The REGENERATING RUSINGA PROJECT is an action research project working with small-holder farmers on Rusinga Island. We have been working with farmers in Kaswanga since 2011 and have supported the development of the Rusinga Island Organic Farmers Association (RIOFA)- the first Organic Farmers Association on the island and the first one that we know of in Kenya to use permaculture techniques.
RIOFA farmers envision themselves to become model farmers for their community, teaching the community around them, ensuring food and nutrition security, the regeneration of the islands ecosystem and secure livelihoods selling organic produce to the local and national market. Farmers are supported with workshops on Permaculture and FMNR as well as training on organic certification with the aim of the farmers becoming certified through the Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) and eventually with internationally recognized certification. The group is also supported with group development workshops to help them build up as a strong and self-sufficient association.
As part of this project we have also developed a demonstration site at Tom Mboya Health Clinic. The site served as a practical implementation site for our workshops and the HIV Support group at the clinic were invited to be part of the trainings. The Support Group now reap the benefits of the diverse produce from the garden, including medicinal herbs to boost immunity. In return they dedicate three days a week to maintaining the gardens.