street children, kenya, africa, child, slum, homeless, project, home, rescue, kitale, community development, education, empowerment, oliver lynton

Income Generation & Cost Cutting

"Projects should strive to be self-sufficient and not depend on charity". This principal of sustainability through income generation is well and good, but must be carefully balanced with maintaining CRK's core values. Children cannot be expected to work above and beyond their responsibility to participate in project life. Income we can generate is limited to cost cutting at project level and small distinct business ventures.

Child labour is widespread in the Kenyan agriculture sector, there is a fine line that separate the normal duties and exploitation. Children should learn the tasks as they would within the familial context of Kenya. Like all children they have to learn life skills that enable them to grow into healthy, responsible adults. Of course all children help with the chores around the centre and also help with growing maize and vegetables in our bio-diverse vegetable plots. These activities can be fun and are the type of life skill that children might learn in a typical Kenyan family. Life skills build confidence in the children and give them a sense of belonging and responsibility to their peers and the wider community.

Agriculture

Both of CRK's residential children's projects have agricultural plots, though these are limited in size by other project activities. Vegetables and maize, the Kenyan staple, are grown on these plots. Liyavo has roughly 1 hectare (2.5 acres) dedicated to maize and vegetable production which, in a good year, provides sufficient maize for the project and produces fresh vegetables for the kitchen.

Birunda, on the other hand, only has half a hectare available for agriculture and that is where our Bio-diverse plots are concentrated. The plots serve both as training plots and provide fresh organic vegetables for the children's consumption.

Income

Income generation is currently limited to the hiring out of function marquees and plastic chairs. CRK owns 4 marquees and 350 plastic chairs which were donated for this purpose and are for hire. The business started well but has slowed as more and more competitors have entered the local market.

Future plans

Children and staff have been asked to come up with suggestions for future income generating activities. Their ideas have included brick making, poultry rearing, sale of products from the vocational training units and cattle herding. All are possible sources of income though they also have implications for education, the environment and staffing levels.

Income generation is important though difficult and can ultimately prove costly. Other players rely on underpaid casual and child labour, and often have little regard for environmental impact. These clearly contravene the development and social norms that CRK aspires to.