What you need to know:
- Dominic Orina and his pupils are now known as Young Kenyans 4K club. He is the patron of the club while fellow teacher Dorothy Tanui is his deputy.
- They club has been making public its activities through Orina’s social media platforms. That has seen him and the pupils involved in programmes that support less fortunate pupils.
The Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) has reinvigorated the once famous 4K Clubs in learning institutions.
The club’s motto of Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya (unite, do and help Kenya) is indeed a clarion call of patriotism as exhibited by pupils of Kugerwet Primary School in Konoin Constituency, Bomet County.
The children’s story is a testament of great things that can happen when people come together.
If a story were to be told of pupils determined to ensure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for the surrounding community, Kugerwet Primary is a clear example.
The Seeds of Gold team visited the school and witnessed how resilience has been built in young Kenyans who have vowed to pursue agriculture even as they get into young adulthood, thanks to their teacher Dominic Orina.
It started in 2017 when Orina was transferred from a school in Nyamira County where he had been posted by the Teachers Service Commission.
A year after being posted to Kugerwet Primary School, Orina realised he was missing something.
Unlike in Nyamira where he had a variety of potatoes to consume, the only greens he came across in Satiet, where he resides, were sukuma wiki and cabbage.
“It was rare to find spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, capsicum, beetroot and indigenous vegetables like the black night shade (managu), vine spinach (nderema), amaranthus and pig weed,” the teacher says.
“A few were only available on specific days after being fetched from Kapkatet. They would be sold in a few hours.”
Since Orina had knowledge and experience on innovative farming, he began growing vegetables in plastic bags after getting permission from his landlord.
The vegetables blossomed to the extent that Orina invited his pupils for a field tour at his rented house in Satiet.
“Agriculture was back in the syllabus with the introduction of CBC. It was listed as one of the learning areas where children were to be taught,” Orina says.
“I got the opportunity to introduce what I was doing in gardening. I shared my knowledge with the headteacher and pupils. They readily accepted it and that is how we began growing vegetables and fruits in our school.”
Later, the group started rearing rabbits. The animals have since multiplied to nine.
“We talked to the headteacher and he agreed to give us land,” the tutor says. “We then started planting a variety of vegetables, followed months later by rearing rabbits.”
At their piece of land in school, the 4k Club members grow amaranthus, spinach, capsicum, sukuma wiki, cucumber and many other vegetables.
All the fruits and vegetables are grown organically. Orina discourages the use of chemical fertiliser.
The children tap the rabbit’s urine, which is used as foliar fertiliser and a pesticide. The urine keeps aphids and other pests away.
“Our project is now generating income for the group and the school. We harvest plenty of vegetables during rainy seasons and sell to teachers, workers and the neighbouring community. That is the money we use to run our club,” Brian Kiprono, one of the pupils, says.
So compassionate are Kugerwet Primary School pupils that they offered free vegetables to the household of the area assistant chief when his mother died.
In September last year, Orina and his pupils registered to become a 4K Club.
“What we were doing needed approval from relevant authorities,” he says.
The teacher and his pupils are now known as Young Kenyans 4K club. He is the patron while fellow teacher Dorothy Tanui is his deputy.
They club has been making public its activities through Orina’s social media platforms. That has seen him and the pupils involved in programmes that support less fortunate pupils.
Well-wishers have chipped in by buying school uniform, shoes, books and other learning materials.
Orina’s efforts in ensuring Kugerwet Primary School learners grasp the basics of agriculture have not gone unrecognised.
He has been feted by the Ministry of Education and Unesco. The Unesco award was for his distinguished Community service.
He also emerged second in three awards under the Optiven Foundation in 2021. The Education Ministry recognised him for being the best innovative teacher in CBC in Cheptalal zone.
Some of Orina’s pupils have started similar projects in their homes.
The club has turned out to be a blessing for their parents, who no longer buy vegetables and fruits.