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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Practising sustainable agriculture

By Lilian Wangui
Farmers Learning Information Point (FLIP) is a programme that has been initiated by SACDEP-Kenya. It brings small-scale farmers involved in sustainable agriculture at a central place to pin-point issues they encounter in their day to day farming activities. The project is implemented in various counties, Laikipia County being one of them. The session is usually held after a fortnight and often overseen by SACDEP official. The Laikipia County FLIP session is facilitated by Mr. Andrew Munguti.

Women constructing a water tank in Laikipia
FLIP session is usually attended by a subset of a larger group which consist of about twenty groups of small-scale farmers inclusive of the young and old. They are mainly taught on the use of renewable energy. Farmers are encouraged to make use of biogas in their households since most of them own at least two cows. They are able to cut the cost they incur when using electricity. Solar energy is an alternative source of energy farmers are enticed to make use of since installation of solar panels is not as expensive as they think.

They also learn how to make compost manure and top dress their crops using liquid manure. They are taught new sustainable farm practices such as “masumbuko” and “madara”, the kind of kitchen garden useful for household consumption. For farmers whose farms are on a sloppy terrain they are taught how to create contours to prevent top soil from being carried away in case of run-off. Since Laikipia County is a parched area farmers are taught ways to mulch their crops to prevent excessive loss of water from the soil.

The group also benefits from water harvesting lessons. They are taught how to construct water tanks near their households. The tanks should be long-lasting and supply them with water for domestic purposes and irrigation during the dry season. After the training, each group builds a water tank for each member. Everybody including women is expected to participate in the actual construction of the tank.

To prevent soil degradation that come as a result of excessive use of inorganic fertilizers and poor farming practices, farmers are encouraged to practice crop rotation and inter-cropping to enhance availability of nutrients in the soil for crop uptake.

FLIP sessions has literary flipped farmers and made them to soar into better livelihood.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Man found dead in Sipili

By Dennis Kipkirui
An elderly man was found dead on Thursday morning in Sipili shopping centre. The man believed to be in his late sixties was only identified as a resident of Mwireri village within Sipili Division. It is barely three weeks since another person was found dead in the same centre. Coincidentally, the curcumstances sorrounding the dead being similar.

Residents are becoming concerned with a wave of insecurity that has greeted the centre of late. An on looker expressed his anger on the laxity of government to close drinking dens sprawling in the centre which operate with total disregard to law. The slain man is believed to have been drinking in one of the joints before meeting his death.Those who visited the scene were horrified by the sight. He lay bare in a pool of blood.  The man is suspected to have had an unnatural act meted on him before being killed. 

The body was latter collected by the police.

Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) will keep you posted on new developments.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Young farmer’s zeal to keep poultry

By Lilian Wangui  
United we stand, divided we fall is one slogan that motivates Wangwaci Young Farmers who thought of joining hands and embark on a poultry business journey . The group comprises of twenty members who are really determined to help each other grow economically by indulging themselves in various income generating projects.

Members constructing poultry house
One of the projects they have started is poultry keeping, rearing improved indigenous chicken to be precise. Since it’s a group of twenty members they have decided that each member keep 30 chicks for a start which makes it 600 chicks for the group. But, for them to be successful in this venture they realized the need to be enlightened more on chicken rearing. They wanted to know about environmental requirements of poultry, housing, breeder management and hatchery management.

Mr. Samuel Muriithi, Divisional Livestock Production Officer in Sipili took the initiative of equipping them with knowledge pertaining chicken farming. The first lesson was about construction of a decent, up-to-standard poultry house. “If your livestock is under stress because of poor living condition be assured your output will be very low and that will mean meager income,” said Mr. Muriithi.

Poultry house halfway complete
He took them through basic factors to be considered when constructing a poultry house. A suitable location was one of the factors he emphasized on. The poultry house should be located away from the direction of wind. After being taught everything pertaining construction of the poultry house, the group commenced building one at one of the member’s farm. Their eyes reflected great determination and zeal for the work at hand.

