Rocky’s 30 Shillings and Other Lessons in Community Development


     The Kisumu team went on a fact-finding mission last week to visit Rocky Murri, environment coordinator for Comfort the Children International in Maai Mahiu, Kenya to see what things we could work on implementing in our own Rita Rose Garden and Sustainable Farm.

     Rocky’s been working on teaching local schoolchildren how to make sack gardens for their households—a garden that can grow 80 plants out of a large sack with holes poked into the sides. After some kids were so interested in the sack gardens, he also began gauging interest in backyard drip gardens. Drip tape with small holes allows a small amount of water to irrigate the base of each plant, addressing the challenge of water access.

     As we asked loads of questions about cost, feasibility, and sensitizing the community, Rocky showed us one of his backyard garden hacks—instead of buying another connector to plug the end of the tape, he cuts a piece of tape off the end, folds the line in half and uses the other piece to seal it, and says, “There’s my 30 shillings saved”—the cost of one more connector.

     Talking about the need to ensure whatever intervention you may be working on is one the community actually wants and will use, he emphasizes the need to “go deep, don’t spread wide” in your project. People are resistant to change, he says, go slowly, in Maai Mahiu people have always grown beans and maize, they say you can’t grown sweet potatoes, but here at the farm, I’m growing them.” Don’t tell people-show them.

We owe Rocky some tremendous gratitude for demonstrating what can work,  and for his great hospitality.

Help us sensitize, train, and provide drip kits to our own caregivers by donating here: