Our Past Successes

Kenya – OTEPIC

Training Youth To Be Leaders In Sustainable Livelihoods


Two thirds of Kenyans depend directly on agriculture for their living. Many young Kenyans struggle to find work, or only have low paid jobs.

Kitale is a poor, densely populated town within the Rift Valley Province, largely dependent on agriculture. Local farmers are suffering increasingly from serious environmental threats caused by habitat degradation, industrial waste, agrochemical pollution, and climate change. On top of this, high population growth increases environmental stress and reduces the amount of cultivatable land available. Most families in Kitale still cook with firewood, which has led to the decimation of forests. All of these factors have seriously reduced agricultural production, therefore increasing the strain on already poor households that depend on farming for their own food as well as for generating a small income. The youth of Kitale, unable to survive as subsistence farmers and lacking other vocational opportunities, are most affected.

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What We Did

In Kitale, North Western Kenya, we are working with the local Organic Technology Extension and Promotion of Initiative Centre.

What We Have Achieved

With our support, OTEPIC has been able to initiate it’s tree planting campaign, start its seed saving programme and the development of a tree nursery, with the aim being to provide environmental protection in the local area.

We have provided funding to train disadvantaged youth in renewable energy technologies such as the construction of simple biogas digesters, as well as solar cookers.

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.