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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Adapting & Combating Climate Change : A task for all of us

By Sheila Ngigi

All roads led to the Multipurpose Development Institute on the 18th of February as sponsors, researchers from Egerton university- Laikipia Campus, officials from the ministries of agriculture and livestock development, partners, stakeholders and farmers all came out in large numbers. Researchers in-charge of the project are Dr. Susan Kamuru, Dr. Nancy Mungai, Dr. Kariuki among others all of Egerton University, Laikipia Campus.
Demonstration site 

The CAPRO Project in Kajiado County first meeting was held on 13/2/2013 through the collaboration of the above named partners. All districts in Kajiado County Kajiado Central, Isinya, Kajiado North, Magadi and Namanga had representatives. It was agreed that the demonstration site be held in Isinya district and be manned by Isinya division staff from the ministries of Agriculture and Livestock development.
Climate Exchange Network for Africa (CENA) is a network of researchers, policy makers and practitioners who have been actively involved in issues of climate change adaptation and combative measures affecting Africa. Its goal is to bring together partners from various organizations in Africa and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to implement projects on Climate Change Adaptation.
Types of cereals planted at the site

This network was created out of the recognition that many households today in Africa are unable to adequately adapt to climate inconsistencies and the subsequent increase of food insecurity and declining household incomes.
The demonstration site had maize, cassava, sorghum, beans, sweet potatoes, dolicles, sunflower, cowpeas, green grams, local vegetables, a multistory garden and a water harvesting tank with a drip irrigation kit. On exhibition there was also bee farming kit, samples of foods made from cereals like sorghum and millet, animals like sheep goats, and rabbits. Besides the ministry of agriculture and livestock, other organizations like ALIN, Coopers Limited, Simlaw seeds, Starke Flyers seeds among others. They all showcased their goods and services that are helping in this fight.
Isinya Maarifa's desk during the Open Session

The crops were planted on 1/11/ 2012 and for the first time on Monday, the demonstration site was reviewed as the farmers and pastoralists were taken through the different ways of managing and adapting to climate changes.
Other Partners present

Farmers bore witness to the fact that more than ever rainfall patterns have increasingly kept on changing due to effects of desertification and increase in green house gases in the atmosphere. Speakers admonished those who have refused to take up this issue as a national disaster and encouraged farmers to put into practice the lessons they had learnt. “If you only think that livestock is the only way of life, then you are in for trouble. It is time we take up farming of those crops that will withstand the changes we are experiencing. Mixed cropping, where you have portions of different crops on one plot of land will also ensure that at least you are able to harvest something even in cases of rain failure and drought”, Dr. Susan advised.
Community members keenly listening 

“This challenge will get worse as global warming intensifies due to increasing concentration of greenhouse gases. To counter this challenge, a multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach involving actors that generate and communicate cutting edge scientific knowledge, build capacity of stakeholders at all levels, create new and strengthen existing institutions and influence policy development and change, is needed and that is why we are here”, Dr. Mungai emphasized.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Peace Building around Isinya

By Sheila Ngigi

Albert Einstein once said that Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. And understanding is born out of discussion leading agreement and unity of purpose.
Mr. Jeremiah Ateti, Chairperson of Kajiado Peace Committee

In their course of promoting peace and advocating for peace especially during this election period, the Isinya District Peace Committee is leaving nothing to chance. Residents of Olturoto location in Isinya yesterday gathered at the Chief’s camp in a forum aimed at promoting peace in the location.
Residents of  Olturoto follow proceedings keenly

In attendance was the area District Officer Mr. Ekai, the Chairperson of the Peace Committee, Mr. Jeremiah Ateti and Mr. Muhu, an official of the Peace Committee. The area Chief, various religious leaders, opinion leaders, business men and women and members of the public were all present.
Speeches were given by various speakers as it was an open forum. Both the D.O and the Peace Committee Chairperson underscored the importance of peace and security by urging residents of Olturoto to remain united. Others who echoed these sentiments were the religious leaders who likened these elections to a passing wind which would come and go leaving them as neighbors irrespective of the politicians they supported.
Member of community addresses fellow residents

Mr. Muhu, member of the Peace Committe

Adressing the meeting

The Chairperson informed the residents of the Flame of Peace, a symbolic gesture for all Kenyans to reaffirm their commitment to peace and security during and after this election. The flame which was going round to every county had passed through Isinya a few days back and was a gesture that we should keep peace burning no matter the cost.
The Chairman praised the residents and stated that Kajiado county has enjoyed an amazing peace record even in the wake of the 2007/08 post election violence. The D.O also urged them to maintain that peace and asked the leaders to make peace building a priority.
Mr. Ekai, D.O Isinya

“We should demystify peace, and portray it as the responsibility of all of us-each and every citizen and by so doing demonstrate that it is possible to make peace happen in our Division and beyond”, the D.O said.
Peace, Security and development are viewed as necessary conditions for social stability and the promotion of human security and in their absence, the results usually are severe disruption of social and economic development.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cooking Without Fuel

By Sheila Ngigi

Ever heard of fireless cooking? That’s right, cooking without fire! Residents of Enkiringiri in Isinya were astounded on learning that one can cook without having to light a fire.
On Thursday, last week, all roads led to Mrs. Grace Tuukuo’s homestead in Enkigirri. A group of 25 ladies had gathered eagerly waiting for the day’s lessons.
All year round, women in Enkigirri are faced with the predicament of lack of firewood. They have to walk many miles to look for firewood or spend considerable amount of money, which is hard to come by, to find fuel for their domestic use. As a result, the mention of a fireless cooker was like music to their ears.
the fireless cooker

The fireless cooker is just a basket woven from reeds and layered with blankets, banana leaves or cloth in the inside. It uses the food’s stored heat to cook it over time. Two cushions are also put on top of the basket covering its mouth completely and this is to ensure no heat escapes from the basket. This is made out of the lining material and should be exactly the width of the basket to seal off the basket leaving no room for heat to escape.
The inside of the basket

Black Polythene wraper used to wrap food to prevent heat loss

The food to cook is first brought to its boiling point using another means; firewood or charcoal, then transfer the food into the fireless cooker.  The food continues to cook slowly and steadily due to the insulation inside (from the blankets or banana leaves stuffed in the blankets) preventing any loss of heat from the cooker.
Ladies take turns to view the cooker

Ladies checking the fireless cooker as facilitator explains

This was an eye opener for the ladies who learnt for the first time how this easy- to- adopt technology could save their money, fuel and time.

The fireless cooker has many advantages which include the following:
It is portable meaning that it and can be carried around easily. Secondly, a fireless cooker can keep food warm for up to 8 hours after it has been heated, and this takes away the need to keep reheating the food after some time. Moreover, watching the stove is unnecessary as it is impossible to burn the food or cause accidents like fires.  Air pollution from smoke is also greatly reduced or health problems related to smoke from firewood and charcoal.

This mode of cooking is sustainable and many development based organizations have been campaigning for its use. One such institution is Practical Action, a close partner of ALIN and REAP East Africa.
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