KRA Business Social Enterprise
KRA recently went commercial by launching a new business wing which has been registered as a limited private company -Agro-Tech Innovations Development Services (ATIDS)-in short Agro-Tech. The business wing aims to bring viable technological innovations closer to farmers using a business approach that incorporates other stakeholders such as micro-finance institutions and banks to offer affordable credit to farmers while Agro-Tech guarantees a return to investments hence cushioning both farmers and lenders.
The technological innovations being promoted are cost-effective and suitable to different agro-ecological zones, farmers preference and economic capabilities, which include: farm ponds, low-head drip irrigation systems, locally designed and assembled low cost greenhouses among other complementary technologies.
Currently, KRA is partnering with Rafiki Bank, a micro finance institution that has developed an attractive credit package for small holder farmers with an aim of transforming them from subsistence to commercial agriculture. To kick start this partnership KRA held two successful farmers’ forums in Laikipia East with a group of farmers registered under an umbrella community based organization known as Umande Rainwater Harvesting Project and Lamulia Rainwater Group and the response was both encouraging and promising. Over 100 farmers were in attendance and as of now follow up activities for interested farmers are on going.
It is envisaged that this approach will bring viable business solutions that would otherwise be beyond reach of most smallholder farmers and in turn encourage them to change their attitudes towards available credit services while also empowering farmers against the effects of changing economic trends.
National Stakeholders Workshop 2013
On 22-24 July 2013, KRA held a national planning and stakeholders workshop at Wida Highway Hotel in Nairobi, to launch a three year project that is funded by the Afican Water Facility/African Development Bank which will be implemented by KRA in three semi arid counties of Kenya. The workshop brought together project beneficiaries, partner organizations, DAOs/DWOs, stakeholders and individuals in the field of water, food security, climate change and WASH.
The aim of the workshop was to review the project implementation plan and share experiences among stakeholders. The evaluation on RHM systems, which was commissioned by the project in 20 ASALs districts, was presented by the District Water Officers and District Agricultural Officers (DWOs/DAOs). The evaluation focused on past experiences and impacts of RHM projects in the selected districts, and aimed to demonstrate and identify opportunities for scaling up and analyze viable solutions to challenges facing the promotion and adoption of RHM systems in Kenya. Development partners also showcased their initiatives covering different parts of the country and informative discussions were held on various key aspects of rainwater harvesting including strengthening sustainability, challenges affecting scaling up, research and development, donor funding mechanisms and opportunities and lessons learnt from past projects. The workshop was a big success as it provided a platform for knowledge and experience sharing among stakeholders present as well as learning about the current and upcoming technologies in water harvesting, food security and climate change.
Livelihoods of most rural communities in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL), which cover about 80% of Kenya and 70% of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), are frequently disrupted by persistent droughts and related famine associated with climate change. This is due to erratic, low and unpredictable rainfall. The communities are mainly pastoralists but agro-pastoralism is becoming common and pastoralists are being pushed to marginal areas. This has resulted to conflicts over diminishing pasture and scarce water sources among communities in a bid to sustain their livestock. Moreover, recurrent drought/famine being experienced in the Greater Horn of Africa calls for more sustainable interventions in order to reduce the negative effects on livelihoods. It is against this background that KRA and the African Water Facility through the African Development Bank entered into a partnership under a project entitled:“Scaling up of Integrated Rainwater Harvesting and Management and Complimentary Livelihood Systems in Semi Arid Districts of Kenya”
The three year project targets two pastoral communities in semi arid Baringo district- Kaptai and Cheptolil Self Help Groups and two agro-pastoral (small holder farmers) communities in semi-arid Kiambu West and Laikipia East districts. The main goal of the project is to contribute to the mainstreaming of Rainwater Harvesting and Management (RHM) in the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in response to rural development challenges posed by climate change in drought prone regions of Kenya. It also seeks to promote scaling up of integrated RHM systems and complementary technologies in order to reduce poverty, increase food security, enhance climate change adaptation and diversification of livelihoods. It is envisaged that an average of 150,000 small holder farmers in the three districts will benefit from the project
To partly offset the project Franz Hollhuber, Task Manager-African Water Facility accompanied by Dr. Stephen Ngigi- KRA Programmes Coordinator conducted a visit to KRA past projects sites in Laikipia East district on 14th May 2013 and met with members of Umande Self Help Group. The group is also among one of the project beneficiaries for this project. Since KRAs introduction of the farmpond techology to the group in 2008, Umande Self Help Group has continued to grow in leaps and bounds with a current membership of 6000 small holder farmers who have been organized into 48 Self Help Groups.It is hoped that the group which has been acting as demonstration sites in the area will provide a good opportunity for up scaling of the project to the rest of the country through knowledge and experience sharing. Franz shared different innovative ideas with the group ranging from marketing techniques to record keeping stating that the group has the potential to grow into a farmers cooperative in future. The visit ended with a two day procurement workshop training at the African Development Bank offices in Nairobi with KRA team in attendance.
