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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Energy Saving Jiko change fortunes in Dunyu-Loip

By Dennis Kipkirui
In the remote village of Nyanchara, Dunyu-Loip Sub-location of Ol Moran Division Laikipia County, residents are quickly appreciating effects of climate change and readily adapting and mitigating its effects. To them, this can only be done innovatively. Change is slowly dawning to this small village reeling from the effects of civil strife fourteen years ago. As the name suggests (Dunyu-Loip loosely translated from the Maasai language (maa) to mean ‘shadow from a hill’) it is a place once shadowed by death. Large tracts of land remain unutilized. An overbearing sight of shrubs ushers one to the village.

The chepkube Energy saving Jiko, under construction
 An inquiry to the whereabouts of owners of the abandoned land reveals that they fled never to return after civil war. Despite the sparse population dotting the area, thorny thickets growing in the disserted land and acting as the sad reminder of what happened over a decade ago and the unrelenting scourge of heat spraying its rays on the area, the remaining inhabitants have learned to cope with the harsh environment and better still, tell the world that there is life and hope in these hinterlands. Only one thing is driving them to this: climate change and the need to improve their livelihood without complaining.
Laikipia Rural Voices (LVR) visited the village and stopped at the homestead of Mr. Francis Wanjau.
For the residents of the larger Kabati area the change could not have come in a better way to them than the invention of chepkube. This is a jiko used as a cooker as well as a brooder. The jiko is unique and sophisticated in its own style. It has two burners, brooder and a chimney. The brooder is used to raise one day old chicks after hatching. It can host up to seventy chicks at ago for two weeks. 

The main aim is to keep the chicks warm. Chepkube enables the user to separate the mother hen from the chicks immediately after hatching and return her to sit on another set of eggs. The hen literally hatches twice per brooding season enabling the farmer to boost the survival rate of the chicks hatched .An in-depth inquiry reveals that the hen broods thrice a year and therefore produces 45 chicks. To the farmer this is economical in several aspects. 

Mr. Wanjau informs LRV that he gets 90 chicks per hen in a year. He sells them after maturity for Ksh400.With this he earns Ksh 36000 per hen per year. With only ten hens he can earn up to 400,000 per year. This is a great stride in improving the livelihoods of the people area residents.

 The jiko is also composed of two burners connected to each other by a tunnel. Only one burner is lit directly while the other receives fire through the tunnel. Subsequently, smoke escapes through a chimney constructed next to the second burner. The two burners enable faster cooking of food.

What do you need to make this jiko? Its simplicity beats common logic since the raw materials required are cheap and locally available. You only need silt instead of sand and anthill soil to act as cement. Other requirements include: wire mesh, 1/4kg 2-inch nails, gauze, old newspapers, posts, rafters, grass, and banana trunk. The process takes only three weeks from the start to completion. The finish is done by drawing graffiti using aloe vera plant. The gum of the plant is also spread on top of the jiko to act as an insulator preventing escape of heat.

 Tree is Life, a Nyahururu based Trust helped the residents to develop this new idea. The Ministry of Livestock Development also gave a go ahead after ascertaining the safety of the chicks in the brooder and giving them scientific insights on its viability.

The energy saving jiko has a number of benefits to its users. It only uses a small quantity of wood fuel. This is safe for environmental conservation since few trees are fallen for firewood. The jiko helps in mitigating effects of climate change by preventing wanton tree cutting for fuel.

 It also saves energy because two burners are used at ago with the same wood fuel. The chimney helps smoke to escape and therefore guarantees good health to the user.

It also conserves heat .There is also explicit livelihood improvement when the user realizes such huge income from chicken rearing. Furthermore it is affordable to make since it entails the use of locally available raw materials.  

For the Wanjau’s this was a blessing to them since the area they live in have fluctuating temperatures and could only find the jiko suitable for them.

Climate change and adaptation has made Dunyu-Loip to receive new life symbolically shown by the smoke spiraling to the sky from the chimney of chepkube.

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