UPEI students work with Farmers Helping Farmers to enrich Kenyan communities

Monday, May 26, 2008

Four students from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) will spend the summer working with two women’s groups in Kenya to help them and their communities lead healthier and richer lives.

The project is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through its Students for Development Program.

Working with Farmers Helping Farmers, the students will help the Ruuju and Muchui women’s groups in the Mount Kenya region learn to diversify their crops, establish a bookkeeping system and conduct dietary assessments for school-aged children.

Working on the bookkeeping project will be business student Billy MacDonald, of Charlottetown, and arts student Bobby Cameron, Hampton. Family and nutritional sciences students Sharla Goodwin, of the Magdalen Islands, and Doreen Pippy, of Hazelbrook, will be involved in the dietary project.

“I am greatly excited and honoured to be part of the Farmers Helping Farmers program north of Mount Kenya,” says MacDonald. “This will be a life-changing experience for me. I will grow as a person and a student from this experience, and hope to inspire more of my peers to get involved in great causes like Farmers Helping.”

The project will build on community strengths and information, with a focus on shared ownership and development of a “team-work” model among the participants. As well, this work promotes sustainability because the women can carry on what they have learned and use it to make informed decisions for the future in the education, health and business areas. With their new knowledge, the women will be able to improve their families’ lives and become leaders in their communities.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for these four students,” says Vianne Timmons, vice-president of academic development at UPEI. “It is the hope of UPEI that these students will inspire other students at UPEI to engage in international travel as well as to increase the diversity of knowledge within their classes. We are very proud of our students and the work that they are undertaking.”

The students will be accompanied by Teresa Mellish and Colleen Walton, of Farmers Helping Farmers, for the first three weeks of June.

Through the Students for Development program, Canadians work together to promote good governance and institution-building in developing countries. Farmers Helping Farmers is a P.E.I.-based non-governmental organization that partners with East African farm groups to improve agricultural production for sustainable development within communities. Together, they develop practical projects with small-scale farmers, primarily women. Farmers Helping Farmers has been a partner with the Muchui women’s self-help group since 1997.

For more information, contact Alaina Roach O’Keefe at 902-894-2842 or aroach@upei.ca.

Anna MacDonald
Media Relations and Communications, Integrated Promotions
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