Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creating jobs through farm innovation

By Bett Kipsang’ 

Youths in Kenya are hard hit by unemployment today; there is even much talk and suggestions to declare unemployment a National Disaster! But when you look around you see a lot of untapped opportunities and underutilized resources lying idle.

Farming is one such field, which needs to be revisited with an open mind, proactive approaches and changed attitude. For example, populations are constantly rising and that alone is an opportunity for the farmer to provide food.
Anthony Mbogo, sprinkling water on the onions.
 Anthony Mbogo, a farmer in Kinamba Division has discovered an opportunity in his farm. The farm has a gentle slope, where the lower end has a shallow water table. Anthony excavated a shallow well, which got filled with water. 

He then bought an engine water pump, pipes and started irrigation farming throughout the seasons. ‘‘Whenever I pump out this water, it gets replenished after 24 hours,’’ said Anthony.

Today Anthony is a happy farmer, fending for his family and educating his children from the proceeds of the farm. As a frequent user of the Maarifa Centre he comes for inquiries on new tips on how to improve his farm and even new technologies like how to make a vegetable drier. I have downloaded detailed information and samples of a solar drier available from the Practical Actions website, and delivered to him.

 Anthony however uses a lot of energy controlling the heavy water pipes; a lot of water is wasted thus consuming more fuel, and hiking the cost of production. An alternative to that method would be to make furrows, such that water will be pumped to the higher sides and released downwards through the furrows, then channel the water in furrows as he close them when the soil is wet.

After discussing and demonstration on the new method, Anthony agreed that the new method would be more convenient than the earlier one he was used to.

The farmer also learned that he could plant on both sides of the furrows, to increase the number of plants, utilize water and increase production.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Youth cherish Maarifa Centre service

By BettKipsang'
 One hundred and twelve (112) community members, majority of them youths, have been recruited to start computer lessons and Journalism skills training at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre.  The trainees converged last Friday for orientation to familiarize them with the training and some other responsibilities. A timetable was developed and shared with the students. Both lessons commenced Monday. 
Risper Mukami attend computer lessons at Ngarua Maarifa Center 
 A team of 18 youths, 11 males and 7 females interested in Community Journalism were recruited. Risper Mukami Kiguru 18, a form four leaver is a happy girl; she is awaiting her KCSE results but has commenced ICT trainings and Community Journalism at the Ng’arua Maarifa centre. ‘‘I had not touched a computer before, but the lessons are presented well by the teacher’’, said Risper adding that she understood the introduction to computer and hoped the preceding topics would be good.
The young lady is aspiring to pursue accounting as a career, because she liked mathematics and business education in school. ''I want to acquire the skills so that I can access and store my personal and professional data in future” she said.  Risper observed that fewer women than men could use computers in the locality, and according to her the reason is that most women lacked computer skill.  
  ‘‘I want to learn Community Journalism so that I can report issues happening within my home area’’ Said Risper, who is bothered by human-wildlife conflict where elephants frequently invade their farms.  Risper likes reading novels, newspapers and playing volleyball. 

 Samuel Njoroge 20, who hails from Mithuri in Olmoran Division, is also awaiting his KCSE results due in the next two months. Meanwhile, he has heard a lot of stories about Ngarua Maarifa Centre and its services like free access to information, book library, Internet and free ICT trainings. One day he came to the Maarifa Centre to inquire and that is when he got a chance to commence the training.
  ‘‘I want to start and run a business in future and I hope the computer skills will enable me to keep and manage my data’’, he said. Samuel heard about Community Journalism training for the first time during the orientation and developed a lot of interest.  He also enrolled for the lessons that will run concurrently with ICT lessons. His expectation is to acquire skills in both fields in order to enable him create employment for himself and help people in the process. ‘‘I want to use my reporting skills to voice up community issues like land disputes, insecurity, poor infrastructure among others’’, said Samuel. 
 Like many others who have commenced the trainings, Samuel is very grateful for ALIN for according him the learning opportunity.  ALIN is implementing the free ICT training courtesy of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Community Journalism and market access programs are made possible with the support of the Ford Foundation.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Job Advert for two Project Officer posts

Below is a job advert from Eliud Ngunjiri, Executive Director RODI Kenya.

RODI Kenya a PELUM Member Organisation whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty, crime and re-offending is looking for qualified and experienced persons to fill two posts of Project Officers whose main work is to work with prisoner, following up ex-prisoners and working with them and their home communities.

To be specific we are looking for diploma holders in sustainable agriculture from the following colleges: Baraka, Manor House  and KIOF with over three years experience working with small-holder farmers in an NGO setting.  Potential candidates should be mature and self driven and must be recommended by a PELUM Member organization. Agro-processing and value addition skills and motorbike riding are added advantages.  Men and women are encouraged to apply. 

Apply within the next one week to the Executive Director RODI Kenya by Email or hard copy attaching a CV.

I wish you best of luck.

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