Amos Gachuki is the head teacher of Michinda Boarding Boys’ Primary school which is located in Elburgon Town, Molo District Nakuru County. The school population comprises is 550 students, 23 teachers. A number of leaders at national and regional level went through the school which also has a school garden with 70 members. Besides being head teacher for Michinda, Mr. Gachuki is the chair for head teachers in Elburgon division. Apart from being the school administrator he teaches mathematics and actively participates in school garden projects. He is a member of Slow Food in Kenya. In 2010 Michinda School was rated 1st nationally among all schools that practiced schools gardens. Students and teachers from other schools come to learn about the establishment, organization and management of school gardens.
Nancy Kirui is a teacher at Olenguruone Primary school that neighbours Olenguruone secondary school. She is the patron for the school garden that brings together students from both schools. The schools are located in Olenguruone Town, Kuresoi District of Nakuru County. Nakuru is part of the region that was previously referred to as the “white highlands” because the region was home to many European large scale farmers during colonial period. Olenguruone primary school has a population of 600 students and 20 teachers. Nancy heads the English, Kiswahili examination panel and drama and music clubs. She is also the patron of the school garden project which involves 60 students. At community level, Nancy is actively in women’s empowerment and family counselling.
Agnes Mutahi is a teacher at Sachangwan Secondary school located at Sachangwan centre in Molo District, Nakuru County. Her school has a population of 370 students and 15 teachers. She is the head of Science Department and member of the school disciplinary committee. She teaches biology and mathematics and she also finds time to play role of patron for school garden and environmental club which has 60 members.
Jeremiah Lebene is deputy head teacher of Lomayan primary school in the semi-arid Marigat District on the shores of Lake Baringo. In the last 20 to 30 years his community was practicing pastoralism but because of several factors among them climate and raids by neighbouring communities they are gradually evolving into agro-pastoralism in which they practice rearing of livestock and crop farming. Jeremiah is the patron for the 4-K club in which students learning gardening, environmental conservation and culinary education. Jeremiah is also a committee member for the Marigat Teachers Savings and Credit Society (commonly referred as SACCO). In the Sacco teachers are able to saving part of their salaries and at their convenience they are also able to access credit for their personal and family development.
Agnes Salim is from the indigenous Ogiek community that has lived in the Mau forest practicing ‘hunter-gather’ lifestyle until quite recently. Because of invasion of the forest by other communities and land excision, the community has been forced into a livelihood that involves farming and crop rearing. Poverty and illiteracy are very high in the community.
In the national elections conducted early last year she was elected to represent her community (Marioshoni) as member of the county assembly a role she is playing quite actively and working with other community leaders and stakeholders. Until her election to the political position, Agnes was involved in women’s empowerment initiatives and campaign for girl child education. She is a great grassroots community mobilizer.
Senior Chief Samuel Sekeu is the administrator for Ilchamus location in semi-arid Marigat community of Baringo. The Ilchamus ethnic community is a small indigenous community that is sub-tribe of the Maasai. They are the only “maa” speaking community that traditionally practice fishing and eat fish. Before becoming Chief Samuel was a school teacher in which he excelled and when the need for a chief arose in the community, the villagers and leaders prevailed on him to be their leader. Samuel’s responsibilities include linking his community to the county and national government, fostering development initiatives, conflict management and transformation and educating the community on their roles and responsibilities in governance and leadership.
Samuel Muhunyu is the director for Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) an African movement promoting Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture. In Kenya NECOFA is operates as local NGO whose members include community groups (women groups, youth and self-help groups). For over 20 years Samuel has worked in community development as employee of the public service, teaching in an agricultural college and as team-leader in the civil society organization. He has designed and participated in implementation of several initiatives in primary and secondary schools, youth polytechnics and colleges focusing on community livelihoods especially food and environment management which have also been replicated in other organizations and schools. At the moment NECOFA is focusing most of its efforts towards improvement of the environment and livelihoods for community living along the Molo River basin which connects the Mau forest in the wet highlands and Lake Baringo in the dry semi-arid.
Jane Karanja works as a programme officer with NECOFA, working closely with small scale farmers and schools in areas of environmental conservation, food and nutrition security. She is a graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and she works closely with teachers and students involved in the school garden projects, especially in culinary education. She is responsible for the documentation of NECOFA activities and ecotourism attractions in the Molo River basin.