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Banked farmers learning how to manage risks

Access to financial services is about to provide an opportunity for Kairiri Forest Users and Conservation Community Based Organisation (CBO) in Timau area of Meru County to deal with crop failure. Most of the members had contemplated quitting farming this year after the crop failure.

Sokopepe has been supporting the CBO to increase productivity and profitability of its members. This season, Sokopepe linked them to a micro finance institution to enable them to receive credit.

Linking the CBO to Times U Sacco Society Ltd has made the members to be among the few-banked farmers in the Country. The Sacco has a Kilimo Bora Loan, which is ideal for farmers due to low interest charged. For close to 5 weeks now the Sacco has been building their financial literacy and capability.

Already 30 members of the group have each paid a Ksh 200 for registration and are now saving Ksh 200 per week. Soon they will be able to receive Kilimo Bora Loan. The farmers can borrow up to 5 times the amount saved.

The Kilimo Bora loan attracts a 7.5 percent interest rate. The repayment is after four months when the farmers have harvested. The 74 member CBO are now planning to cultivate their combined 30-acre farm.

Mr. Bernard Mureithi, a Production Information Agent (PIA) at Sokopepe said that farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS) help financial institutions to know whether farmers are capable of managing risks.

The farmers are able to track all their agribusiness enterprises and expenses incurred. This will ensure effective use of Kilimo Bora loans,” said Mr. Mureithi.

Sokopepe emerges winner in the Agriculture category of the ICT Innovation Awards

By Bob Aston
Sokopepe has emerged the winner in the Agriculture category at the ICT Innovation Awards during the 2016 Connected Summit which began on March 20-23, 2016 at Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort, Diani, Kwale County.

The theme for 2016 Connected Summit “Bridging the Service Gap,” explores and identifies gaps that can help achieve universal access to public services and how information technology can improve efficiency in the delivery of government services, simplify compliance with government regulations, strengthen citizen participation and trust in government.

LRV among blogs nominated for the Kenyan Blog Awards 2016

By Bob Aston

The Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) is among the blogs nominated for the 2016 Kenyan Blogs Awards under Best County Blog category.

The nomination follows a grueling exercise by judges who sifted through 4,899 blog submissions in 19 categories and selected five blogs per category.

The judges included Mikul Shah, Director at EatOut, Ahmed Salim, General Manager at Qube Ltd, Terryanne Chebet, Senior Anchor and Associate Editor at Citizen TV and Muthoni Maingi, Digital Manager at Safaricom.

Voting began on March 3, 201

Youth farmer journey in green peas production

By Bob Aston

The youth are the future of food security in Kenya. Few young people see themselves practicing agriculture for income generation. In Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County, attempts to integrate the youth in agriculture have started to bear fruit due to increased interest in farming.

Peter Nderitu, 24, graduated last year with a Bachelor in Psychology from Egerton University. Instead of travelling to Nairobi to look for a white-collar job, he requested his parents to give him a two-acre piece of land in order to engage in agriculture.

Reminiscing Ngarua Maarifa Centre work in 2015

By Bob Aston

Established in 2007 by the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Ng’arua Marifa Centre in Ol-Moran Ward at Laikipia West Sub County has been facilitating learning and skills transfer among communities embracing a culture of knowledge sharing.
The Maarifa Centre has been offering free services that include Library services, E-government services, multimedia content, internet access, citizen journalism training, ICT training, advisory services, publications like Baobab, Joto Afrika, and Laikipia Mali Asili, SOKO+ and Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya).

The Maarifa Centre has also hosted a Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM) knowledge sharing Mazingira Centre.

Mercy Corps turns to WhatsApp to link sustainable agriculture group

By Getrude Lung'ahi

Social media is forming an increasingly central part of how we communicate. The available social media tools have made communication easier, enjoyable, and faster.
Mercy Corps Kenya is innovatively using WhatsApp and Facebook to communicate to its staff and consortium members. This has proven to be an effective and efficient way of organizing workshops, getting feedback and learning from each other.
‘‘I created the WhatsApp group named BRACED Premies because of logistics of a permaculture workshop which was held in Laikipia, Kenya. I needed to get updates from participants on logistics since I was coordinating different groups from Karamoja (Uganda) and Wajir (Kenya),” said Natalie Topa, programme director, Mercy Corps.
Addressing Climate Change: Success Stories from Kenya

In response to the serious threats posed by climate change, Kenya has embarked on several measures to secure the country’s development against the impacts of climate change and to encourage the transition to a low carbon climate resilient development pathway. This document describes the progress made in Kenya to address climate change and implement the NCCAP. It describes success stories and highlights projects undertaken by the Government of Kenya and its partners in civil society, the private sector and the international development community.

Good agricultural practices key in ensuring profitable maize farming

By Bob Aston

Adopting good agricultural practices is key in ensuring farmers make profit in maize production. Speaking during a two day Maize Value Chain Workshop at Olivia Court Motel in Sipili, Laikipia West Sub County on November 25-26, 2015, Mr. Moses Lokwawi, Ol-Moran Ward Crops Officer noted that farmers who harvest less than 15 bags per acre rarely make a profit.

