Friday, December 14, 2012
Practical Answers is an online technical information service initiated by Practical Action, an NGO which works in over 40 developing countries through use of technology to challenge poverty. The platform is equipped with appropriate technology resources which range from energy, food and Agriculture,water and sanitation,disaster reduction,Climate Change,Markets,transport,new technologies, waste management,infrastructure, reconstruction and urban poverty. These information resources are practically tailored to the simple language possible suit the user.They range from posters, newsletters, PDF documents, publications, short videos ,among others.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
When Faith Mbithe Mutangili heard of an ICT training opportunity from a friend, she immediately visited Mutomo Maarifa Centre and enrolled for the course.
Two months down the lane, Faith is grateful for taking advantage of the opportunity; the skills played a big role in her securing a job as a voter registration clerk with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
The 23 year old graduate says that the ICT skills acquired are imperative in the day to day work as a registration clerk whose main duty is to type and record voter details.
During the 2 month long training , Miss.Mutangili went through 5 computer packages which included: Introduction to Computers,MS Word,Ms Excel, Ms PowerPoint and Communication technology.
“ My typing skills have improved, I can now prepare PowerPoint presentation and have improved my internet skills,” says Faith who is stationed at Mwamba Market polling station.
Faith congratulates ALIN for a job well done and urges them to offer more computer packages in future for diversity.
When 35 year old George Nzuki Mutuva heard a vacancy announcement on Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission(IEBC) recruitment on registration clerks, he was only too happy to apply for the opportunity.But there was a setback; one of the requirements was that an applicant must be IT compliant.
And although Mr.Mutuva had done a computer course in college, he felt that he lacked the practical skills necessary to be efficient in the job he had applied for.
He therefore visited Mutomo Maarifa Centre and had a discussion with the Field Officer so that he could be attending hourly ICT training every day for a period of two weeks for practical sessions.To attend these sessions, Mr.Mutuva had to cycle 60 KM everyday from his Ndatani Location home.
However, this was not in vain,Mr.Mutuva successfully acquired the practical skills needed for the job and is now a voter registration clerk based at Ndatani polling station in Kyatune Location.
“I can now comfortably use a computer to register voters and I attribute this to the training I received from the Maarifa Centre,” says George adding that he was very impressed with the Maarifa Centre services and congratulates ALIN for the good work they are doing.
Monday, December 10, 2012
At Kongo Primary School polling station, Lillian Malunde Mulei is busy registering voters.Lillian is one of the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) registration clerks recently contracted to implement the voter registration process.
The trained P1 teacher says that she would not have secured this position were it not for a free ICT training she acquired from Mutomo Maarifa Centre.Mrs.Mulei was among the first community members to benefit from the opportunity at its inception on January this year.Her testimony had been compiled before as she was attending with her 63 year old father (http://mutomomaarifa.blogspot.com/2012/02/father-and-daughter-in-class.html)
“ I am now computer literate and can access information online.These skills enabled me apply for the IEBC job online though the free internet services at the Maarifa Centre,” says Lillian who adds that she travelled 15 Kilometers each day to attend training sessions.
Mrs.Mulei’s duty as a registering clerk is majorly registering voters using the Bio Metric Voter Registration(BVR ) kit.
Lillian adds that she is grateful that the ICT training opportunity has helped her secure a job and applauds ALIN’s services for uplifting Mutomo community’s living standards.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Josephine Mwende Kamene has a noble dream in life; to study hard, earn money and start a children’s home!The 19 year old physically challenged youth who wants to pursue a career in accounting has enrolled for a free ICT training training opportunity at Mutomo Maarifa Centre to make this dream a reality.
But what sets this enthusiastic youth apart from the other trainees is her determination to acquire this knowledge despite odds.Josephine has a mental condition known as Spastic Cerebral Palsy,a condition which has affected her speech and hand movement.
Because of her condition,Josephine cannot exploit computer applications normally and therefore holds a pen with her mouth to navigate the keyboard.
“I enrolled for this opportunity because I wanted to acquire further knowledge,” says Josephine who is a living proof to the saying that’ disability is not inability’
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Sister.Jeniffer Kiuni,his English teacher who is a regular Maarifa Centre user spotted the story books during an internet browsing session and enquired if she could borrow for her class.She borrowed 30 story books which the pupils read in turns.
