Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stakeholders and residents within Nguruman quest for 3G network

By Samuel Nzioka

Nguruman residents and part  of the larger olkiramatian location spend their weekend without mobile network connection as the only safaricom network mask was not functional. This has been a recurring occurrence and has affected communication and business transactions with M-pesa agents and their customers counting  losses since some people depended on mobile banking to buy fresh produce for sale in other parts of the county and in major towns.

"Majority of businesses involving mobile banking takes place over the weekend and this has affected our business... All M-pesa services are down and we can not buy farm produce for the mondays kiserian market" said one tomato crop vendor.

 Another community member who was expecting a visitor cursed the inconvenience caused since he couldn't communicate at all.

"The network is very weak and makes us spend a lot of time on internet while sending attachments on e-mail or even when blogging. It takes a lot of time to upload a compressed picture.... it will be great if we get 3G network...." said David Meitamei, a Maarifa centre user.

This has been a recurring occurrence and despite being reported to the service provider severally no attempts has been seen in bid to address the issue.

Sometimes last one week stakeholders working around  Nguruman held a discussion at Nguruman Maarifa centre, a meeting that sought way forward regarding recurring network issues at Olkiramatian location. Chaired by Joel Njonjo, a Researcher at African conservation centre (ACC), an agreement was arrived at to follow up the issue with safaricom staff who had visited the area and confirmed their full support on the issue.

Safaricom network mask at Ngomongo with technicians aboard. Photo by Samuel Nzioka
NCV team visited the site on Monday to probe and to confirm weather really there is any on going advancements to address the issue. Interestingly, there were three technicians  at the top of the mask. Efforts to reach them for comments were futile as they were very busy carrying stuff up and down the mask.
Some of the issues raised by the stakeholders included delays in response to emergencies due to poor network, delayed transactions, slow internet connection thus delayed response to official matters and other areas completely not having coverage.

It is presumed that, the situation may improve as there is a commendable improvement within the last 24 hours.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mango vendors ambush Nguruman

By Samuel Nzioka

Mango vendors from other parts of the country have rocked Nguruman area to buy Mangoes which is one of the fruit crops which thrive well in the area. The activity which begun about two weeks ago is picking momentum and seeing at-least three lorries drive away with the commodity every day. Nguruman is likely to be the only place within the country producing the commodity at this time of the year according to a report by one of the buyers.

"I have been in the business for the last ten years and you cannot find the commodity in any other part of the country at this time of the year..." said one of the buyers who sought anonymity.

Mango vendors parking mangoes in cartons with a lorry on stand-by. Photo by James Mathu
The prices have also dropped from Ksh 18 to 10 per piece for export quality and from Ksh 12 to 6 for the local market depending on size (Apple Mango). A crate had also dropped from Kshs 600 to 300 for the other local varieties. Due to ongoing rains the vendors fear for their business profits as a result of poor transport systems that has led to increase in the cost of transport. Speaking to one of the vendors, it was clear that Mangoes from Nguruman are rated 'Export quality' and most of them find their way to overseas markets.

Nguruman area for a long time has been the bread basket for fresh commodities supplying towns within the outskirts of Nairobi like Kiserian, Rongai, Ngong and also main market in Nairobi. The poor state of the road has been the talk of the day with political aspirants promising to address the issue but after wooing the voters, nothing is addressed.

On a meting with the farmers, the Divisional Agricultural Extension Officer (DAEO) Mr Bainito advised that, before selling any farm produce to a buyer, the farmer has to do gross margin for his production including all costs so as to settle at the minimum selling price for the produce. This came amidst call by the Ministry of Agriculture to have all brokers registered with HCDA for them to buy any product from the farmers.

Farmers being taken through gross Margin analysis exercise at MOA grounds. Photo by Samuel Nzioka.
"There has been a long time tred by brokers to exploit the farmers... this will not be the case when they register with HCDA... we will be able to monitor the prices so as to save the farmers". said the officer in charge on an interview with NCV crew.

