Saturday, September 4, 2010

Introduction to Kyuso maarifa centre

The Kyuso Maarifa centre is located in Kyuso district of Eastern province in Kenya. It is at a distance of about 60km from Mwingi town.The center was established in 2005 as a OISAT pilot project (Online Information Services for non-chemical pest and disease management in the Tropics - Website( that was successfully undertaken by the Kyuso farming community.

The Kyuso community comprises the Akamba who practices small scale mixed farming . However the community lacks information on dry land farming practices and on water harvesting techniques and hence that is where we come up to fill the information gap

We work in collaboration with the host organization (Ministry of Agriculture), the advisory committee, the Field officer, the Community Knowledge Facilitator and focal group members who enhance information dissemination to the interior parts of the community.

The ALIN focal group was formed in August 2005 and the members’ capacities have been enhanced through various workshops, open days, trainings and farmer-to-farmer visits. Most unique is pests and disease management using non-chemical and low cost Techniques to increase Crop production. The Centre has been visited by many guests with interest in non-chemical pest management. The communities access this information from a CD-ROM that was developed by Pesticides Action Network Germany (PAN-Germany).

The benefits of the Maarifa centre

The Maarifa centre has had many advantages for the community and a few of these are outlined below:
* The Field officer build the capacity of partner organization on information management and provide extra staff support
* The ministry heads and their staffs use the ICT equipment in the centre to type and send Monthly, quarterly and annual reports
* The center is equipped with ICT Equipments to help the community members access information on sustainable livelihood. Such tools includes computers, CD-ROMs, a printer and Router modem and ipods)
* We recieves numerous visitors most who are farmers, teachers, extension staff and students
* Farmers can access OISAT information, climate change and livelihood based information on their own through computers and internet
* Farmers can manage pests on their farm. The plant commonly used in pest management and locally available are neem ,chili ,finger euphorbia, paw paw, custard apple and onions. Wood ash and chilli is also commonly used for controlling pests
* Kyuso Boys Secondary School used information from the center to prepare the science congress project which took them upto National level
* The center offers Free internet access used for administration officers, Government workers, NGO representative,Extension officers, students, communities members and every visitors who visit the centre.
* The Center offers computer training,typing and printing services
* The Field officer is able to aid in local content generation and uploading of articles via the OpenNRICH platform
* The Centre has publications on various development issues including agricultural, environment, health,climate change,water harvesting and HIV and AIDS
* The Center offers capacity building activities to the farmers which include workshops, exchange visits and open days on various livelihood issues especially sustainable agriculture.

Saturday, March 6, 2010



By John Njue

This year; 2010 is when the District is experiencing a break from the prolonged drought. The rain had not fallen since 2008 where both September and march rains failed. It’s was now two years since the last rain drop fall.

During the month of November there was little rain that was not evenly distributed. People from Mivukoni, Teikuru and most parts of Ngomeni are crying of hunger where else resident of Kamuwongo harvested heavily. This differences are brought about by the effect of climate change that has hit the area.

Despite the Weather conditions changing frequently and bring food insecurity, poor hearth and sanitation and worsening the water condition in the district. The most affected group are children.

According to extensive research carried by WEM integrated health services –Kyuso it has found out that children ,especially young children , that are in a stage of rapid development and are less well equipped on many fronts to deal with deprivation and stress. Their immature organs and nervous system, limited experiences and behaviour characteristics that makes them more vulnerable. The children are exposed to a lot risks by adults either knowingly or unknowingly.

Although children are generally inappropriately at a risk on many fronts, it is a mistake to think of them only as victims in the face of climate change. With adequate supports and protection, children can also extraordinarily be an active agents. climates change has very many effects to children which includes:

Health and survival


Due to climate change especially in arid and semi arid area not leaving Kyuso district out Most of the families are low-income earning and hence this may lead to prolonged drought and hunger which may cause loss of life to children, women and elderly. A study of the 4 years prolonged drought in Kyuso , for instance found that the death rates for children aged 2 to 9 was more than double that of adults.

Water and sanitation-related illness

Children under the age of five (5) years are victims of sanitation –related illness which includes diarrhoea, Amoeba attack, Tapeworm amongst others because of their less developed immunity and their play behaviour. The residents of Kyuso District are now surviving on pond water. They are sharing water with the animals. Water is ferried to the communities by donkeys.

This water is stagnant and green in colour due to non-flowering water plants growing into the water. Most people don’t boiled the water and hence risking the live of children who use .

