Monday, June 24, 2013

Ngarua Maarifa Centre ICT Testimonies

By Bob Aston

The beneficiaries of FREE Computer Training’s at Ngarua Maarifa Centre in Laikipia County are very grateful for the program. The FREE trainings supported by The Bill & Melinda gates foundation, continues to impact positively on the livelihoods of the residents. Here are some few testimonies from some of the trainees.
During the General Election, Rahab Njaramba 35, a teacher at 91 Municipality Primary School, was lucky to get a job with the I.E.B.C as a Deputy Constituency Returning Officer for Laikipia West Constituency.

Computer Trainees during a training session

Computer literacy was one of the most important requirements for the post. Having been trained at the then Maarifa Business Solutions in nyahururu, she was able to prove that she is computer Literate and was subsequently hired. She has used the skills gained from the training to perform routine tasks like: lesson plan development, information presentation, writing memos, writing both official and formal letters, as well as searching for information through the internet. She has also started using Microsoft word to write schemes of service. She said that she was initially planning to take Computer classes in one of the local colleges but when she heard about the Centre she decided to inquire about the training. She was impressed with the reception and thus she decided to join. She used Microsoft Excel to calculate pupil’s marks and to present their performance using a chart during first term.

Kanyi Joseph 23 cleared training at the Ngarua Maarifa Centre then started working as a Community Knowledge Facilitator (C.K.F) at the Maarifa Centre. He was always hardworking and volunteered to serve the community diligently.

“The Maarifa Centre provided me the opportunity to learn a lot and also gave me the necessary skills and experience which I am currently applying in my new work place. I am glad that I worked as a C.K.F at the Maarifa Centre.” Says Kanyi
In early April year 2013, Kanyi saw an advertisement for the post of computer teacher at Lariak Primary School and promptly applied for the post. He was not deterred by the high number of applicants and was confident that he would be selected. After a vigorous interview process which culminated in a practical computer exam he was finally picked as the best candidate. He has been charged with coming up with a computer curriculum for the school as well handling computer classes. ‘‘The computer training that I received at the Maarifa Centre really helped me. I can now transfer the knowledge and skills that I gained to my students.”He said

Trizah Kamau 22 is the administrative Secretary-Glafa Agency. Initially, work at the agency was done manually, but after Trizah completed computer training her boss decided to buy a computer in order for her to use for administrative purposes. She is now applying her Computer knowledge in drafting agreements for the Clients, writing official letters and contracts and notices for vacations. She has also started using Microsoft Excel for calculating tenant’s payments and preparing statements for the landlord.

Ebenezer Matere 20, is currently a Cyber attendant at Viona Agencies, she applied for the job after completing ICT training. Matere did not have a Computer Certificate at the time but after convincing the interviewer that he had the skills and even asking for a practical test which he was given, he emerged the best among those who were interviewed and was subsequently employed as a Cyber Attendant.

Ebenezer is currently utilizing his Computer knowledge in helping their cyber clients. He uses the Microsoft Word knowledge which he gained to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing research articles and documents. He uses the internet knowledge to assist clients open new E-mail addresses, helping clients fill online Higher Education Loan Forms (H.E.L.B) forms, filling KRA online services and performing other internet services. “Without the computer training I would not have managed to get this job. I am glad that Arid Lands Information Network decided to conduct training in Nyahururu town and that I was among the first beneficiaries,” says Ebenezer.

Mary Wang'ondu 20 got a job as a Cyber Attendant at Frama Printers before even completing Computer Training. She applied for the Job while still undergoing training. She was invited for Interview which she passed. Her new employer allowed her to continue with the training then reporting to work immediately after classes.

She is currently utilizing the skills in assisting the Cyber Customers. She applies her Microsoft Word knowledge to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing research articles and documents. She uses the internet knowledge to assist clients create new e-mail accounts, helping clients fill online H.E.L.B forms, filling KRA online services, opening and updating G.H.R.I.S accounts for government employees and performing other internet services.

Joyce Wanjiru 19, works as a Sales Person at Smartek Bookshop. Once she cleared Computer Training her employer added a computer in the bookshop and she was added more responsibilities with better remuneration. She is now both a sales person and also a computer operator.

She is currently utilizing the skills acquired from the training to offer various computer services. She uses the Microsoft Word knowledge to draft curriculum vitae, letters, memos, typing notices, typing research articles and documents.

Francis working on a project for I.B.S.A
Upon completing computer training, Francis Ngugi 25, started working as a volunteer at the International Bible Students Association (I.B.S.A). He has an account with I.B.S.A where he regularly performs various functions for I.B.S.A like data entry and drafting Letters. He normally performs the data entry using Microsoft Excel.

“The Training that I received at the Maarifa Centre enabled me to be computer literate and subsequently provided me the opportunity to work as a volunteer for I.B.S.A” says Francis, “I am glad that ALIN provided the opportunity for us to attend Free Computer Training,” concludes Francis.

