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.