Later on in July, KRA is scheduled to hold a project planning workshop to deliberate the way forward on the implementation process of the entire project. The workshop will bring together all the project stakeholders including representatives from the target beneficiary groups to formulate a well coordinated approach in order to achieve successful implementation of the project.
New Year; New Tank!
It has been a few months since our last update on the GlobalGiving/KRA water project at Matuiku Primary School and we have lots of news! On 24 November 2012, the second block of latrines and the cement water tank were officially opened and big celebrations were held at the school! Now with this tank and the donated plastic tank, the school has the capacity to store up to 60,000 litres of water – enough to last for at least a month!
New masonry water tank for Matuiku pupils
As a new term begins, the pupils of Matuiku school can officially reduce their water-carrying burden. The KRA 50,000-litre capacity water tank has now been completed and is ready for action. Metal guttering now lines the roof of the school to catch the rainwater and the recent, unexpected rains in Kenya are filling up the tank nicely for the dry months ahead.
As part of the construction phase, a water point with two taps was also built six metres away from the tank. The children can fill up their water bottles and wash their hands there, rather than trekking to the river or carrying water in jerry-cans from home.
The nuts and bolts
For those interested in the technical detail of the tank construction, here are a few words from our Technical Officer, Ronald Kamadi:
“The tank walls were constructed using dressed stones which were then plastered over to a thickness of 20mm with layers of barbed wire and chicken wire. A mortar mix of sand and cement was used for the wall plastering and to provide thick flooring on top of the concrete slab. The dome-shaped tank roof was constructed using timber, concrete and reinforced bars, held up by poles inside. The tank roof and outlet have lockable man-holes to carry out repairs. The guttering system enters the tank via a “foul-flash” self-cleaning system. This system ensures that when it first rains after a dry spell, the dust which builds up during dry periods is first flushed away and diverted from the storage tank to prevent contamination.”
“We no longer fear our latrines”
The children at the school are no longer scared to use the latrines! The new KRA latrines have provided reassurance to the children and their parents. The old latrines regularly collapsed due to the soil quality in the area and the weak structures. The head-teacher reported that at least three children had fallen into the pit due to this issue. Lining the pits with masonry prevents this problem and this is just what KRA has done!
Our Matuiku school project still remains active on GlobalGiving as we raise further funds and co-donors to support the final phase of the project – the construction of the 50,000-litre capacity farm pond and drip irrigation system for vegetables. A further block of latrines is also planned! All the best for the next few months and we will be keep you all posted with further updates!!
New Latrines for Matuiku
On 26 May 2012, the children of Matuiku Primary School, realised their long-held dreams for new latrines and clean water. Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) came to the school (in Nyandarua North district of Kenya, a semi-arid area) on a saturday morning to officially commission the latrines and new water stand for the rainwater harvesting tank, and hand them over to the school.
