Posts tagged ‘Mary Mwendwa’

September 29, 2015

Kenya: A Water Kiosk Brings Happiness to Residents of East Pokot

Mary Mwendwa
September 29, 2015

Villagers in the small Kamurio village in East Pokot, Chemolingot District of Baringo County in Kenya’s Rift Valley can now breathe a sigh of relief after a water kiosk was constructed in their community.

A water kiosk is booth for the supply of tap water. They are common in many developing countries.

Women Fetch Water from the Kamurio Village Water Kiosk in Kenya

Women Fetch Water from the Kamurio Village Water Kiosk in Kenya

And in Kamurio village, where effects of climate change coupled with infrastructural hitches and cultural challenges continue to hinder development, a water kiosk is real a savior.

The rocky rough terrain; shrubby vegetation; scattered huts and lots of livestock are a clear indication of how life looks like in Kamurio village. The area’s hot dry climate and seasonal rivers that have very limited or no supply of water at times make it worse.

The kiosk was constructed by Mamlaka Hill chapel that runs a mission field at Kamurio Village and equipped by National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), ASAL Drought Contingency Fund (DCF) and funded by European Union (EU) through Kenya Rural Development Program.

Eunice Korir Chairlady, a mother of six and a resident of Kamurio village says the water kiosk has transformed their lives.

We are used to recurrent droughts; death of our livestock as a result of lack of water and pasture and malnourished children. But with this water kiosk, life has slowly improved. I now get more milk from my cows.”

Other beneficiaries of this project are patients at Kamurio Dispensary. Sylvia Wangui, a medic at this dispensary reveals that in the past, it was difficult to offer health services without enough water.

“It is difficult to offer health services without water. Many of the patients here need water to take drugs or for cleaning themselves after the long journeys. We are relieved now that we have water in this facility.”

Kamurio Primary School is one of the schools in the region benefiting from this water kiosk. Scholar Chemutai, a pupil of this school says before the construction of the water kiosk, they would walk miles every day to the nearest water source.

We used to walk long distances to fetch water for our school and home. We had no time to do our homework until very late in the night after fetching water.”

In Africa alone, people especially women and children spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water.

May 6, 2015

Kenyan Pastoralists Shift to Crop Farming As Drought and Water Shortage Hit Harder

Mary Mwendwa
May 06, 2015

Meet Diba Jibalo, a father of seven from Merti Division, Isiolo County Eastern Kenya who has suffered a lot while rearing livestock due to water shortage and has lost many when droughts strike.

In this radio feature, produced in Kiswahili language by Mary Mwenda, Diba narrates how his life has been transformed since he started farming maize, water melon and vegetables.

His family is now food secure as a result. He is among many Kenyan farmers in dry land who have adopted by practicing agropastoralism which has proved successful as they can now save lives and keep grains for future use.

Also in the same feature below, Alex Alusa climate change expert gives insights on why policy is important on climate change adaptation.

March 29, 2015

Kenya: Water Stressed Farmers Turn to Groundwater Dams to Survive

Mary Mwendwa
March 29, 2015

Matwiku village horticulture farmers in Laikipia County of Kenya can now breathe a sigh of relief after a water harvesting technology came to their rescue.

Through constructing dams that save water for domestic and farm use, they are able to meet their water needs despite water challenges facing the county. Kamwenje and millima Tatu hills are the main catchments for the water supply in the village.

A Water Dam in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

A Water Dam in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

According to Peter Ngugi, chairperson, Matwiku Self Help Group, “Dam water harvesting technology has seen this area of Matwiku remain food secure. Laikipia is generally a dry place and therefore issues of water shortage are not any news. My group, we use drip irrigation that has seen us use less water in the farm where we grow onion, tomatoes , bananas and other horticulture crops.”

Ngugi also points out that some dams have run dry in recent times. He gives an example of a dam that has existed since colonial times, Kariaine Dam.

“Last year saw a revolution in this village, we recorded the highest number of farmers who ventured in horticulture farming, and many of them pump water using generators to their farms, and maybe this is what has contributed to the drying of this Dam. This was the only permanent water source here; we are mobilizing farmers and educating them on how to use water sustainably by using drip irrigation.”

The group has a one acre of land which was installed with a water pumping system using fuel that cost them around 360,000 thousand Kenyan shillings , donated to them by partners to run the horticulture project.

Ngugi appreciates the fact that as a group they have had to face some challenges which have proved a learning experience to them.

“We used to share a dam nearby and at some point we were kicked out because the original owners of the dam divided days for water supply and we were left hanging. This made us think and come to a conclusion to dig our own dam where we will have continuous water supply with no interference,” notes Ngugi.

A Farmer Irrigates his Crops in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

A Farmer Irrigates his Crops in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

During a farmers’ field day where over 100 farmers gathered to interact and learn from experts about farming, it emerged that there was need for more education on how farmers and their households can use the little water they have sustainably.

One by one each speaker called on proper water management to avoid wastage during this time of drought.

Celina Njeri, a resident at Makwitu village says that she has seen many dams dry in the last ten years of her stay.

“Those people who don’t use drip irrigation end up drying the dams very fast, we are happy here because since the drip irrigation system was introduced we enjoy continuous flow of water.”

Washington Ngare, Extension Agricultural Extension Officer, Mithiga Ward views the water harvesting technology of using dams as a savoir to Laikipia residents.

“This is a dry region by nature, but something encouraging our farmers are tapping into innovations that would help them cope with changing climatic conditions. Like now it is very dry, signs of drought knocking, but we have some dams with water.”

Ngare cites the biggest challenge farmers face in the region as human wildlife conflict and soil health status.

