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Meet Kenya’s YouTube granny, Monicah Mkulima

Monica Makokha, 56, still vividly remembers being abandoned by her loving husband at a very tender age in 1994.

She values family and from a young age she prayed to God for a happy and celebrated marriage.

But death, the threat and enemy of everyone, robbed her of the love of her life at the age of 26.

“I was left with five children who are now teenagers,” Monica reveals.

Some of them are already married, and she says she has also adopted another child, whose mother was her sister but who has died.

With the death of her husband, Monica, a cheerful and hardworking mother, had to dust herself off and get back on her feet to look after her fragile family.

She says she had to be brave enough to be the pillar of the family, which in most families is stigmatised.

But if there is one thing she praises her late husband for, Monica says, it is the agricultural foundation he laid.

As much as he was employed, he was actively involved in farming, and I supported her,” she says.

Some 30 years later, Monica is being celebrated in Kakamega County.

Her 10-acre farm in Buchifi village, Etenje, Mumias West, is all drought-tolerant and climate-resilient crops.

These range from sweet potatoes, cassava, arrowroot, local maize and beans to traditional vegetables such as black nightshade (sucha/managu), amaranth (popularly known as terere) and cowpea leaves (kunde), among others.

The widow has adopted regenerative farming technologies to reduce the use of chemicals.

Regenerative agriculture technologies refer to a range of practices, techniques and tools designed to restore and enhance the health of agricultural ecosystems while improving soil fertility, biodiversity and overall ecosystem resilience.

In addition to production, Monica adds value to her produce by making flour from sweet potatoes, which she also blends with other products. She has a posho mill for this.

Farming has enabled her to raise and educate her children.

And because marketing is a challenge for most farmers, Monica has embraced the use of modern technology and the internet to find customers.

Even in her old age, she runs a YouTube channel called Monica Mkulima.

“There was a time when I had a surplus of Kenyan black beans (njahi) and I sold it all through my YouTube channel,” she says.

Two years after launching the channel, Monica is proud of the move.

With the development of the internet, most entrepreneurs, including farmers, have adopted online methods to market their products.

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are the main platforms that are widely used.

Monica shoots short videos and uploads them to her YouTube channel called Monica Mkulima to market her agricultural products.

She lives in Buchifi village, Etenje, Mumias West, Kakamega County.

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