Introducing Our Agroforestry Ambassador Mwende Mutisya

Introducing Our Agroforestry Ambassador Mwende Mutisya

Mwende is one of 41 agroforestry ambassadors trained in 2023. The group participated in an inspiring refresher training in May 2024.

Winfred Mwende Mutisya is a 39-year-old weaver, ceramicist, and small-scale farmer from the Kyanthungu Self-Help Group. She is one of the 41 agroforestry ambassadors trained by the Mifuko Trust's WASH and Grow! project. In May 2023, a three-day basic training was organized in collaboration with World Agroforestry/ICRAF. The training approach was gender-transformative, which participants appreciated alongside learning practical skills. Under the guidance of the agroforestry ambassadors, members of women's self-help groups have already grown over 19,000 trees during late 2023 and early 2024!

In May 2024, our project staff Peter Manyolo and Jacinta Peter, in collaboration with ICRAF, planned a three-day refresher training for the ambassadors. It consisted of a two-day practical seminar and a study visit to the Drylands Natural Resource Center (DNRC) in Makueni. The agroforestry ambassadors received new information on nursery management, tree transplanting, and seedling care. The training emphasized the importance of tree species diversity for enhancing biodiversity and soil restoration.

New Knowledge and Peer Learning

Mwende says that her expectations for the training were very well met:
"The highlight was visiting one of the agroforestry ambassador's nurseries. We learned more about managing nurseries and caring for planted trees, such as pruning seedling roots and maintaining planted trees."

A woman caring for her seedlings

The visit to DNRC was inspiring for many reasons: The organization was founded and is led by Kenyan Nicholas M. Syano, which demonstrates strong local ownership. Our ambassadors also got to see Veronika's, one of the farmers trained by DNRC, a green, diverse, and productive forest garden.
Mwende says she gained ideas on how to use her own small farming area for cultivation and tree growing. She learned more about the importance of tree species diversity from the perspective of enhancing biodiversity. Local effective methods for pest control were valuable information for Mwende.
Mwende found the three-day training program highly effective for two reasons: "The trainers were able to explain things in detail and answer our questions. The ambassadors actively participated, asked questions, and shared their own experiences with tree growing."

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