Malaria and other tropical diseases

Kyuso district covers a total area of 10030.30km2 with the population of 341571 citizens and has average Temperatures range from 230C- 42OC. Warmer average temperature are expanding the areas where many tropical diseases can occur. With the children most often victim. In most locations of Kyuso district, the most serious threat is malaria . Malaria also increase the severity of other diseases.

Children learning and competence

For some children in some places , the added challenge brought about by climate change could contribute to erosion of both their mental capacity and opportunity for learning. Most people drop from schools due to lack of food at their families. In Kyuso district most schools especially in the marginalized regionalized have dropped the pupils population by a half due to effects of climate change. Kakongo Primary School is the most hit school by this effects. Disasters such as hunger, famine, and family conflicts acan also result in interruption of formal schooling for months as children are more likely to withdraw from school when households faces shocks.

Heat stress

Young children along with the elderly, are at highest risk from heat stress. Young children and the elderly are affected by temperature behold 20oc since their body tissues are still growing and may be destroyed before growth. The body colour of those children turn to black due to sun scorching.


Malnutrition is the common thing in dry area since there is high chance of food insecurity for example Kyuso district has been getting unpredicted unreliable rain and hence ending with nothing at the end of it all from the shamba.

Malnutrition increases the vulnerability on every front and can result in long-term physical and mental stunting.

Quality of care

As conditions become more challenging especially when all the family leaves the young children at home to go and look for food. The children are left without a caregiver and hence the risks factors generally exist in clusters .Overstretched and exhausted caregiver are more likely to leave children unsupervised and to cut corners in all the chores that are necessary for health living.

Coping mechanism

  • Borrowing food from neighbors and relatives
  • Rationing the food consumption and numbers of meals per day
  • Eating wild fruit such as “Nthanwa and Kivuvua”
  • Go hunting wild animals for meat after school
  • Transferring to schools with school feeding programmes
  • Using herbal medicine to treat the common disease brought about by high temperature


Addressing the concern of children may appear to be an unrealistic burden in the face of others. Some basic concern must be made to cap this strategy facing the minors such as:

  • Ensuring children’s optimum health and nutrition through preventive care and environmental health measures may be a form of risk reduction. Food aid and supports should be given especially to the vulnerable communities as a climate change. This includes places affected by Hunger, famine ,Floods e.t.c.
  • Strengthening families’ capacity to cope where adaptive measures are taken to enhance the capacity of households to come through period of difficulties and shock with minimal upset.
  • Maintaining and restoring children’s routes , network and activities
  • Respecting children’s capability and supporting their active involvement. Involving children to Solving problems, contributes to various issues, take action where necessary are potent forces for children .

Thursday, February 4, 2010

iPOD Gadget Impact in Kyuso

iPOD Gadget Impact in Kyuso

By John Njue

As the technology improvement takes place, Kyuso community is not left behind. Kyuso community center is situated in Kyuso district, which is one of the smallest and youngest districts created recently in eastern parts of Kenya. Kyuso is located approximately 67 kilometers from Mwingi town.

The Ipod technology hit the communities around the district early July 2009, unleashing both technology and information on livelihoods and climate change. The gadget was highly received with curiosity and enthusiasm by the community members. Nobody had ever seen such a gadget in the area

Good timing.

At this technical period of ALIN and UJUZI organization struggling to bring about climate change awareness and getting the perception of it from the community; i Pods have played a big role in the awareness process. In the process of the community resident’s curiosity of struggling to know how to operate and how the gadget works, they have to pay attention to the contents both for the Ipod and information fed inside. They have watched carefully and viewed the videos on climate change fully. iPods have increased the centre visits by more than 50% of the people who used to visit the centre.


When we first designed the poster on free i pod technology training in the center most people did not know what the gadget was. it was distributed in the market places to target the local community, in the government offices to target the community development workers and in hour notice board. We have corroborated well with the Community knowledge facilitator (CKF) who has helped us in training the use of the gadget.

ipod contents.

Different videos and pictures on climate change and livelihoods awareness, adaptation and perceptions were synched into the gadget. These videos and audio programs can be watched and as well listened to through the ear phones by the user. The ipod can be connected to the computer and use the I tune soft ware for wider viewing and listening.

The I pod have other contents like music, photos, pod casts, Games, calendars, clocks and alarms

This is as well attracting most young people to the centre. Young people are normally very much curious to learning new technologies.

The impact of the ipod.

Introduction of ipods have attracted many people to the center, the inflow of community members have increased by half. Our centre was mostly dominated by elder people who were mostly interested in the library services and typed information for use. But now youth peoples are dominating the centre due to introduction of different IT equipments that have been introduced.

The ipod attracted a lot of mass of people during our information desk presentation. Everyone wanted to know more about it. It was the main topic on the market. Rumours to every part of Kyuso attracts so many crowds on the market.

