Technological package for pastoral communities
The Following are the main components of the technological promotion package for pastoral communities:
- Water pans and earth dams
- Auxiliary structures
- Drip irrigation systems for vegetable production
- Tree/vegetable seedling nurseries
- Rangeland rehabilitation using Draught Animal Technology
- Fodder production and preservation
- Bee-keeping and honey production
- Fuel-saving cook-stoves
- Training and capacity building
- Increased water quantity and quality for multiple uses (domestic, livestock, micro-irrigation of vegetables and seedling nurseries)
- Widespread adoption of appropriate technologies for alternative and diversified livelihood systems
- Improved food security and nutrition
- Increased income generation activities and poverty reduction (livestock, honey production, vegetables, hay, seedlings)
- Improved sanitation and hygiene, leading to reduction of water borne diseases
- Increased availability of seedlings (fruits and trees) for reforestation and agro-forestry
- Improved natural resources management, reduced deforestation and enhanced environmental conservation
- Enhanced climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and
- Enhanced technical and governance capacity of target communities, with enhanced community participation, social integration and project ownership and sustainability.
Water is one of the most important factors in poverty reduction and sustainable development in arid and semi-arid environments. Water pans and earth dams are a low-cost and environmentally friendly way to provide communities with a sustainable water supply.
KRA works with local sub-contractors to construct and/or rehabilitate communal water systems (earth dams or water pans) of between 15,000-30,000m3 storage capacity. Each communal water system provides water for livestock, domestic and micro-irrigation for around 3,000 people and over 20,000 livestock.
The construction of each earth dam/water pan takes 4-6 months during the dry seasons.
The communal water system is complemented by a range of structures and facilities, including community watering points, ecosan toilets, livestock watering troughs, a water filtration system, storage / regulation tank, fencing around the project site and watershed protection(including planting of trees) for soil erosion control.
KRA provides technical expertise, while the communities provide unskilled labour and local materials to build these structures.
Drip-irrigated vegetable gardens are an effective way to diversify livelihoods and improve the nutrition of communities. A 230-litre low-head drip irrigation system is installed next to the earth dam/ water pan (and rainwater tanks in schools) to supply water to a vegetable garden and demonstrate the technology. The 230-litre drip irrigation system can support up to 1,000 vegetable plants. Individual households will be provided with 20-litre and 50-litre systems, which are easy to manage.
Vegetable species such as kale, spinach, cabbages, carrots and onions are introduced to allow communities to supplement their local/traditional vegetables. Community-based organizations (CBOs), especially women’s groups, are trained on the simple operation and maintenance procedures of the drip irrigation systems. Trained target group members will lead by example by adopting micro-irrigation systems.
Local sources of seedlings for vegetables and trees are rare in arid and semi-arid regions. Promotion of drip irrigation and watershed conservation (reforestation) would be futile without a local source of seedlings.
Tree/fruit and vegetable seedling nurseries are established at the demonstration sites and CBOs, particularly youth and women’s groups, are encouraged to generate income through sales of seedlings. Female youth are often best placed to take charge of the nurseries, as young males usually spend most of their time taking care of livestock or have migrated to seek employment.
The nurseries component is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Forestry Department), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI).
Degradation of rangelands is a major cause of pasture loss in dry environments, as surface crusting reduces infiltration and inhibits pasture growth.
Scratching the ground surface with simple animal drawn implements such as the tine harrow (see photo below) has been found to improve grass growth in degraded rangelands. Spreading farm yard manure and grass seeds (e.g. Rhodes grass) on scratched land leads to even better results. Instead of burning manure as a source of fuel, pastoral communities can use this valuable resource to help sustain pasture growth for livestock.
KRA provides communities with an animal-drawn tine harrow, yoke and plough and training in their use, to demonstrate how simple Draught Animal Technology can improve degraded rangelands.
Over-reliance on natural pasture for livestock is unsustainable in many semi-arid environments, especially during extreme drought situations. During such times, only lactating cows and weak animals are left around the settlement areas while the other herd migrates in search of water and pasture. Without alternative sources of fodder, the survival rate of the animals left behind is low. This results in low milk production and hence an inadequate source of proteins and vitamins, especially for children where alternative sources of these nutrients are limited.
By growing their own fodder, communities can feed the lactating cows and weak animals left behind with women and children when men migrate with the animals. This ensures continued milk production needed to improve the health of children. Producing fodder also helps to conserve watersheds by minimizing the removal of natural pasture.
KRA provides communities with a manual hay baler and trains them on fodder production and hay making. The simple hay baler is purchased from Kickstart (formerly ApproTEC), an NGO promoting appropriate technology in Kenya.
Traditional honey production is one of the few non-livestock based source of livelihoods for most pastoral communities. However, de-forestation for firewood and charcoal has destroyed much of the bees’ pollen source, compromising this important source of livelihoods. Diminishing sources of water have also affected honey production.
Existing bee-keeping systems can be enhanced by the introduction of trees and shrubs that flower at different times of the year, as bees need water and continuously flowering vegetation. Improved bee-keeping practices are part of broader watershed conservation and management efforts.
KRA provides the communities (especially youth groups) with improved Langtroth beehives and accessories, and training on bee-keeping, honey harvesting, processing and marketing.
Fuel wood is the main source of energy for most rural communities in Kenya, and is a major contributor to deforestation. To combat this, KRA promotes the use of fuel-saving cook-stoves, which reduce firewood consumption by up to 50%. Beneficiaries using fuel-efficient cook stoves have reported reduced firewood consumption, minimized smoking (hence reduced respiratory diseases), and reduced time for cooking.
Besides encouraging energy saving and environmental conservation, the stoves also provide an economic opportunity for women are trained in their construction and use, and can then offer their skills at a fee to other community members.
Capacity building is a prerequisite for project sustainability and it focuses on both institutional strengthening and technical capacity. Capacity building takes place through formal training sessions, informal discussions and household visits, and exchange visits to other community who have adopted similar projects to enhance peer learning and exchange of experiences.
The following are the expected results:
Some of our successfully accomplished projects include:-
- KIDFARMACO Estate,
- GHARP/KRA Secretariat,
- KIDFARMACO Estate, Off Kikuyu Road,
- Lower Ring Road, Opp. Columbia Heights, Plot No. 521
- P.O. Box10742-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Tel/Fax: +254 (0) 20 2710657
- Cell: +254 0715935065, +254 0737916077
- Email: email@example.com