The officer also urged farmers to cooperate with his ministry to solve the market curtails which has seen many farmers suffer losses due to poor prices and lack of marketing strategies.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A lady with her two daughters suspected to have been poisoned

By Kelvin Koinet.
A lady and her two young daughters were admitted at Entasopia health centre for three days since Friday 26th 10 2012 to Monday 29th 10 2012 last week for stomach complication. It was alleged that they were mistakably poisoned by a woman who wanted to kill her husband, saying he was cheating on her.

The lady reported that the couple from Ilkisongo community in Tanzania has not been in terms for a long time. They had a big quarrel a day before the incident. The woman was heard by neighbors talking at the top of her voice about her ‘unfaithful’ husband. As reported, the woman promised to poison the husband and kill the woman he is moving out with by cutting her with a panga. She said in her angry talk she will then disappear from the place after the killing.  

On Thursday, the lady had gone to herd with her two daughters in Mr. Tolus, their neighbors’ garden where the couple has rented a farm to cultivate. They have been herding there for quite a while since the beginning of the dry season. As reported by Mrs. shung’eya, they were good friends with the Ilkisonko woman and she always give them tea when they go there to herd and she gave them milk whenever they come to ask for. ‘That day we were not given tea’ she said. After asking for the tea that was in a kettle next to the fire place for several times and the woman resisted to give out saying it belongs to the husband, Mrs. Shung’eya offered to give milk to be used to cook some other tea after they drink the first. At last the three took the tea. Another woman passed by and shared the tea.
Two young girls at the Entasopia health centre wards after being admitted.
 They were surffering from stomach complications.
 photo by Kelvin Koinet.

Later when they went home after herding, they started feeling ill. That night, they suffered stomach pain and diarrhea. The three were rushed in a motor bike to Entasopia health centre the following morning where they were admitted.

Lap technicians Joseph Kasio and Mr.Macharia said there has been reported cases of stomach problems but most have bacterial infections. when asked about the family and the other woman, they said nothing have been seen through the microscope available at the centre. They added that machines available at the centre can not detect chemical infections. 

The other woman who shared the tea is said to have suffered stomach pain and diarrhea but has not reported to hospital. Mrs. Shung’eya and many people from the neighborhood beliefs the woman had poisoned the tea for her husband but hit the untargeted.

The suspect was also found fainted near her homestead the same morning when the three were rushed to the health centre. She vomited and diarrhea and suspected to have tried to commit suicide.   

In another story, early Tuesday morning the 23th Oct 2012, a nother lady was caught near her homestead in a neighboring village of Ngomongo attempting to commit suicide. The lady was attempting to take some lethal pesticides. This followed a quarrel with the husband the previous eve for coming home late. The lady accused him of having affairs with another woman. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Which is the way about selling of our horticulture?

By Kelvin Koinet

Horticultural crops development authority (HCDA) represented by Kajiado County HCDA station manager Mr. Kitili has been on the ground at Nguruman since the beginning of this month amid capping farmer’s exploitation by their agricultural produce buyers mostly agents who link farmers and exporters.

A statement from a farmer, Mr. Kahuria Ndung’o said ‘we don’t know which way to go about selling our horticulture produce. Earlier, we had groups but they did not help. Now if the buyers’ agents register with (HCDA) office, does it solve the farmer’s problem or will it leaves us in the same darkness!’

When the Asian vegetables cultivation began in 1992, the business was good. Farmers signed contracts with the exporters and they had accounts with the exporters and payments were made monthly. Later when production was in access, other buyers intruded and started buying in cash. Its then that prices dropped and since then most farmers have vacated the business after realizing they have been running it to loss. Other horticultural produce like mangoes, bananas, tomatoes, watermelon, onion and many other have ever been bought without contracts and have suffer low prices. Mr. Kiruri explained to Nguruman community voices that it is hard to control agricultural business since the market is free at the consumer side. Consumers buy goods where they wish and at the price they can afford at the time and when we become hard on buyers, we might loss the little that we are getting. He further explained that Horticultural produce are perishable so farmers have to sell immediately at the available prices.  