Now the climate change awareness is almost everywhere. We could hear people say that there’s a small Television brought by some people on the market announcing that there’s climate change. Such information shows that there was some awareness impacted by the ipod.


The gadget is so delicate and fragile and hence giving the community people to practice the use and operation may lead to breakage as a result of falling down and therefore it

Needs too much care.

The battery sometime run out without warning especially when you go to the field to train residents from the interior community.

The gadget can only hold materials of a ceratain format and hence sometime a need for a converters.

Most people especially women of this area are fearful and there fore feel uncomfortable when you are too close training him/her

Creation of awareness to the community of the availability of such training in the center has been a challenge, despite putting up poster advertising the same in the market, most people don’t understand what an ipod is and therefore may fail to understand the poster too.

In the center we lack transport services that can enable us travel and train the people during public meetings, Barazas, congregations. We only wait people to come for people to the center.

    The common questions/requests:

    • The languages that the ipod can operate in
    • Whether there are specific music and videos that are supposed to be synced into the ipod
    • Whether it can be used to take picture/video
    • Whether the ipod has a fixed size
    • alternatives ways of charging if one doesn't have a computer
    • Probability of watching the Television Programs on i pod
    • whether an ipod is an abbreviation
    • Can it be used for making voice calls
    • the cost of the ipod
    • procedure of syncing videos in the ipod
    • Where one can get an ipod on sale
    • What is the different between ipod and Mp3 player
Amongs other small questions

Friday, January 15, 2010

What would you do

by reporter

what could you do if you looked in the sky and no drops of rain fall?

what would if you turn your tap and no water came out?

what would you if only ten litres of water is all you have for use?

This is all i am doing with the ARID land communities.Its so sad if people ever realize the images of climate change to our future life. its so sad


By Reporter .
Kyuso District is located next too Mwingi District of Eastern Part of Kenya. The climate of Kyuso District is generally hot and dry for the greater part of the year. The maximum mean annual temperature ranges between 260 C and 340 C whereas the minimum mean annual temperature ranges between 140 C and 220 C. This translates into an average annual temperature of 240 C. The district experiences a long stretches of dry, hot seasons between the months of August and September and again in the months of January and February.

This year 2009 was the year that the district experienced the longest drought ever. Since 2008 both September and march rains have disappeared. Its was two years since the last rain drop fall.

There was a report from the meteorological department that El Niño rains were underway. Kyuso community was very happy waiting for that rains. Because of long drought, they couldn’t realise the effects of El-Niño rains.

Fortunately enough, the rains are back. Its one week since it started raining.
Despite happiness of the community’s farm preparations and rain celebrations: there are intense effects that came with the rains. These effects include;

Leaking roofs.
During long droughts people rarely repair their roofs and houses. When the rain started, most people discovered that their houses were in bad shapes. There are lots of roof leakages and the walls.

Smell of dead animals’ carcase
During the two year drought season, a lot of animals including donkeys and cows died of hunger and thirst. Some of the community members were burying the carcass while other carcase was thrown in the forests and near river bodies to rot by themselves.

When the rains came and fall on the rotting carcases bad smell is all over the District especially near the forests and rivers.

Dying of the animal that survived.
During the drought season, the livestock can feed on dry leaves and small particles of grass, but when it rains, no dry leaves and grass is not palatable.

Due to prolonged dry season, the rains come with new diseases and infections. Due to low animals body immunity caused by long drought, the animals succumb to the situation.

Dead animals after the first rain.

During the drought season, the animals had nothing to drink in terms of water. The fast rains come with a lot of water. The animals consume a lot of water without rationing and abruptly. This lead to death.

When the rains come, diseases especially severe flue and malaria increases. The community people suffer severe flue and cold due to increased mosquito inflation, tsetseflys and weather change.

Kyuso community had waited for rains until they lost hope. Very few people were prepared when the rains started. Other people could predict that this time round, rains were coming but had little time to prepare.
The first rains were heavy and water went flooding everywhere. Very little people had prepared for water harvesting mechanisms.

The earthdams, underground water tanks and slankers trapped enough water and flooded allover.despite this fact, after two days the flooding disappeared.

In farms without terraces, the top soil was carried away and the lower parts of land terrain.

Most roads pass through rivers. When the rivers flood there no way out of the town. People get trapped either outside or inside the town.

Increase electricity burns and blackouts.
The rains affect current flow and cause short circuits. This increase electricity burns and blackouts. Blackouts have become so frequent that working with electricity is a problem.

