Saturday, September 24, 2011

Changing lives through delivery of timely information

Nguruman maarifa centre has been an information hub for communities living around since its establishment in 2006.
Being the only center connected to internet around this place, its rich source of information has encouraged many community members around this area to venture into sustainable livelihood activities like mixed farming and tapping renewable energy sources like Biogas energy. Farmers have no fears to venture in to these avenues since they are sure they will get the right information from the maarifa center.

The information delivered is repackaged to suit the target audience and in the form that they can understand. For Example, if a farmer doesn't know how to read, the center has information in form of DVDs which are show to the farmers as per their information need.

The youth have also a stake of the center since they are able to apply for online jobs, register for colleges and visit social sites like twitter and facebook. Some also have learn about blogging and are now having their blogs where they are able to market Nguruman through private businesses, (

Nguruman maarifa centre has also featured in the media which is appreciating the work ALIN is doing in changing peoples lives through delivering information at its Maarifa centers within kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adapting to climate change while improving family livelihood.

Nguruman has for a long time been known for its rich soils and water for irrigation throughout the year. Climate change has had its impacts on the farming activities in this region and people are changing farming patterns in adoption to the change. ALIN has been on the fore front to educate and help farmers adopt to new farming methods which are eco-friendly and at the same time will help improve family livelihood.

In August, 2008 the maarifa center with support from ALIN head quarters collaborated with the ministry of Agriculture officers in this region and organized for an exposure visit to Meru, Ciakago and Thika which involved farmers from Nguruman irrigation scheme. Four years down the line, the impacts are now being felt by the community and are now enjoying the benefits of the exposure.

During the exposure visit, farmers learned a lot of practical lessons which included and not limited to; Dairy goat keeping, agro-forestry, poultry farming and fish farming. Dairy goat keeping in this region has taken shape since some farmers’ bought dairy goats and bucks during the visit and as a result, residents are having enough milk for domestic use and surplus for market.

This breed has also helped improve breeding vigor of the local breeds which are more resistant to harsh environments and as a result, milk yield has shot up and farmers are reducing their heard as a way of adapting to reduced pasture land since they can have enough milk for domestic use and other few liters for the market. Family health has also improved since the families have enough milk to bring up healthy children who are not easily susceptible to diseases.

Over the past few years, farmers have lost a lot of animals worth billions of money to drought and other natural calamities. This has not come out as a lesson to farmers who still hold on to their big heads of cattle. With the changes in climate experienced over the last one year, government policy makers need to enact a policy which will allow livestock extension officers and other stakeholders concerned to take action on farmers who are still reluctant to embrace the information on De-stocking.

Farmers were also motivated and begun apple mango nursery projects as well as planting them and are now reaping the benefits. It will be important to note that, fruits thrive very well in Nguruman and its fruits hit the market when there is no other area producing. This fact gives them a upper hand to venture in the project.

In March 2011, ALIN initiated a pilot project on tubular biogas in Entasopia, which was aimed at conserving the environment by reducing the use of fire wood as fuel for cooking and fossil fuel for lighting thus reducing carbon emissions to the environment. The organization facilitated a four days training for the farmers in which three tubular biogas digesters were installed in three homes in Entasopia. The training also involved farmers and pastoralists from other rural areas like Isinya and Marigat where the technology can be replicated.

The tubular biogas technology is a new innovation that is affordable and the best alternative as an energy source for cooking and lighting for rural folks since it utilizes locally available raw materials while utilizing methane, which if released to the atmosphere contributes to global warming and climate change.

The community members are appreciating the technology since it has reduced family expenditure and now the families can prepare their meals in a clean environment free of smoke. It has also reduced the number of trees felled for charcoal and fuel wood thus contributing to climate change mitigation measures.

These projects have brought a balance in family income since mostly women are the ones involved in dairy goat projects and are appreciating the fact that they can be able to supplement what their husbands are earning. Monitoring the progress has also been easy since they have formed women groups which enable officers to reach them easily incase of information dissemination.