Vihiga Communtiy Development Organisation is a community based organisation (CBO) registered in 2003 under the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services.
The organisation is located at Sabatia District Heradquarters on Chavakali-Eldoret highway. VCDO was started with the aim of training youths and the general public in Vihiga district on ways and means of guarding against contacting HIV/AIDS virus.
More than 5000 people compromising of youth and religious leaders have been trained on behavioural change. In addition, the organisation has provided assistance in form of food and clothing to more than 500 orphans and (OVC) in Sabatia district.
In 2005, VCDO developed a three year strategic plan which provides a basis and scope for the current programmed activities.
VCDO has a focal point based on these objectives:
1. The capacity of small holder farmers is strengthened through training on suitable food production techniques.
2. Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC) are supported through a holistic programme targeting entire families.
3. Women groups and youth groups are assisted to access credit for investments in Micro-enterprises
4. Communities in Western province are are sensitized through the local and national media to conserve the environmnet especially rivers and wetlands within the Lake Victoria catchment area in Western province.
5. Local communities are trained on rights based approach to development and other development institutions.
Human Resource Excahnge Programme
Since the begining of 2005, VCDO is privilleged to participate in human resource exchange programme involving exchange of young environmentall journalists from Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. This programme is being supported by Fredskorpset of Norway. The programme has enabled VCDO to monitor and report on the environmnet especially on the rivers that flow into lake Victoria through Western Province.
Stories produced by journalists are published in VCDO quarterly Newsletter called the Western Watch
a) Support to orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs)
VCDO has supported more than 5000 orphans and vulnerable children with uniforms and food. Also more needs to be done in order to reach the thousands of OVCs in Vihiga District. VCDO is looking for support from well wishers in order to respond to this growing demand for the OVC assistance programme.
b) Support groups
VCDO is encouraging people to visit Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centres to know their HIV status. Those found to be HIV positive are given encouragement to join various support groups and access to ARV programmes nearest to them. VCDO links support groups to other sources of assistance (Infromation, Education, Medi-care etc.)
At the moment, VCDO has assisted widows who are HIV positive to form a support group called Tumaini support group.
c) Micro-enterprise activities
VCDO promotes income generating activities especially among women groups and the youth with emphasis placed on bee keeping and production of the grain Amaranth.
The two enterprises have low management requirements and high returns per unit area of land compared to traditional land use pattern in Vihiga and surrounding District.
d) Bee keeping
VCDO is training local farmers in mordern techniques of bee keeping as a more profitable alternative land use system. The organisation has established a production unit for Langstroth hives and selling them to farmers especially women groups on soft loan basis.
Emphasis is being placed on training of Apiarists who provide regular extension services to bee keepers. Plans are underway to upscale this initiative to cover most of Western Kenya.
e) Amaranth production
VCDO has introduced the production of a consumtion grain known as the Amaranth among the peasant farming families in Vihiga County.
Grain amaranth is gaining popularity in Kenya as a wonder crop due to its unequaled nutritional value. Its rapid growth-rate (55-65 days) and a profuse production of highly nutritious leafy biomass, makes it a prefered grain.
Amaranth is a more superior vegetable for improvement of local diet as well as income generation.
f) Media and environment
Vcdo uses the media to promote conservation of Lake Victoria catchment area in Western province and parts of Rift valley Province. This is done through researching and writing stories regarding the impact of human activities on forest resources, river water systems and the environment at large in Western Province and parts of Rift valley.
In addition, VCDO is encouraging establishment of ECO clubs in schools. At the moment, this information is disseminated through a quarterly newsletter called the Western Watch.
A community resource centre is being developed in order to avail information to the local youth and children in various formats such as CD-ROMs, books, brochures, posters e.t.c.
There is very high demand for information on adolescent reproductive health, environmental management, sustainable agriculture, income generation, bee keeping among others.
a) The Western Watch
VCDO produces the Western Watch, a quarterly newsletter that serves as a platform for stimulating debate among the public and policy makers regarding the need to conserve Lake Victoria and its environs for sustainable development of the three East African countries.
b) Kenya Nile Discourse Forum
VCDO is an active memeber of the above organisation that deals with environmental, agricultural, water and sanitation, energy and related issues under the auspices of the Nile Basin initiative. VCDO has also participated in various forums under the Nile basin where tentative issues have been discussed. It represents the county to the four focal points that consists of Busia, Butere-Mumias, Kakamega, Teso and Vihiga County.
g) Human rights
VCDO promotes good governance and rights approach to sustainable development. Special attention is directed at enabling widows particulary those who are HIV positive to gain and preserve their self esteem in the face of rampant stigmatization from family members and the community at large.
h) Community Resource Center
Acommuntiy resource centre has been established to address the information needs of the rapidly growing number of college and university graduates who are jobless and idle. The centre