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Global Footsteps is a charity based in Cheltenham UK, founded in 1985 as The Rendezvous Society. The charity's main purpose is educational and works for sustainable living and climate justice, acting both locally and globally.
We are currently raising money to support a co-operative farming project for women farmers in Kenya, growing sweet potatoes – a nutritious crop that is resilient to climate change.
We have a long partnership with the Aniga Women's Initiative, a community self-help group in Kisumu, Kenya, who are mostly widows as a result of HIV. They also raise awareness against ignorance, diseases, and violence in their community.
Global Footsteps volunteers and trustees have spent time with the Aniga Women in Kisumu, and now work closely and directly with the group online.
In 2019, the Aniga Women approached us for help to set up a sustainable agriculture project. A feasibility study by a local independent consultant proposed that the community could grow sweet potatoes, a nutritional crop that is resilient to climate change.
Our work locally in Cheltenham:
• We supported FoodLoose, a local refill shop, to grow and become an independent community co-operative.
• We work with Cheltenham Welcome Refugees and other local organisations to help create a culture of welcome in the town.
• We are part of a twinning committee for Kisumu, Kenya, as part of the Cheltenham Twinning Association – an independent group linking Friendship Towns.
• We organise and take part in events encouraging sustainable living.
• Our headquarters in Portland St has been retrofitted with insulation and renewable energy.
• Little Footsteps operates an international toddler group.
In Kenya, we:
• Provide training and materials to enable them to make and sell energy efficient cookstoves and briquettes.
• Support them during the recent floods and pandemic.
• Help to develop a co-operative farming project to grow nutritious crops resilient to climate change
Please see our website to learn more about our work: https://global-footsteps.org
Global Footsteps is a volunteer-led Cheltenham based charity established in 1985 with a focus on sustainability and education, promoting self-sufficiency and protecting the planet for future generations.
We long have had a direct, close and supportive relationship with the Aniga Women's Institute, a community based organisation in Kisumu, Kenya. The organisation aims to support the local female population, a significant proportion of whom are single mothers, with many suffering from HIV.
In 2020, the Aniga Women contacted Global Footsteps seeking assistance with a planned project to improve nutrition in their community. The Kisumu county has serious issues around macro- and micro-nutrient deficiencies, and malnourishment in children, with an estimate that 36% of Kenyan children being underweight, and and 37% are stunted, due in part to vitamin A deficiency, and a lack of carbohydrates. The project sought by the Aniga Women would see an improvement of agricultural crops and practices
Research generated by communication between the Aniga Women’s Initiative and Global Footsteps demonstrated that Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) is the crop which will provide the best boost for both local nutrition and health, and a climate change resilient, sustainable agriculture.
As part of our feasibility study, a full length research-based project proposal was drafted and is accessible in full to those interested in becoming donors to the project. Please find a summary of this proposal below:
Studies over the past several decades have shown that Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in Kenya. In 1999, 76% of children under 5 had sub-clinical vitamin A deficiency, and in 2009 vitamin A deficiency was shown to affect a quarter of children aged between 6 and 36 months. Childhood vitamin A deficiency restricts growth, the immune system, and eyesight, and reduces the chance of surviving serious illness. Vitamin A deficiency also affects women, who suffer the same issues, and can contribute to infant deficiencies because their malnutrition is reflected in the quality of breast milk. OFSP has been conventionally bio-fortified with vitamin A, meaning its widespread adoption would reduce issues of the immune system, stunted growth and night-blindness in women and children.
OFSP is drought tolerant, making it resilient to the effects of climate change; it’s continued output during water shortages means it can be relied upon when other crops have failed. As OFSP is considered to be a women’s crop, its production is centred around those who are most affected by vitamin A deficiency, and its low intensity labour requirements make it suitable for a wide variety of potential growers.
OFSP can be intercropped with other products which may already be prominent locally, and contains more edible energy per hectare per day than wheat, rice, or cassava. Having few pests reduces the need for environmentally damaging chemicals in the growing process, and its ability to grow in poor quality soils ensures it can be widely distributed and still provide success in achieving the project’s aims, even within communities based in challenging areas.
Intercropping will be with Maize, and by the third year of the project will also be conducted with soy-beans in the most drought prone sections of the target area. Sustainable agricultural methods such as drip irrigation will be promoted, and appropriate training in processing, crop preservation, and agribusiness will be provided.
The project will involve the participation of 5 government employees who will each support a group of Decentralised Vine Multipliers. These people will use high quality equipment to ensure disease free multiplication of plants which can be distributed.
The project is planned to be sustainable in the long term, it focusses on the distribution of skills, and education in useful attitudes and knowledge, rather than simply providing materials. The engagement of local people in the design and implementation of the project ensures a local investment in its success, both ideologically and physically.
For more information, please contact us directly.
Our annual reports as a charity are also available to anyone interested in reading more about our work and projects.
Thank you for your interest.