Improving food security in Kenya with vertical gardens and education

Maureen Muketha is the founder of Tule Vyema, a community organization based inNairobi, Kenya that works to eliminate malnutrition through education and training. Maureen is a nutritionist who is passionate about achieving Sustainable Development Goal #2. She is also a youth member of the UN Food System Summit Action Track 1 Leadership Team. 

"The area that I am from had many cases of malnutrition. I grew up seeing very emaciated women and children. The children were often too weak to play, and the mothers had to make hard decisions about which children would eat, and which ones would wait for the next available meal. Studying nutrition and dietetics at university was the first step I took to change that narrative from a technical point of view.

There are several ways in which Maureen aims to promote a more equitable world. "We also train young unemployed women of reproductive age to cultivate four varieties of indigenous vegetables on vertical farms. This helps to improve household food security and empowers them economically through the sales of surplus indigenous vegetables. Through this approach of nutrition knowledge sharing and training, women receive a continuous supply of indigenous vegetables and gain economic empowerment."

"When we first started off, we had not anticipated the vegetable seedlings would be a great meal for the birds! Most of the indigenous vegetables were all eaten by the birds. During project planning, we concentrated so much on intrinsic factors that we forgot other external factors. We learned that it is important to think about both intrinsic factors that could go wrong and extrinsic things—like the birds. We realized that—in the areas where the vertical farms are set up—the use of a shade net is vital to prevent the young soft seedlings from being attacked by birds."

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