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.
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.