Vehicles breakdowns.
There were five burses operating in Kyuso. When the rains started, only one bus was operating. Most buses got stuck in the mud and some of them had breakdowns in every short distance moved.
Breaking of bridges.
Roads that pass through the rivers are held by bridges. Now the bridges have been destroyed by rains and vehicle cannot pass the bridge when it’s raining, they have to wait until the time when water level goes down.


It’s a high time for the communities to learn signs of rains for enough preparations before rains. During rains, there’s enough water and food and nobody cares to harvest or store them. When dry season starts, people suffer a lot because they don’t store enough water and food for use.


By Dorothy Amboka.
This year; 2009 is when the District is experiencing the longest drought ever. Since 2008 both September and march rains failed. It’s now two years since the last rain drop fall.

There was a report from the meteorological department that El Niño rains were underway. Kyuso community has been impatiently waiting for that moment.

Fortunately, the rains started last week. It rained for seven days continuously. Three days heavy downpour and four days minimum rains. Some farmers planted early but some took their time since they new that the rains were to continue for some time.

Funny enough the rains stopped and its now two weeks since it rained.

Kyuso climate change ALIN group accompanied by the Divisional Agricultural Extension Officer attended several chief Barazas, in four main Divisions Interviewing the chiefs and Farmer representatives. The following progress report was collected from Kyuso Division, Kimangao Division, Mivukoni Division and Kamuongo Division.

Kimangao Division: Chief Joseph Makau
In Kamangao, it rained on one side but other sides of Kalole rains were not well distributed.
Millipedes and chafer crab are eating up seedling roots thus drying them up.
Prices of foods have gone very high; BeansKshs.75, maize Kshs.35 per Kg, cow piece Kshs.40 per Kg.other foods like pigeon piece are not in shops.
Mize have grown up to one foot. People are already eating cow piece.
There’s a problem of moisture and now some foods are already drying up.

Kamuongo Division: Chief Gideon Kasovo.

The rains have already started but people don’t have seedlings for planting. They planted just a small part of their farms.
Maize is growing up and cow piece is already being consumed.
People are still planting especially those people who were waiting for Ministry of Agriculture seeds.
Most people have planted just quarter of their farms.
There are no digging cows since all cows died with drought. One person cannot dig enough.
Some few people have highered digging tractors from other towns at very high prices i.e. Kshs. 2000 per acre.
Complains on pests and diseases are minimal.
Markets are importing food and selling it at a very high price e.g. maize Kshs. 2500 per sack and beans Kshs.5000 per sack.
People who buy for sale, sell maize 32per Kg, beans 65per Kg, cow piece 150 per Kg.
There’s still hunger, people are mixing cow piece with maize for the family to eat.
People feel that the rain has disappeared after raining for only 7 days with 3 heavy rainfalls.

Mivukoni Division: Framer representative Mr.Fednand Mwengi.
Rains started on 5th, 16th and it stopped.
People had planted early and therefore it found the crops already planted. All the crops germinated but now they have started drying up.
The rains wetness has maintained the crops up to now.
Maize is now one foot and people are continuing to cultivate.
Some people planted and others are still planting but there’s too much weed in the farms.
When the rains came, all cows that were remaining died, people bought other cows and now they are doing well.
Hunger is increasing, and most people are depending on food for work beneficiary project.
Food prices have increased; maize 33 per Kg, cow piece 300per Kg, millet 100per Kg and green grams 150/- per Kg.
Some few people have highered cows from very far at very high prices i.e. one metre at Kshs.30.

Kyuso Division: Farmer Agness Mughi.
There were rains for about seven days. Most people have planted almost quarter of their farms.
Weeds are too many in the farms with very minimal labour.
Millipedes are eating the roots of crops and therefore drying them up.

The DAEO Kyuso told the group to encourage farmers to continue cultivating their farms since rains might come back.
The chiefs complained that seeds were distributed very late after the rains.
To do away with weeds, let the farmers start cultivating what they have planted and stop further planting to reduce the weeds.
They said that there were cotton seeds distributed by the ministry but they had not come out. The chairman said that some other seeds will be distributed.

It’s not understood whether the rains will come back or not despite the reports that El Nino rains are already in some parts of Kenya like Kajiado (Isinya) and west Pokot.
After the seven days rain, Kyuso District has become even more hotter and full of funny insects that are entering houses and distracting people.

The crops in the farms are already wilting up. The few crops that were planted during the rainfall are now infested by pests and diseases.

Two years without rains and only seven day’s rainfall. It’s very much embarrassing and unbelievable.

The question is, will rains ever be stable in this area? Is the dry season continuing after all this time that the community has suffered? All this remains to be a saying, nobody knows what next and nobody to believe including the meteorologists. But all in all life has to go on.