The support of many
The journey to reach this point started in August 2011 when KRA launched the Global Giving campaign August challenge to raise much-needed funds for a rainwater harvesting system and improved sanitary facilities for Matuiku school. 98 donors from around the world participated in KRA’s challenge to raise a minimum of $4,000 in order that we could start the project as well as win a permanent spot on Global Giving’s website. We managed both – thanks to our wonderful supporters.
To date, we have raised $5,181. This has enabled us to fund the construction of the latrines and the tank base. The other activities we had hoped to do, were construction of a larger tank (50,000 litres) and a farm pond (50,000 litres) and drip irrigation system for vegetable growing. These activities will need to wait as we try to raise more funds (total to reach goal is another $12,000).
Construction work on the ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines began in February of this year. There are four latrines for girls and two for the teachers. The boys already had fairly good standard latrines. The latrines have a special vent pipe which prevents build-up of odour and reduces flies and mosquitos. Built securely with concrete and designed to be very private, they are far better than the typical wooden door latrines with pits that can collapse at any time. Girls in rural areas often miss school for up to four days per month in Kenya due to unsuitable latrine facilities and lack of privacy (mixed latrines). These new latrines at Matuiku will ensure girls feel comfortable coming to school throughout the year and are able to focus on their school-work. In addition, a solid concrete support to hold the 10,000-litre water tank (donated by Tile and Carpet Ltd. last year) with a tap for easy access to the water was constructed. This will ensure children can wash their hands and get water for drinking.
Tree planting and de-worming
Not only have the children benefitted from improved water and sanitation facilities, but with the support of AAR Health Insurance, a tree-planting project commenced at the school in March. 150 trees have already been planted and the children taught to care for the trees. If all goes well, more trees will be planted in September 2012. In addition, AAR provided a free de-worming service to 140 of the school children. De-worming at least every six months in Kenya is very important, particularly for young children.
Joyful commissioning ceremony
The commissioning event saw all the children gathered in the school grounds to witness the ceremony and try out their new latrines for the first time. The Projects Coordinator for KRA, Dr. Stephen Ngigi announced that the latrines and stand were officially open and was accompanied by Technical Assistant, Ronald Kamadi, who has tirelessly managed the construction. The Headteacher, Mr. John Ndegwa, was visibly overjoyed, as were the children, particularly the girls! Spot the difference in our photos below of new and old latrines!
It is clear to see that the situation at Matuiku Primary School has vastly improved and we will keep reporting back on how the children are doing.
Did you know that Global Giving now have a giftcard scheme where you can donate to our project on behalf of a friend or family member for their birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day gift etc… Read more here:
KRA Wins Challenge!
Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) has successfully won a permanent spot on the Global Giving website. By the end of the challenge, KRA had managed to raise $4,720 from 87 donations in a bid to build a rainwater harvesting system for Matuiku Primary School in Ndaragwa Division in Nyandarua North District of Kenya. The school has no running water and sub-standard sanitation facilities.
What is Global Giving?
Global Giving is an international online giving platform. Our permanent place on the site means that KRA can now access international donors who are used to online donations via credit and debit card. Global Giving works hard to give opportunities for online giving presence to any non-profit who can successfully complete one of their challenges and pass their due diligence process.
Our Rainwater Harvesting Project
The children of Matuiku Primary School urgently need access to clean water and improved sanitation. KRA’s goal is to raise a total of $17,210 in order to provide the pupils with a rainwater storage tank, farm pond with drip irrigation, improved latrines, and capacity building. This project will improve the health and education of 137 students and give them a better chance of securing a good education with less time spent collecting water and fewer sick days. The photos below show the types of technologies we plan to introduce! KRA implements low-cost, sustainable projects in partnership with the community.
We Won The Challenge – Why Are We Still Fundraising?
We were very successful in the challenge and achieved our goal of $4,000. However, the total cost to build a rainwater harvesting system for Matuiku Primary School is $17,210. We will continue to source donations and fundraise in many ways, until we reach the project cost. Please donate if you can via our Global Giving site.
