Rural Community Development Blog-Rural Community Development 'I had parked my thinking' For many years Matthew Ouma, 48, and his two wives used to work on their 20 acres of land to grow enough crops to feed their household of 14 children. Every day they would dig without planning or thinking about the seasons, they simply focussed on growing enough for basic home consumption, living day to day. Resigned to his situation Matthew says, ‘I had parked my thinking,’ - meaning he had accepted that his life would never improve and was resigned to his situation. After attending a workshop at Kira Farm his thinking has changed completely. He learnt about adopting a business approach to farming and the importance of strategic planning. Plentiful harvests ‘After the training I began practising Farming God’s Way (conservation farming) which gave me a great advantage in the local economy,’ explains Matthew. ‘Even last season when the rains were poor, I achieved a plentiful harvest.’ Matthew’s attitude to work has greatly improved and his ‘parked mode’ is something of the past. Today he involves his wives and children in planning for the home, and the extended family meet quarterly to evaluate and plan for planting seasons. This approach has led to Matthew opening a small shop, something he had never considered before. Matthew is an excellent example of the success of a ‘hand up’, rather than a ‘hand out’.