A meeting was held on thursday the 25th October 2012 at the Agricultural grounds between HCDA, ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Nguruman farmers. The aim was to discuss and organize farmer’s best way to sell their horticultural produce and ask them to bear with the current restriction put against the agents buying from the area until they register with HCDA and adhere with the laws therein. The agents will be identified with a budge and a certificate of registration. They will be required to have a list of farmers from whom they are buying produce and the produce each farmer is producing together with a signed agreement between the agent and the farmers group. The agreement will stipulate the agreed produce in terms of type, quantity and quality for a specific period of time and price.

The meeting at Nguruman Agricultural  grounds.
photo by Kelvin Koinet
Mr. Mabeer Parmuar argued that ‘agents to register with HCDA and farmers will decide on their own where, to whom and how to sell their produce’.  Argument was there has been such plan in the past but nothing has been attained. Another farmer, Mr. Oleshakai Ong’eetiai urged the ministry of agriculture and HCDA ‘to have a strong stand to defend farmers since they are in position and are authorized by the government to do so’.

Mr. Kitili from HCDA urged the farmer to join hands with HCDA to make sure that they attain best horticultural produce prices. He said the best procedure will be farmers to form groups so as to organize themselves and sign contracts with the buyers at the agricultural office so as to get appropriate guidance. This will make sure prices are constants and that they are assured of selling the produce.

Farmers concern was whether HCDA will be able to control the agents from exploiting them knowing that they do not have constant produce throughout the year. On the same meeting, TATA chemicals Magadi, a company that runs the soda mining at Lake Magadi reported that farmers are now diverting the water that goes to the companies’ intake and use it for irrigation. This is certainly due to water shortage at the time, a clear indication that farmers will not be able to produce consistently. As farmers are supposed to form groups and elect management committees, there was fear that corruption may foul the process and the consistent of the plan. Exporters are also suspected to corrupt the deal.

An agreement was reached at forming farmers groups and agreements will be signed between agents and farmers.

An elder asked Mr.Kitili to maintain his stand to make sure that the plan is attained saying there have been such leaders with strong ambitions but they were brought down by corruption. ‘Now they just sit in offices and grow big bellies while the people they are supposed to serve are suffering’ he added.    

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Community members raise concerns over job opportunities

By Joshua Kisemei

Yellow House Company has decided to reshuffle its workforce in order to increase participation of group ranch members in the implementation of the Small Scale Horticultural Project that intends to rehabilitate the irrigation system in Nguruman.This is after the community raised an alarm over job opportunities for their members.

In a meeting held on the 10th of October 2012, community members complained that most of the people working in the project’s casual section have been outsourced by plumbers and sub-contractors from other areas.

"Sometimes we give the plumbers a list of people to employ but they still bring in more people from outside the group ranch" said a member of Nguruman Irrigation Water Users Association’s (IWUA)committee.
Masons working on a weir protecting the irrigation water intake.
(Photo: Kelvin Koinet)
The committee which is charged with the responsibility of overseeing implementation of the project on behalf of the farmers decided to review the list of workers and give priority to members of the group ranch.

The IWUA chairman assured employees who are members of the group ranch that their jobs were secure. "Members of Olkiramatian group ranch don’t have a problem, your jobs are secure. However if you have indiscipline cases like incitement and theft you will be penalized." The committee also developed a list of 24 members who will be trained as plumbers. Among the 24, the best 12 will be selected to take over repair and maintenance when the project is handed to the Nguruman IWUA committee.

Other issues discussed in the meeting included theft of company tools which has grown rampant. That same morning a group of employees were caught stealing equipments from the site among them, spades and other tools.

"I saw them carrying bags and asked to inspect them. When they finally agreed to spill out the contents, I was surprised," said Joseph, one of the site guards.

The workers brought the issue of late payment of their wages to the meeting. It was agreed that instead of paying fortnightly the company should give wages monthly. This came after a recent controversy sparked by late and incomplete payments which led to a workers strike that prompted the company to pay all workers from 8th-10th October.