Matuiku Primary School Receives Tank Gift from Top Tank
Latest News: Draught Animal Technology Training
A week-long, intensive, practical and theoretical draught animal technology (DAT) training event took place from 6–10 June 2011. The training was part of the New Life Mission/KRA project on rainwater harvesting and food security, in Mashuru district of Kenya. DAT is a method of using animals to draw simple equipment which can be used to plough and conserve the land. KRA uses DAT for the plough, the tined harrow (to scratch dry ground to allow rain to infiltrate), and the dam scoop (to de-silt earth dams/water pans). DAT is a very effective and affordable way of improving the soil moisture content of the water catchment and encouraging increased crop production.
The training event involved the following key components, both practical and theoretical sessions:
- Animal Traction in Kenya
- Animal Selection, Age Estimates, Training, Harnessing
- Animal Needs, Restraining Techniques, Commands, Guiding Principles
- Mould Board, Ploughs, Adjustments, Field Marking
- Cultivators, Planters Utilisation, Stripping and Adjustment, Care and Maintenance
- Harrows, Ridgers, Dam Scoop
- Conservation Tillage and Equipment
Feedback from the training has been very positive. Participants felt it was an excellent learning experience and a good forum to learn about and practice new farming techniques which will ultimately help improve livelihoods and conserve the environment.
Latest News: Mogotio/Koibatek Site Launch
On 30th April 2011, KRA facilitated the official launch of the Mogotio/Koibatek district dam site, one of the year 3 sites for the European Union (EU)/Skillshare project. The KRA Projects Coordinator and the Area District Officer jointly flagged off the construction machinery o the site to officially commence the work. Witnessing the activity were the stakeholders and the larger Lelen community who cheerfully clapped and shouted with joy as the earth mover made the first cuts through the soil. The water pan is expected to hold up to 33 million litres of water at full capacity. The media were then briefed on the project the benefits highlighted. The KRA team also welcomed questions from stakeholders during the interview.
The event then proceeded with a meeting of the stakeholders and the beneficiaries at Lelen Primary School. The community appreciated and welcomed the visitors with songs and dance that showcased relief from the burden of walking for many kilometres in search of water. The Project Management Committee thanked KRA for choosing the Lelen community as a project site to promote integrated rainwater harvesting. She promised that her committee will work hand in hand to support the implementation of the project activities. The Constituency Development Fund Committee pledged a donation to cover the cost of the community contribution.
The community was taken through the integrated components of the project, followed by the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement. The components include:
- Construction of 33,000m3 earth dam including auxiliary structures that will benefit 600 households and an estimated 5,000 animals.
- Construction of improved community sanitary facilities at the earth dam site.
- Introduction and demonstration of complementary technologies and supplementary livelihood systems (e.g. micro irrigation, tree /vegetables seedling nurseries, and drought animal technology.
- Promotion and demonstration of improved bee-keeping and honey production (apiculture).
- Introduction of fodder production and preservation (manual hay baler).
- Construction of a roof catchment system at Lelen Primary School consisting of 50m3 rainwater storage tank, guttering system and water regulation unit
- Construction of improved sanitation facilities at Lelen Primary School.
- Construction of 50m3 farm pond and installation of drip irrigation system for vegetable production for the school feeding programme.
- Capacity building on various project management aspects to enhance sustainability.
Latest News: Kathungu Commissioning
In February 2011, Patty Hall, the President and Co-Founder of US schools water charity H2O for Life, came to Kenya to commission the Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) Kathungu Women’s Water project. With support from H2O for Life, KRA have implemented a project to improve a sand dam near Kathungu Primary School.
The sand dam improvement has involved the construction of a shallow well with hand pump, and two cattle troughs (with fencing) to improve the levels and quality of water and separate the water sources so that the water in the natural pools downstream from the sand dam are not being contaminated by livestock drinking from the same water. A one-foot high weir was also constructed to raise the water level the natural dam pools, plus fencing round these pools. The result is a clean and easily accessible water source which now has no risk of contamination.
