My name is Jonnes Ekitala. I work at PaAfricare Kenya as the Agriculture Outreach Agent in charge of Turkwel Ward in Turkana County.
I have been working with PanAfricare’s IMPACT Program for the past three years and I count myself lucky because I have been part of the change and witnessed firsthand the transformation that has occurred in the communities that we support.
Typically my days involve farm visits, capacity building sessions and occasional supervision. There is always something being built, repaired or constructed in the farms so I have to be there to ensure the work is done to perfection.
You see, Turkana is a dry county with very minimal rainfall. That means food production is low and farming largely depend on irrigation. In Turkwel (where I work) the challenge was similar to most areas of Turkana County; Water is a key challenge to the farmers. Solving this challenge meant solving over 70% of the challenges farmers face.
I credit the transformation we have witnessed to PanAfricare’s keen focus to build farm infrastructure which include canals and boreholes. Most of the farms I am in charge are canal-irrigated. The magic that these canals have done is truly impressive. There are farms such as Natuntun and Napak that were no longer productive because farmers lacked water for irrigation.
What the IMPACT Project did was construct and rehabilitate canals. This meant that farmers now have access to water throughout the year. The impact of this is that the two farms have really expanded and even pastoralists have been pulled to farming. There is a complete positive change in the lives of people because now they can grow food.
As a representative of the organization on the ground, I am very proud to be among the change makers. I am feel contented when my community produces her own food and relies less on food donations.
I envision Turkana with healthy people and enough food. I know this is possible, we have shown through the IMPACT Program that it’s possible.