"Some of us have missing days. I have five days that I registered and I have not been paid for," said one employee.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Irrigation system set to turn tables in Nguruman

By Kelvin Koinet

The community living within Nguruman irrigation scheme is set to change their locally developed farming and irrigation system after the laying of a new irrigation scheme in the area.
The scheme is distinctive in the area with fertile soils, plenty supply of water and rich in vegetation cover. It is within Olkiramatian Group Ranch of the Maasai pastoral community, about 150 km from Nairobi. It is connected to the small soda ash mining town of Magadi via a murram road that runs through the salty plains dominated by stunted acacia trees, short shrubs and scrubs.  The scheme is divided into two main blocks. Entasopia block starts from Entasopia water intake, spreads through the Congo village while the Oloibortoto block starts at Oloibortoto water intake through Oltepesi village both ending at river Ewaso Ng’iro south about 8 kilometers to the east.
View of the scheme from Nguruman escarpments
Photo by Kelvin Koinet
Mr. Mathu, an agricultural officer in the area said “If appropriate farming and irrigation methods are used, we will produce large volumes of agricultural produce for the cosmopolitan community that lives here”.
Small Scale Horticultural Development Project (SHDP) supported by African Development Bank (ADB) and the ministry of agriculture is installing a new irrigation system whereby all irrigation water will be piped to the farms and sprinkler system will replace the basin irrigation. This is in a view to reduce water loss through evaporation and seepage. The efficiency of the system will reduce labor in terms of canal cleaning and maintaining and watering labor. It is expected that acreage under cultivation will increase from the current 350 ha to 1,876 ha and therefore increase production.
SHDP has facilitated the formation of a functional association (Nguruman Irrigation Water Users Association) whose main objectives are to manage the scheme in terms of operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure, production and marketing of horticultural produce, environmental conservation and conflict management. The association seeks to mitigate low prices of agriculture produce and poor transport infrastructure as well as forming a link between farmers and the SHDP. The association is registered with the ministry of gender and social services.  There are challenges though. Members have not held elections as stipulated by the constitution. It is now four years yet they should have been held after three years.
It is important to understand the history of farming in the area which is believed to have commenced in early sixties and development can be traced back to the time. The pioneers were the Sonjo and the Waarrusa communities from Tanzania. During that time in the early sixties, the Maasai community was purely pastoralist practicing the nomadic pastoralism in the open Olkiramatian plains. Later a few Maasai community members came to Nguruman for farming.
Irrigation water is abstracted from the two main rivers Oloibortoto and Entasopia that transverse the scheme down from Nguruman escarpment. Up to date, Water for irrigation is drawn from the rivers using simple division by gravity into constructed canals that lead to farms.  In the beginning, Irrigation was by flooding and farmers used water whenever they want because it was plenty. Crops grown were maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, guards, pumpkin, bananas, mangoes and sugar cane.
Each canal is now managed by an elected committee that ensures the watering schedule is followed and the canal is maintained. Farmers today use basin irrigation where the land is tilled and basins are constructed to retain water. Crops grown have also changed. As reported by Mr. Bainito, Agricultural Extension Officer (AEO) Magadi, in 1991 the ministry of agriculture introduced the Asian vegetables for export. The business brought a lot of revenue to the farmers and this catapulted the area to fame thereafter.
Members of the scheme are now taking sides concerning the project. Part of the community thinks the project will create a micro economic zone and promote faster development.
A bigger percentage of the community is not for the new irrigation project. “Honestly I don’t like the project. We are afraid of the change, because we are uncertain of the outcome. What will happen to the wildlife and cattle that is depended on the natural rivers and irrigation canals as water points? Is there a provision for water points for them? We may lose our wildlife”, Satia, a youth from the area and a research assistant at ICIPE questioned.

