Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mutomo farmer’s Norway visit changes his outlook on climate change.

By Rhoda Musili

As a young child, Mr.Kisilu Musya had dreams to study  hard ,join a good university and get a good job.To his young mind, good education was the key to travelling and discovering the world.But as his parents could barely afford his Secondary School fees,this remained a dream for the 43 year old.

So Mr.Musya could not believe his luck when he got news that he had secured an opportunity to visit Norway on November  last year.”What good education did not do for me, farming did,” says the jubilant father of eight from Kyatune Location of Mutomo District.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I fathom that farming could open such great opportunities in life,” says Mr.Musya a small-scale farmer who practices agro-forestry.It was his efforts in climate change mitigation that Mr.Musya was featured in a documentary, Wind of Change which highlighted a young family’s efforts in adapting to unfavorable climate change

This documentary was filmed by Spire, a Norwegian  youth organization through supportkisilu-at-reportseminar with Mutomo Maarifa Centre .Wind of Change featured Mr.Musya’s  family activities on climate change effects, adaptation and mitigation.And on November last year the same organization  funded Mr.Musya to travel  on a 14 day trip to Norway to attend a Globalization conference under a program  called the Norwegian Social Forum (NSF) ,the Norwegian branch of the World Social Forum which organizes a conference called "The Globalization Conference every year where there are debates, workshops,presentations, concerts,movies and thearte.

“During the Globalization conference I gave a speech before a group of more than 600 participants where I presented issues on local community climate change adaptation efforts,community mobilization , information gaps and local community expectations from developed countries,” Says Mr.Kisilu who also adds that he shared issues on local community’s awareness in regards to contributing towards unfavorable climate change.
Mr. Musya adds that during his visit he also met with various other organizations, universities, groups and farmers.” I learnt a lot on poultry keeping, diary cattle farming, bee keeping,apple farming and vegetable growing.” 

Lessons learnt
Prior to his visit Mr.Musya says he always thought that climate change was all about  lack of rainfall and persistent drought.” But I was surprisekisilu 3d to learn that there are some countries which receive heavy rainfall amounts often leading to flooding,” he says.

He adds that through sharing, he learnt different adaptation strategies and measures.”But the biggest lesson was the realization that climate change is universal and needs to be seriously addressed,” he quips adding that its important to be focal on coming up with permanent climate change mitigation solutions stressing that climate change is a cross-cutting issue that affects all aspects of livelihoods.

Mr.Musya says that the opportunity equipped him with a lot of insight and made him realize that everyone had a role to play in climate change mitigation.And as part of playing his role, he now has a mission to spread a different kind of gospel back home.“ I visit a different church every Sunday to sensitize the community on climate change issues,” says Mr.Musya adding that the experience widened his perspective and made his farming efforts go global.

ALIN’s role
Kisilu attributes this opportunity to ALIN. He says that before ALIN established a community resource Centre at Mutomo he used to do farming but lacked knowledge to do smart farming.As ALIN’s Focal Group member, Mr.Musya had opportunities to share and interact with other members on smart farming.

“ALIN gave me a platform to gain and share knowledge  with other communities living in arid and semi arid areas and therefore expanded my knowledge base” admits Mr.Musya who has dreams to feature as an exemplary farmer in ALIN’s Baobab Magazine which highlights sustainable agriculture initiatives in arid and semi arid areas within East Africa.

“If I had not been a ALIN’s  Focal Group and Advisory Committee member,then ALIN wouldn’t have known of my enterprises and linked me with Spire,” he quips.

kisilu 2
Improved livelihood
In addition to funding his trip, Spire also facilitated Mr.Musya with a laptop, video camera and a digital camera for documenting his progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation  efforts.With the digital camera,Mr.Musya has embarked on a community photography initiative which is boosting his income levels.

About Spire
Spire is a youth organization working for a just and sustainable distribution of the world’s resources which aims to examine the big connections that create injustice. Therefore, Spire  focuses on the environment, food safety and international trade. Spire influences politicians in Norway and internationally to create change.They  work with youth in the South and run information campaigns to inspire Norwegian youth to action. Spire is the Development Fund's youth organization(http://www.spireorg.no/english)
For more information on Mr.Musya’s visit please visit his blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Internet service boosts e-Government services access

Mutomo Maarifa Centre continues to offer free information services to Mutomo community.The community utilizes the Maarifa Centre in various ways ranging from internet services, library access and ICT trainings.By the virtue that it offers diverse opportunities, internet services remains the most sought after service.These range from online learning, email access to e-Government services.

Recently, the Government of Kenya introduced an online human resource platform known as Government Human Resource Information Service (GHRIS)  under which civil servants access their pay slip and other Human resource services online  upon updating their personal and professional profile.

But this system often poses a challenge to the civil servants who lack computer and internet skills .56 year old Musingila Matuku is one such user.When Mr.Matuku visited his bank to acquire a loan to pay his daughter's school fees, he was informed that among the documents that he was to present were  his current  pay slips.This posed a challenge for him since he had not even updated his profile under this system.

“However,I was advised to visit Mutomo Maarifa Centre to get assistance, “ says Mr. Matuku,a support staff with the Ministry of Water services .Here, he was assisted with updating his profile and downloading four of his pay slips which facilitated the bank loan processing.

“ I was able to secure the much needed loan my daughter’s school fees,” says Mr.Matuku who lauds the Maarifa Centre’s services citing that they are truly uplifting Mutomo Community’s living standards.

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