ALIN Awarded 2011 Access to Learning Award by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

James Nguo, ALIN Regional Director, rejoices after the announcement in San Juan, Puerto Rico by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: © BMGF

Watch video here:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Poor production and sale has been attributed to poor farm record because of poor extension or ignorant of farmers.  Due to this Sokopepe Ltd, a social enterprise under license of FIT Uganda has introduced FARMIS (Farm Record Management Information System) Kenya, a platform that allows you to track all your farm business activities in one place.

The system enable the farmers keep records of all stages of production such Tillage, Input procurement, planting, pesticide application, harvesting, post harvest with help of a farm book.  The farmer will be in a position to calculate the profit and loss of each farm enterprise after subtracting the expenses from income after sale.

This system is aimed at benefiting farmers by provision of Farm book for better record keeping and management, system generated report on their enterprises e.g. Ledger report , Profit  and loss , balance sheet, Ability to assess own performance, linkage to financial institution to receive structured loan, Market linkages , receiving marketing information as well as farming tips via mobile phone
Problem it solves
Provision of Market prices
Lack of Market information
Collection of production data using FARMIS
Continuous supply of produce (sustain the supply chain)
Support the Bulking of produce among farmers
A lack of Market information
Provide a payment system-trading platform
Payment problems
Track record for financial credit through FARMIS
Lack of access to agricultural loans
Extension services through provision of market information
lack of Market information
Farmer Identification Services
Lack of Farmer identification
Trading platform for transaction processes
Lack of Farmer identification
Physical training in Farming as A Business
Poor farm management leading to poor production yields.
Farming Tips- Market Information
Market Information (Market linkages)
Farming Tips- Production information
Poor farm management leading to poor production yields.
Call center
Poor farm management leading to poor production yields

For more information visit:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Climate information services to help in decision making

Weather and climate have significant impacts on many aspects of people’s lives and particularly amongst populations whose livelihoods are directly dependent on natural resources. Reliable daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal information, as well as warnings and alerts on extreme weather events, can support decision making at many levels, within households and communities as well as at sub-county, county and national government levels. Information about longer term trends in climate variability and change is also vital to support major investments in infrastructure, including dams and roads, as well as conservation of the natural environment. 

Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS) aims to develop and deliver accessible, timely, relevant information about the weather and climate which can support decision making at all levels and time frames. These Climate Information Services (CIS) include both information about the weather and climate together with useful advice on what actions people should take to deal with the possible impacts on their lives. The development of effective CIS depends on continuous and ongoing engagement with the wide range of people using this information. 

Agricultural, Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries officers, provincial administration officer, NGOS, CBO, FBO from Mumoni Hills,   Kitui Central, Mutitu and Endau hills, Migwani, Mutha hills, Tseikuru, Kyuso, Mwingi, Ngomeni, Nguni and Nuu, Mutito and Mwitika, and Mutomo and Ikutha, benefited from the 3-day training of trainers (T0T) for those people who have been identified as primary intermediaries to extend the reach of climate information within their counties.  

Primary intermediaries are Representatives of relevant bodies and institutions at the sub-county or equivalent level who will be the primary intermediary contacts for County Director of Meteorology.
These people must be willing to receive and communicate SMS, train, support and collate feedback from secondary intermediaries. 

At the end of the training, the participants will be able to:
  1. Receive, appreciate and effectively communicate climate information in a language and format that can be easily understood by the communities with whom they live and work;
  2. Support appropriate application and provide feedback on the use and impact of using climate information; and
  3. Train secondary intermediaries at ward level
The current initiative is being developed as part of the Adaptation Consortium which aims to support the devolution and decentralization process in Kenya though the introduction of County Adaptation Funds and the development and provision of improved Climate Information Services. The Adaptation Consortium is working across five Arid and Semi Arid Lands counties: Kitui, Makueni, Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa. 

