Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips

Friday, 28 June 2013

Loan default bears village bank in Laikipia

By Annet Njeri
Talk of a loan and every one will smile when granted one. Even the maiden Jubilee Government aims to empower women and the young people using loans albeit with low interests. But as Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo put in his book The Devil On The Cross, “no one regrets the going as much as the coming”. In Kenya, one man only confessed that he has never taken a loan in his life even the common student loan from the Higher Education Loans Board. That man is the high flying lawyer Ahmed Nassir Abdullahi. He don't believe in empowering himself with one and from his religious and philosophical view, interest on a loan is against human principles.

Wangwaci young farmers is a village investment group that was started in 2011.The group was started by farmers who came together, faced with a similar situation; inability to pay loans given to them by Equity bank. The main reason for defaulting was due to drought that struck the area in 2009 making it impossible for the farmers to realize what they had invested in their farms.

Members designing a poultry house.
Currently, the group has an active member of seventeen. “We have a strong bonding amongst ourselves. You know all of us salvaged one another from the dreary hand of the auctioneer. Our items were almost put under the auctioneer’s hammer,” reminisced Naphtali Kairu the group secretary, “we had to start working in the farm of each member for two hours to enable us raise money to pay for the loan”.

Immediately they finished repaying the loan, they thought of keeping off the banks. The only way was to pool resources which will enable them access for financial aid. That when they gave birth to Wangwaci Young Farmers Self-Help Group. 

The group has managed to raise over Ksh 200 000 in savings. This money is never taken to the same banks which almost made them bankrupt. It circulates among the members. Every four months, members meet and those who had a loan repay the entire amount. They then loan back the money again to members to be repaid in four months time at an interest rate of 30%.

Meanwhile as they wait to meet after four months members have a different activity which keeps them together as a team while being busy. They do a merry-go-round. This is completely different from the ‘village bank’. No proceeds from this activity goes to the village bank. However, it shares the same objective: to improve the living standards of every member and spare members from the harsh conditions of loan rendering from banks which to a large extent is disadvantageous due to the pressure they get to pay it back and the danger of losing property if there is default.

Members meet after every two weeks for a merry-go-round. Here the raise Ksh 10,000 which is usually shared by two members. They also get to know one another well as the meeting creates an opportunity for them to socialize.

The group has a 2 acre farm with maize and beans situated near Wangwaci dam. They were given to them by the Agriculture Office so that they can also help in conserving the dam. All proceeds from farm ends up in the village bank resources. “Whenever we cultivate this farm, we sell everything and top up the amount we have in the village bank. Last year we managed to harvest 41 bags of maize and added the money to our village bank resource,” said Kairu, “we are planning to plant tomatoes immediately we harvest maize.”

A new project is set to benefit members. They have started poultry farming. Each member is set to have a poultry house of 50 birds which is built using locally available materials and using the effort and skill of group members. The Divisional Livestock Production officers have intervened to help in capacity building for members while undertaking the project. Group member is only expected to buy few materials like nails and iron sheets that are not locally available. The rest of the work will be undertaken by the group.

Indeed the loan default and harassment from conventional banks provoked local empowerment from the otherwise arid lands of Laikipia.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bill Gates helps in accessing free ICT training

By Bob Aston
Ngarua Maarifa Centre is proud of its achievements since FREE Computer Training was introduced at the Maarifa Centre. The training was conducted through the aid of The Bill & Melinda gates foundation. The center still continues to offer Free Computer Training to the residents of Laikipia County. Here are some few testimonies from some of the trainees who benefited from the progra.

Name: Rahab Njaramba
Occupation: Teacher-91 Municipality Primary School
Contacts: 0728879796
Age: 35 Years
ICT training in progress in Ngarua Maarifa Centre
Rahab got a job with the IEBC as a Deputy Constituency Returning Officer for Laikipia West Constituency during the General Election. One of the Requirements for the post was for one to be Computer Literate. Having been Trained at the then Maarifa Business Solutions she was able to prove that she is Computer Literate and was subsequently hired.Rahab is also a Teacher at Municipality Primary School in Nyahururu.She uses the knowledge she gained from the Training to perform routine tasks like lesson plan development, information Presentation, Writing Memos, Writing both official and Formal letters, as well as searching for information through the internet. She has also started using Microsoft Word to write schemes of service. She said that she was initially planning to take Computer classes in one of the local colleges but when she heard about the Centre she decided to inquire about the training. She was impressed with the reception and thus she decided to join. She used Microsoft Excel to calculate pupil’s marks and to present their performance using a chart during first term.