H2O for Life
H2O for Life is a non-profit organisation designed to create partnerships between schools in the USA and schools in developing countries. Their goal is to partner an individual school in the USA with a school in a developing country that lacks water, sanitation, and hygiene. Through service learning projects and awareness-raising events in the US, the schools raise funds. This project moved away from this traditional model, as it involved a women’s group as the focus, rather than a school. However, the school is located very close to the dam so will greatly benefit from the clean water access.
- Increased and improved access to a sustainable water supply for community members and livestock.
- Easy access to clean water through the safe water abstraction point.
- Protection and division of valuable water sources to prevent contamination from livestock.
- Improved food security as a result of water to assist with growing vegetables.
- Improved school attendance and mean scores due to less time spent collecting water.
The commissioning was a great success and the children were presented with H2O for Life stickers and badges as a celebration of the event. Speeches were made to thank KRA and H2O for Life and to comment on the success of the water structures. One of the village elders, Mr. Musila Yumbya, said: ”I think our place is the driest in the world and our greatest problem is water. We are all moving in one direction now – finding ways in which we can get enough water.” Patty Hall praised the success of the project and looked to the future: “I am honoured that you put my name on your well and I hope it gives you water for years to come. We are very happy working with KRA and we are already talking about getting latrines for the girls at the school.”
Latest News: Nyandarua North Commissioning
Nyandarua North district was one of the 2nd year project sites for the EU/Skillshare project and on 19th February 2011 it was officially commissioned and handed over to the community. The project has been very successful and the community members are now motivated to maintain the water structures and ensure long-term sustainability. We are very grateful to the partners who provided match funding for this site: Constituency Development Fund, Safaricom Foundation, and Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund.
- 31 farm ponds of 50m3 in size, lined with ultra-violet resistant plastic and roofed with iron sheets.
- 31 simple manual hand pumps for lifting the water from the farm ponds.
- 31 low-head drip irrigation systems (50-litre jerrican kits) for vegetable production.
- 1 communal tree/vegetable seedling nursery at the school and 300 fruit tree seedlings.
- Community capacity building on various project aspects with an exchange visit to Molo and Nakuru districts.
- Ndururi Primary School received a comprehensive package of: a roof catchment system and 50m3 rainwater masonry storage tank, a farm pond and micro-irrigation system, and gender-separate ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines.
The KRA and the Safaricom teams arrived at Ndururi Primary School – the venue for the commissioning – in the afternoon and were greeted by representatives of the Mutitu Wendani Self-help Group (the local community-based organisation) and parents of Ndururi Primary School and local leaders. The guests were warmly welcomed by the entire community with songs and dancing as they approached the venue. The local leaders welcomed the guests, and after a brief introduction, the guests were shown different project components at the school for official cutting of the tape and commissioning.
Speeches and Impacts
A number of speeches were made by the development partners, and they all agreed that the project was a clear success and thanked the community for their commitment and enthusiasm. Specific hoped-for impacts include:
- Increased and improved access to a sustainable water supply for farmers and the school.
- Nutritional benefits from the vegetables grown from farm ponds and drip irrigation systems.
- Opportunities to scale-up farming activities and enter the marketplace (e.g. greenhouse construction in order to grow tomatoes year-round).
- Alternative livelihood options which require water for success (e.g. horticultural production).
- Reduced incidences of water-borne diseases due to improved sanitation (VIP latrines) and hygiene education.
- Development opportunities (building new classrooms) using money saved from buying water.
- Enhanced environmental conservation and watershed management – sources of tree seedlings and tree planting campaign.
- Improved school attendance and mean scores due to less time spent collecting water.
However the Mutito Wendani Self-help Group do not want to stop there. They have plans to upgrade their lives and livelihoods further by expanding the group and sourcing for more funds to build a new school classroom and hand-washing facilities, as well as increasing their tree seedling and vegetable planting.