobs.


Theresa Nechesa Okumu – Sikinga Women And Youth Empowerment Project

Sikinga Women and Youth Empowerment Project will establish a training model in business and environmental based activities to engage the community in two areas, climate change/environmental management, and social entrepreneurship. Forty women and youth mentors will be trained to mentor others in entrepreneurship, small business development, environmental conservation, and tree reforestation, including planting and processing Moringa oleifera. Additionally, the project will train youth in mushroom production. In total, the work will support about 200 people directly with either information or resources needed.

Kira Young Mothers Support Group – Skilling Young Ugandan Mothers

The Skilling Young Ugandan Mothers project aims to empower adolescent young mothers in Kira, Uganda through generating income while looking after their children. The project targets young girls and women that are not in school, aged 15-26 years, with more emphasis on those with children and heading households. Using coaching and mentoring, beneficiaries are empowered to attend trainings where they are taught skills such as tailoring, hair dressing, and cosmetology. Additionally they learn how to construct bead bags, books, and bungles as income generating activities.

The trainings allow the girls and women to look at life’s activities and how they can generate income – such as washing clothes, planning events, and completing everyday chores. Throughout the trainings, they are given psychological support, reminded of their worth, and inspire one another to be the caring and inspirational adult in their children’s lives.

Lamek Oyoo Ochola, Brigid Odingo – Hope Beyond Cancer

Kisumu Cancer Support group is a program of Kisumu City Cancer CBO, located at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and referral Hospital. The Hope Beyond Cancer project works with cancer patients and their caregivers by offering psychosocial and spiritual counseling, cancer awareness, and patient support. Lamek Oyoo found that most cancer survivors did not know how to navigate the challenges during and after treatment, and thus this project has the opportunity to improve and promote the self-esteem of cancer patients. Funds from The Pollination Project will be used for visibility and fundraising efforts.

Shanna Gilberg, Troop Leader – Troop 64669 Community Giving Garden

Brownie Troop 64669 wanted to do something to help their local community of Millbury, Massachusetts. Building a community garden was the perfect way for the Troop to give back to their community by donating fresh, locally grown produce to the Millbury Senior Center Food Pantry.

Working in the garden is teaching the girls all about good soil and water practices, composting and recycling, sustainability, gardening techniques such as companion planting and using specific plants to ward off insect pests while attracting helpful insects, and much more. The girls are enjoying getting their hands dirty and watching the fruits of their labor grow.

The Senior Center is excited about receiving fresh, locally grown produce to distribute to those in need. Gilberg and her Troop are grateful for the support of the Pollination Project and their local sponsors for making the Giving Garden a reality.

Ekelenson & Simonloko Initiative – The New Dawn Library

Abraham Ojonugwa Ekele is the initiator of The New Dawn Library located at Etutekpe-okpo, Olamaboro local government area in north central Nigeria. The project is aimed at bridging the gap between the haves and the have nots in terms of accessibility to study materials. The dearth of textbooks in the Nigerian education sector across discipline and different levels of education and inability of parents in the community to buy scholastic materials for their children owing to poverty is what necessitated this project. This grant will help them to execute the project within a reasonable time frame to allow students quick access to learning materials.

Natural Resources Enterprise For Youth – Sustainable Natural Resources Management

Sustainable Natural Resources Management is a project that will be implemented by youth to reduce deforestation and its impacts on climate change in the country. The project will train youth to take in sustainable natural resources management enterprises to reduce deforestation.
The project will also train the youth in alternative income generating activities, such as raising tree seedlings, selling of fuel saving stoves, selling organic fertilizer from solid waste, distributing solar lanterns, growing high value vegetables, and producing various products such as door mats and bags from wasted plastics, all the while contributing to environmental conservation. Young people will be motivated to manage natural resources since they will be trained on sustainable natural resources enterprises. The income from these alternative sources will be the motivation and driving force for the youth to manage these forests.

Olajide Kabir And Adedokun Ganiyat – SheGrow Nigeria

SheGrow Nigeria is poised to champion the course of women empowerment leading to community development in northeastern Nigeria. Mr. Olajide Kabir Oluwatosin is the founder of the project and also doubles as the CEO of Essa-adaje Global Resources, an organization responsible for implementation of this project. SheGrow is located in Maraba village, on the outskirts of Bauchi, Nigeria. It is comprised of a group of women farmers across rural communities in the area. Together they will undergo a series of trainings on sustainable, conservative agricultural systems. At the conclusion of these trainings, each farmer will plant on their allotted farmland. They will be provided with all necessary inputs, ranging from seeds, organic fertilizer, and labour, eventually becoming individual farm owners.

The project is necessary because activities of insurgency and counter military operations have resulted in the displacement of approximately 1.9 million people, thus creating a food and nutrition crisis in northeastern Nigeria. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says about eight million people will go hungry in northern Nigeria by the year 2020. More so, women in these rural communities lack access to opportunities as compared to their counterparts in the city. SheGrow Nigeria will impact about 700 members of this community in each farming cycle and more than 2,000 people at the end of one year.

The expected outcome is economic empowerment for these women, by helping them to become individual farm owners and entrepreneurs, thereby alleviating poverty and improve living standards. Funds from The Pollination Project will help procure the tools for project implementation.

Written by Milena Fraccari