Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rainwater harvesting

 A sufficient, clean drinking water supply is essential to life. Millions throughout the world still do not have access to the basic necessity. After decades of works by governments and organizations to bring portable water to the poorer people of the world, the situation is still dire.
As a measure towards this complexity, rainwater harvesting is an option than has been adopted in many areas of the world where conventional water supply systems have failed to meet people need. It is a technique that has been used since antiquity.
Looking at the high number of wasted decilitres running along our roadside tunnels, I simply sympathize with our people and their leaders. If you think these are personal opinions, then watch this space again come February where all our headlines will be reading severe droughts and deaths. 
I would like to urge all the stakeholders with inclusion of the communities to take an advantage of this prime time and advocate for rainwater harvesting.

Let the communities not rely on the government to initiate some of these projects like the earth dams or even placing gutters on their roofs, we can always begin small and as a team we spread our wings to the desired dreams. Water is life; with its presence, we can make all our dreams come true. 

Traders can now track fish prices on mobile phones

Traders will now track fish prices on mobile phones . Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kemfri) has launched a mobile phone technology to improve fish trade in Turkana County. The new technology gives traders market information. Electronic Fish Market Information System (EFMIS-Ke) co-ordinator William Ojwangâ said this would help fish traders locally and internationally to determine market prices. 
Dr Ojwangâ™ said fishermen and traders would be able to know prices countrywide using their mobile phones on a daily basis. He added that the mobile technology would eliminate middlemen who have been exploiting fishermen. "We have tested the new technology and it really works well for fishermen and traders. 
We will be using information from the mobile phones to improve the trade in the sector," he said. Ojwang’ said they are training Turkana beach management units (BMUs) on how to use mobile phones to relay information on prices and data to Kemfri station in Kisumu. 
The BMUs have been given handsets that would enable them send data to EFMIS-Ke station along the shores of Lake Turkana. Ojwangâ€disclosed that EFMIS-Ke service is also in the final stages of developing information package that would target various stakeholders in the fish industry. The coordinator said the readily available package that covers Lake Victoria is already in operation. 
Information  The European Union through the Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust has supported the pilot project to a tune of Sh18 million to cover all lakes. Research conducted in Lake Turkana showed that the annual fish production capacity was 25,000 metric tonnes valued at Sh2.5 billion. According to Kemfri and the Fisheries Department, about Sh50 million is lost annually due to post harvest loses in the lake.

(Info courtesy of www.standardmedia.co.ke)  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Farmers in Got Kowiti now opt for large scale production of the red Creole bulb onion

Farmers have their own way of judging what production technology to adopt and what not to; this assumption comes after Got Kowiti Livelihood group decided to stretch their Red Creole bulb onion (Allium cepa) production to an acre after more than 2 consecutive demo trials in smaller scales.
On 30th October 2013, in the presence of the head of Kobama division Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. John Omotto, we were able to join the group in the new stretch as knowledge facilitators. The farmers here have remained optimistic even with the unstable rain patterns having experienced similar cases at the previous demo sites.

Statistics have indicated so far that bulb onions respond well to fertilizer application because rooting structure is shallow and limited to the depth of 5 cm. It is important to add organic matter too to improve soil moisture retention ability and soil structure. An equivalent of 56 Kg/Ha of Nitrogen should be applied as farmyard manure.
What one needs to put into consideration is that nitrogen and potassium is not recommended at flowering because flowers become unattractive to bees; that are so important during pollination.
When the onions experience a copper e\deficiency, they become thin, poorly colored and have a poor bulb storage life. This can be improved by application of 22 Kg/Ha of Cuso4. Manganese deficiency is also common in onions; it is seen as leaf chlorosis. This is often observed in alkaline soils thus adding an acid based fertilizer e.g. ammonium sulphate.  It is recommended that one should maintain the soil PH at 6.0 – 6.5 through regular soil testing to prevent the incidence of manganese deficiency.
The current average price in major towns per the 15Kg net is KES 750, which means a kilo is able to fetch a farmer KES 50. With a harvest of 17,000 kilograms per hectare, the farmer will be able to raise a cool KES 850, 000 after the five months.

Remember that onion is one of the vegetables that can performer very well in a fertile soil with less use agrochemicals. Try this and be rich after 5 months.

Upland rice adoption in Pala Koguta division, Ndhiwa District

 In 1994 upland rice was first introduced in Pala Koguta division, Ndhiwa District as a measure towards food security diversification and climate change adaptation by the Lake Basin Development Authority to a group of farmers. The two identified upland species; Nerica 4 and Nerica 10 were research products bred by KARI.
 The uptake picked up well but later went low after the elapse of the project’s implementation period. In the year 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture re-introduced the project to another team of 30 farmers and supplied each with 2 Kilograms of Nerica 4 upland rice seeds and fertilizer for seed multiplication. In the same year, after the farmers had realized the potential of this product, they saw a need in forming a legal recognized association dubbed ‘OGANYO RICE ASSOCIATION’.
The association has seen the growth of the scheme to an extent they now have over 50 Acres under Nerica 4 and Nerica 10 upland rice. From the efforts shown by the group, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rice Promotion Unit, offered a milling machine on loan in order to raise the quality of the locally produced rice to compete with imports.
 Even though the association is continuing with the milling, they team will still have to acquire more sophisticated machines like de-huskers, paddy separators, de-stoners, polishers and length graders to be able to hit the standard market tag.
The association has been able to sale their rice to the local markets, surrounding schools and also amongst themselves though with a strong desire for a better market.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


