Global innovation enterprise, Bayer East Africa through the Bayer Life Sciences social initiative has officially handed over a Ksh 30 million community project to the County Government of West Pokot, after the lapse of the set one year implementation period.
The project, which was implemented in a partnership with the Anglican Development Services (ADS), entails community empowerment in agriculture such as fish farming, food crop farming; health and sanitation, including provision of ablution blocks to five public schools, water storage facilities and training in hygiene practices such as hand-washing in schools.
Provision of modern medical supplies and a free medical camp to treat fistula patients were also undertaken as part of the project under Bayer’s mission of improving lives in the community.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Bayer East Africa’s Managing Director Eric Bureau reaffirmed the company’s commitment towards improving communities in their key focus areas and beyond. “As Bayer, we are committed to empowering communities in life sciences. Our mission is science for a better life, on which this project was conceived and implemented in partnership with the Anglican Development Services. We are pleased to hand over the activities of the project to the County government of West Pokot, which were actually derived from the county integrated development plan 2015-2017”.
The project, launched in January 2017 has had a direct impact on over 3,000 households in all the five sub-counties in West Pokot. In Agriculture, over 2,000 households representing 13, 800 people benefited from the capacity building in modern farming practices, nutrition and income generating initiatives.
Three youth groups and an additional three women groups were trained on intensive farming in vegetables and fruits, which will go a long way in improving their economic viability and sustainability.
“We started ordinary farming in 2014, and back then our net profit was about Ksh 30,000 per season. When the Bayer project was introduced in 2017, we learnt new farming practices, coupled with the right seed variety as guided by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Today, I am proud to say that our net profit has more than tripled shooting to Ksh. 150,000 per season”, said Joseph Rotich the Chairman of Merkit Youth Group.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at St Francis School the visually impaired, West Pokot governor Prof John Lonyangapuo lauded Bayer East Africa for their efforts to invest in the county, and urged them to consider continuation of similar initiatives in the vast county. “We are pleased to take over the activities from Bayer East Africa & the Anglican Development Services, and commit to incorporate them into our strategic plan 2018-2021. Since the launch in 2017, I can attest to the direct impact this project has had on the people of West Pokot; for the first time in the history of the county our people have embarked new agricultural economic practices such as fish rearing & sweet potato farming. I would like to thank the two partners for believing in West Pokot, and their willingness to invest and change lives in this part of the country.”
Bayer East Africa has in the recent past implemented such initiatives in other counties such as Kajiado and Nairobi, and has especially been keen on public health and sanitation.
The Kenya Association of Pharmaceuticals Industry has come out to commend Bayer East Africa, which is a member company, on their efforts towards ensuring that they remain responsible corporate citizen.
“Bayer EA has made remarkable efforts towards ensuring that they benefit the communities around them and beyond, even as they operate their business. This is a good precedence that Bayer has set on how corporates can tap into the various agendas already set by the county and national governments, to bring change to the grassroots where it is most needed”, said Dr Anastasia Nyalita, KAPI Chairperson.
Bayer EA’s motivation to venture into West Pokot was purely to improve lives, and jumpstart the county’s untapped great potential in life sciences and other economic fronts.
Through training, capacity building and community collaboration, Bayer East Africa and the Anglican Development Services have ensured that the activities are sustainable beyond the implementation period. Bayer East Africa is committed to ensuring that the project remains viable and beneficial for the long term.