At Arrupe JRS center, in Kakuma 1, stands a flourishing farming ground known as Kakuma Social Agri-ventures. Co-founded by Nilwa Karaka and her business Partner Dominic- both are former beneficiary of Resilience Action International's (RAI) entrepreneurship program- this agri-business cooperative has transformed the dry and dusty environment into a thriving oasis of greenery. Pumpkins, watermelons, kunde, 'mrere,' and cassava leaves (sombe) grow healthily under their careful tending.
The inception of Kakuma Social Agri-ventures was sparked during Nilwa's entreprenuership training at RAI, although the idea initially seemed far-fetched in a place like Kakuma, where rainfall is scarce. Nevertheless, with the support of her co-founder, Dominic Amanya, Nilwa has turned her vision into a reality and encouraged others to join her in this green venture.
Giving back to the community has become a significant outcome of this initiative. Nilwa expresses, "This venture has helped me in giving back to the community. At least we are able to provide a healthy affordable alternative to the community." By offering fresh, locally grown vegetables, the agri-business has contributed to transforming the dietary options within the camp. The majority of vegetables in the area were previously imported from distant towns, resulting in higher prices and sometimes stale produce upon arrival.
Participating in the three-month Entrepreneurship program equipped Nilwa with valuable skills, empowering her to navigate and manage the agri-business more effectively. However, she faces challenges like the scarcity of water, availability of vegetable seeds, and fertilizers for the farm. Despite these hurdles, Nilwa remains optimistic and aspires to find sustainable solutions to support the growth of her business, ultimately benefiting her community even more.
Nilwa finds immense joy in cultivating crops and providing her community with a healthy alternative. "Growing crops is enjoyable. The satisfaction I get from growing healthy vegetables and providing the community with a healthy option is quite fulfilling," she shares with a smile.
As she continues to steer her agri-business through its challenges, Nilwa expresses her gratitude for being a beneficiary of RAI entrepreneurship program. Her vision is to expand Kakuma Social Agri-ventures, reaching more people and ensuring access to fresh vegetables for the community. Through dedication and determination, Nilwa Karaka's journey exemplifies the growth and positive impact that social agri-ventures can bring to challenging environments like Kakuma.