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(www.oisat.org) 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.