“More than 72 pupils benefited from the storybooks with one of them reading a total of 12 different storybooks ,” says Sr.Jennifer adding that after every reading session, the pupils would retell the skills gained through discussions. “I have seen great improvement in pronunciation and composition writing,”says Sr.Jennifer.
Her sentiments are echoed by the pupils,Peter says that his grammar skills as well as his composition writing skills have improved tremendously. “I have learnt new words and my spelling skills are also good.” He says.
Munii Mbeti also feels the same.She says that she has gained pronunciation skills,new words,spelling and she also learnt new words. “Every time I came across a new word, I would always look it up in the Dictionary thus expanding my word vocabulary,” says the 14 year old girl.On the other hand,Halima Samuel says that story books have given her good sentence construction.
Sr.Kiuni applauds the library resource and says that she intends to continue borrowing in future.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Mutomo District is one of the driest areas in Eastern province. It is marginal and semi-arid and falls within the millet livestock zone. The area receives a bimodal type of rainfall between the months of October -November and March - April. The rest of the period is usually dry. The rainfall received in the area is usually unreliable, erratic and poorly distributed. The district experiences crop failure and water shortage in most years with a reasonable harvest being realized once in six years.
As such, residents usually experience food shortages and mostly rely on relief food for sustenance. Crops that do well here are those that need little amounts of rainfall like millet, sorghum, cowpeas etc. However, the community is still stuck on the belief that maize is the crop to grow. Extensive sensitization is needed to remove the community from this maize syndrome era.
However, a small number of farmers have seen the light and have resorted to growing traditional crops like cassava, sorghum, millet, cowpeas, green grams and cassava.
Wikwatyo wa Kandae Self-Help group is among the farmer groups that have embraced growing of cassava as a way of adapting to climate change and achieving food security. With cassava cuttings from Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the group embraced cassava production in the year 2010.
On November 13th 2012, the group members were privileged to have a community exchange forum hosted by ALIN at Mutomo Mission Hospital hall. During this forum community members viewed a locally produced cassava value chain photo-audio story showing cassava farming as one of the climate adaptation strategies in Mutomo.
Farmers also had an opportunity to interact with Dr. Cyrus Githunguri (PhD), an Agronomist and Crop Physiologist with KARI for a Q and A session where farmers sought knowledge on disease management and cassava market options.
In the pictures from Left-Right; community members watch a photo-audio story on cassava value chain,Faith Musembi is happy to see her picture on the screen,community members during group discussions,Benson Nyamai presents his group discussion notes.
The farmers also had group discussions where they applauded photo-audio storytelling as one of the best mediums of communicating research uptake information by farmers and suggested that extensive extension was needed to sensitize the community on cassava value chain.
Speaking to the farmers during the occasion, Mutomo District Agricultural Officer Mr.Toma Ngovu promised that his department will increase community trainings on cassava utilization.
“The District Agricultural Office also promotes Traditional High Value Crops (THVC) as the type of crops that do well in the harsh climatic conditions. Cassava is named among one of the THVCs.” He pointed out
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Speaking during a National Field Day celebrations at Mwala Sub-Location of Mutomo District, Engineer Nicodemus Kyalo Mwonga from the Ministry of Agriculture also stressed for the need for farmers to embrace water harvesting.
“On farm as well as roof catchment water harvesting techniques are the best water harvesting techniques that can do well in our local situation” said Engineer Mwonga
Partners and stakeholders who participated in the Field Day included other government departments, ALIN, Catholic Diocese of Kitui, Swedish Mutomo Group (SMG) and KREP.
National Field Days are thematic learning fields which give farmers and the community an opportunity to learn different technologies .This year’s theme was ‘Enterprise diversification, early land preparation, on farm water harvesting for improved production’
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Residents of Mutomo District have been told to form co-operatives as a way of poverty eradication towards achieving Millennium Development Goals.
Speaking during a World Food Day held at Kyamuthwa Primary School in Kyatune Location of Mutomo District, Professor Reuben Muasya urged the community to embrace farming as a business as a way of achieving food security.
“It is time farmers embraced farming as a business to for economic stability,” said the Professor of Agronomy and Seed Science who is a lecturer at South Eastern University College (SEUCO ).