Farmers say there will be an obvious wildlife human conflict for water and feeds if all the green that is mostly on canals will be gone. A student from an American university taking environmental studies established that if all the irrigation water is tapped in to pipes, most of the figs and many other tree species growing along water canals may be phased out. Farmers fear that birds will eat their corn or they may poison them all. As observed by a group of resource assessors from Olkiramatian Research Centre, Lalleenok. Over twenty birds of different species visit a fig tree in thirty minutes to eat figs or to rest. That may mean the birds will have crops as alternative feeds and habitat.

The community feels that there should have been a lot of consultations which they claim have not been the case. But now that the project has started, they are asking for a provision for water to flow in the initial water ways at least once a week for the vegetation, livestock and wildlife.

“If all that the community is asking to be considered is in cooperated, then we have the best project ever”, One of the farmers said.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hidden treasures of Nguruman

By Esther Nanetia

Nguruman, located in Olkiramatian Group Ranch, past Lake Magadi is about 162km southwest of Nairobi. It is administratively run by the new Kajiado County hived from the former populous Rift Valley province. The area is situated at the foot of the Nguruman escarpment and boarders Ewaso Nyiro River to the east.

The plenty supply of water comes from Entasopia, Oloibortoto, Sampu and Ewaso Nyiro rivers which originate from the Mau ranges cutting through the conserved forests of Nguruman escapement as they flow to Lake Natron in Tanzania. Due to sufficient water supply, there is diverse vegetation cover of huge acacia, fig, and cordia seninsis trees among other native species. The under growth consists of bushes and herbs. This has resulted in a distinctive microclimate that brings out a serene natural environment of clean water and air.

The hospitable maa community is the main inhabitants of the area, who are mainly pastoralist while others have adapted to crop farming and retail businesses. The maa community is known for their conservative culture while their simple lifestyle enables them to conserve the environment.

Tourist facilities are rapidly developing in Nguruman. Lodges, camping sites and guest houses are springing up in the area. Sampu lodge, a community lodge in Olkiramatian Conservation, is strategically located on the Sampu hills overlooking the Sampu river where lions and buffalos among other wildlife come to drink, about twenty meters from the tents giving a magnificent view of the conservation area.

Sampu Lodge tented camp. photo by Kelvin Koinet
Oloibortoto centre commonly called Ngomongo hosts two guest houses which are also available in Entasopia centre. These are major services that provide accommodation to tourists visiting the area. Both centres are at the foot of the lush green escarpment providing a panoramic view to the guests.

Four camping sites are available situated in different sides of the area especially along the rivers. They include Cool Waters along Oloibortoto River, Entasopia River camping site, Enkare Ng’iro and Lalenook camping sites. These sites offer quite environment for tourists who wish to interact with nature away from the busy and noisy urban settings. They can also do leisure fishing, swimming and bird shooting. However, permission must be obtained from the relevant authorities to enable one conduct these leisure activities.

Some of the best shots of Loisiijo Camp located along river Ewaso Ngiro.
Photo courtesy of SORALO
Escarpment hiking is also available. This is due to the established hiking tracks in Ilchoroi vicinity. Those hiking usually end up being greeted by the awesome sights of Entasopia Falls. Swimming is also available at the falls.

The Maasai community is rich in culture. This is one of the major tourist attractions. Moran dances and meat camps are some of the regular events found in the area. The mode of dressing characterized by the cladding of beads, red ochre and shuka fascinates tourists. This is coupled with chanting of traditional songs accompanied by sensational jumping with horn blowing. In meat camps, eating of smoked meat and drinking of herbal soup is the main activity that occurs here. Visitors are usually treated with this local cuisine. Notably this is a preserve for men.

Nguruman has a lot of unexplored tourist sites. Those who visit the area will find the place charming and unique.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fig tree: the heritage of Nguruman

By Rafael Mutiso

Fig trees are rare, useful and grow naturally in sites with high water table, swamps and along rivers. In Nguruman, they mainly grow along the numerous streams and water canals constructed by farmers to convey water to their farms hence their spread and abundance in the area. They require soils that are sandy, rich and well drained. The trees are propagated through seeds and cuttings. When cultivated in a home garden they require considerable space as they enlarge, spread, very shady and are fairly fast growing. The most common species of fig trees is Ficus carica known as the common fig.

