Enactus: Volunteer groups in universities around the world, seeking to establish income-generating activities in areas of poverty.
In May 2015 Jim Leftwich, Amani UK International Co-ordinator, linked up with Enactus at Southampton University. During his visit to Oyugis shortly afterwards the Amani UK team and Upendo federation members visited an Enactus partner project, an NGO named Ecofinder in Kisumu. We learnt how Ecofinder is serving the community through capacity building and use of the locally available materials to make products which generate income for the community members, conserve the environment, and help the needy members create income out of waste material. We had the opportunity to learn how to make reusable sanitary towels for girls, how to generate methane gas from animal dung, how to compost waste matter from Ecosan toilets, how to use polythene bags to weave and make baskets and other products, how to extract oil from avocado, how to use small solar energy units for lighting in rural households, etc.
We were inspired and wanted to try some of these ideas in Oyugis as we have the same resources. In August 2015 we hosted Jake and Adam from Enactus, plus Ecofinder members, with whom we shared a lot and visited some of the projects we undertake. As a step forward, we have identified schools to build demonstration Ecosan toilet units and to link these to student environment/ agriculture clubs and farmers groups who will use the fertilizer collected from the Ecosan toilets to improve soil fertility and crop production.
It is our intention to train our staff in the various aspects and expand the toilet use in schools and community groups. This will create a better understanding of the whole concept and enhance the community’s adoption process and also improve hygiene standards. We hope to establish links with RETEC, a Kisii project which does similar activities just 20 miles away and to strengthen links and partnerships with Enactus and Ecofinder in the future. This will enable us to learn and to share knowledge on technology which can transform the livelihoods of the community, through income generating activities on a sustainable basis.