 Free Citizen Journalism training is currently being conducted at Ndhiwa Maarifa Centre under the sponsorship of Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN). The exercise that begun on 22nd October 2013 has intensely drawn over sixteen aspiring journalists from the 7 Wards of Ndhiwa constituency to document and disseminate their peoples’ own stories as they happen.
The major motive behind ALIN’s approach in this kind of initiative is to create a responsible localized means of civic expression and social action amongst the communities, through the voices of their own reporters.
For us to successfully meet this approach, we had the great support of the county representatives, the area MP, the sub county administrators and other community opinion leaders.
The aspiring trainees are undergoing free citizen Journalism training, a five days course that majors on basic Journalism skills like news writing, creative writing, Feature writing, Photographic and Interviewing skills.
The training will enable the reporters to be able to look at news from different angles and in addition give them a deeper understanding of what is going on in the outside world. The ten gentlemen and six ladies who are undergoing training at the Maarifa Centre are set to complete the training by Saturday, 26th October 2013.
ALIN has already formed a blog dubbed ‘Ndhiwa Citizen Voices’ which gives the local communities a platform where they can share their own stories. It will also give them an opportunity to be part of a global community of men and women who are passionate about development news.
Ndhiwa Citizen Voices will be an advocacy and lobby blog that allows members of Ndhiwa and the larger Homabay County to voice the concerns that would otherwise be ignored by mainstream media. It will attempt to boost development and livelihoods of the residents by highlighting issues affecting the community. In a short interview with Mr. Timothy Obabo, one of the ongoing journalism trainees, this is what he had to say: “the training is great. It is the first time we are getting information on citizen journalism. We are very much enlightened and now we will be able to do a number of documentations within our localities through Ndhiwa Citizen Voices”.
“I would further like to congratulate ALIN for the initiative. It is very rare to get such a unique training at the rural unless one attends a college or university institution and idea that most of us can’t afford. Being brought to the grassroot level. We now have an advantage as we can share information among the community,” he added.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gearing up for the World Food Day.

Join the global movement on October 16th to end hunger. Be a part of the solution and take action your community and around the world. We can end hunger or it will take all of us. This is the message each community developer or worker around the globe and especially Africa is putting up with.
History states that World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO’s Member Countries at the Organization’s 20th General Conference in November 1945. The Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Pal Romany has played an active role at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide. It has been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.

Since 1981, World Food Day has adopted a different theme each year, in order to highlight areas needed for action and provide a common focus. Most of the themes have always revolved around agriculture because only investment in agriculture-together with support for education and health-will turn this situation around; that is why ALIN and Kobama Ministry of Agriculture are running up and down to set up demo sites that will deliver the desired message freedom from hunger in relation to simple practical scientifically proven production methodologies. We are working with two farmer groups based in Aora Chuodho and Got Kowiti. We shall keep you updated as we progress.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Communities Understand their Own Abilities and Limitations on First Aid

In July 2013, we received First AID Africa’s second team that composed of Magee, Emma and Sean who were dedicatedly able to train over 30 community members on the most valued life skills through the set arrangements by Ndhiwa Maarifa Centre (ALIN) for the sake of our people.
Just to jog your mind as our reader, it would be good for you too to first have a clue of what we are talking about here. First aid is the initial assistance or treatment given to a person who is injured or suddenly taken ill and the person who provides this help is a first aider (he MUST be skilled).
Being a first aider is not actually a game of gamble, it is a matter of life and death, both yours and that of the casualty; whereby if you mess up at any point of time, both lives maybe jeopardized. Having analyzed the value of these skills, we as ALIN find it very necessary for the communities we are serving since accidents and health conditions are crosscutting issues that do occur at a time when we less expect yet requires an immediate attention.
From an observation analysis, most the communities dwell kilometers away from medical facilities access yet they fall prey to most risks of possible snake bites, chokes, drown, burns, cuts, heart attacks, broken limbs amongst other critical occurrences. With the skills imparted on our people for the past 2 years of partnership, we would like to thanks to the entire First Aid Africa team for such commitments and dedication in serving the people of Africa.

Monday, July 22, 2013


To all our esteemed clients and friends of the organization, ALIN is once again privileged to introduce you to the one and only online marketing platform designed and blended with all you've always seeked for. Sokopepe is an initiative of Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN)aimed at harnessing the power of Information and Communication Technologies in enabling farmers to efficiently reach and exploit a fair market for their produce. At the same time, it increases efficiency in the agriculture value chain providing a platform for farmers to share information and execute electronic transactions. it was initially piloted at Ng'arua Maarifa Centre at Sipili town in Laikipia County.
Most transactions on the Sokopepe platform can be completed on a basic mobile telephone handset, making it accessible to farmers in remote locations, many of whom do not own internet-liked mobile phones. Farmers and Agro-pastrolists are encouraged to register with Sokopepe today and sale online.
For details, visit www.sokopepe.co.ke or walk into any of our Maarifa Centres and get the required assistance at no fee.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ndhiwa Maarifa Meets ALIN's Youngest Donor of the Year

On the 15 of July 2013, I realized of the value of a verse in the bible when Jesus said ‘let the children come to me’ when some of his disciples tried to block them. For three years now, Sonia Odhiambo has largely been a frequent user of our community library alongside some of her colleagues. The young lady has been very instrumental and amazing to most of the staff here since she has always mobilized a number of her friends to the library.

On this particular date, I was amazed at her superb decision to donate three novels (very good condition) after she and her friends realized that the novels in their possession were beyond their comprehension. She and her friends consulted with her parents to allow her donate the books to the library since she had a strong belief that they would actually benefit a number of colleagues; I guess I am the first beneficiary of the so interesting novels. Sonia stands to be ALIN’s youngest donor of the year and just before I forget, Sonia is ICT literate; she can type in word and save her work just like the mum. This is the spirit of corporate responsibility.