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Monday, 30 June 2014

Ng’arua Maarifa centre hosts knowledge sharing kibanda

By Bob Aston
The Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, located in Sipili Division, Laikipia West, is hosting a Natural Resources Management (NRM) and Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) knowledge sharing kibanda that will be archiving United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) grantees project’s information.
The knowledge sharing structure at Ng'arua Maarifa Centre
The Maarifa Centre which was founded in 2006 by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) will be utilized as a knowledge resource centre (library demo, archival and storage facility) by UNDP GEF SGP grantees operating in Laikipia County.

The knowledge sharing kibanda will house various technologies that include; Biogas, Tea Tree from Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), clay filters, wonder bags, recipe books, farmer innovation on value addition, jikos that do not require a lot of firewood and various water harvesting technologies.
The UNDP GEF SGP knowledge sharing project objectives include; to facilitate consistent knowledge sharing about Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM), to facilitate better knowledge sharing between UNDP SGP Projects in Laikipia County, to establish a knowledge access space for sharing and demonstration of technologies in Natural Resource Management (NRM) and to learn what the other partners are engaged in.
The  outcome of the project is to ensure better informed community members capable of adapting good SLM practices, preservation of biodiversity in Laikipia County, improved livelihoods of communities, improved communication and knowledge sharing, enhanced online visibility of UNDP GEF SGP project and improved accessibility of indigenous knowledge for enhancing communities resilience.

The Maarifa centre is also disseminating two Sokepepe services called Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya) and SOKO+.
SOKO+ is a digital commodity trading and information system linking small scale farmers to end retailers. SOKO+ provides commodity prices from major markets around the areas of operation and beyond, e –extension services and a listing of various technical and logistical providers.
FARMIS is a farm management and diagnostic tool based on the use of farm records. It was developed for use by diverse stakeholders in the agriculture sector aimed at identifying productivity trends, profitability of different farm enterprises and producing evidence for use in decision making at the farm.
Picture of Ng'arua Maarifa Centre
ALIN is also implementing a one year project on climate change on behalf of Act! Change! Transform! (ACT) through the Maarifa Centre. The project seeks to enhance community resilience to adapt to the impacts of climate change for improved livelihood in Laikipia County.
The centre serves more than 26,000 community members yearly on various services. More than 7200 have accessed E-government services; more than 1200 have been trained on ICT skills while 31 groups have been reached with technical farming information.
The Maarifa has shared more than 160 best practices on agriculture and climate change adaptation as well as increasing partnerships with government, local CBO’s and NGO’s.
The centre has overseen the formation of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society which now has more than 280 registered members as well as training over 600 farmers and groups on value chain, farming practices and markets.
The Maarifa centre has also been offering free training on basic journalism skills. More than 80 youths have been trained. Through their blog Laikipia Rural Voices the citizen journalists from the Maarifa Centre have posted more than 300 articles.
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