Adopt a Village project gives September Naivasha Fair a generous edge

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After a successful eight year stretch that raised funds for charity causes, this year’s Naivasha Horticultural Fair (NHF) is counting on the success of the event to adopt villages marginalized from the region’s social goodies.
More than Ksh10 million is expected to be raised from the event which is set to take place on 16th and 18th September, according to NHF chairman, Roddy Benjamin.
The Adopt a Village project plans to take water, education and health services closer to people living at the outskirts of Naivasha town, an area weighed down by poverty.
With support from the Rotary Club of Naivasha and Children of the Third World, a Spain-based organization, this is already proving attractive to corporate with the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) having raised the bar with a four million shilling cash injection to the Fair.
“We are starting the project in poorly serviced areas on the outskirts of Naivasha,” says Benjamin. “Initially we want to deliver water services because the nearest source of water is about five kilometers away.”
Next in line, says the NHF chairman, will be the construction of a secondary school to accommodate more than 6,000 pupils currently enlisted in the only primary school in the area. This would be followed by a clinic, a maternity ward and a hospital.
“We are working in conjunction with the government to build a school and a hospital so once the projects are complete, they will be handed over to the community and the government to run them,” says Benjamin.
While building the secondary school and the hospital is expected to suck in some Ksh2.5 million and Ksh45 million respectively, the two projects are expected to offer local youths a new source of income as their labour would hopefully become essential during construction.
This is the second year that the largest exhibition in Africa and second largest in the world will be showcasing its philanthropic ability through a partnership with KCB, according to the bank’s Group Company Secretary, David Malakwen.
Malakwen says KCB will be the official banker of the event, an opportunity that is expected to afford the bank an opportunity to make known its mortgage services and hopefully loop in additional account holders from the region -up from last year’s 235 new entrants.
The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) is also upbeat that this year’s exhibition would be bigger and better following a marked rise in export revenue due to a weak shilling and favorable weather in flower growing areas.
By May this year, says KFC chairperson, Jane Ngige, the flower sector yielded 55,000 tons in exports compared to 51,000 tons exported over the same period in 2010.
By her estimation, the export market share looks promising with the expected new niche markets in the United States of America (USA) and Russia later in the year.
“We are expecting new markets in USA once flights to various destinations there become operational,” says Ngige who adds that KFC has also sent a delegation of 40 experts to prospect for new markets in Russia.
Meanwhile, the cut flower market share has grown to 35 percent while in Japan it is has posted the 20 per cent mark.
By David Njagi

This article was published on Sept 1, 2011