The integration of learning into community development processes and how that learning can stimulate positive change pose challenges that development practitioners have met with mixed success. Who the most effective change agents are, how they can be supported, and how their efforts can be diffused in the community and scaled up are key questions in the community development literature. The authors designed and implemented an action-research project in western Kenya on traditional vegetables, recruiting pupils as co-researchers. The purpose of the research was two-fold. One goal was to explore the feasibility of increasing the intake of traditional vegetables through a school-based horticulture programme. The other was to increase pupils’ competence as effective change agents by empowering them in culturally compatible ways. The results offer lessons for practitioners regarding creative means to identify and empower change agents within traditional organisations and encourage innovative creation and diffusion of knowledge.
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