Our village

The city of Ruiru is in the Thika district of Kenya, not far from the capital Nairobi. It is an industrial city surrounded by numerous coffee plantations. Many locals moved to Ruiru because of the housing shortage in Nairobi. It is the home of Githothua Primary School, which about 700 children aged 4 – 12 attend every day: the location of our first project, and the blueprint for future plans, because what we succeed in achieving at this school will form the basis for subsequent projects.

Our first goal is to give Githothua Primary School the knowledge and know-how it needs to operate independently from early 2014 onwards, by drawing on the strengths of individuals both in the Netherlands and in Kenya. For the best results we consider it important to have a dedicated, enthusiastic team at work in both countries.

Garden and greenhouse
An area of wasteland close by the school has been transformed into fertile soil. There we have built a 96m2 greenhouse in which vegetable plants can be seeded and cultivated. The young plants are then transferred to the garden, which is about 635m2 in size. Thanks to the cooperation of the local council officials we have at least a five-year guarantee on the use of this land. The school itself looks after the maintenance of the greenhouse and the garden: pupils, working side by side with teachers, will soon be growing their own lunches. What doesn’t get eaten will be sold, which teaches the children about the market value of the products they grow.

Lunch and lessons
We worked in close cooperation with teachers, the parents’ association, and local and provincial governments to set up a lesson programme, one of the most important aspects of the project. Teachers will accompany 10- to 12-year-old pupils into the greenhouse and the garden to learn how to grow and later sell their own vegetables. This is valuable knowledge, which the 70 children currently following the programme can then share with their families and with the school’s younger pupils.

Lastly, we launched a hot lunch distribution scheme. For more than six months we have given about 600 children a proper lunch every day; its low cost (14 cents) goes towards rice, beans and so on. Everything the children grow for themselves is, of course, free. We chose this arrangement on purpose because we think it is important that the children learn the value of the goods they grow and eat. To prepare these lunches we built and fitted a 24m2 kitchen.

Would you like to know why we started FoodVillage at this particular school? Read our history.