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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

ALIN applies for funding to conserve Wangwachi dam

By Bob Aston
Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) applied for funding from Grand Challenges Canada Fund to be able to raise funds towards reduction of water-borne diseases through conservation of Wangwachi dam in Laikipia, Kenya.
The essence of the idea is to harness green energy technologies for integrated watershed management, conservation and water supply systems that will increase incomes through production of irrigated nutritious food and reduction of waterborne diseases among vulnerable communities.

The best ideas will be selected out of 750 global applications through online voting. Laikipia Rural Voices would like to urge you to watch the 2 minutes idea and vote for ALIN to succeed.

To register your vote open the link given below and click on ‘LIKE THIS APPLICATION’. Feel free to share through your networks so that ALIN can get as many votes as possible! Here is the link; the voting session will expire on 15th November 2013 at 1pm.

The proposed measures that ALIN is proposing towards this project is the conservation of the catchment area of Wangwachi dam. The dam is a critical resource that is shared by over 20,000 humans and over 200,000 animals. This is a fact which contributes to the high vulnerability of local community to diseases borne by animals.

During the long dry period contamination level in the water increases. Local farmers have extended their garden plots to the very edge of the dam. The close interaction between human and animals causes a transfer of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentry and bilhazia among others.

“Local users will be organized into a water user Association and a Catchment and dam management plan will be developed. Users will also be trained on the use of appropriate water purification system,” said Samwel Mwangi, Team Leader Community Empowerment ALIN.

“The project will also ensure separation of access point for both human and animals as well as water and sanitation campaign for the more than 20,000 users of the dam,” said Samwel.

The access points will be powered by a solar wind highbreed generator since there is no electricity in the project site.

Listen to the Wangwachi dam voices

Monday, 28 October 2013

Families with disabled members unite

By   Ephantus Kiptanui

Mbogo-ini handicapped self help group was formed early October 2013. It’s located in Mbogo-ini village, Sipili location in Laikipia west district and comprises fifteen members (15), ten being women and five men.

The main objective of forming the group was to help the disabled children improve their nutrition through access to dairy goat products. Mr. Kimani, a well-wisher and teacher at a nearby secondary school advices families who have disabled children to form groups. 

Through the groups, members receive training every Wednesday on proper ways of rearing dairy goats, upon completion of the training; each family will receive a dairy goat from Kuki Gallmann the propriety of Laikipia conservancy. The goat will provide milk which will help in feeding their disabled sons and daughters back at home.

The high cost of constructing dairy goats’ structures and the raising rate of poverty in the area are some of the challenges facing members.

The group members have been given two months to prepare to receive the goats. “I call upon any help from a willing heart to see us through this,”says Mr. Nderitu, the group’s Chairman.

Mr. Mureithi,an extension officer from the Ministry of Livestock has organized to take members through lessons every Wednesday, at Mbogo-ini shopping centre. They also plan to legally register their group, and make their group known worldwide through internet.

” I thank Ng’arua Maarifa Center for offering free internet services to us and making our group known.May God bless you abundantly” says Mr. Nderitu.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Earning a living from forest spoils

By Moses Ndungu

The Lariak forest stretching on the undulating expanse of the Lariak-Karandi ridges is a major source of livelihoods to many communities living around the resource. Though awash with wild animals, ranging from the mighty elephants to the ferocious lions, residents around the natural resource have taken it to heart as a God-given resource, leading to unchecked exploitations. 

Adjacent is Sipili trading centre that has proved to be the most faithful market for products smuggled from the reputed forest. Charcoal has also found its way through the main roads to faraway places like Nairobi and Nakuru. Logs have been split into timber and firewood chopped in staggering quantities.

The destruction meted on the forest has continued in spite of the dangers and hazards hanging over the exploiters. The presence of elephants and lions has neither daunted their interest in the forest. Patrols by the officers from Sipili and Karandi have neither budged them off. Instead, log harvesters have continued in their gleeful pursuit to earn a living. 

