NICE Project reflects on its efforts to increase inclusivity for women in nutrition space as we mark International Women’s Day

Tuesday March 12 2024
Magdalene Ndinda, Poultry farmer from Busia County

Magdalene Ndinda, a poultry farmer from Busia County, Kenya and owner of Alfa Quku Farmers’ Hub. PHOTO | COURTESY

By NICE Project Supported by SDC

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to raise awareness about the injustices and biases that women face every day.

This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion, which reminds us that we still have a long way to go to achieve gender equity especially in sustainable agriculture and food security, particularly in urban areas and their impact on communities and economies.

The Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) Project aims to improve nutrition in secondary cities of Bangladesh, Kenya and Rwanda. It focuses on promoting women and youth’s role in food systems by increasing the availability of local, diverse, and nutritious foods.

The project is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by a public-private Swiss consortium.

In Kenya, we have a Small Grants Initiative supported by the NICE Project/Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture that supports women and youth groups in Busia and Bungoma to improve nutrition in their families and communities by providing them with seeds and irrigation kits.

One group that we have supported is the Amkeni Musoma Women Group in Matayos, Busia County.


The group received seeds like Black Night Shade, Spider Plant, Chlotolaria, Pumpkin, Amaranthus Dubious and Terere Smart, worth Ksh150,000, to help increase their vegetable production.

The group has also received training on Good Agricultural Practices, such as land and seed bed preparation, transplanting and spacing, weed management and integrated pest management as well as harvesting and post harvesting handling. This has led to improved yields.

In the Poultry Value chain, we highlight Magdalene Ndinda Musembi, a farmer and owner of Alfa Quku Farmers’ Hub. She is a trained journalist from Amerikwai in Angorom Ward located in Busia County, Kenya who switched her tools of trade from a camera to poultry.

Her passion for poultry started from an early age. Ndinda specialises in one-day-old chicks which require special management. Through the training she received through the NICE project, she has tapped into an unsaturated market.

Poultry farming at Magdalene_s Farmers_ Hub

Chicks pictured at Magdalene Ndinda Musembi's poultry farm in Busia County, Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY

Her impact in her community cannot go unnoticed as she sells subsidised chicks to her farmers and offers extension services that include vaccination and monitoring of growth of chicks. By buying poultry from her own farmers, she can provide a ready supply of fertilised eggs. 

She also makes her organic manure in a bid to ensure sustainability in her piece of land and grows soybeans that come in handy when making feeds for the chicks.

 “I hope to inspire young people and change lives through farming. I would like to tell the youth that one can make a living out of poultry farming. However, there is a need to have a mental shift on how young people approach employment and especially in this time when we have employment challenges, poultry farming can be a partial solution,” Ndinda said.

On this significant day, we acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to achieve gender equity, especially for women working in farming and production in city foodsheds. In particular, it is essential to promote female entrepreneurship and inclusion among farmers and food producers.

NICE/SFSA do this by providing access to financial services, mechanization such as land preparation and plating and markets by supporting in aggregation, storage, transportation, and off takers. 

By facilitating opportunities for increased income generation, the women and youth groups can give more time and energy to education and learning about nutritious diets and start to afford healthier food options.

“As a project, inspiring women’s inclusion is both a moral and economic imperative. Despite the existing challenges, recognizing the gaps and meaningfully involving women as actors and beneficiaries, we have amplified their role and appreciated them as the (s)heroes of the local food system,” NICE Project Manager Elizabeth Imbo said.

The SWISS consortium is made up of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), ETH Zürich (Sustainable Agroecosystems Group & World Food Systems Centre), Sight and Life, and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.