What is an Akili Community?
“Akili dreams of a transformed Kenya in which small scale producers can support themselves from the work that they do.”
About an Akili Community
An Akili community comprises an organised group of small scale agricultural producers, living in one area, who have signed up a Nyumba Kumi (ten household) Charter for social and production accountability. Each Nyumba Kumi is lead by a Lead Farmer who organises training, distributes inputs, schedules farm inspections and coordinates produce harvests and collection.
Shared Sense of Responsibility
How the Communities Work
Together members of an Akili Community represent an institutional strength that is able to facilitate learning, efficiency and scale. Through value-linked loans, education, and accountability, members of the Akili Community work toward the goal of profitable production and sustainable wealth.
Communities Linked to the Hongera Project
At the heart of the Hongera Project are valuable partnerships with various community groups and academic institutions, all contributing to our shared mission. Akili Group collaborates closely with registered entities, including Self-Help Groups and Academic Institutions located in Nyeri, Laikipia, and Nyandarua counties, to advance the goals of the Hongera Project.
Among the Self-Help Groups we’ve had the privilege to work with are: Muthigani Self-Help Group, Upendo Women, Upendo Gachuiro, Thaithi Home Economics Self-Help Group, Gakanduini B Dairy Self-Help Group just to name a few.
We have also established partnerships with several Academic Institutions, including: Mathaithi Day Secondary School, Mathaithi Girls Secondary School, Unjiru Primary School, Kirimara Boys High School, Kiamwangi Primary School among many others.
These Self-Help Groups and Academic Institutions have become beneficiaries of our tree planting initiatives and the distribution of Hongera Cookstoves. In a mutually beneficial carbon-offsetting contractual agreement, they have committed to joining us in the fight against climate change by adopting these sustainable practices.
Over the past year, we have registered a cumulative total of 325 Academic Institutions and 189 Self-Help s across Nyeri, Nyandarua, Laikipia, and the Mt. Kenya region who are actively engaged in learning and growing together, striving for holistic improvements in their way of life.
Through Akili Group’s financial training, we’ve been able to grow our savings. We’ve learned more about beekeeping and potato farming, which has greatly improved our farming skills.
The project has empowered our group members through regular training. Before, our group members could not buy avocado seeds, but through Akili Group, we’ve been able to access healthy ones. We’ve also received through Nursery Management training that has seen many of the group members establish nurseries.
Akili has helped me improve my financial and communication skills, and has also allowed me to enlarge the network of farmers I know. The latter has greatly exposed me to different farming skills, and experiences.
Proud to be associated with Akili Group. I’m very happy with the agronomy training I’ve received, including dairy farming and yam planting.
The First Akili Community
The first Akili Community was born in Kangema, in Murang’a County. The community reviewed, discussed and identified and removed loss-making practices through a monthly “Saturday School”.
Examples of their Initiatives
- They identified that growing napier was more profitable than keeping cows…
- They identified techniques for growing yams that resulted in high yields that resulted in increased income…
- They improved their nutrition by blending local vegetables and avoiding overcooking…
- They presented their products to the Kenya Agricultural Show in Kangema and won first
prize over a period of several years in a row. They were declared by the government a focal area as a result, and went on to train other communities through their experiences.
Current & Upcoming Projects
Beekeeping groups in Kirinyaga & Embu
Beekeeping groups, through their Community Forest Associations, in Kirinyaga and Embu. Specialised training is provided to members of the project to site, maintain, harvest, and GPS-mark hives owned by other members of the CFA and by investors for an income sharing arrangement.
Horticultural producing groups in Kirinyaga and Embu
Dairy Farmers in Kirinyaga and Embu
Coffee for Export
We support coffee farmers in Kirinyaga to grow high quality, organic coffee for export to the USA. We get carbon credits from the shade trees that we intercrop in the coffee farms and neighboring forests
Akili Holdings Ltd (Akili) and Long Miles Coffee (LMC) of the USA have an established partnership through which Akili is responsible for sourcing and promoting improvement of Coffee from Mt Kenya area and LMC is responsible for its marketing in the USA and other parts of the world.
EcoAct Biochar Experiments
Experiment ongoing to test 5 types of biomass and several types of kilns in order to define a suitable approach for biochar production and distribution at scale
Hongera Cookstoves Project
Distribution of 150,000 energy efficient cookstoves in Nyeri, Nyandarua and Laikipia.
Hongera Afforestation Project
Planting of 3 million trees in Laikipia, Nyandarua, and Nyeri
Groups linked to the Hongera Project
Akili Group works with registered groups such as Self- Help Groups and Academic Institutions based in Nyeri, Laikipia, and Nyandarua counties to help further the Hongera Project’s cause.
- A few of the Self Help Groups we’ve partnered with include:
- Muthigani self-help group
- Upendo Women
- Upendo Gachuiro
- Thaithi Home Economics self-help group
- Gakanduini B Dairy self-help group
- A few of the Academic Institutions we’ve partnered with include:
- Mathaithi day secondary school
- Mathaithi Girls secondary school
- Unjiru Primary school
- Kirimara Boys High School
- Kiamwangi primary school
The above self-help groups and academic institutions are beneficiaries of trees and cookstoves through a mutual carbon-offsetting contractual agreement. By accepting to use the Hongera Cookstoves and plant trees, they agree to work with us in our fight against climate change.
From last year to today, a cumulative of 325 Academic Institutions and 189 Self help groups have been registered thus far.