Name: Kanyi Joseph
Occupation: Computer Teacher-Lariak Primary School
Contacts: 0735889386
Age: 23 Years
Kanyi cleared Training at the Maarifa Centre then started working as a Community Knowledge Facilitator (CKF) at the Maarifa Centre. He was always hardworking and volunteered to serve the community diligently.
“The Maarifa Centre provided me the opportunity to learn a lot and also gave me the necessary skills and experience which I am currently applying in my new work place. I am glad that I worked as a CKF at the Maarifa Centre.” Says Kanyi

Early April of this year he saw an advertisement for the post of Computer Teacher at Lariak Primary School and promptly applied for the post. He was not deterred by the high number of applicants and was confident that he would be selected. After a vigorous interview process which culminated in a practical computer exam he was finally picked as the best candidate. He has been charged with coming up with a Computer curriculum for the school as well handling computer classes.”The computer training that I received at the Maarifa Centre really helped me. I can now transfer the knowledge and skills that I gained to my students.”He said

Name: Trizah Kamau
Occupation: Administrative Secretary-Glafa Agency
Contacts: 0731415378
Age: 22 Years
Trizah works in an Agency where they initially did everything manually. After she completed Computer Training her boss decided to buy a computer in order for her to use for administrative purposes. She is now applying her Computer knowledge when drafting agreements for the Clients, writing official letters, letting contracts and notices for vacations. She has also started using Microsoft Excel for calculating tenant’s payments and preparing statements for the landlord.

Name: Ebenezer Matere
Occupation: Cyber Attendant-Viona Agencies
Contacts: 0788725988
Age: 20 years
Ebenezer applied for Cyber Attendant post at Viona Agencies after clearing training. He did not have a Computer Certificate at the time but after convincing the interviewer that he is computer literate and even asking for a practical test which he was given, he emerged the best among those who were interviewed and was subsequently employed as a Cyber Attendant.

Ebenezer is currently utilizing his computer knowledge in helping their cyber clients. He uses the Microsoft Word knowledge which he gained to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing research articles and documents. He uses the internet knowledge to assist clients open new E-mail addresses, helping clients fill online HELB forms, filling KRA online services and performing other internet services.
“Without the computer training I would not have managed to get this job. I am glad that Arid Lands Information Network decided to conduct training in Nyahururu town and that I was among the first beneficiaries,” says Ebenezer.

Name: Mary Wang'ondu
Occupation: Cyber Attendant-Frama Printers
Contacts: 0718380880
Age: 20 years
Mary got a job as a Cyber Attendant at Frama Printers before even completing Computer Training. She applied for the Job while still undergoing training. She was invited for an Interview and passed. Her new employer allowed her to continue with the training then reporting to work immediately after class.
She is currently utilizing the skills she acquired from the training to assist the cyber customers. She uses the Microsoft Word knowledge which she gained to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing research articles and documents. She uses the internet knowledge to assist clients open new E-mail addresses, helping clients fill online HELB forms, filling KRA online services, opening and updating GHRIS accounts for government employees and performing other internet services.

Name: Joyce Wanjiru
Occupation: Sales Person/Computer Operator-Smartek Bookshop
Contacts: 0706397863
Age: 19 years
Joyce used to work as a Sales Person at Smartek Bookshop. Once she cleared computer training her employer added a computer in the bookshop and she was given more responsibilities with better renumeration.She is now both a sales person and also a computer operator.
She is currently utilizing the skills she acquired from the training to offer various computer services. She uses the Microsoft Word knowledge which she gained to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing notices, typing research articles and documents.

Name: Francis Ngugi
Occupation: Volunteer-International Bible Students Association (I.B.S.A)
Contacts: 0729978506
Age: 25 Years
Francis doing online research
Francis started working as volunteer at I.B.S.A upon completing computer training. He has an account with I.B.S.A where he regularly performs various functions for I.B.S.A like data entry and drafting Letters. He normally performs the data entry using Microsoft Excel.

“The Training that I received at the Maarifa Centre enabled me to be computer literate and subsequently provided me the opportunity to work as a volunteer for I.B.S.A” says Francis, “I am glad that ALIN provided the opportunity for us to attend Free Computer Training,” concludes Francis.

Name: Charles Kiamah
Occupation: Cyber Assistant-SkyClick Cyber
Contacts: 0717116254
Age: 19 Years
Charles is currently working as a Cyber Assistant at Skyclick in Wangige-Kiambu County. He is currently utilizing his computer knowledge in helping their cyber clients. He uses the Microsoft Word knowledge which he gained to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing research articles and documents. He uses the internet knowledge to assist Clients open new E-mail addresses, helping clients fill online HELB forms, filling KRA online services and performing other internet services.
“God bless ALIN.The training enabled me to get a job, I am glad that I decided to join the training.” Says Charles.

Name: Daniel Mwangi
Occupation: Student Nairobi Aviation
Contacts: 0710966350
Age: 22 Years
The Computer Training at the Maarifa Centre made Daniel to decide to Specialize in an ICT Course. He is currently pursuing a Diploma course in ICT at Nairobi Aviation College.”I would like to be an ICT expert with Technical skills in Computer Field like Computer Analyst” Says Daniel.”I thank ALIN for the Free ICT Training and for enabling the Youths gain Computer Knowledge.”

