A group of eight students from Egerton University are working on a Sustainable Biowaste Management and Commercialization in Nakuru County student challenge. Through the challenge, the students will work together with a local farmers’ group to not only improve the quality of organic fertilizer produced by the farmers, but to also build the capacity of production.
Text Fahad Luttah Juma
The farmers’ group, called Griincom waste management, recycles agricultural waste and brings it back into the farming process as organic fertilizer. Griincom was founded in 2015 and operates as a self-help group with a membership of 11, mostly women, and is located in Mzee Wanyama area, pipeline, Nakuru.
The area is densely populated and the residents grow crops and keep livestock. Hence the management of waste became a challenge that resulted to conflicts among the residents. This prompted the founders to find a way to make value out of the waste and reduce the conflicts. The group collects crop residues and animal and household waste in a central place. This, in addition to waste collected from the main market, are composted using the windrow composting system to make organic fertilizer.
The farmers were very excited when the challenge was introduced to them, citing that they look forward to the challenges they have been facing in their group activities to be addressed with university students. They further expressed their sentiments of how the student challenge makes them feel a part of the Egerton university ecosystem.
The students will work with the farmers in the student challenge through training them on improving the nutritional quality of organic fertilizer, agricultural marketing, smartphone Agrijournalism and farmer-to-farmer training. From the challenge, the students expect to produce a handbook and fact sheets on organic fertilizer production and a module for farmer-to-farmer training in organic fertilizer production.
The students’ general opinion on the student challenge learning methodology was positive. They expressed that the student challenge prompts them to be self-driven, proactive and creative in their learning. Specially, they identified the farmer engagement aspect of the student challenge as an opportunity for them to not only learn how to transfer the knowledge they’ve learnt, but also as an ample platform for them to gain confidence leadership and communication skills.