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Monday, January 28, 2013

ICT Training Testimonies

By Sheila Ngigi

Every so often, ICT has been regarded as a luxury that is utilized only by those who are educated and the wealthy or living in urban areas.
This opinion particularly holds water for people living in rural areas, due to their high illiteracy levels, lack of opportunities to access training, and many household chores that burdens them denying them the time to acquire these skills and knowledge. For instance, in Maasai land, many find themselves restricted to searching for pasture for their livestock or looking for water. Though facing extreme climatic conditions, residents of Isinya and its environs have been keen to take advantage of the ongoing ICT training at the Isinya Maarifa Center.
The following testimonies bear witness to the way this Maarifa center is impacting on the lives of Isinya residents:
Mr. Stephen Tipanko, a focal group member candidly explained what the skills he gained have enabled him to do. “From the moment I learnt how to use a computer, my life has completely changed. I was appointed Chief of Oloosidan Location and my skills gave me an advantage over the other candidates during the appointment,” he says. Mr. Tipanko has also been appointed in various committees in this area namely WRUA (Water Resource Uses Association) and COCOON (Conflict & Cooperation on Natural Resources). “I can now type and print minutes of committee meetings and whenever meetings are called through email, I am never left in the dark like before.”
Mr. Tipanko receiving his certificate
Mr. Moses Leir, the chairperson of the Focal Group at the Maarifa center is another beneficiary of the service. He is vying for the position of County representative of Kaputiei North and successfully clinched the ODM party ticket. “Computer skills are very necessary for anyone who desires to be a leader and this Center has given these skills not only to me but to the whole community,” he says. Another political aspirant and leader is Mr. Julius Ntayia, who has been a Councilor of Kaputiei North ward before. “This training has been a great blessing to the Maasai community,” Mr. Ntayia says.
 Mr. Salonik Nchoke, Dickson Miimi, Carolyn Mumo and Steven Ntoika are all pastors who have successfully completed the ICT training. “Pastors need to be informed and through the internet, I can now network with other pastors all over the world. This way, my flock can be served by a person who is informed,” says Mrs. Mumo.
Ms. Mumo receivescertificate from Mr. Ng'otiek
 Government officials like ministry officials and teachers have also benefited from these services. Mr Eric Omondi from the ministry of Livestock Development and Mr. Charles Karanja and Thiong’o Kibandi of the ministry of Agriculture are so grateful for the chance to learn. “We are now able to research online and organize materials to use during field work,” Mr. Thiong’o adds.
Mr.Phineas Mutavi, Mary Nguuro, Elizabeth Kaliti, Ursula Tororey, Enock Omenyo, Ruth Kinyita, Peris Njuguna, Susan Wambui and Silvia John are all teachers who have all benefited from the training. “Using these skills, I now can type assessments for my students besides finding teaching additional teaching material online, it is just wonderful having so much information,” says Madam Tororey. “I also encourage my students to visit the Maarifa center and research on the assignments I give them,” adds Mr. Omenyo.
Mr. Moses Kago is in the Police force as a special agent to the District Commissioner, Isinya District. He beat all odds to find time to study at the Maarifa Center.  “I took special interest in the programme because I knew the importance of computer skills in today’s world. Now I am able to browse through the internet, and communicate with my bosses and colleagues via the internet. I am so grateful to the Center for such and opportunity,” he says.

Mr. Noah

The most recent beneficiaries have been the successful IEBC candidates. Janet Muriet, Jennifer Moikai and Naomi Nailantei say that were it not for the ICT skills they had acquired at the Maarifa, they would not have passed the interview. “When I heard that ICT skills were the most important qualification, I was confident to apply and the results were just as I expected,” says Jennifer.
Our request is to all Isinya residents to come out in large numbers and take advantage of all the resources and services at the Maarifa. They should also take interest to learn and make the best use of the skills and knowledge acquired to better their lives and those in their community.

Students show their certificates

students of Isinya Boys are also beneficiaries of the training

Successful students proudly display certificates

Friday, January 18, 2013


By Sheila Ngigi

The continuing partnership between ALIN and Practical Action, an international NGO that has rolled up its sleeves and declared war on poverty in developing nations, has brought numerous advantages and lessons to the people of Isinya. 
The ladies in Narasa and Nasaru Ntoyie Women’s Groups had only praises for the venture that has seen them trained on various topics. The topics range from farming, health to home economics. “I had no idea that sorghum flour can make such sweet cakes not to mention bake breads and scones!” says Grace Tuuko, a member of Narasa.
Before the training, when the trainer asked what the ladies did with their sorghum harvests, they unanimously replied that they made porridge and sold the rest of it, only to be informed that the same flour can also be used to bake even more nutritious cakes and breads and scones.
M.s Loise the facilitator illustrating during training
 With funds and assistance from Practical Action & ALIN, the ladies were taken through the whole process of preparing the cakes, bread and scones; from the recipe to the preparation and mixing the ingredients till the final product. To say the least, the enthusiasm in their eyes told it all, the ladies knew that with this knowledge, their lives would never be the same again.
Ladies Listen keenly as they are taught

Because one group, Narasa Women’s Group, had already been taken through, the cake baking process, the follow up involved them preparing a similar cake as trained and bring it for icing. And sure enough, the group did not disappoint. This illustrated their determination and desire to learn and acquire new skills.
Bread baked during training

Cake baked during the training

They were later taken through the icing process of icing the cake. All along, they used locally available materials most of which the ladies brought from their homes.
Mrs. Loise Gakuru of the Ministry of Agriculture, who facilitated the training and says "it is important that people learn the uses of indigenous cereals because they are very nutritious and will provide essential nutrients for you and your families".