Name: Maryann Mwarangu
Occupation: Administrative Secretary-Click Agencies
Contacts: 0715522825
Age: 21 Years
Maryann applied for the post of Administrative Secretary at Click Agencies after clearing training. One of the requirements for the advertised post was for one to be computer literate.”I knew that I met all the qualifications for the post so I decided to apply. I was invited to attend the interview. We underwent a vigorous interview process which concluded with a practical computer assignment. I emerged the best overall and was subsequently employed. I thank ALIN for the opportunity which they gave us.” Says Maryann

Maryann regularly uses Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Internet and E-mail at her work place. She normally draft and type, word process, format, edit, revise, and process a variety of documents and forms including reports, correspondence, memoranda, agenda items and reports, agreements, and ordinances. She mostly draft process mail including receiving, sorting, time-stamping, logging, and distributing incoming and outgoing correspondence and packages.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Woman raped and killed in Sipili

Dennis Kipkirui
A middle aged woman was found raped and killed in Sipili market Friday morning. The woman famously known as 'Sigida' was known to be a reveler in one of the pubs in the centre. When Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) scribe visited the scene of crime, he was greeted with horror written on people’s faces that came to witness the morning terror that had woken up the sleepy centre.

Curious crowd looking at the dead woman
It is reported that the woman left the pub at around 10 p.m. Her husband, only identified as John said that she was with her in the drinking spree and thought that she had left to their house. He was however shocked to realize in the morning that she was dead. It is not clear in whose company she was with when she left the bar.

The bar which is located near Ngarua Maarifa Centre is known for endless brewing of illicit brew called chang’aa and busaa.LRV had highlighted about this drinking den on 26th June last year, coincidentally a week to exactly a year.

Members of the public who milled around the place turned heat on owners of the plots in the centre with overgrown bushes. Sipili Location, Chief Mr. Njuguna and police officer in charge of Sipili patrol base Corporal Omwenga directed owners to clear all bushes in unconstructed plots. Evidently, these plots are used to transact sexual escapades by revelers. 

It is suspected that the woman was lured into one of the bushes and over powered. She was found naked and surprisingly, a condom packet was stuffed in her mouth. It stunned the onlookers on the motive of the killer. “Even after raping and killing her, did they have to stuff the condom in her mouth?” paused one onlooker, “this is terribly inhuman".

The body was later collected and taken to Nyahururu District Hospital mortuary.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Farmer acquires tractor using online services

By Dennis Kipkirui

Farming in Muhotetu is an activity the residents have only known since they settled in the area over four decades ago. Muhotetu division in Laikipia County has been known for its successful dairy farming. Residents also have one characteristic: they originally came from one area, Tetu and Muhoya in Nyeri County, hence the name Muhotetu. It is therefore worth noting that activity in this part of the county is fluid because of the shared past among the residents.

Njeru ignites his brand new tractor
Francis Njeru 63 is one of the residents of Muhotetu. His late father was among the people who bought land in this place after the white settlers left. His migration to Muhotetu is not however something he had planned for more so after retiring as a teacher having served for thirty three years. Njeru had built a retirement home in his Nyeri backyard and being at the helm of leadership in coffee co-operative society, he knew that he was bound to be a busy man after-all.

However, this was not to be the case. “The then coffee-politics turned to be nasty and even threatened my life. I had to run away. I was only lucky to have known Laikipia and served as my hide out. I locked myself in for three months after which I made up my mind not to go back to Nyeri,” said Mr. Njeru nostalgically.

After settling in his father’s farm, he had to begin things all over again despite completing plans for his retirement. He used the few resources he had saved to build a homestead and till the land. Unlike most residents of Muhotetu, Njeru did not give much attention to dairy farming. He instead ventured into horticulture and other forms of crop production. His farming activities expanded to the extent that he bought another farm.

It was after successful farming that Njeru thought of acquiring a farm machinery to ease his activities. He set on the pace of owning a tractor. He was initially for the idea that he visits Massey Ferguson dealers in Nakuru. However this could not materialize after being advised that he could buy it cheaper from the manufacturer in Japan.

His journey to the port of Karachi in Japan to the port of Mombasa Kenya could only start and end in Ng’arua Maarifa Centre. He came to the centre and through assistance from one of the officers identified and engaged in a transaction with the dealer. Njeru was sent an on-line invoice and after making on-line bank payments, visited the centre to have the payment slip scanned and sent to the manufacturer. He continued to engage the manufacturer using on-line services until he was told to go to the port of Mombasa to pick his tractor. 

Njeru left for Mombasa and cleared his tractor at the port and brought it to his farm.  When Maarifa centre team visited him, he was full of gratitude. “I’m happy for the work you people are doing here. You saved me up to half a million shillings through on-line transactions. If I had purchased it here in Kenya I would have been treated to a raw deal,” said Njeru aboard his new tractor, Massey Ferguson 260. He even managed to have the Maarifa Centre team dropped on the Sipili-Muhotetu road using it to have a feel of their assistance.

The happy farmer thanked ALIN for the support it has extended to the community.