Common fig found in Nguruman  (Ficus carica)
The tree, due to its large size provides a cool shade, aesthetic value, and acts as a wind breaker. It also acts as a carbon sink keeping the air fresh. Its roots helps to hold soil firmly hence reducing soil erosion and increase water retention. This plays a key role in land improvement. It also acts as a mulch reducing loss of water through evaporation thus supporting vegetation underneath.

The inhabitants of Nguruman area are mainly the maa people who value the tree for its diverse uses. They use its leaves as fodder for their livestock by cutting the branches. The leaves are fairly high in nutritive value with about 9% crude  protein dry matter. Fruits are    eaten by livestock especially goat and sheep. Wild animals like monkeys, baboons and gazelles eat the fig fruits. Birds mainly the Mouse birds, pigeons and many specious of doves among other birds feed on the fig fruits thus supporting wildlife and reducing human wildlife conflict. They are also consumed by people; fresh, stewed or dried and stored for later use. Ripe figs are used for alcoholic beverages. The inner bark is used to make strong ropes used by women to carry firewood and water over long distances.

Nguruman residents also use the tree for various medicinal purposes. The leaves are used to treat snakebites and jaundice. The latex is said to be effective for chest diseases, colds and dysentery while the bark is used to treat coughs, throat infections, chest pain and anaemia in children hence saving lives as well as medicinal costs.

Some species of the tree has several spiritual and sacred uses such as performing various rituals in the community such as keeping away evil spirits. It is also a focal point for resolving conflict among the people.

Although the importance of the fig tree is irreplaceable and therefore must be conserved to keep the species around for a long time, it faces a big challenge as there is an ongoing project to pipe water for irrigation leaving the canals dry. This is a clear indication that all the fig trees along the canals may dry up.

Those who visit Nguruman will enjoy the shade and beautiful scenery created by the towering green indigenous fig trees.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Polytechnic crumbles due to mismanagement

By NCV team

 Entasopia Polytechnic has been brought down by mismanagement and fading interest from the community. This has led to the facility dwindling in operations and its serving as a constant eyesore to the community.

Established in the early 1970s, the village polytechnic was to offer training to those students who did not qualify to join secondary school or University. Among the technical courses to be taught were carpentry and Joinery, building technology, tailoring and dressmaking.
Polytechnic dormitory with dilapidated roof
(Photo: Joshua Kisemei | NCV)
Over the years, the institution grew to its peak between 1992 and 1993 when it had 30 trainees. The government through the late area MP Prof. George Saitoti provided additional training materials in the hope of increasing the capacity of the institution.

Mr. Soingei Ole Moilo, a former employee, remembers the hay days of the Polytechnic, “There were more than 100 goats, a functioning posho-mill and a poultry project owned by the institution”. He attributes the growth of the institution to a former manager Mrs. Anastacia.
“Her salary started disappearing under suspicious circumstances until one day she decided to leave,” he laments.

 The current manager Charles Bosire has only seen 6 trainees finish their courses over his tenure of 14 years. Four students in tailoring and two in building and construction. “The polytechnic has a capacity of over 100 students but currently only one student is enrolled in building technology,” he says.
The manager complaints that failures of the committee, the government and lack of support from the community are the reasons the institution has failed. “The government stopped paying salaries to some of the instructors. How do we train without a source of livelihood?”He asks.

 The institution has only one instructor, Mr. Samuel Yator training building technology, employed by the government

  Mr. Yator also blames lack of support from government institutions. “The dormitory roof was destroyed by a branch that fell off a tree in 2005,” he says “we approached the Constituency Development Fund committee to seek funds for renovation and so far we have not received any feedback,” he adds.

