Comedian on mission to woo youths to take up urban farming
Funny man and TV personality Gilbert Wanyonyi, born and bred in a city slum is drawing satisfaction from his crusade to convert young people to embrace agriculture.
Kreative Generations’ comedian Gilbert Wanyonyi famously known as Mtumishi, is elated by how young people in a city estate have changed their attitude about farming.
Wanyonyi with his stage counterpart Josephat Mchasia aka Mchungaji became popular through local TV comedy programme, Churchill Show.
His fame got elevated when he set up a community group, which he founded with friends in Nairobi, where members earn a living through the unusual mix of entertainment and farming.
Kreative Generations is part of Farm Africa’s Urban Agriculture Project in Dagoretti area on Nairobi county.
The project helps youth groups and schools grow nutritious food, and keep livestock in an urban environment.
Among the youth taking part in the project, include Grace Kanyua, born in Dagoretti, who Farm Africa says is proud to have given the fuel to start this exciting journey.
Dagoretti is one of the most overcrowded estates in Nairobi whose population is expanding rapidly and its resources stretched to the limit.
This has resulted in chronic food shortage and the risk of malnutrition and other poverty-related health problems. It’s a hard reality that young people like Grace face daily.
Across the estate, a network of 15 urban farms set up by Farm Africa are providing the much-needed break from Dagoretti life.
Local school and community groups each received a donation of livestock, together with training in organic farming practices.
Dagoretti’s new urban farmers were soon growing the food they needed to support their local community.
Farm Africa has helped them sell their surplus crops by linking them with a new micro-enterprise scheme.
For young people, such as Grace, these urban farms are a chance to gain vital skills in food production and nutrition.
Her new-found knowledge means that she can now grow a balanced diet for herself and her family.
“We tell young people that farming is cool and it’s not just for people who are retired or poor living in the countryside,” says comed ian Wanyonyi, who is alsoan ex street child from Kwangware.
“I was born and bred in Kawangware, Nairobi county, and grew up in a one room shack with my family.
My mother worked very hard doing long hours as a househelp and selling grocery. I became a street urchin when I was seven years old, earning money selling scrap metal and plastic.
Living on the streets is a really tough life — you lack nutrition, you become ill, it gets cold, but there is no place to accommodate you,” he adds.
Wanyonyi was about nine years old when he returned to school. “I had missed two years of learning and some of the other children would laugh at me, but it got better over time and the teachers were supportive,” he smiles.
He recalls how he first knew he could be a comedian back in school when he and his classmates would comically imitate how their teachers talked, and the other students would say, “Gilbert stand up and make us laugh,” he recounts.
What he did not know is that he would one day make a career out of it and even help young people build their lives.
Today, Kreative Generations has become a full time job. “I’m now able to take care of myself, my mother and my siblings.
Humour is a good tool to reach out to young people because it’s fun and one thing we talk about in our stand up performances is farming.
Everyone needs food and we want to show young people that you can do urban farming in a small plot in the city.
I’m convincing young Kenyans that growing food isn’t just for old people,” he says in conlusion.
Original Source Website: : https://www.pd.co.ke/business/comedian-on-mission-to-woo-youths-to-take-up-urban-farming-71662/