In many parts of the world, people are still suffering from malnutrition. Since the situation in Northern Kenya is particularly severe, we decided to make it the starting point of our fight against hunger.
Apart from our first location in Nariokotome, we now run another farm in Ebukanga. Both locations are run in collaboration with local partner organisations. Locals are being trained and the spirulina is being distributed among the population. Thereby, we assure our project’s sustainability.
Location 1: Nariokotome
In April 2017, we laid the foundation for our pilot farm in Nariokotome. Nariokotome is a small village in Turkana County in Northwestern Kenya. The conditions of life are rough, as Turkana is one of the hottest, driest, and poorest regions of the world. Temperatures of over 45°C and the very saline groundwater make conventional agriculture almost impossible. The consequences for the population are grave: 91% of the people are underweight and 1 in 4 children die before the age of 5. The primary cause is the lack of protein. On top of that, the average daily income rarely exceeds 1,50€. However, the extreme environmental factors of the Turkana region are perfect for the cultivation of spirulina, which is why we decided to build our first spirulina farm in Nariokotome.
We work in collaboration with the Missionary Community of Saint Paul the Apostle (MCSPA). They operate in various countries and support many locals in their respective regions. Not only the Mission has been fascinated by our idea from the very beginning, also locals like the farm managers Joseph and Thomas took great interest in our plans early on. Joseph, in particular, was really enthusiastic about our concept, as he has a long-time interest in biology. Thanks to Thriving Green, both men found a job they enjoy.
Since building the first tank in April 2017, we have continuously expanded and developed the location. This includes improvements like nets, protecting the tanks from sand contamination. The required water is obtained from a groundwater pump on the site, since the high salinity is perfect for our microalgae. After being harvested, the algae is placed in the sun to dry. Visit our technology site to find out more about the cultivation of spirulina.
Thanks to the cultivation of spirulina, locals can now provide themselves with the nutrients they need to fight malnutrition.
I take care of the spirulina every day. In the morning I open the Spirulina palms and look whether there’re any intruders like dust, dirt or insects that I need to remove. When I see that the Spirulina is ready for harvesting, I prepare and get all the necessary materials for the harvest. Then I take the Spirulina out of the basins and dry it. It’ll be ready on the next day. Otherwise I stir the Spirulina several times a day to make surer the top layer doesn’t burn in the sun.
Learn more about our Farm Manager in our interview.
Location 2: Ebukanga
In February 2019 we built our second location in Ebukanga, near Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Unlike in Nariokotome, Ebukanga‘s landscape is much greener. The cultivation of sweet corn is possible, but bad harvests and the absence of alternatives result in insufficient nutrition. The difficult circumstances affect the poorer people the most, which is why we chose Ebukanga as the location for our second spirulina farm.
Our local partner is the Village to Global Foundation, a local organisation which promotes development in many different areas. They place a special focus on education and the development of the local community. Within this framework they also support a variety of nutrition projects. Thanks to this collaboration, the first tank was built on the local school grounds. The spirulina collected is mixed into the students’ porridge to assure a balanced diet.
We further refined and improved the design of our tanks for the second location and implemented a solar-powered paddle wheel which slowly and carefully circulates and mixes the tank’s contents. Furthermore, a drying chamber provides a safe and efficient place to dry for the harvest. Last but not least, we built a transparent roof over our tank to protect it from contamination through rain.
Visit the Village To Global Foundation of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/villagetoglobalfoundation/