Fishponds Project for Mango Tree Trust 2015/17

A project to help AIDs orphans cared for by the Mango Tree Trust in Western Kenya - with the help of a Rotary District Grant

The Rotary Club of Uppingham is coming to the end of an 18 month project to support the Mango Tree Trust’s “Kasirawa Fishpond Project”. 

Kasirawa village lies near Lake Victoria in Western Kenya in a very deprived area with an HIV/AIDs infection rate of close to 35%. In this area the Mango Tree Trust supports AIDS orphans by placing them with foster families and supporting their education through to graduation.

Fishing on Lake Victoria was once the mainstay of the economy in the area. However, overfishing and an infestation of water hyacinth have led to a steady decline. The cultural traditions of the fishing industry were also costing lives. Men traditionally were the fishermen and the women the fishmongers who made the money by marketing the fish. This however was an exploitative relationship as the women did not get access to quality fish unless they had a sexual relationship with the fishermen. To break free of this, the communities where Mango Tree works have empowered the women so that they do not have to rely on this relationship. Their solution is sustainable aqua culture. 

The communities have to construct the fishponds, feed and protect the fish then when the fish are mature, harvest them and take them to the market. Mango Tree only facilitates the initial inputs that they cannot afford – this is where the Rotary Club comes in - everything else must be the responsibility of the community.The Rotary Club of Uppingham has funded the construction of 5 fishponds which are now stocked with maturing fish.

The results are starting to transform the communities along the lakeshore. They are much better able to support the orphans in their communities. One important aspect of this livelihoods project is that it creates a beneficial use of land that has often been rendered useless for agriculture due to sand harvesting – an environmentally damaging activity that is desperately poorly paid and totally unsustainable.

It is estimated that the work linked to the Rotary Club of Uppingham will be completed by March/April 2017.An excellent short film on the work of Mango Tree with a very clear explanation of the project is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiuZfEFUg3E

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