Biovision Africa Trust played host to SSNC’s General Secretary Ms. Karin Lexen at their offices on January 22nd, 2019. The main aim of her visit was to understand BvATs work especially the programmes supported by SSNC and understand other areas that the 2 organizations can establish partnerships in the future. During her visit, she was welcomed by BvAT staff who held intensive discussions to give her an in-depth understanding of BvATs work in Kenya and the rest of Africa.
Ms. Karin was taken through the overall work of BvAT and the work BvAT is doing through one of its key main programmes, the Farmer Communications Programme (FCP) by Ms. Pauline Mundia the Outreach Manager of FCP. Ms. Mundia explained that FCP program funded by Biovision Foundation is implemented through 4 communication channels of Farmer Outreach Centres, The Organic Farmer Magazine, The Organic Farmer Radio and Infonet data base.
Ms. Karin was also taken through the work BvAT is doing under the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I ) by Ms. Venancia Wambua, the EOA-I Project Manager. She mentioned that Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) and the Swedish Society for nature Conservation (SSNC) have been working closely together since the inception of the EOA Initiative in 2011 when SSNC supported the 1st meeting held in Thika, Kenya. The meeting brought together EOA stakeholders to deliberate and plan for EOA roll out in Africa. Ms. Wambua used this opportunity to thank SSNC for its initial role in supporting the piloting of EOA-I in Eastern Africa and its continued support to date. SSNC is currently supporting EOA-I in Kenya and Ethiopia and EOA-I related programmes in Uganda. Other programmes that SSNC is supporting in Kenya are the Global Advocacy Project (GAP) that comes in to support EOA-I policy mainstreaming and the Agroforestry Project.
She also informed Ms. Karin of the upcoming ‘Eastern Africa Agroecology and Ecological Organic Agriculture conference planned to take place from 25th to 27th June 2019 at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi. The conference is being organized by Biovision Africa Trust and IFOAM Organics International with its partners. It seeks to set the stage rolling for rolling out and scaling up agroecology in Eastern Africa. Another key event mentioned was the upcoming BIOFACH AFRICA trade fair planned for 2020. SSNC is heavily involved in these 2 key events as the main donor and has been a key partner to see that the 2 events take place successfully.
Ms. Karin was also taken through the work that BvAT is doing as host to the EOA-I Continental Steering Committee Secretariat by Mr. Alex Mutungi the EOA-I Secretariat Coordinator. BvAT is playing host to the secretariat whose key role is to support the work of the Continental Steering Committee (CSC) that is chaired by Africa Union Commission. SSNC is represented in the CSC meeting by Ms. Gunilla Eitrem. Her key role in the committee was appreciated especially her message that ‘projects have to communicate impact’. Ms. Gunilla has also been very key in issues of gender mainstreaming especially ensuring women are included in EOA-I mainstreaming projects.
The overall presentations and discussions during the meeting highlighted the progress made by the programmes, challenges being faced, and lessons drawn.
Ms. Karin was finally interviewed by the TOF Radio team where she shared more about SSNC and her thoughts on the SSNC-BvAT relationship. The interview was recorded and can be accessed below;