After completion Mr. Muriithi took a few minutes to lightly touch on how to take care of one day old chick and poultry nutrition with a promise to give them detailed information on the same next time they meet. This they do every Wednesday.

Wangwaci Young Farmers are stopping at nothing until they witness every project they have in their to-do-list is running efficiently and effectively. The way the group works is analogous to the way of life of ants. No wonder, one African adage says “when ants unite their mouths, they can carry an elephant”.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

ICT 'Wizards' Graduate

By Bob Aston  
There were plenty of smiles, a few tears and a lot of hugs as Ngarua Maarifa Centre computer trainees took their first step into the world of computer graduates. The ceremony was held on 1st July 2013.The day was a special opportunity to honour the trainees who attended training between February-April 2013. The day was also designed to recognize the pride Maarifa Centre feels in their computer trainees’ accomplishments. More than 80 graduates were awarded computer certificates. The ceremony was held at Sipili Catholic hall and was attended by government officials, as well as the graduates to celebrate this momentous occasion. 
Graduates posing for a photo
Ngarua Maarifa Centre which is in Sipili Division is one of the seven Maarifa Centres (Nguruman, Kyuso, Mutomo, Marigat, Ndhiwa And Isinya) in Kenya set up by Arid Lands Information Network, (ALIN). Other centers are situated in northern Uganda and in Tanzania.

The graduates, the Maarifa centre staff and other invited guests were all smiles as Ngarua Maarifa centre paid tribute to the hard work and accomplishments of the graduating trainees. Whatever distinguished these trainees from each other throughout computer training disappeared as the smiles on their faces told a common story. They had done it.
An assembly of former computer trainees and a local drama group called Ndurumo Survivors provided entertainment whereby they highlighted accomplishments of ALIN and they also appreciated the work that ALIN has done in Laikipia County.

Mary Wang'ondu who was one of the graduates thanked ALIN for the training stating that the training enabled her to get a job as a cyber assistant. “We have clearly demonstrated that the potential to achieve lies within all of us,” she said.

William Gibore who is a GSU Constable and was also one of the graduates thanked ALIN for the training and also told the gathering that the training enabled him to be called for a Peace Keeping interview. One of the requirements was for one to be computer literate. He urged the gathering to pray for him to be shortlisted.

Graduates following proceedings during the ceremony
Bob Aston who was their computer trainer advised the graduates to make plans for their future and to set goals for themselves. Praising their hard work, he told the graduates that “your accomplishments are your own, but they are also a gift to me.”

Allan Karanja who is an IT professional told the graduates to continue pursuing computer courses. He advised the graduates not to relax but to continue studying and also emphasized on the importance of career development.

Dennis Kipkirui told the graduates and the visitors more about ALIN and activities carried out by Ngarua Maarifa centre.”Your graduation is a celebration of your achievement and marks the beginning of an amazing journey. As you leave the Centre and begin your life, you will be doing so as an alumnus of Ngarua Maarifa centre” said Dennis

Senior Ass Chief John Kimaiyo who is also a computer Alumni at the Maarifa Centre told the graduates to be proud of their achievements as they are now computer literate.Kimaiyo also told ALIN staff that land for Maarifa container is ready and they are just waiting for communication from them. Pastor Anthony Njehia told the graduates about four guiding principles in life. "Discipline, direction, determination and dependence in God are the guiding principles that one should always follow in life,” said Pastor Njehia.He told the graduates to always put God first in whatever they do in life for them to be successful. He concluded his speech with a reading from proverbs chapter 4:1.

The graduates were presented with their certificates and the festivities continued with a joint photo session. Senior assistant chief John Kimaiyo provided closing remarks by thanking ALIN staff who engineered the event and left the graduating class with inspiring words to set them off on their journey.

Ngarua Maarifa Centre wishes all the graduates the best of luck in their future endeavors.