He noted that land under maize cultivation in Ol-Moran Ward has been increasing while production has been declining over the years. During a farmers discussion session, it was noted that they are harvesting an average of 10 - 18 bags per acre.

Investing in Maize Value Chain in Ol-Moran Ward

By Bob Aston

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries held a two-day workshop on Maize Value Chain at Olivia Court Motel, Sipili in Laikipia West Sub County on November 25-26, 2015.

A total of 85 farmers drawn from Ol-Moran Ward attended the workshop. Its aim was to enhance farmer’s production skills on maize value chain, to share production and marketing experiences, to enhance systematic record keeping by maize farmers, to improve cereals aggregation and to reduce post-harvest grain losses.

Wangwachi field day - Leveraging on tomato value addition

By Bob Aston


An informative field day took place at Peter Chege’s farm in Wangwachi area of Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County on 12 November, 2015. Agrifood actors gathered in the area for a field day that addressed ways to enhance farmer production skills and deliberate on how farmers can play an active role in the tomato value chain.

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MOALF), and Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society organized the field day to enable farmers to share their experiences and interact with various value chain actors.

Using art to create awareness and demand action on climate change

By Mercy Mumo

Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity. The demand for energy has become too high with less regard on its effects on the environment. The youth have also been involved in creating awareness on climate change matters. Recently, a documentary dubbed Climate: Change the Conversation was premiered at the Alliance Francaise Auditorium in Nairobi on 11 November 2015.

Produced with the support of UNESCO, the French Embassy and the Embassy of Germany among other partners, the documentary combines music; spoken word, art and powerful narrative aimed at focusing the public on the negative impacts of climate change and calling everybody to do their part. It puts youth at the centre of those who stand to lose the most and whose urgent involvement in responding to threats posed by climate change is critical.

Improving reporting on El-nino as a climate change phenomenon

By Bob Aston

The Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) Project being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities (MENRRDA), held a training workshop for journalists on reporting on El-Nino and its related disasters as a climate change phenomenon. The two-day workshop was held on November 14-15, 2015 at Lake Naivasha County Club in Nakuru County.

A total of 40 journalists drawn from disaster prone areas and hot spots as well as environmental journalists from across national media houses, learned different strategies on reporting on El-Nino, related preparedness and risk reduction. They gained skills on creating awareness on how El-Nino related disasters may affect communities and coverage of such stories.

Meru and Laikipia Farmers Embrace use of SOKO+ to Trade

By Anthony Mugo

Farmers from Laikipia and Meru counties were this week trained on how to make use of all the features of Sokopepe’s market access and knowledge management system SOKO+. The training took place in Nanyuki on September 8, 2015.

It focused on demonstrating and training farmers, teachers and education officials how to make use of SOKO+ to harness their linkages and therefore enable schools to provide a consistent; organised and fair market for their produce. More than twenty people were trained.


The Kajiado County stakeholders forum on Gender and Energy was successfully held on 28th May 2015 at the ACK hall in Kajiado town. The forum that was convened by ENERGIA Kenya Network through Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and practical Action (PA) was cordially graced by the County Executive Committee member for health Ms Glady's Marima and the chief officer in charge of roads transport and Energy.

The county officials encouraged civil society and the private sector to continue supporting communities with innovative energy solutions. 'This is a very important forum to enhance coordination of gender and energy activities in Kajiado given that its women and children who really suffer fetching for woodfuel and cooking in smoky kitchens' remarked Ms Marima.

Laikipia Mali Asili Issue 2 Out

By Anthony Mugo
Nairobi, May 28, 2015

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) is pleased to present the second issue of Laikipia Mali Asili newsletter. Contributors to this Newsletter are mainly partners working in Laikipia County under a project sponsored by United Nations Development Program under its Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (UNDP GEF SGP).

In this second issue of Laikipia Mali Asili, we focus on water resources and the importance of preserving catchment sites as a crucial element of sustainable land management. Laikipia is relatively water stressed county with large areas of the northern part being semi-arid. Yet the County’s main economic activities namely tourism, agriculture and livestock keeping are highly water-dependent.

ALIN set to participate at the 9th International Conference on CBA9

By Bob Aston 

The 9th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA9) will take place at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya from 24-30 April, 2015. The Government of Kenya is hosting the conference which has been organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS). This year’s conference theme is ‘Measuring and enhancing effective adaptation’.

ALIN Baringo Climate Smart Agriculture Project Featured on Radio Mwananchi

By Milcah Rajula & Noah Lusaka

On 26th February, Sauti Ya Mwananchi Radio, 100.9FM, held a morning radio talk show focused on impacts of climate change and food security in Baringo County. Specifically, the programme focused on community adaptation strategies being implemented such as climate smart agriculture (CSA).

