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Agriculture and water lifting in East Kenya

From 5th till 10th July 2011 the project coordinator visited the Eastern Province of Kenya to participate actively in the rehabilitation of boreholes. Together with an expert for drilling, who offered his service s for free, four boreholes were inspected.

Already in 2006 a severe drought had hit Kenya. At that time with financial support from NAC USA seven boreholes had been drilled. The technical supervision of the drilling was not sufficient. In addition there was no feeling of ownership from the side of the beneficiaries to handle the borehole in a sustainable way. Therefore very soon after the completion of the water point no water could be lifted anymore. The population, mainly children and women, had to walk long distances to fetch water from dirty ponds or illegally tap water from public water lines.

At the end of the week one water point was rehabilitated and the problems of the other boreholes had been diagnosed and solutions discussed.

Rehabilitation of further boreholes

Mr. Spannbauer, the expert on drilling, is preparing at the moment for another trip to Kenya. He is convinced that at the end of his mission all the seven boreholes shall be operational again. He has donated tools and consumables worth 3,500 EUR to guarantee that the trained locals can sustain the functioning of the pumps.

During the week from 5th till 10th July it was considered to start a further project together with KUMEA, the local nongovernmental organization of NAC in Kenya. The church has the allowance from the government to drill 100 boreholes. For that a used rig shall be bought in Germany. Mr. Spannbauers company will repair and adapt the drilling equipment to the local conditions prevailing in Kenya. After that a Kenyan machine operator shall be instructed in Germany or Kenya. At the same time a team of helpers is chosen and trained. With gained experience with the machine additional jobs can be acquired after the completion of the 100 boreholes. Also missions to the neighboring countries like Uganda and Tanzania can be envisaged.  The necessary sum of 200,000 EUR shall be generated by participating in the ideas competition of the GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and by forming strategic alliances between the German Government, German companies and local beneficiaries.

Cooperation of KUMEA with Sustainet

Since his beginning KUMEA is working together with the GIZ funded nongovernmental organization Sustainet. Aim of this cooperation is to sensitize farmers in Central-and East Kenya for the principles of conservation agriculture. Demonstration plots were visited. Here it became in a poignantly way clear that the drought had not spared the region at the foot of Mount Kenya.

In one case it was the non availability of the seeds for the cover plants, in another case the lack of rain after the sowing which stopped the germination of the maize and the cover plants. Dried up yellow corn stalks without cobs and non germinated cover crops – this was the harvest only. But all farmers will try it again the next season.

New project with chicken owners

A group of future female chicken owners exchanged with KUMEA their ideas and expectations. Without financial or technical support they had already built hen houses. Now they wait for the distribution of eight laying hens to each group member.

One group has 15 members and each group exist already. The regional veterinary service organizes the vaccination campaign and trains the women on questions of feeding. A marketing strategy doesn’t exist yet but the women are confident to gain a steady income with the sale of the eggs and hens.

NAK karitativ had decided to support the chicken rearing project with 12,000 EUR.

The limited time frame and the long distances between the various project regions didn’t allow a visit of the two other projects initiated by KUMEA: bee keeping and dairy cow multiplication. It has to make up for this during the next travel. Then the effects of the drought shall also be better measured and interpreted.