Akili Tunza Project
Newly launched project to distribute 20,000 cookstoves and 1 million trees in Kirinyaga County
Natural Products from Akili Foods Limited
Processing of various products including Moringa, Prunus Africanus, through Akili Foods Limited
The Short Write Up on the Zinga Project: The Zinga project is dedicated towards the empowerment of small holder farmers through the distribution of 10,000 beehives over a period of 10 years. The project’s target regions span Mt Kenya regions, focusing on Nyandarua, Laikipia and Nyeri.
Kirinyaga County: Gichugu & Mwea
The Akili Village Model as implemented in Gichugu Constituency
The (Kenya) County Governments Act 2012, 48 (1) states that each county government shall be decentralized to the urban areas, sub-counties, wards and to such number of village units in each county as may be determined by the county assembly of the respective county.
This new focus on ‘The Village’ that the country’s constitution supports has been demonstrated by Akili and the Private Sector Development Trust (PSDT) through a pilot implementation in Gichugu Constituency, and, after adoption by government, the model is now being rolled out in the entire Kirinyaga County.
The features of the village government model include:
- A deepening of the Private Sector Stakeholder Partnership framework to the District, Ward, Village, Sub-village and Nyumba Kumi (ten household) levels
- The creation of the village council comprising vetted and elected leaders in the village
- Creation of stakeholder oversight committees for security, infrastructure, social audit, women, public health and youth affairs, at the village, ward and district levels
- Creation of a District Security and Economic Development committee, chaired by a citizen and with the sub-county administrator as the convener
The implementation of the pilot model of the sub-county framework has demonstrated that:
- The model has been very effective in the fight against crime.
- Empowered, the citizens are more effective in the enforcement of government policies
- Self-regulation is very effective in ensuring compliance of the law within sectors (boda bodas, matatus, licensing), repayment of group-linked loans and adherence to production guidelines
- Organized, an entire community is able to implement large scale, value-chain linked abd profitable production, eg beekeeping, horticulture, dairy, fish farming, with government or financiers funding the supporting infrastructure.
Kagamu Self-Help Group
- Startup equipment and capital to kick-start a dairy project
- Beehives, with loans secured through Kiva.org, with Akili as Trustee
- Moringa Oleifera seeds for growing and leaf product for sale in their agrovet shop.
- Training to commence a production improvement by dairy and beekeeping members.
- Guidance and support in starting a direct marketing channel.
Akili has a partnership with the youth of Kangemi, Nairobi’s 3rd largest slum. Our contributions so far include:
- Assisting in the formation of a Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) and registering it with the government
- Assisting in proposal writing that has resulting in securing funding from government to sensitize the people of Kangemi in the conservation of water catchment areas by among others, initiating income generating activities
- Developing a micro plastic recycling ‘plant’ for converting waste plastics into fencing poles.
Poverty levels (i.e. the number of people living below poverty line) in Eliye are estimated by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics at around 64-74%. The local people are of Turkana descent, and maintain a semi nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, with their young and older men moving with goats and camels in search of pasture, and returning back to the village when the weather becomes favorable. Illiteracy levels are also high.
The local springs for which it is named produce lush vegetation along its section of the otherwise barren lakeshore, and support a community of about 5000 people with fresh drinking water.
Akili has partnered with the Eliye Community, the National Christian Council of Kenya and Canada based volunteers linked to Partners Worldwide to implement a water bottling plant – targeting Lodwar and surrounding towns as the market for the product. Part of the income from the sales of bottle water (on a per bottle basis) will be used from commencement of the project to mobilize the community and support its members in the planting of beneficial plants, including nutrition-rich plants such as the Moringa, and trees that have leaves or ponds whose search for keeps the Turkana community’s boys out of school. So far over 12 tree species have been targeted for production including: Edome, ek alale, ewoi, esekon, ebei, engol, epuu, esanyanaeit, elim, ekadeli, ekunoit, epetet, ebenyo, edurukoit, eipa, elamach, epeduru etc.
Hifadhi Project, a large-scale distribution of energy efficient cookstoves: phase 1 was in Embu, 60,000 stoves; phase 2 in Tharaka Nithi County, 60k planned, so far 35,000 done. Ph 3 in planning to Narok (30k), Kirinyaga (60k), Mt Elgon (20k), Ug and Burundi (20k). We fund it through carbon credits **Akili developed the eMonitoring Tool, the software used to track the distribution and monitoring activities. Akili’s CEO, Haron Wachira, also serves and the project’s consultant in its implementation and monitoring.
Horticultural producing groups in Kirinyaga and Embu
Akili is working in partnership with small-scale production groups in Kirinyaga and Embu Counties to supply a buyer that has the capacity to absorb weekly container-loads of vegetable dehydrates. This project is currently at the start up stage, with the factory setup currently ongoing. The overall object of the intended horticultural development programme is to create an avenue through which producers will have access to a guaranteed large market (a container load of dehydrates requires 225,000 kgs of fresh leaves), and, through participation in the value chain, record measurable profit and other holistic gains.
Groups linked to the Hifadhi Project
Groups linked to the Hifadhi Project in Embu North, Embu East and Mbeere South comprising users of Carbon Offset funded energy efficient cookstoves. We are working with groups in this project to identify and develop a value chain of choice: beekeeping; poultry; dairy development; agroforestry among others.
Suggest an Akili Community
The Akili project is open for expansion into new territory. The Akili method requires that communities organize themselves into accountable units to work together for economic output and as peace promoters. Akili also requires partners committed to assisting in the establishment of a bulking centre for produce we are either currently dealing with or which we can initiate.
To suggest a potential Akili Community, please contact us