• Kenya Voluntary Development Association (KVDA) is an indigenous, non-political and membership organization which is non-sectarian and non-profit making started in 1962 as a work camp organization registered under the Societies’ Act. In 1993, KVDA was registered as a Non-Governmental organization by the establishment of the NGOs Coordination Act.
• KVDA has since inception hosted over 50, 000 international volunteers to its community service development projects that have left indelible mark to efforts to enhance sustainable development.
• The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) is an officially registered technical training institution NO. MOHEST/PC/1361 and Non-Governmental organization (NGO). It is situated in Juja off – Thika highway, near Ndarugo Motel. KIOF launched its first activities in 1987 – The Farmers Training and Extension Programme, which aimed at bringing the awareness of the challenges associated with conventional chemical farming (fertilizers and pesticides)
• The advantages of environmentally – sound-farming methods, appropriate to small-scale farmers led to widespread public interest in the program. Numerous requests were received from development organizations in Eastern Africa for training in organic farming.
• After the initial strong growth, KIOF found that there was necessity to verifying some of the organic methods adopted by farmers. KIOF therefore started looking into opportunities for on-farm trials and research so as to supply relevant back up data.
• A Program to incorporate youth training in organic agriculture was launched in 1995. This led to an Organic Agriculture Certificate course with the aim of assisting the youth to develop careers in Organic farming. A diploma program was launched in 2004 and the Certificate Stream gradually phased out.
• The Diploma Program takes 2 years of theoretical and practical learning. Due to the growing interest in this field and high demand for profession knowledge in organic agriculture, KIOF launched a 2-year Distance Learning Diploma program in 2006
A RENEWED APPROACH TO AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Organic farms and gardens have been operating years in many countries and climates. By reviving and developing sound husbandry practices they have shown that it is possible to combine good yields with high quality produce, lasting soil fertility and improved overall environment.
The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) aims at making this experience available to all farmers and other stakeholders.
KIOF connects itself especially with the small – scale farmers who make up the majority of the farming community in Kenya. It is the small – scale farmers who are, in effect, the care takers of the natural environment. KIOF wants to stimulate better management of the environment by starting with sound agricultural principles on the farm.
KIOF organizes training sessions for groups of farmers: women groups, youth and other CBOs in the rural areas. KIOF comes into contact with these groups through various organizations, churches, government institutions and individuals.
WHY ORGANIC AGRICULTURE?
A problem in today’s agriculture is the need for cash. This need moves the nation as a whole and especially the farmer into cash crop farming. Most of which are non – food crops. The family food production is often neglected. This leads to poorer diets and poorer health of the farming community. The remedy for this situation is organic farming.
Organic farming is based on mixed farming principles. Experiences show that mixed farming practices lead to better food and income stability. It does not exclude the cash crop but it puts it in the right place. The cash crop can become part of the farm’s crop rotation which puts emphasis on diversity of crops thereby raising the ecological balance of the farm. It provides a more complete diet for the family. Diversity in production means less risk, and better food and health within the farm.
Production is based on maximum recycling of organic wastes and careful handling of manures and composts, careful soil cultivation and use of natural rock minerals, if necessary.
Weed control is based on crop rotation and physical methods. Pests and disease control is sustained by understanding and maintaining physical, biological and ecological balances. These include traditional methods which are now being scientifically proven.
The use of trees for shade, mulching, soil improvement, fruit, fodder and fuel production is of great importance, and correct understanding of their place on the farm is part of organic practice. Besides, trees protect the land from strong winds and improve the climate of the area.
A fresh look is taken at the question of marketing. This is done with a view to improved understanding of the needs of the grower and the requirements of the consumer.
Thinking in terms of organic agriculture means reviving and developing sound husbandry practices which include the human and the social surroundings of the farm. The farm is able to function as an organism in which all parts support each other.
