Friday, March 22, 2013

Maarifa Centre empowering Nguruman communities with Information

By Francis Maina

Information is vital in that it creates knowledge that is fundamental in decision making. Sound judgements are always based on information. Though important it must be from a reliable source, free from bias, up-to date, delivered at the right time (when it’s needed) and specific to the problem it’s going to solve or in line with the objectives set.

ALIN, abbreviation for Arid Lands Information Network, isan International NGO whose mission is to improve the livelihoods of arid lands communities in East Africa through delivery of practical information using modern technologies . It mainly ensures that information is flowing or being exchanged among the communities through Maarifa(Knowledge) centers that have been put in place . They also ensure that the community is updated on matters concerning their livelihoods and those pertaining to their development.

Containerized Maarifa Center located at the M.O.A grounds in Magadi Division

A good example of where this type of information is offered is at Nguruman Maarifa centre, one of the two centers in Kajiado County,. It has a well stocked library with  books, journals, periodicals and magazines issuing information on topics that are of concern to this county…this includes information on climate change, sustainable agriculture, marketing information and so forth.

Information on the advantages of forming farmer groups  is always available, efficiency in production…achieving maximum production by using least/minimum inputs, marketing information…how the market is performing based on individual products, good agriculture practices…and so on.

Children looking at pamphlets during an outreach visit at Olkiramatian Market

Luckily enough they have been boosted by the availability of internet offered in a separate fabricated container hence making it is easier to update  information.

It’s get much better by the availability of consultants. We have ICT trainers to assist and enhance  computer skills  and communication skills. The centre is strategically located  within the ministry of agriculture offices hence making it easy to collaborate and refer when technical issues relating to agriculture are brought forth.
 th Community in this area can therefore improve their livelihoods by incorporating the knowledge obtained in the centre  to indigenous knowledge  and sharing it. Most of the residents here are farmers with some investors practicing the same….keeping limited livestock numbers and practicing crop production. They have been improving ever since this centre was established and are still growing, moving forward towards greater heights of life.

Nguruman has been listed among the most remote areas in the world. It is now a place that’s getting light to what the outside world is doing or performing. Very soon it will lighten up and agriculture investors, sportsmen in hiking, or adventurers will increase interest in this area and developments especially those on transport and connectivity will be enhanced.

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