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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Mlima Meza Green Development helps in conserving environment

By Bob Aston
The impact of climate change is already being felt in arid and semi arid regions in the country. Solving the problems of climate change and reducing its inevitable negative effects has now become a priority for many. Mlima Meza Green Development Self Help Group from Wangwaci location in Laikipia West has for the past six (6) years been trying to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Members during a meeting
The group which is made up of twenty (20) women initially started by helping members acquire house hold utensils like cups, plates, blankets and bowls but they soon realized that to empower the members they had to do more than that.
“We decided to change and look for a better way of improving the livelihood of members. This could only be achieved through financial empowerment,” said Monica Wangui Kimondo, Chairlady Mlima Meza Green Development S.H.G.
The group explored different ways of empowering members and finally settled on starting a tree nursery. This they believed would help members conserve the environment as well as practice climate smart agriculture.
Kimondo said that they started a merry go round whereby all the members were contributing Ksh 200 after every two weeks. They then opened a bank account and started saving the money while at the same time ploughing some into their tree nursery business.
“We are trying to financially empower all members through the various projects that we are undertaking. Currently it is possible for a member to receive emergency loan when in financial difficulty,” said Kimondo.
Kimondo said that members have been at the forefront of planting trees. Last year the members planted more than 1,000 trees. They expected to plant more this year but lack of rainfall led to most of the trees drying up. They have three different varieties of trees namely; Olive tree, grevellea and eucalyptus.
“We have spent a lot of money to buy water for irrigating the trees. Despite this most of the trees could not withstand the dry season hence they dried up,” said Kimondo.
Noah Lusaka from ALIN addressing group members
The members have also been keeping indigenous chicken. They have received various capacity building trainings about poultry keeping from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Kimondo said that the poultry training equipped them with enough knowledge concerning poultry farming.
“Some members have as much as 70 indigenous chicken. Members normally sell some of the chicken during planting season in order to get money for farming,” said Kimondo.
Kimondo said that the members realized that they spent a lot of money on buying kerosene for lighting. The kerosene lamps she said produced a lot of smoke and normally cause health problems. They eventually decided to buy solar lamps worth Ksh 1,000 for all the members.
“Solar lamps has helped to reduce dependence on kerosene and this has enabled the members to save money that they would initially have used to buy kerosene,” said Kimondo.
Kimondo said that one of their objectives was to reduce cutting down of trees by members as deforestation has led to drastic climate change. This led the group to ensure that all the members have improved jikos.
“Members are no longer looking for firewood. This has significantly reduced cutting down of trees,” said Kimondo.
The group is now exploring various ways in which the members can adapt to the changing climatic condition as well as practicing climate smart agriculture.
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