These newborn tomato plants represent the beginning of a new season for the 20 widows in Samuli.
The greenhouse was built last December. The widow group are now a few weeks into advanced agricultural training running through all of 2020.
Most of the women are illiterate, but that does not stop them from learning about drip irrigation, fertilisation, crop rotation or plant health.
We already got a buyer
We have secured a buyer in Nairobi that will distribute the greens to restaurants and chains all over the capital. The first crop is expected in a few months and will provide an income for all the group members.
We are dreaming of more greenhouses
Other women groups have contacted NABIO to get the same opportunity, and we hope to be able to help other groups start a business.
Within the rural Maasai communities, there are numerous similar groups that try to improve their living standards. This group had already attempted to start two other businesses before the greenhouse, but lacked the capital and skill to move beyond handicrafts – which could not sustain regular incomes.
If this pilot greenhouse continue to be successful, we will seek funding to help other groups start a business. The greenhouse is a particularly promising model since it will secure a stable stream of income without excessive labour.
We are inspired by micro-finance but we offer more than funding – the group also receive business and agricultural training, market linkages, and insurance.
If the project isnt successful they will not have to pay anything. But if it works to plan, the group will repay the greenhouse with a share of their profits.
This will allow us to reinvest the money into new startups.