KENYA FLOWER COUNCIL, LEADING THE WAY ON SUSTAINABILITY

It is a hot and dusty afternoon as we pulled up at Red Lands Roses. You would not imagine that it has been raining and muddy for the better part of the week. Nevertheless, even with such weather, it was hustle and bustle at the farm. Staff up and about and tractors hauling loads away.

At the gate, is a banner indicating that Red Lands Roses staff have been working for 30 days (a month) with no single accident happening, perhaps a better illustration of the strides the farm is making towards ensuring and enhancing that staff well-being  is taken care of.

It is no wonder that the dining hall was a buzz and filled to the brim! As it is norm, the farm conducts routine health talks on various aspects such as Female Genital Mutilation.

On this particular day, Namayiana Maasai Women Group were facilitating the training on FGM. “FGM training was a concern raised by gender committee members. There was a need to create awareness to all staff to help spread the anti-FGM within the society.” Irene Kinya, Certification Officer at Red Lands tells me while fixing the projector“Such practice is carried out in the diverse communities where our employees come from.” She adds.

According to UNICEF website, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” It is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women have been cut in 31 countries. In Kenya alone, around 4 million, or one in five, women and girls have been subjected to FGM. In some communities, this rises as high as 94 percent.

A violation of girls and women’s human rights and a national priority in Kenya, with an action plan to end the practice by 2022, Red Lands Roses commits to engaging all staff in annual refresher trainings. This is to enable them understand the disadvantages of the FGM in relation to reproductive health and psychosocial trauma to the victim. Also, to equip staff with knowledge to fully understand their rights.” Irene says.

Paul Kiarie, Human Resource Manager at Red Lands, notes that, progress has been made ever since Dr. Isabelle Spindler took up the initiative. “The staff have acquired knowledge on FGM and they help spread the message on importance of the girl child.”

Amid the session, he adds, “They can cascade the information on FGM to their society which will help in eradicating cases of FGM. The staff have learnt the benefits of persistence and resilience from the Maasai Women (Namayiana Women Group) who have been able to change the economic status of their families and ensure education of the girl child which was previously impossible given the cultural barriers.”

Indeed, being a shunned or conservative topic in Kenyan society, you would see staff quite engaged by contributing and asking questions. 5:00 PM came by too quickly. The 3 hours training session seemed very short as some women quipped but the same buzz in the dining hall was alive as they walked home, down the tranquil, dusty road.

Kenya Flower Council (KFC) led by Chief Executive Officer, Clement Tulezi retaliates and affirms, “Such initiatives are an important area of the Floriculture sectors’ growth.”

Innovation for sustainability is one of KFC’s strategic pillars and as part of providing value to members, KFC, partners  with like –minded organizations such as Women Win Strategies and IDH on projects living wage, gender and water stewardship with an objective of advancing sustainability in communities. 

Kenya Flower Council (KFC) is a Business Membership Organization and Certification Body that advocates for interests and represents 80% of the flower industry in Kenya. Formed in 1996 by Kenyan growers and exporters of cut flowers, its membership has grown to 130 large, medium and small producers and 26 associate members.


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