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Using Farming Models to Teach Family Planning in Homa Bay

For Joshua Okundi, resigning from his teaching job in 2014 in order to sensitize his community about the importance of family planning was a no brainer. Okundi runs a community-based organization christened Bwogi Mak Bwogi in his Kanyadhian’g Village home, Kendu Bay, Homa Bay County.

It is a model home under the Population Health and Environment (PHE) integrated programme coordinated by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD). Within this pro- gramme, Okundi sensitizes youth, couples and widows on the importance of family planning using various farming models.

One of the models borrows from the spacing of trees in a garden. When trees are properly spaced in the garden, the plants will be better managed, there will besufficientnutrientsforalltheplantsandinthe long run, the farmer will get maximum yields. This model is applicable to families as well and it is what Okundi uses to educate his eager audiences on a daily basis. A well-spaced family means children will be well fed and the parents will be able to provide them with education and all the basic amenities, including good health.

“Planting plenty of maize on a small piece of land will not yield a good harvest. Conversely, spacing the maize on the small piece of land will get one a better harvest. Similarly, a big family with little resources becomes stressful to the parents as they strive to provide basic needs. The little food available will be competed for,” Okundi explains.

Okundi’s group has so far attracted 78 households within his community. Their discussions also touch on the significance of ante-natal clinics for pregnant women and delivering in health facilities. Morine Otieno, a mother of three, says she has learnt so much about farming and how to engage her children particularly during this period of COVID-19 from Mwalimu Okundi since she joined the group two years ago. “When we come here we learn how to take care of our shamba. It is the same way we should plan for our families,” she notes.

“When you have a single tree on your garden you have enough time to weed and water it, unlike when you have many of them that consume most of your time. You will end up neglecting some of them. It is the same with our children. If you do not plan and have so many children, you end up not having time to attend to them,” Morine emphasized.