Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


The Urban Agriculture Program (UAP)
Within The Help Self Help Centre (HSHC)


The Urban Agriculture Program is one of the focal points themes within the Help Self Help Centre (HSHC) A Kenyan Non-governmental Organization registered under the NGO Act since 1992. The Centre has been implementing an UAP since 1995 in selected slums in Nairobi. The overall objective of the Centre is to help improve the livelihood of the urban and rural poor through poverty alleviation, enhanced food security, and mitigating against natural resources degradation. Other programs implemented by HSHC include Sustainable Agriculture and enterprise and enterprise development mainly in the footsteps of Mt. Kenya (near Narumoro) about 150 km North of Nairobi.


While implementing the UAP which is practiced by an estimated 20% the residents of greater Nairobi with direct effect on over 80% of the total population (over 2 million) the centre has identified the following problems:

These problems are exacerbated by the continued declining performance of the Kenyan economy in a highly competitive global environment coupled with the ever rising incidence of HIV Aids and related infections in the urban slums. Moreover, it is estimated that by the year 2020, 40 million people will be living in urban areas with about 33% in Nairobi. To address these and other emerging problems the centre proposes to network establish an Urban Agriculture Network (UAN), based in Nairobi with community based resource country wide.


Although, Urban Agriculture is a fairly old practice it has no institutional niche in Kenya. Urban Agriculture can help alleviate poverty generation through improved food security and provision of alternative income, that will put money in urban dwellers pockets. The gains made from other initiatives e.g. by UNDP (united Nations Development Progrmme and International Development Research Centres (IDRC) have largely not been felt by beneficiaries and other stakeholders in the country. In addition the experiences by practicing urban farmers have in most cases not been documented and disseminated. The centre propose to establish the Urban Agriculture Network (UAN). The main objectives of UAN will be to:


To help achieve the establishment of the UAN., HSHC is looking for partners, collaborators and donor support. In establishing the network HSHC will take cognizance of current policies, existing partnerships and institutional collaboration, experiences in the region and elsewhere. It is to be noted that the centre envisages UAN to be predominantly grassroot driven, non-political, gender responsive and multisectoral in terms of themes.

To enhance sustainability the proposed UAN will forge partnerships with community groups, local governance authorities including relevant ministries in the central government. Ultimately the UAN will:

Currently the Centre has collaborative partnerships with over ten development research and community organizations e.g. the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI) the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) the Industrial and Development Research Institute (KRDI), the Kenya Alliance for Advanced Children Rights (KAACR) and Environmental Liason Centre International (ELCI) among others.


On its part HSHC will provide an enabling environment for the network through a compelling agenda combining food security, poverty reduction with environmental protection. This is in addition to institutional track record and a participatory team based learning institution.

The proposed UAN under the auspices of the HSHC will consolidate experiences while establishing new partnerships with others in the region and else where.

For more information on the proposed UAN and HSHC please contact

Robinson Ngethe
Help Self Help Centre
P.O. Box 40603
Tel: 02 - 254 - 448166
Fax: 02 - 254 - 445351

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Revised Friday, March 13, 2001

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture