About Us

Who are we?
We are the SALT of the Earth; we have come to give the industrial society the premium taste of SALT. We are a society for de-schooling the society; we have a niche to offer the alternative learning which is deep and transformative; which is the real education based on holistic knowledge system of the indigenous and local people; the knowledge system that has stood the test of time. We believe that the industrial society has failed to deliver our individual needs by supporting false and misleading notions of ‘progress’ and ‘development’. These notions are fostered by the belief that ever-increasing production, consumption and profit are proper yardsticks for measuring the quality of human life. The modern learning institutions have become recruiting centres for the personnel of the consumer society, certifying citizens for service, while at the same time disposing of those judged unfit for the competitive rat race.

The current crises in the world; financial, fluctuations in food and oil prices, the land grabs and the growing evidence of climate chaos are a testimony that we need a radical change in providing the alternatives that are more appropriate for communities and ecosystems. We are committed to building a number of examples of alternatives solutions with societies of Kenya and beyond.

Theory of change
SALT’s theory of change is anchored on the belief that true change and transformation is possible when individuals and communities are accompanied and given ample space to interrogate their mind-set with regard to self, culture and nature in order to foster confidence in themselves and self-realization. Through use of community dialogues, experiential learning and other appropriate methodologies, they begin to experience cosmological change and start to connect with themselves, nature and their culture. Through further learning, individuals and communities gain better insights into the understanding of their past and they become more aware of their present challenges and are able to develop and initiate appropriate home-grown solutions that are inspired and rooted into the real issues of their concerns. SALT believes that communities know what they are doing and have their own knowledge systems and traditional practices which they have lived with for millennia. Development agents should work to build on these and strengthen what communities already have for sustained improvement of their integrated livelihoods. At the same time, SALT believes that communities can benefit from outside knowledge and practices as long as these are contextually analyzed and applied. For sustained change to happen also, SALT believes that relationships with communities should be made as clear as possible right from onset. For this reason, communities will chose to engage with SALT processes form an informed point of view. As such, SALT discourages giving handouts and other false and quick fix solutions to community challenges. SALT believes that handouts create dependency and hinder genuine change to emerge. Instead, SALT believes in empowering communities to be self-independent by creating opportunities by tapping into the cultural values and practices of people for integrated livelihoods options. SALT encourages local ownership and leadership of development initiatives and works with indigenous peoples and local communities to strengthen their capacity to determine the kind of change that is appropriate to their needs. SALT ensures that individuals and communities revive appropriate governance structures that are accountable to beneficiaries and stakeholders. SALT invests in enhancing community-led initiatives embedded in people’s culture and the traditional institutions. This creates firm basis for the development of community priorities and the mechanism for scaling up good practices and accelerating community development. SALT believes that by networking individuals and communities and building coalitions, communities can have a voice that can influence policy and protect biodiversity, culture and their integrity. SALT’s theory of change is further informed by its core values and principles as embedded in its core values and principles.

Core Values and Principles
SALT is an organization that supports and builds relationships and links indigenous peoples and local communities that share a common vision and values. SALT derives its strength and orientation from diverse cultures, nature and a strong sense of community. SALT has great respect for the rights and dignity every human being including the indigenous peoples and local communities. SALT values reflections, learning, creativity and innovations and transformation. It strives to evolve, promote and share experiential learning and best practices.

SALT stands for: Integrity, Passion, Patience, Generosity and Reciprocity, Resilience, Commitment, Teamwork and Diligence.

SALT’s Identity
SALT is an intentional and focused organization with a particular purpose towards indigenous peoples and local communities. SALT’s mandate is about deepening community level work to attract potent individuals, communities and organizations so that they can engage with its work for wider impact. SALT’s processes are radical and demand dedicated passion underpinned by transformative learning experiences and emergence of the new world view. SALT approaches are holistic and engage every aspect of a person and community; the inner and the outer; secular and sacred; material and spiritual; tangible and intangible; quality and quantity. Depth and transformation are the cornerstones of SALT’s work. Its processes are geared towards full transformation whereby aspects of people’s pasts, their traditions and understandings and practices that have been destroyed or denied are resurrected, discovered a new, owned and recognized. SALT’s practices are deep and re-establish people’s deep connection with self, culture and nature. SALT is about promotion of intergenerational learning with elders taking the lead as the custodians of the knowledge and traditional practices. Along with this, SALT processes weave in the revival of ecological and cultural space, role and practice of the African spiritual leadership and ensures continuity into the future. Initiation and mentorship are part of catalytic approaches for SALT processes. SALT is about experiential learning and uses appropriate methodologies to revitalize the emergence of energy and cumulative knowledge across age, gender and social status through deep organic community dialogues. SALT is about de-colonization of the mind and the promotion of the harmonious co-existence between man and nature and the protection of the biodiversity and ecosystem services. SALT processes connect one with self, culture and nature. It is about promotion of the bio-cultural diversity and re-discovering cultural identity. SALT is a journey that we walk with communities and each day emerges unique lessons that help to re-live the past within the present context. SALT is about reviving traditional structures and cultural institutions and using these to root in community development strategies for effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. SALT role is to catalyze connection and networking of different communities in Kenya and elsewhere to bring about change at local, national, regional and global levels. Though SALT will accept donor support for now, in principle SALT is not a donor driven organization. It encourages its core team and community to contribute in variety of ways for its growth and sustainability. It is opposed to hand-outs and other acts that promote community dependency syndrome. SALT is a school and a forum for alternative learning and transformation. SALT works collaboratively and strategically to create strong linkages for widespread inputs and impact. By linking with others locally and nationally, SALT can influence local and national development programs and policies. SALT community facilitators accompany individuals and communities for transformation. Rather than lead community processes they allow individuals and communities to make their own informed choices but challenges them as necessary not to take the most comfortable path along the journey. This is premised in the understanding that deep processes that are transformative are not always comfortable. The facilitators offer opportunities for individuals and communities to learn freely and organically rather than following a pre-determined sequence of training. Facilitators must be present for the individuals and communities they work with and embrace respect for the kind of transformation that SALT is out for. They should respect the gradual pace and the slowness of the SALT’s processes. They should not try to push such processes too fast for the sake of factors external to the transformation. At the same time, they should be conscious and keen to ensure that processes do not waver. SALT’s work is not about implementation of projects but rather an accompaniment of processes of individuals and communities towards a deep transformative learning.

Youth and Indigenous Knowledge Transfer
SALT endeavors to balance the modern education with local indigenous and cultural education. SALT catalyses young people in school and out of school to celebrate positive aspects of their culture and bring on board wisdom of elders as part of inter-generational learning. This amongst other things gives the young people their cultural identity. Along with this, SALT promotes experiential learning in natural environment/wilderness and in Nature. SALT does this by supporting creation of the outdoor education centres. SALT believes that outdoor education can help children perform better in their curricular work in schools. It raises standards, motivation, personal development and behavior. Exploring the natural world makes other school subjects richer and relevant and gets apathetic students excited about learning and improves the long-term memory. SALT believes that Nature is healing and connection with Nature, Culture and Self raises the children’s self-control, self-awareness and improves the behavior of troubled children.

Institutional development, collaboration and consultancy
SALT is strategically linked for widespread impact in our network and for joint actions with like-minded collaboration. SALT mobilizes and organizes fora for sharing and scaling up best practices. SALT embraces the concept of self identity, clarity and strategic direction in its operations. SALT has well organized and motivated volunteer staff that supports implementation of SALT’s mandate. SALT staff is developed through annual needs assessments and individual mentoring. SALT aims to balance its organizational and individual needs. SALT strives to resource its activities and fundraising is a responsibility of all the staff. SALT builds the capacity and confidence of its staff to contribute to its fundraising. A small, more specialized team will be responsible for the production of concepts and proposals.

SALT Thematic Areas
1. Promote Seed Sovereignty and Integrated Livelihoods.
2. Strengthened Community Eco-Cultural Governance.
3. Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Practices Transfer across age and gender.
4. Improved Institutional Development

SALT approach to working with communities:

  • ALT approach is holistic and engages every aspect of the person and community (inner and outer; secular and sacred; matter and spirit; tangible and intangible; quality and quantity).
  • Depth and transformation will be the cornerstone of the SALT practice….a SALT process has to be deep and transformative. SALT will work towards full transformation – meaning that aspects of people’s pasts, their traditions and understandings and practices that have been destroyed or denied are resurrected, discovered a new, owned and recognized – so that world is seen again from a place of new understanding (which sees the person as a participant in nature). There is the re-establishment of connection with own culture and nature – being part and parcel of the larger Earth’s communities – killing nature is killing self.
  • For SALT, these realizations bring empowerment and resilience to the external threats facing communities and ecosystems in Africa today.

Role of SALT practitioner
Our role is to accompany the individuals and communities for transformation; we must accompany rather than lead, yet we must guide always; we must allow individuals or societies make their own choices, yet we must challenge so that the most comfortable path is not always the path chosen (for transformation is not comfortable); we must offer opportunities rather than follow a recognized sequence of training; we must be present for those we are working with at all times. We should embrace and respect the kind of transformation we are out for. We must accept the gradual pace, slowness of the process and not try to push too fast for the sake of factors external to the transformation; yet we should not allow the process to waver. We must be skilful and realize we are mentors and accept the role of mentorship. We should appreciate the fact that the work with SALT is not about implementation of projects but rather an accompaniment of process of individuals and communities. It is about process and not project!!

Danger: is that if SALT practice is taken in piece meal, this can undermine and erode its transformative depths.