Failing Forward Toward Progress

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Meet the People of Kijabe Town

Kijabe Town is a small community of people who live about 30 miles outside of Nairobi. Its name is Maasai for “Place of the Wind” as it stands on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. It only has two roads in and out and a population of about 9,000 people. The village was formed in the 1900s when the British took people from India over to build railroads. Some of them stayed there but it wasn’t until about 1963 that they were granted their independence.

The economic opportunities in Kijabe Town are minimal as many people rely on agriculture to support their families, but the obstacles are great. Unpredictable weather patterns often leave farmers dealing with extreme flooding or extreme droughts. When they are able to produce a harvest, selling is problematic as most people in Kijabe Town are very poor and traveling to larger cities to sell in markets is expensive and logistically challenging. The closest city is 8 miles away and most families don’t have adequate transportation.

There are limited options for education in Kijabe Town so many young people leave in search of new opportunities. They don’t often return to share their resources and knowledge due to a lack of job opportunities, so the community is left in a cycle of poverty. Since youth can’t envision a future, they’re hesitant to invest in their own education. They can’t see the value in the effort.

Pigs Are Changing Everything

Mission ONE has been walking alongside our partners in Kijabe Town to help create opportunities for the families there through a profitable pig business. By supplying pigs to the largest pork provider in Kenya, the community in Kijabe Town is working together to create their own solutions. They’re ending generational cycles of poverty through fair and dignified work and they’re getting a first-hand look at the hope that comes from building sustainable income with the resources, skills, and opportunities in their own backyard.

But It Wasn’t Always Successful

Originally Mission ONE’s partner in Kenya worked with the Kijabe Town community on a chicken livelihood project. Through research and community surveys, our partner found that breeding chickens would allow the people of Kijabe Town to start a small business that wouldn’t require much to get started. Keeping a flock of chickens would supply fresh, healthy eggs to sell and drive to local, sustainable food systems. Soon it became clear that chickens might not be the best long-term solution.

Families were already struggling to feed their families, much less send their children to school so when they began to lose their chickens due to weather, climate changes, and theft, our partners knew we had to pivot.

When a massive disease hit the town, it killed many of the remaining chickens and the project was no longer sustainable.

But Mission ONE and our partner were committed to seeing the people of Kijabe Town thrive and that meant understanding what went wrong and finding the courage to try again. 

Our partners learned from that experience that we needed more planning and took additional time to research new options. Through the determination and hope of the community and our partners, we soon found a promising way forward.

Everyone Loves Bacon

We came to understand that pigs were in demand in Kenya and that pig farming could be the perfect solution for Kijabe Town. The community already had the facility as well as the tools and food needed for the pigs to thrive!

So by utilizing the money they made from selling the last few hundred chickens, they purchased enough piglets to start this new project only a few months later!

Our partners arranged a meeting with Farmer’s Choice, the biggest pork meat provider in Kenya, and negotiated a contract to be a pig provider for them. Kijabe Town had to prove they could meet the demand, and by establishing systems, training the community, and restoring hope, the pig project is finding its stride of success.

The pig project is currently employing three people, but more than that, the project is showing the community that there is purpose and potential in their lives. They’re giving families a tangible example of love and care.

The community is working alongside our partners in Kenya to continue this project and help provide more jobs and a sustainable lifestyle for many without having to travel far and leave their homes.

The goal for the pig project is to become completely locally-sustained. Our partners in Kenya support over 20 missionaries, an orphan ministry, and a woman’s co-op that offers women an alternative to sex work. Together with our partner and the community of Kijabe Town, we’re able to provide opportunities for educational initiatives, living wage jobs, and recreational activities.

Pigs have been a catalyst in providing the people of Kijabe Town hope for a better life. The project shows families that there is promise in their village. That they can stay and make a living in their home. It empowers adults and encourages young ones to dream of a better future with less limitations. That by working hard, they too can help their community stand apart from the rest. They can set the example of teaching people how to work together, using their God-given talents to grow and reap an amazing harvest, a harvest of love and hope.

Seeing The Good in Each Situation

It was hard to face a “failure” or a mistake because we didn’t want the people of Kijabe Town to be discouraged or give up, but with that hard reality came the ability to pivot and find an alternative that would, in the end, be a much better fit for the community.

God’s hand is on every situation and the chicken project allowed our partners to reevaluate and discover an existing economy of pigs. A need that could be fulfilled by realigning our plans and making a way for a new venture.

God teaches us that through adversity, we can see His Grace and love shine even brighter. Because no matter what happens to us, or what mistakes we make, He is with us along the way helping us get back up and try again. He delights in our pursuit of becoming better— more like the Kingdom.

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