Professor Reuben Muasya (right) speaks during the event.Left,Mr.Toma Ngovu,Mutomo District Agricultural Officer.
During the event, Mutomo District Agricultural Officer Mr.Toma Ngovu appealed to the community to take advantage of agricultural extension officers available for extension services.
“Extension is demand driven and the community should visit our office to request for the same,” said Mr.Ngovu urging the community to start early land preparation and plant drought resistant crops as well as planting certified seed which could do well in the area’s climate conditions.
Above,Mutomo Maarifa Centre stand.(Centre),the guest of Honor,Professor Reuben Muasya visits the Min.Of Agriculture stand.Right,Community members sample library resources displayed at Mutomo Maarifa Centre’s stand.
During the event different community groups, government departments and stakeholders displayed indigenous knowledge, services offered and diverse technologies to the farmers.
World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO's Member Countries at the Organization's 20th General Conference in November 1945. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.Since 1981, World Food Day has adopted a different theme each year, in order to highlight areas needed for action and provide a common focus.This year’s World Food Day theme was ‘Agricultural Co-operatives-Key to Feeding the World’
Sunday, September 23, 2012
On visiting the Centre, Mr.Kisyungu was happy to hear about the free services offered. However of interest to him was news about a free computer training opportunity which he enrolled immediately.
This prompted him to move from his home in Kanziko Location, 37 KM away and rent a house in Mutomo town to attend the training sessions. “I secured a barber ship job cater for rent costs during the training period,” says Mr.Kisyungu
After going through the ICT training for 1 and half months, Mr.Kisyungu heard of a job opportunity at Simba Telecom Kenya, a telecommunication business based in Nairobi but which has a branch in Mutomo town.
“Part of the interview was written whereby we were each given a laptop required to type the company’s profile and its services and save it as a word document’’, says Mr.Kinyungu adding that his ICT skills helped him carry out this task and secure a job as a mobile phone airtime marketing agent with the company.
Kinyungu attributes his job to ALIN and the computer skills he acquired. He thanks the organization for training all the community members regardless of education background and social status.
“People tend to shy off about free offers but I am happy to say that the Maarifa Centre is creating opportunities for the Mutomo community,” he quips.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
However, now Esther has a new mission in life, to work hard and save enough money to clear the Kshs.18, 000 fees balance that she owes the school and finally get her certificate.
Ms.Musekele attributes all this to a free ICT training she received through Mutomo Maarifa Centre.
“When my mother was told of the training through an Advisory Committee member, she registered me for the training,” says Esther.
Ms.Musekele, who is physically disabled, says that she drew strength from a well-wisher who would encourage her as she walked 7 KM from her Itumba home to attend training sessions.
“This shopkeeper would tell me to put more effort as she will give me a job when I completed the training,” says Esther.
In keeping up with the promise, the proprietor of Franco Computer Enterprises gave her a one month’s attachment opportunity in August this year. Later she was employed at the enterprise.Her duties at work include typesetting and providing internet services to clients.
“This is my first job and I am very excited,” says the happy girl adding that she is grateful for the ICT trainer for a job well done.She thanks ALIN for the opportunity and the spirit of serving the community.
Six months ago, Beatrice Mutie was a housewife. But when her friends informed her of an ICT training opportunity at Mutomo Maarifa Centre, she was quick to enroll for the opportunity. Today, the 32 year old mother of two is employed.
The 32 year old widow from Kibwea Location in Mutomo Location says since she finished high school in 1994 she has been hoping to further her studies.
Immediately after completing the training, Mrs.Mutie secured a one month’s attachment opportunity at Evatex Computers, a Computer services and printing service provider within Mutomo town. Later, she was employed at the enterprise. Her work at Evatex included typing and printing documents for clients.
“Currently, I am working with online technologies where my duties include typesetting clients’ research assignments” says Beatrice.
Mrs Mutie says that the training opportunity has opened doors for her and she sees a bright future for her family.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Christine Kithinis’s dream in life is to become an accountant. However, since her parents could not afford to take her through the course, the 20 year old has vowed to work her way to college.
“I heard of the ICT opportunity from my cousin who had also undergone the training at the initial phase,” says Christine adding that she had to move in with a relative in Mutomo town to take advantage of the offer.
