On Friday, October 9th, Nuru Kenya hosted a community-wide event where over 1000 people—including Nuru farmer households, staff, partners, community stakeholders and government officials—gathered to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This provided Nuru Kenya with the opportunity to celebrate our progress in Kuria West and seek buy-in from the community, government and partners for our program scaling to Kuria East. In my public address, I promoted for collaboration while inspiring everyone to join the fight to end extreme poverty in Migori County and across Kenya:

Today we are gathered here to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We are here to deliberate and candidly assess our efforts in improving our life situations. It is today we ask ourselves, whether we have done enough to secure food, health and education for our families and children. It is today we ask if the resources we identified have been exploited sustainably not only for our benefit but also for that of future generations. It is through commemorating such a day that we remind ourselves of the vision we had when we embarked on the journey to end extreme poverty in our community.

The Integrated Development Plan for Migori County, prioritizes the improvement of agricultural practices for increased yields and capacity building for value addition; expanding access to quality healthcare and education services; infrastructural development and economic empowerment through a gender sensitive and equitable approach. However, despite intensified efforts to invest in the development of our community, we are still struggling with major impediments which undermine our hard work. Persistent retrogressive cultural practices continue to hinder the maintenance of healthy behaviors for instance latrine use and exclusive breastfeeding, resulting in preventable disease outbreaks and sustained infant morbidity and mortality. We lose 190 infants for every 1,000 live births. We have just recovered from a cholera outbreak which we could have avoided had we fully adopted the use of latrines in every household. Our literacy levels remain low due to the prevalent pupil and teacher absenteeism in our schools. Adverse weather patterns due to environment degradation have led to increased and prolonged episodes of drought and recurrent crop diseases.

We know we cannot realize any positive impact individually and that each one of us has a role to play to bring about the change we so desire. We can do it ourselves, we have the potential and we have the will. We only need to ensure that we renew our strength and seize opportunities to innovate in the fight against extreme poverty. We need to focus on what we have neglected or refused to let go. We need to understand the challenges we face so that we can develop feasible solutions. In order to have enough to eat, we need diversified crops that are drought and disease resistant, to keep pace with the changing weather patterns and crop diseases. It is our responsibility as households to eliminate deaths due to preventable diseases, and maintain the healthy behaviors promoted by our community health workers. It is the duty of the various line ministries and administrative units entrusted with public funds, to transparently and equitably expand access to quality health and education facilities in our community. We need to empower ourselves and exploit opportunities that ensure a better future for our children so as to break the generational cycle of poverty. Each community member, government officer and organization has a significant role to play to facilitate and accelerate the diverse development options available. Let us endeavor to collaborate; let us fully and meaningfully engage ourselves; we have to weather the storms we encounter together since by so doing, we shall realize our vision not only individually but as a community. We can no longer be passive to the process of implementing the solutions to our problems. We may lack adequate resources, but our resolve to ensure that no one is left behind in our shared mission will propel us to achieve our goal of ending extreme poverty.

We, Nuru Kenya, thank everyone who has joined our struggle. We are committed to stay in the fight and take courage that it will not be in vain.