Guests in the show from Baringo County included: Mrs. Alice Sauroki -Chairlady of Nolororo Women Group based at Eldume, Ilchamus Ward; Ms Jennifer Kipkazi -Director Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Energy and Mining; Mr. Titus Pario-traditional weather forecaster from Lake 94; Mr. Noah Lusaka, Projects Manager- Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN); and Mr. Kurunzi, host of the show.

ALIN launches Nolororo Horticulture project in Baringo County

By Joyce Okuta and Noah Lusaka

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) on March 13, 2015 launched Nolororo Horticulture Project in Ilchamus Ward in Marigat Sub County. ALIN in partnership with Act Change Transform (Act!), with financial support from Department for International Development (DFID) and Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) is implementing a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project in Baringo County with the aim of strengthening communities’ resilience to impacts of climate change while conserving natural resources.

Ngarua Maarifa Centre hosts budget public hearing

By Murigi Ndung’u

The Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia County on February 18, 2015 played host to a public hearing on preparation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget 2015/16-2017/18. The public hearing, which was organized by the County Government of Laikipia through the County treasury, was attended by among others the County Revenue Officer, Ol-Moran Ward Administrator and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) Project Manager, Noah Lusaka.

Laikipia Farmers Encouraged to Adopt Conservation Agriculture

By Bob Aston

Conservation agriculture is emerging as an alternative farming method by many smallholder farmers. In a bid to show farmers the difference between conservation and conventional agriculture, Participatory Approaches for Integrated Development (PAFID) organized a farmer’s field day at Nyakinyua area of Kinamba Division in Laikipia County on August 27, 2014.

ALIN Partners with VSO Jitolee to Establish Kiranga Maarifa Centre

By Faith Kisiangani

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) has partnered with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Jitolee to establish Kiranga Maarifa Centre. The Maarifa Centre is expected to be a section of Kiranga Youth Polytechnic and it aims at improving Kiranga communities’ access to knowledge and Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills.

ALIN Trains UNDP GEF SGP Grantees on Blogging to Spur Knowledge Sharing

By Noah Lusaka and Bob Aston

As an additional way of aiding knowledge sharing between its grantees working in Laikipia County, UNDP’s Global Environment Fund (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) has facilitated the training and capacity building of the grantees in citizen journalism by ALIN. The training took place at a Nyahururu Hotel between July 22 and 24, 2014.

ALIN Wins YoBloCo Awards 2014

The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) is among the nine (9) winners of the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards). ALIN emerged the best in East Africa region in the Institutional category through their blog Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV), thus winning Euro 3,000.

The winners were announced on July 17, 2014 during the cocktail dinner organized at the International Fin4Ag Conference at Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Improving Irrigation Systems for Baringo and Laikipia Farmers

Farmers in Baringo and Laikipia County, Kenya will benefit from water saving irrigation technology systems set to be introduced in their county according to ALIN’s Projects Manager, Noah Lusaka.

Kajiado County Agriculture Executive Commits to Support Adaptation Project

A team from ALIN on July 1, 2014 held a meeting with the Kajiado County Executive Member in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Tourism, Hon. Joshua Majakusi in his office. The meeting marked the beginning of a formal engagement process with the Kajiado County Government in the context of the ongoing Project implemented by ALIN in partnership with Act! The is focusing on climate change adaptation; support for communities to take up climate smart agriculture and the formulation of responsive policies and laws to enhance the adaptive capacities of communities in the County.


By Anthony Mugo

A team from ALIN staff made up of the; Deputy Director Anthony Mugo, Projects Officer Esther Lung’ahi and Field Officer Sammy Nzioka paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the County Assembly of Laikipia, Hon Patrick Mariru accompanied by Hon Jennifer Koinante (Speaker of County Assembly) on June 11, 2014. They briefed the Speaker about the Advocacy and Smart Agriculture Project being implemented in partnership with Act!

Demonstration Farms Prove Popular Among Laikipia Farmers

Demonstration plots have been used for a long time as training grounds for farmers on best farming practices. Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, MEA Ltd (a fertilizer manufacturing company) and Kenya Seed Company Ltd to set up the demonstration plots in Nga’rua Division, Laikipia West, Lakipikia County in Kenya. During a capacity building training organized by ALIN for members of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society in April 2014, Charles Nderitu, a resident of Naibrom in Laikipia County volunteered to be among five (5) farmers who would set aside part of their land to be used as a demonstration plot.

ALIN Showcases Use of Sokopepe at Kitui Trade Fair

On November 27, 2013, ALIN participated at a Stakeholders’ Forum convened by the Kitui County’s Ministry of Trade, ICT, Industry and Cooperatives. This was at the invitation of the Minister in charge of the docket Hon. James Mwinzi Jonah. The Forum, which took place at a Kitui Hotel and was attended by representatives the Ministry of Agriculture, National Ministry of Trade (The Public Private Partnerships Section), banks, local businessmen and range of local stakeholders.

Ngarua Maarifa Centre Hosts Ford Foundation Official

Laikipia West County-based Ng’arua Maarifa Centre last played host to the Ford Foundation’s Program Officer in charge of the Ford Foundation’s Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households Program, Ivan Tumuhimbise.