She enrolled for the July intake where she underwent training in five (5) computer packages namely; introduction to computers, MS Word, Ms Excel, MS PowerPoint, Internet and Email support.
Weeks after the training, Ms Kithini has secured an employment opportunity at Inter Services Enterprises, a computer services business within Mutomo town. As an employee at the enterprise, Christine’s duties include typesetting and printing documents.
“This job has given me a source of income. I am now independent and I live in my own house,” Christine says happily.
She adds that her future plan is to save money to pursue a her career job and thanks ALIN for the opportunity quoting that were it not for the free opportunity, she would not have been able to afford the training.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Nzisa Elizabeth’s dream in life is to become a community development worker. To achieve this goal, the 29 year old realizes that it is important to get a good education. Her passion is to one day to work with her community.
Towards that, Ms. Elizabeth has enrolled for a Certificate in Community Development and Social Work at the Coast School of Accountancy in Mutomo town.
However, good education came with excess costs of purchasing reading material.Whereas,buying the necessary books is costly,Nzisa’s main challenge has been in getting the necessary reference material for her course work. Ms. Elizabeth will be sitting for a UK based exam at the end of the 2 year course.
“These kind of reference material are not easy to get .This has forced me to rely on the internet for material which takes a lot of time and money,” says Nzisa
Therefore, Ms.Elizabeth has exploited the library resource at Mutomo Maarifa Centre. Here, she has access to reference material for her course work.
She praises the Maarifa Centre for their library resource and information services citing that it has given her a reference point for her studies and enabled her to save cost in buying study books.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
50 year old Angelina Mutua has never been to school. As such she cannot read or write. But when she heard of an opportunity to attend a technical training on goat diseases, control and treatment she was only happy to attend. She had enough reasons to attend the training; four of her goats had died mysteriously and she was curious to know how she could overcome these problems.
A member of Kwola Mathina Self Help Group, Mrs.Mutua has benefitted from goats that were given to the group by Disaster Risk Management, a project under the Catholic Diocese of Kitui. Under this project, group members were given goats for improved nutrition and poverty alleviation.
Community members during the technical training
According to the Chairlady Mrs.Domitila Muimi, the group which has a membership of 68 (64F, 4M) members has a total of 108 goats as of now. However, group members lacked knowledge on how to treat the goats whenever diseases attacked them.
When Mutomo Maarifa Centre visited the group for an information needs mapping outreach activities on March this year, group members listed down goat diseases, treatment and control as one of the information gaps they needed addressed for them to effectively run their project. Members expressed a need to acquire knowledge on the same….Read more
Monday, June 18, 2012
“I had gone to the Maarifa Centre to enquire on computer training but to my surprise I found out that they also have library services and had very informative books,” says Mr.Musya
Mr.Musya has borrowed 10 books from the Maarifa Centre with a span of one year. These range from Project management books, community development to dry land farming resource materials.
The training is offered by Scott Christian University and sponsored by the World Vision. Currently, 36 students are enrolled for the project. However, trainees have to source for their own reading and reference materials.Mr.Musya says that Mutomo Maarifa Centre has bridged that gap for him as it were not for the Maarifa Centre, he would have had to buy the books from other sources thus incurring extra costs.
“The books have helped me prepare study notes for my exams and carry out general research on my studies,” says Mr.Musya .adding that he has also been borrowing community mobilization and project management books from the Centre which have assisted him mobilize two Self-Help groups in his community
He praises ALIN for the community Maarifa Centre citing that it’s a very important organization in the community as far as knowledge provision is concerned
Mr.Musya is a Pastor based in Mwamba Village, Kibwea Location of Mutomo District. He cycles 16 KM every time he wants to borrow a book from the Maarifa Centre.
He expects that acquiring the Diploma will enable him secure employment as a community development worker and improve his livelihood.
Friday, June 8, 2012
However due to water shortage in the area members have developed a duty rota for bringing 20 Litres of water weekly each from nearby Nzeeu River, a seasonal river one Kilometre away.This water is usually dirty and salty which led to clogging of the drip irrigation system.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Mutomo District is an arid and semi-arid district in Eastern Kenya, approximately 230 KM from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. The area receives a minimum rainfall of about 350-750 mm. The district is predominantly inhabited by the Kamba community .Residents here depend on small scale agriculture and keeping of drought resistant domestic animals. As such the community is always in need of learning new farming technologies and sustainable agriculture that can do well in the harsh climatic conditions. A group of farmers in Kwa toma village, Kyatune Location in Mutomo District has joined hands in achieving this objective.