Though it appears to be a game of cat and mouse, the unscrupulous officers have also had their hand in the illicit trade, hence misuse of power. A thirty to sixty percent tip off to the officers has become sweater than the environmental beauty. 

Cartloads of logs leave the forest in the wee hours of the morning while the unsuspecting officers are asleep. Sometimes the forest officers patrol the area that is when residents employ most unheard of tricks, they sneak their donkey carts into the forest and sleep there, once certain that patrols are over, they wield their tools of trade and cut down piles and piles of wood and before cockcrow they are out of the forest.

 By sunrise, the wood is already marketed and beautiful structures increases in the market every dawn while the beauty of nature diminishes every morning. As the wood is exhausted, the cutters move to the next ‘pile of wood lot’ and for some days play their game of cutting and selling. Unfortunately, this trend affects wild animals negatively forcing them to migrate in search of shelter and pasture. This leads to their visiting farms and grazing on food crops hence perpetuating human wildlife conflict.    

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Father’s 20 year struggle to restore child’s health

By Bett Kipsang’

 Unless he opens up and speak his heart out, things may seem cool for John Kimani Kariuki, a resident of Kio village in Laikipia west. But after sitting down to listen to his story; you will definitely get to know the burden him and family has gone through in search for their sons’ treatment in the past twenty years. LRV brings an account of the family’s long, rocky and tortuous journey in search of treatment for their beloved son, Daniel Kariuki. 

Daniel Kariuki
 The family of seven was blessed with a bouncing baby boy named Dan Kariuki, twenty three years ago. The lad crew up well, but when was three, his parents spotted a growth on his loins. Oblivious of the magnitude of the problem, the couple went for medical checkups at the local hospitals and dispensaries. 

 Nothing prepared the family for what would seem like a lifetime of hectic search for cure to the persistent growth. “At a tender age of five, Daniel had his first operation to remove the lumps of masses around the waist. The operation went on successfully and the boy become well for a while’’ said John Kariuki. 

The relief was short-lived as the painful growths returned with vengeance. The large sore masses started spreading all round the waist. ‘‘The masses were too painful such that the boy could not sleep day and nights on end’’ the father said.  

The pains tormenting the young man become unbearable and that is when his father set out to look for medication. He sought help from major hospitals and used up all his money. ‘‘All I cared was to get the boy well, even if it means spending all the little money I had’’ he said. 

Before long, his pockets were running dry; he closed his business and sold most of the family assets to continue the spirited battle with the condition. “After I had exhausted everything, I almost gave up, but the love and sympathy for the sick child got me trying something new every time’’ john said. He started organising fund raising in the village to raise hospital money. Before long people got used to it and nobody could respond anymore! 

Occasionally he could come across good Samaritans who assisted him. The boy has gone through major hospitals in the country. It was at the Karen hospital where he was diagnosed with recurrent fibrosarcoma and an operation done on him to remove the growths. 

He has also been to Kinangop, Kenyatta hospital, Nairobi hospital among others. So far the boy has gone through operations eleven times to remove the recurrent masses. Radio therapy was recommended but it became too expensive for the family to afford the many trips to and from hospital.  John said that treating the disease was the most expensive thing he has ever gone through.

He is now appealing to well wishers to come in and support the child. He said that the masses are reappearing due to delayed radio therapy. Daniel Kariuki 23 has had his education interrupted several times due to his condition.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ririshwa men and women strive to make money

By Jane Kariuki

Ririshwa women group, comprising twenty five women and three men have adopted innovative ways of generating income. They produce some of the best jewelries made of beads and market them for a living. They also make handbags and key holders. 
The group converges every Thursday, at the homestead of one member and work hard to produce the wares.On 24th October 2013, LRV visited the group and found them busy making tanks and basins out of worn out tires. 
The chair-lady, Mrs. Nafuto said that Lariak forest conservation area project has supported them with beads and threads in small quantities. The group was also given a person to teach them how to make the best products.
The main challenge to the group is the difficulty in accessing raw materials for continuing with the business. She also said that marketing the products is a difficult task for them. The advantage of the group is the benefit of socializing and sharing spiritual and economic information.

