Many charities had to change how they reach communities and individuals in need when the pandemic hit last year. Thrive for Good, a Canadian-based charity operating out of Kenya, had to pivot its agricultural and nutrition training and development programs to an online platform.
Thrive for Good partners with schools across East Africa where students and educators are supported to create and maintain sustainable Life Gardens. These gardens reduce the school’s food costs, increase the nutrition and health of the students and school administration and provide a source of revenue generation for students to purchase school supplies.
A grant from the Gay Lea Foundation was originally intended to expand this program to eight additional schools with supplies, seeds, tools and training. However, due to the pandemic, many of the schools Thrive worked with were closed, accessibility to communities was reduced, and there were limitations on group gatherings. Thrive trainers across East Africa began to ask, “How do we continue to share Thrive’s life-changing knowledge with communities in need?”
In response, the grant was re-directed to support the Thrive Institute, the charity’s first online organic gardening and nutrition training platform created for developing communities. The online platform includes more than 40 courses with 90 lessons and 18 demonstration videos with quizzes, resources, and content from experienced instructors. The lessons cover organic gardening to fight poverty and hunger, nutrition, natural medicine, and income generation. The platform also includes peer-to-peer learning and a knowledge hub on Facebook.
“Every individual who joins the Thrive Institute has access to the knowledge and skills to provide healthy, nutritious foods to at least 50 people in their community,” says James Woller, International Executive Director of Thrive for Good.
Since the launch of the institute in July 2020, students from around the world have enrolled. The Gay Lea Foundation grant was used to sponsor scholarships for 120 students to access the online training needed to start their own “Life Garden.” Thrive will continue to provide ongoing support for the scholarship recipients.
To date, more than 1,400 students have enrolled at the Thrive Institute from 50 countries around the world.
“The entire team at Thrive is incredibly grateful for the support of the Gay Lea Foundation, which exists and is empowered by the generosity of Gay Lea Foods employees,” said Woller. “We are extremely appreciative to be working with a partner that understands and recognizes that unexpected events can significantly alter projects. We felt so much support from the Gay Lea Foundation during a tumultuous year and understanding that it was best to pivot our project to a new direction of impact.”
“Before, I suffered from malaria and headaches all the time. After gaining the knowledge from the Thrive Institute and creating my own Life Garden, I am fine. I no longer suffer from those illnesses. In my family, we don’t have to buy vegetables anymore because we are growing our own, this is saving us money. Most of my neighbours come to visit my garden as they are eager to learn more. I am currently coaching 27 families near me.” –Prosper, Rwanda
“I will continue to educate others in different cities and towns here in Ethiopia. Success is when I see people come out of poverty using the knowledge I shared with them by practicing it.” -Anteneh Hailu, Parousia Mission, Ethiopia