Lucia Epur Lebasha: Agricultural Game Changer

Kisima student 2009-2012

Lucia grew up in Baragoi, Samburu county, Northern Kenya. Her parents were pastoralists living in an area that was badly affected by drought and famine. Without Kisima Lucia’s family would not have been able to send her to secondary school. One of the things Lucia liked most about Kisima was the communal way of life and family feel. She loves that the principal and director still keep in touch with her to find out how she is doing even now that she has long left school.

Lucia excelled at Kisima and upon leaving school in 2012 she was offered a scholarship to study Agronomic Engineering at the Earth University in Costa Rica. She completed a Spanish immersion course prior to commencing her degree.

Lucia’s passion for agriculture comes from personal experience. Growing up, her community relied on relief food but it was never enough! She realised it was not a good solution and was determined to do something to change the situation for the future of her people. She strongly believes that agriculture is a game changer for Northern Kenya.

In 2016 she completed an internship in Turkana County, Kenya and moved back there after graduating from university.

The year after graduating she was employed as an Agricultural and Livelihood Officer at the Catholic Relief Service and later at Action Africa Help International. Since 2021 she has worked at PanAfricare Kenya as Program Agriculture and National Resource Management Specialist.

Her work involves educating nomadic communities on how to cultivate crops in the arid, hostile conditions of Northern Kenya. These communities are traditionally pastoralist but Lucia wants to see them transition to agropastoralism. Lucia explained that livelihood intervention is often challenging as it involves social and behaviour change and the communities she works with are largely illiterate. However she finds it extremely rewarding seeing the change from barren land to crop production and knowing the life-changing impact this will have on the people living there.

Lucia said that for her this is what the Kisima School motto “Empowered to Transform” is all about.

Alongside work, Lucia is currently studying remotely for a master’s degree in “Global Food Security and Nutrition” from the University of Edinburgh. She is thankful that her scholarship extended to this further study and hopes to finish her dissertation later this year.

In her spare time, Lucia offers careers advice at local schools and mentors young girls and pastoral-nomadic women, encouraging them to get involved in agriculture. She also offers pro bono consultations to advise indigenous communities about food production and to help them sell their produce and has founded the Turkana Farmers Network, a social network to support local farmers.

Lucia is also involved with the Resolution Project Fellowship with Mastercard Foundation which works on building up leaders for positive change.

Lucia’s passion and determination to enact change has already made her a success in her field and her work is transforming lives in Northern Kenya.