Lariak Forest Conservation Area Project leads way in Forest Conservation

By Bob Aston 

Conservation of forests has become a crucial importance to Kenya as the repercussions of forest depletion in the country is now seen in drastic climate change. Early 2011 a group of conservation experts in Kinamba Division, Laikipia County came up together to form Lariak Forest Conservation Area Project.

Lariak Forest Conservation Area Project realized that solving the problems of climate change and reducing its inevitable negative effects require individual and global cooperation. The realization made the conservation group to involve itself in major socio-economic activities to help communities living around Lariak Forest.
The conservation group operates in Kinamba, Sipili, Karaba, Muhotetu, Muthengera, OL-Moran and Karandi.
Joseph Maina from the conservation group says that they involve themselves with: Bee keeping, women empowerment through service-beads and basket making, tree planting (Forest and agro Forest), Poultry keeping (improvement of hybrid), energy saving jikos and institutional biogas. They are also planning to bring a brick making machine before end of the year.
Lariak Forest conservation group has already achieved a lot within the short time that it was formed. The group has established a fruit tree nursery within Lariak Forest, rehabilitated around twenty (20) ha of forest land in Lariak,trained women group in bead work, gave energy saving jikos to atleast six hundred (600) households, distributed cockerel to more than four hundred (400) farmers, Build biogas for three schools and also trained community on HIV.
“Our aim is to reduce pressure in forests and to enable communities be self reliant by introducing income generating activities,” said Hezron Kanyari.
“Turn up during tree planting exercise is normally low as most of the community members want to be paid during such events,” added Hezron.
The conservation group currently faces challenge with funds as the funds available cannot meet the communities’ expectations.

Sipili traders suffer fire tragedy

By Alice Wagura

Traders repairing their broken shops
Items worth millions of shillings went up in flames when a huge fire razed down a section of Sipili trading center. The cause of Thursday’s night inferno has not been established. Witnesses alleged that the fire started from a butchery and moved downwards to Dincom shop and about five other shops in the line.

Confirming the incident, assistant chief for Sipili sub-location, Ms Margaret Gachago said that investigations were underway to establish the exact cause of the fire.

Businesses and livelihoods of the traders and their families have been badly affected. Mr. Gathoga the proprietor of Dincom hardware told onlookers that he has lost stock worth close to half a million shillings.
Residents and traders in the small trading centre gathered together and prayed for the affected traders. 

An overviews of the affected area
Several people, who arrived at the scene to assist in the rescue mission, were forced to break into the shops and demolished the structures to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the shops.

Nothing had really prepared the traders for such an eventuality. The RLV visited the scene and found the business community busy sorting the rabbles, others were mending the walls, windows and doors broken during the operations to salvage same goods. 

Traders incur heavy losses after midnight fire

Only Rabbles and ashes left 

A huge fire erupted last night in Sipili shopping centre and gutted down a section of shopping stalls. Traders and residents who had gone to sleep when the fire started, had their nights cut short as alarm was raised over the burning shops. Large crowds of people gathered to lend a hand in a desperate rescue operation. It was too late as rescuers were overwhelmed by the raging fires consuming the timber walls and stock worth thousands of shillings.   

Houses destroyed during the fire
LRV visited the scene in the morning and found the traders in sombre moods as they counted their losses. It is not business as usual in the busy shopping center, items are spread all over as some shops were demolished to prevent the fire from spreading further. The heaviest casualty is Dimcom hardware shop which is said to have lost a fortune in the unfortunate incident. 

The cause of the fire which started at around 1.00 pm has not been established. The Thursday   night’s case adds to the grim statistics of fire incidences occurring frequently in sipili.