• Organic farming, weeding, tilling the gardens, harvesting produce and livestock farming,
• Attend to field visits and trainings organized for farmers engaged in organic farming
• The application of appropriate technology on organic farms
• Interaction with organic farming students
• Submit Project Report to KVDA
PROJECT START DATES
• Volunteers are accepted to join this project at any time of the year and should arrive in Kenya on 20th day of the month. The duration of placement is flexible depending on the availability of the volunteer
• 2-day orientation seminar will be done on the 21st and 22nd of every month
• This project accepts only volunteers wishing to participate in the project for the duration of two months and above
• Therefore volunteers wishing to participate in this project for one month will not be accepted for conventional purpose.
• The project participation fee is Euro 200 per month paid upfront on arrival to the cover costs stipulated for the entire duration of the project. Monthly payment of participation fees is not allowed for conventional purposes.
What is included in the participation fee?
• Return transfers from the airport
• Full board at the project (Accommodation and meals provided at the project)
• Orientation, evaluation and monitoring
• Volunteer mentorship
What is not included in the participation fee?
• Travel to and from the project. The volunteer will be required to pay for the bus tickets
• Refreshments outside the project
• Air ticket
• Visa and Insurance
• Local travel
• Personal effects
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
• Volunteers will be accommodated at the institution together with the students in dormitory set up but will share other amenities and meals with the students’ community. It is convenient for the volunteer to carry sleeping bag, mat and personal effects. KVDA has a memorandum of understanding with the host project regarding the project costs with appropriate procedures, checks and balances.
• Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is the port of arrival and KVDA will designate a driver for the airport pick up. We strongly advice volunteers against getting taxis on their own without reference to KVDA due to the obvious risks and in case of any challenges on arrival kindly contact KVDA via mobile telephone 0721650357
• Volunteers will be driven to the KVDA Residence situated in Karen suburb in Nairobi approximately 25 Kilometers away from the airport and that is where the volunteers will be accommodated ahead of their placement to the project. The residence is situated in the serene environment with amble space for recreation and spectacular setting as the inauguration of volunteering to make a difference in the world.
• Kenya is replete with a lot of interesting and natural spectacular sites of interest that would capture the imagination of volunteers. From the tour to the renowned Maasai Mara Game Reserve to visits to local community beholding sights, the volunteers have the previledge to make choices that would fundamentally make the difference. The project also offers a perfect opportunity for people who enjoy being close to nature and are interested in the spectacular setting that traditional way of living in the heartland of the African culture would enrich your cultural heritage
Laundry and water:
• Tap water is available at the institution and it is important to preserve water at all times due to its scarcity and cooperation with the hosts will be highly appreciated
• There are no washing machines in the institution and the volunteer will be guided on how to wash clothes
• Volunteers are expected to have their own medical insurance and other personal expenses and it is important to carry your own medical and travel insurances.
• Mentor for the volunteer from the hosting organisation: KVDA will designate its staff to play the role of mentoring and this is the vital link between the volunteer and the organization. The Mentor has the responsibility to enable the volunteer to efficiently execute their tasks with diligence.
• Function of mentor: advise, educate, be a role model to the volunteers; providing problem solving, collaborative support, positive and non-evaluative feedback and emotional support for volunteers; to provide comfort, exposure, visibility and challenging assignments which directly support the volunteer’s personal and professional development; to provide counselling and friendship to support the volunteer’s self-image and competence and thus to listen, guide, advice, teach and offer professional support to the volunteers
• The mentor will be available for the volunteer as a constant supporting person. However, he/she should not be directly involved in the daily work of the volunteer.
• Mentor’s Experience with international volunteers: More than 3 years’ experience with international volunteers
Project participants: Maximum 10 volunteers from different nationalities recruited through KVDA partner organizations
What to carry: This is outlined in the detailed info sheet and includes, sleeping bag and mat, toiletries, torch, flashlight, sandals, mosquito net, national flag from your country, among others
DONATION AND GIFTS: These are usually symbolic gestures to enhance the solidarity of volunteers and the hosting community. Kindly contact KVDA for details in case you are willing to support a worthy cause in the community either by offering a donation or long-term intervention on the project.
APPLICATIONS: Should be done at least one month in advance through KVDA partner organization in respective countries. KVDA does not accept direct applications by volunteers.