 A member of the institution’s committee who did not wish to be identified says that they approached the District Youth Office (DYO) in 2011 to seek funds for renovation. “We had planned to renovate the dormitories, repair furniture, fence the compound and purchase utensils for the kitchen,” he explained, “the DYO claimed that the ministry did not have any money for that purpose and instead advised us to seek help from CDF,” he says.The committee never met thereafter and for their two years in office they have only had three successful meetings.
 Mr. Thomas Ronga, a community member, expressed the need to rehabilitate the institution to cope with the rising number of youths who are not qualifying to join secondary schools and Universities.

 “There are large numbers of young people in our community who are lost in the centre playing pool table games and abusing drugs. An institution like this can divert their attention to more meaningful activities that will improve their future.” He recommends that the status of the institution be improved and instructors employed so that the youths can be able to start their courses early next year.
“A complete overhaul of the institution management is needed in order to reinstitute a more functional system” recommends Mr. Yator
Mr. Bosire recalls that many people have shown interest in the affairs of the institution but very little has been done. “Some people say the equipment is not there but we see our main problem as lack of trainees,” said the manager. He challenged the community to bring trainees before they raise questions concerning availability of training facilities.

 Nguruman Community Voices (NCV) is asking well wishers to intervene to enable the polytechnic run its operations. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Access to information revives Lonyookita

By Loreen Maingi  

Lonyookita Self-Help Group is one of the vibrant community development groups found in Entasopia in the larger Nguruman area. It begun in June 2010 with the aim of uniting and developing to enable them address challenges that faced them in the society. The group is composed of thirty elderly members.

During its inception the group had in mind a number of projects which include, dairy goat keeping and indigenous poultry farming. Members settled on poultry project and agreed that each member brings two chicks to be reared in one place for easy management.

In one of their regular meetings, a group member fronted the idea of rearing up-graded chicken found in Kikuyu area of Kiambu County. The members agreed to buy 120 chicks at Ksh 90 each. They contributed Ksh 200 each and sent two of their members to the breeder where they made down payment and after one month, they were able to collect their one day old chicks.

Poultry reared by Lonyookita
 (Photo:Sam Nzioka | NCV)
Initially the group members had little knowledge on poultry keeping and mostly relied on their local knowledge to raise the chicks. Little did they know that the poultry breed needed special attention since it was bred in a different environment. As a result of this diseases begun to affect the poultry. They tried to give them the normal procedural vaccinations but they seemed not to cure the complications the poultry had and within no time, the group lost more than half of the chicks and this forced them to seek help from experts on the cause and how they can prevent further deaths.

Nguruman Maarifa being the only information hub around was at hand to help. One of the members visited the centre and sought information on how they can address the problem. The member was referred to the Livestock Extension Officer (LEO) who visited the group and advised them on how to change their feeding and maintain housing hygiene. Within two weeks, the group was able to address the challenge.

The remaining poultry was reared until they matured. The surviving poultry were later sold at Ksh1, 400 while eggs were sold at Ksh. 20 each.

Nguruman Maarifa centre staff visited the group during outreach activities where their information gap was identified and referred to LEO. The group is currently undergoing training on poultry keeping and anticipates that, after the training, they will be able to redo their project and realize a remarkable profit.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nguruman launches community blog

By Dennis Kipkirui

Members of the community from Nguruman area have come to getter to launch a community blog. Twelve community reporters gathered in Nguruman Maarifa Centre to chat ways of developing and managing the community voice.

A range of issues will be reported in the blog. This came at a time when the area is gearing itself to vote for a Member of Parliament in a by-election following the tragic demise of the area MP Hon.Prof. George Saitoti.

Nguruman has generally been backward in development issues. It is a semi-arid area in Kenya’s populous Rift Valley province. Currently it is administratively run under Kajiado County. Despite the aridity of the area, flash floods are common sights during rainy seasons. Many rivers have also been known to change courses in the area hampering meaningful development.

In spite o f all these, Nguruman acts as an oasis in the larger Kajiado County and Magadi region in particular. There are cases of successful farmers who rely on irrigation projects to manage their farms. The presence of Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in the area has boosted fortunes of many. This is due to provision of information access services located in the area.