Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NGARUA COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

Ng'arua community knowledge centre is situated in Rift Valley Province of Kenya and in the newly created Laikipia West District. The centre is approximately 65 Kilometers from Nyahururu Town. The area is mostly dominated by Kikuyus , while the Pokots occupy a very small area. The region is relatively dry with an annual rainfall of 40mm. This is a problem as it limits the agricultural productivity of the region which leads to a deficit in food, and means that many cannot sell any produce which is the main method of livelihood. However, the community has managed to get around the erratic and decreasing amounts of rainfall by storing water via rain water harvesting. This has enabled many to continue to sustain their livelihood through farming and means they no longer rely solely on rainfall.

Key agricultural produce in Ng'arua consists of maize, beans, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, french beans, kale and cabbages. Fruit includes pineapples, passion fruit, mangoes and oranges. There is a also widespread growing of herbs and production of herbal medicine as an alternative source of income. Livestock kept by farmers in this area include cows, goats, poultry and sheep.

The centre is one of the Arid Lands Information Network project, aimed at equipping the residents with information and new technologies on topics relevant to their needs in relation to the place. The centre was established in the year 2005, and is so far the most active centre compared to other centres of its kind in the three countries that ALIN operates in; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The centre is also one of the busiest, with a minimum of twenty visitors per day.

The visitors come to the centre with need for, internet services, lending books to acquire knowledge and to learn the basic computer packages. ALIN operates in the arid and semi-arid areas of Eastern Africa and thus aims at equipping communities living in this areas with information through the internet publication of books, magazines and periodicals on issues that affect them and on the other hand try to improve their livelihoods by having them incorporated into the information sharing platform.
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