Steps in Sustainable Practices
Open Arms Village
Open Arms Village serves as a base to raise orphaned and abandoned children and to operate community outreach programs. In addition to residential care, OAI provides feeding, education, women’s mentoring, medical assistance, and Christian ministry.
As Open Arms Village becomes more self-sustaining through agricultural and business programs, it becomes less reliant upon external support, less vulnerable to changes in the economy and allows Open Arms to expand outreach. This model employs Kenyans and provides a model of stewardship for our children.
Shamba and Farming
At the OAI farm, we raise goats, chickens, and cows that provide milk, eggs, and meat for our children.
In the shamba (garden) we grow maize (corn), bananas, pineapples, kale, spinach, cabbage, black night shades, beans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Extra meat and produce are given to local Christian charities or sold to our neighbors.
Posho Mill and Silos
In early 2015, we built and opened our own posho mill (grain mill) to provide for our grinding needs and to be a resource for our neighbors. Maize is an important part of the culture in Kenya – it’s porridge for breakfast, snacks throughout the day, and an important part of the evening meal. In addition to OAI’s use, the posho mill is an affordable grinding resource to our community.
In addition to the mill, we also built silos for storage. There are many advantages to using and producing silos. By using them, we:
- Eliminate of the cost and health risk of buying and adding pesticides to our primary food source
- Reduce the loss to pests from 12-24% to nearly zero
- Incur minimal costs (only 5,500 Shillings, or $55 UDS)
Neighbors and local schools have approached OAI about building and installing silos. This is an exciting training and employment opportunity for OAI.
In 2014, we began a small bakery where we baked fresh bread for our Village and community. In 2016, OAI rebuilt its bakery and will now be able to bake 300 to 400 loaves of bread every week, saving $150-$200 on our weekly grocery bill. That’s a $7,800-10,400 annual savings!
Our bakery also serves as a training site to teach our children important skills and give them experience in baking, production management, cashiering, sales, accounting, and customer service.
Open Arms International partnered with the Fly Fishing Collaborative to bring an Aquaponics Fish Farm to OAV. Aquaponics combines two worlds: Aquaculture (raising fish) and Hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants). The fish create nutrients for the plants to grow, and the plants clean the water for the fish. In doing so, both healthy fish and plants are produced, which can then be eaten or sold. Each part of this self-sustaining cycle helps the other.
The next endeavor at Open Arms Village will be solar energy. Partner with us to create additional sustainable practices in Kenya!