“Many farmers do not test their soil samples to know what kind of fertilizer to use, and this has made some farmers record loses. We are encouraging them as a ministry of Agriculture to take their soil for testing to understand its status,” he recommends.

September 6, 2013

Kenya: Famous Lake Bogoria Swells

Mary Mwendwa
September 06, 2013

From a distance a pink carpet of lesser flamingos and the still; quiet; smooth and serene ambiance of water welcome me to Lake Bogoria, at the beginning of Kenya’s great Northern Wilderness.

Millions of flamingos beautifully parade at the lake; some flying and other feeding on their delicacy and the abundant blue green algae.

The flamingos, which are the main attraction for tourists at Lake Bogoria

The flamingos, which are the main attraction for tourists at Lake Bogoria

A brown dog with raised ears is the only creature that seems to be available at Jonathan Tireitos homestead. His blue square iron-thatched house, sits on the shores of Lake Bogoria- deserted and closed. Water has surrounded the house and there is no indication of people living in it.

Formerly known as Lake Hannington, the lake sits on the floor of the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley at an altitude ranging from 316ft to 5000ft above sea level. The lake covers an area of 34 km2. It is an alkaline –soda lake with no outlet. It only supports microscopic algae with no fish.

Lake Bogoria is Kenya’s 3rd Ramsar site after Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance, designated under the Ramsar Convention.

Known to many as the jewel of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Bogoria has been experiencing increased water levels in the recent past.

Local people who have live around the lake say the water levels started increasing in 2011 and have been increasing drastically since then. Experts in indigenous knowledge there say the lake increases to such levels after every 50 years.

Satellite image for Lake Bogoria

Satellite image for Lake Bogoria

Jonathan narrates to me how his worst fears of water invading his compound were confirmed two months ago. “We got an early warning from the Red Cross guys, but we ignored, one night we were asleep with my family, we realized our house was already submerged in the water

This lake has shocked us, we have never experienced such high water level, people have been displaced and we have been warned by Red Cross disaster prepared team to advice people living around the lake to move to higher grounds,” says William Kimosop, the chief warden Lake Bogoria National Reserve.

’’Sometimes nature shocks us, may be it could be as a result of the heavy rains being experienced,” he added.

He notes that several families have been displaced and are now living uphill for their safety.

“This is the first time we have seen lake Bogoria displace people,” he muses.

Raphael Kimosop, a research scientist at Lake Bogoria National Reserve, says there are two hypotheses behind the increasing water levels of Lake Bogora: “the unpredicted rainfall patters which have been experienced overtime following conservation initiatives and the saturation of the water aquifers in the bed of the lake.”

This increase in water levels created a shallow shoreline for the flamingos and other birds. Flamingos now have enough time and ground for practicing nesting. The is also emergence of new biodiversity, more species especially for the crocodiles and other water birds like the African skimmer.

However, other effects on the environment have been reported, according to Raphael, “due to the increase in water levels, the initially terrestrial places are changing to be aquatic habitats; therefore terrestrial plants have been submerged in water. Some of the plant species that are being submerged are acacia trees,”

He also laments the change in PH of the lake’s water noting that this is harmful to blue green algae- the food of lesser flamingos.

Lake Naivasha, Elementaita and Nakuru are experiencing increased water levels too.

July 15, 2013

Kenya: Eco Lodge Recognized for Outstanding Conservation Efforts

Mary Mwendwa
July 15, 2013

Top world’s travel magazine has rated a Kenyan lodge among the “top 25 Best Eco lodges in the world”.

Eco lodge is Located in the Rift valley province of Kenya, known for the wildebeest migration. It is Kenya’s jewel of pride which has obtained an international recognition for its contribution towards conservation efforts in sustainable environment, rain fall formation and clean water.

What is so extraordinary is that all water from the shower systems at the lodge is recycled and used for watering indigenous trees around the camp.

Picture of elephants  close to Kenya’s Eco lodge

Picture of elephants close to Kenya’s Eco lodge

The facility works closely with schools and the community on various conservation projects. One being the water project and tree planting project at Olesere village. This has been made possible with water supply from the Koiyaki River which serves both the community and wildlife in the area.

Robert Oigo, the Head teacher Olesere primary schools talks of how the water project has been of great benefit to the school and the neighboring community. “Here we used to have a serious water problem, especially during the drought seasons, now we can run our school feeding programme effectively with enough water supplies,”Oigo says.

With a population of 377 pupils, the school has enough water for various uses including watering the school garden of vegetables.

The school also uses solar energy for power. Oigo speaks of the high level of cleanliness witnessed among his pupils. The area being a pastoralist community, exposure to dust and other wastes is common especially during the climax of the dry spell, but with availability of clean water they are able to manage.

By showcasing sustainable development through responsible tourism, Eagle view, Mara Naboisho was the only one selected in Kenya during the competition which placed them number three in Africa by National Geographical Magazine.

The selection process looked into how facilities had most authentic and sustainable lodges, that offer great service and comfort in spectacular location, support local communities, connect their guests to cultures on an authentic level, create impactful conservation initiatives , and increasingly place adventure at the center of the experience , capture the spirit of exploration and commitment to the environment.

Eagle View, Mara Naboisho exists as a result of community land that has been leased to Basecamp Explorers who manage the Mara Naboisho conservancy and in return pay the community for the land on a monthly basis. Naboisho means – coming together in Maasai language. The Maasai community has signed a 15 years lease of land, 25,000 acres piece which offers them income and at the same time conserving their wildlife.

According to Petronillah Gichimu, sales and Marketing Manager, Basecamp explorer, about 500 landowners were part of this project.

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