Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Computer skills earn banking institution employee a job promotion

By Samuel Gitonga Makanya

Erick Mwangangi is currently working with Mutomo teachers SACCO as an Appraisal Officer, a position he has held onto since August of 2012. Previously, the 39 year old worked as an enquiry officer with the same institution, a job which entailed enlightening clients on the right channels to follow to benefit from the various services offered by the institution as well as shedding light on issues or queries that clients forwarded. However, gaining computer skills propelled him to the new position he now holds. “The two positions are word apart!!” insists Erick helping us draw the parallel between them by telling us that with the new position, computer skills are mandatory.

Learning experience at the Centre.

It all started when one of the ICT training facilitators at Mutomo Maarifa Centre whom Mwangangi terms as a close friend, encouraged him to join. Erick didn’t have second thoughts at giving it a try since it was absolutely free. Though his conscience questioned the free service, he was proven wrong. “The training was exceptional with skilled trainers that made sure we understood what we covered” added Mwangangi.

He was among the trainees enrolled for the May-July 2012 intake. According to Erick, apart from the ample skills gained, the learning process was full of fun making it exciting. After a class was over he highly anticipated the following class. Erick preferably picked the afternoon session that runs from 2.00pm -4.00 pm stating it was the one that suited his daily schedule.

Outcome of the training.

Upon graduation and after he was awarded a certificate of Participation from the Maarifa Centre, Erick’s employer promoted him from the enquiry office to an Appraisal Clerk position, a move which he says changed his life tremendously. Now he has rented an apartment around Mutomo, making it easier to get to his work place in time. With the salary increase that came with the promotion, Erick can also apply for a loan to supplement some of his projects.

His new job description entails briefing clients on the deductions and interest rates administered on their salaries. This task has been made easier by the Ms.Excel Computer package that was part of the five basic computer packages that he was trained on. The other packages included; Introduction to computers, Ms. Word, Internet and E-mail and Ms. PowerPoint.

“The complex calculations surrounding my work have been made easier,” Says Erick

Challenges faced.

During the 2 month training, Erick says he faced a few obstacles here and there. For instance, he would cycle an outstanding 44 KM from his Ndatani home to Mutomo town, but he is happy that his overwhelming determination has paid off.

Message to ALIN.

Mr.Mwangangi is thankful to ALIN for the opportunity they are giving to the local youths an opportunity to improve their livelihood. He however feels that the training computers were few as compared to the large number of trainees and urges the organization to expand the training rooms.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Extension officer applauds Maarifa Centre library resources

By Rhoda Musili & Samuel Gitonga Makanya.

As an international NGO that facilitates information and knowledge exchange to and between extension workers or infomediaries and arid lands communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, ALIN’s information exchange activities focus on small-scale sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, natural resources management and other livelihood issues.

To increase its reach and effectiveness, ALIN targets infomediaries who work for governments, NGOs, CBOs and faith-based organizations because these are the people who act as a source of information and knowledge for the rest of the community out of duty or social responsibility.

So it is only understandable that ALIN is therefore always on the lookout to determine how the said extension officers use the information material to impact the communities that they work with.

Exploiting the library resource

Benedict Mathitu is an extension Officer with the Mutomo District Agricultural Office. His job entails training farmers on issues on agriculture, making farm visits and establishing demonstration farms.

An avid user of Mutomo Maarifa Centre’s library resources, Mr. Mathitu has timclip_image002e and again relied on these resources to provide the much needed reference for his job.

One of these instances was when he had to facilitate a farmer training opportunity organized by the Catholic Diocese of Kitui on April this year. The training entailed training over 200 beneficiaries under the Catholic Diocese’s “Food for Asset” project on climate change mitigation and variability.

As always, Mr. Mathitu visited the Maarifa Centre’s library to source for training resources for the training. Here, he borrowed two manuals namely; National Climate Change Response Strategy and Drought impact mitigation and prevention in the Limpopo River Basin.

Specific information accessed

These two books went a long way in equipping Mr. Mathitu with the necessary information he needed for training purposes. For instance from the National Climate Change Response Strategy Government manual, he accessed material such as; history of climate change as a global problem, international efforts and challenges to combating climate change, evidence of climate change in Kenya over the last 50 years (Temperature and rainfall trends ),impacts of climate change on Agriculture, mitigation interventions (Agriculture ),Research and development (Agriculture )

Additionally, from the Drought Mitigation and Prevention in the Limpopo River Basin manual Mr. Mathitu accessed topics such as; managing the impacts of drought (Definitions of drought),Impacts of drought in Southern Africa in the Kenyan context (Macroeconomic impacts )

Outcome of the training

Although this training has no outcome yet, Mr Mathitu has been a consistent user of the Maarifa Centre and from previous training using Maarifa Centre resources a farmer of Kyatune Location of Mutomo district has adopted drought tolerated crops, water harvesting as a mitigation enterprise, crop diversification as a means of mitigation, the farmer is also passing the same message to the community by being the role model.

Message to ALIN

Benedict praises ALIN for the good work they are doing. However, he urges them to avail more resources on climate change as well as equipping the Maarifa Centre with more Government of Kenya reference materials.

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