Charles Kiamah 19 currently works as a Cyber assistant at Skyclick in Wangige-Kiambu County. He is currently utilizing his computer knowledge in helping their cyber clients. He uses his new skills in Microsoft Word processor to draft curriculum Vitae, Letters, Memo’s, type research articles and documents. He uses the Internet knowledge to assist clients create new e-mail accounts , helping clients fill online H.E.L.B forms, apply for KRA services online and perform  other Internet services.
“God bless ALIN, The Training enabled me to get a job; I am glad that I decided to join the Training.” Says Charles.

The Computer Training at the Maarifa Centre has made Daniel Mwangi 22 decide to specialize in an ICT Course. He is currently pursuing a Diploma course in ICT at Nairobi Aviation College.”I would like to be an ICT expert with Technical skills in Computer Field like Computer Analyst” Says Daniel.”I thank ALIN for the Free ICT Training and for enabling the Youths gain Computer Knowledge.”

Maryann Mwarangu 21 applied for the post of administrative secretary at Click Agencies after clearing training. ‘‘One of the requirements for the advertised post was for one to be computer Literate. I knew that I met all the qualifications for the post so I decided to apply. I was invited to vigorous Interview process which concluded with a practical computer assignment. I emerged the best overall and was subsequently employed. I thank ALIN for the opportunity which they gave us.” Says Maryann

Maryann regularly uses Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Internet and e-mail at her work place. She normally Draft and/or type, word process, format, edit, revise, and process a variety of documents and forms including reports, correspondence, memorandum, agenda items and reports, agreements, ordinances, She mostly draft Process mail including receiving, sorting, time-stamping, logging, and distributing incoming and outgoing correspondence and packages.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rahab and Her Turkey and Chicken at Farmers Innovation Fair

 By: Joyce Okuta, John Njue and Bett Kipsang’

Rahab Githumbi holding the certificate and a bag awarded at EAFIF
Memories of the just concluded East African Farmer Innovation Fair (EAFIF) will for a long time linger in the minds of the fifty innovative farmers selected to participate at the event. 

The two days event which took place at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kabete-Nairobi, at the end of May 2013 brought together farmers, leaders, students, the public and scientists to share farming innovations.

ALIN participated at the EAIFF, by nominating innovative farmers around the Maarifa centres for final selection by PROLINOVA; the convening organization. The exhibitors drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia were among the 50 selected farmers to showcase their unique agricultural innovations to the members of the public.

The fair was designed to call attention to the importance of farmer innovation in agricultural development, to celebrate farmers’ creativity, and to bring policymakers and the general public in Kenya in contact with farmer innovators. 

'Mother' turkey and five chicken showcased at the EAFIF
Rahab Githumbi, commonly known as ‘Mama Turkey’ from Ngarua Maarifa Centre could not hold down her joy, when her phone rang to receive the good news about being selected among the best 15 innovative farmers in Kenya.

“When I filled the entry form with assistance from Noah, I thought there was nothing serious in it, but when I got the news that I will travel to Nairobi to showcase my work, I was thrilled”, says  Rahab, a member of Ng’arua Focal Group.

On her exhibition stand was a turkey, a hen and five chicken reared by ‘mother’ turkey. Chicken and turkeys can coexist harmoniously and even hatch each other’s eggs. Rehab’s innovation was documented in ALIN’s Baobab Magazine Issue 52 in 2008;,%20Issue,%20May%202008.pdf and also posted on the Ngarua maarifa centre blog During the fair, over 900 copies of the article were disseminated to visitors from her stand.

Rahab displayed a huge turkey, which hatched and reared five chickens, an innovation which attracted many visitors to her stand. People were wondering what benefits turkeys brought the hens. The visitors asked many questions about where she got the turkeys, if there was market for turkeys, if she sells them at her farm, if the turkey could take good care of the chicks after brooding. Scientists were interested to know if she had shown the innovation anywhere else.

The comments made were tremendous; they lauded her good work and high returns she got from her sales per year. She also learned a lot from scientists and other farmers who were willing to share some tips with the farmer. She got an idea on how to produce young turkey chicks at once by delaying a broody turkey until the rest are broody so that they can start sitting on the eggs at the same time. 
Visitors at Rahab's stand read publications
This can be made possible by providing a few cooked eggs to a turkey that gets broody ahead of others. She learned from Chrisitine Kilonzo a farmer from Mwingi on predetermining the sex of the chicks by just observing the egg ends! She can easily now choose to hatch only hens or cockerels.
The most striking thing in this innovation is the unlimited market for turkeys.  ‘‘I discovered during the fair that the demand for turkeys and their eggs was higher than I could imagine, and I will never lack the market, even if I had five hundred of them’’ said Rahab.

She got over 100 orders of turkeys and turkey eggs. She said she will work extra hard to ensure that all her clients get the turkeys. Rahab is highly motivated since she has realized that people are interested in turkey rearing. She now plans to expand her project by injecting more capital and effort to produce for the ready market.

Rahab says that the exhibition was an eye-opener to her and exposed her to both national and international visitors; she attributes all these to ALIN.

The best innovators from Kenya and Ethiopia were awarded with trophies; Simon Musila who exhibited Growing finger millet through seedlings was awarded.

Rahab was awarded with certificate and a bag. ‘‘I will always remember this day’’ said Rahab.

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