Comprising of 16 members Mola Mathina Self-Help group was started in1992 with an aim of ensuring members have quality seed. According to the group’s Chairlady Mrs. Florence Kanini Sammy, the purpose of coming together was to share knowledge among members and practice smart farming. “Our main activity is seed bulking for income generation,” says Mrs. Sammy adding that the group also supports members by giving them food during the planting season
Extension servicesHowever changing climatic conditions has seen the group adopt new farming technologies due to the diminishing rainfall amounts...Read more
Friday, May 25, 2012
By Rhoda Musili & Arnold Mukala
The free community training is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded to ALIN in August 2011 to implement various community activities. The main goal of the community IT training is to enable communities’ access opportunities and resources available globally and to catalyse youth entrepreneurship for livelihoods improvement.
Reaching the Mutomo Community
In a bid to reach all the community members the Field Officer used the Maarifa centre Advisory Committee members, public Barazas, notice boards at strategic places like District Commissioner’s compound and even churches to pass the word across. A form was designed to register those interested and captured the following trainee details like name, age, level of education, occupation, preferred time for training and how the trainees planned to utilize the skills gained and how they heard about the opportunity. Within a period of one month, over 100 trainees had registered for the basic IT training. The training packages include: Introduction to computers, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Internet.
Composition of the Trainees
After registration, Mr Phillip Kyule analyzed the registration form and came up with very interesting results as follows: a whopping 80 % of the interested community members heard about the opportunity from the Advisory Committee members, 19 % got the information from friends and neighbors while 1 % got it from the Maarifa Centre’s Face book account.
Youth registered the highest number of trainees with 76% while adults came second with 31 % followed by children with 3 % beneficiaries......Read more
Monday, April 30, 2012
“Before I used to do farming but lacked knowledge on the best crops to grow in our area. I mostly relied on maize which always failed me,“says Mr. Musya adding that during good times, he makes approximately $37 from pawpaw sales from 18 pawpaw trees only.
Friday, April 6, 2012
He is one of the 58 community members who have already benefited from free ICT training offered through Mutomo Maarifa Centre. The free community training is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded to ALIN in August 2011 to implement various community activities. The main goal of the community IT training is to enable communities’ access opportunities and resources available globally and to catalyze youth entrepreneurship for livelihoods improvement.
Mr.Mutuku busy at work
“Before the training, I did not have a clue on anything to do with computers; I could not even define what a computer was. But now, I can type, print, scan, and perform basic calculations in a document. I can also work with internet comfortably," says Alex
Mr.Mutuku adds that he owes this to ALIN for he could not have gotten this job if not for the opportunity and urges other community members to take this rare opportunity.
“I feel empowered.” He concludes
Another empowered youth is Andrew Mbuvi.He too has secured a job as a secretary at Korrect Enterprise Designers and Printers, a printing and designing business in Mutomo town.His duties as a secretary include typesetting, printing, photocopying and designing.
“ALIN has made me who I am today. Its thanks to the IT training I have secured this job .I am now building my future‘’, says a beaming Andrew.
Andrew performs his secretarial duties
Mr Mbuvi urges the Mutomo community to not only take advantage of the free IT training but also take advantage of the free information resources at Mutomo Maarifa Centre.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Kisilu Musya has always been techno phobia and used to associate computers with only the elite members of the society. But thanks to a free community ICT training opportunity offered at the Mutomo Maarifa Centre he can now operate a computer comfortably.
“This opportunity gave me a lot of skills. I can now type and format a document the way I see them in magazines ‘’ says Mr.Kisilu. The 43 year old farmer who practices agro forestry adds that he plans to use the knowledge gained in documenting his farming activities.
Mr.Kisilu types a document
A beneficiary of Kenya Forest Service’s Farmer Field School (F.F.S) project which trains community members on Agro forestry, Mr Kisilu is also the Chairman of MUIMUKO (Mutomo Mutha Ikutha FFS Network) which is made up of 53 groups of the larger Mutomo District. He trains the members on agro-forestry and smart farming...Read more