Every small garden can play a big role

School playground with vegetables growing in yellow containers

The NICE* Project aims to improve city nutrition. Tackling this complex challenge locally requires involvement by many different people and organizations. Crucially, they include schools. 

“When improving family nutrition, schoolkids are vital allies”, says Elizabeth Imbo, our NICE Project Manager in Kenya. Turning that theory into practice, NICE is working closely with schools in the country’s two project cities, Bungoma and Busia**. 

Fortunately, Kenya has an excellent institution in place for this, the 4K Clubs. In Kiswahili, “4K” stands for Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya. This loosely translates as “Coming together to act and help Kenya”. Initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture, the 4K network aims for young people to remain actively interested in food production and nutrition. 

“In the countryside, our Foundation already works with 4K Clubs training pupils and their farming parents on good agricultural practice”, comments Elizabeth. “In urban areas, the focus is on opportunities such as hanging, conical and mandala gardens. Those help families maximize healthy food production in small spaces.” 

Through the NICE project, local schools such as Moi DEB Primary have adopted these innovative gardens. Pupils receive training and are encouraged to share their knowledge at home. Headmaster Kelvin Wanyama says: “We want our children to learn good nutrition from a young age, and to know how to farm nutritious vegetables on a small scale. We’re proud to partner here with the NICE Project and the Syngenta Foundation.” 

Wanyama’s city-center school also teaches how to keep small animals such as rabbits. Other 4K Clubs may choose to concentrate on chickens, for example. “Vegetables, meat and eggs all contribute to a diverse and healthy diet”, emphasizes Elizabeth Imbo. “But it’s really important young people are keen – and know what to do”. 


* The NICE partners are listed here.

**As our Director noted in a recent LinkedIn post, NICE also works with schools in Bangladesh.