In this pilot project Kenya meteorological service has been mandated to provide meteorological, hydrological and related services in support of relevant national needs, including safety of life and protection of property, safeguarding the environment and contributing to sustainable development. 
In line with the process of devolution and decentralization, KMS has established County Meteorological Offices (CMOs) in each County. Each County Meteorological Office is headed by a County Director of Meteorological Services (CDM).  Amongst other areas, the CDM is responsible for:
  • Developing CIS which can best support the decision making needs of the County’s principal livelihood groups and County planning processes.
  • Downscaling of national weather forecasts and climate outlooks to the County level;
  • Issuing of public warnings on hazards and extremes related to weather, climate and air pollution.
All SMS weather forecasts will express information in the following order:

Sub-county + degree of probability + type of weather


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Community radio to facilitate information disemination in Kyuso

By John Njue
Ngura community radio members and stakeholders held a leaders sensitization meeting at Ideal Hotel – Mwingi on 26th and 27th June, 2014 to sensitize leaders on the concept of RANET programme, highlights achievements of Ngura Fm, Deliberate on challenges and obstacles of establishing Ngura Fm and to Deliberate on the way forward on Ngura Fm.

Ngura Fm is a proposed community radio that will be established on a 2 acre land given by the government in Kyuso. Kenya meteorological services (KMS) through RANET programme- Kenya has promised to provide the community with broadcasting equipment and weather measuring equipments and so the mandate of the community and stakeholders is to construct the station, recruit the community reporters and managing the station.

The name Ngura was derived from the genre of Kamba language spoken in the area. It came out that the language spoken in Machakos, Kitui and Makueni is different from the language spoken in the larger Mwingi zone. This is the language that will be used for broadcasting the participants were informed.

The meeting was graced by the Sub-County Administrator in Kyuso sub-county, Mr. Cosmas Musee Mwanzia. He started by the members for find it important to start a local station and urged the stakeholders to actualize the plan because the FM station will ease dissemination of important information even to the interior community and to another target group that had never been targeted by other media. Mr. Musee said that the fact that the weather forecast of the area is generated from Makindu weather station which is several kilometers might be a cause of poor crop and animal production in the area. “If these weather data is collected and disseminated in kyuso, it will have positive impacts on food security” said Musee.

The community radio is aimed at disseminating development of the sub-county as well as empowering the community including and not limited to market information. The community radio compound will also be installed with weather station which is aimed at giving accurate weather forecast which is expected to be more accurate that the one at Makindu weather station which is approximately 308km from kyuso.
The station is hoped to ease dissemination of practical important information even to the interior where the level of illiteracy is very high. One of the indicator that the radio will be of much help is that, there will be Community participation /ownership, it’s not for profit nature, it will includes minorities and marginalized populations e.g. youth and disabled, it will use the local language (Kamba) e.t.c.

The meeting was attended by officials from Sub-county administration- County, county government of Kitui, deputy county commissioner, assistant county commissioner, National drought Management Authority (NDMA), Constituency development fund- Mwingi North, members of county assembly- Kyuso Ward, Murky (NGO), Arid lands information network and other community leaders

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kitui County raises voice for resilience to climate change

Kitui county government and its stakeholders have embraced effects of climate change and have action plan to adapt or mitigate to it.

The government of Kitui supported sustainable land management project funded by UNDP to organize a world environment day in Kyuso sub-county and have its governor Dr. Julius Malombe officiate it.

While addressing the gathering Malombe said that the most affected by effect of climate change is livestock due to lack of pasture caused by unreliable rainfall. He urged the residents to harvest water for domestic consumption using roof catchment and also conserve water in their farms by planting trees and digging terraces amongst  other structures.

He also urged stakeholders to promote use of traditional value crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava amongst others and urged the community too to embrace the use of these foods.

“The county government has a plan of constructing 60 subsurface dams in each ward” said Malombe. A subsurface dam is an impervious barrier constructed beneath the surface or a river or stream to retain water upstream by raising the water. The water will be used for irrigating small farms and hence increased income because these dams will be near to everyone.

World environment day (‘WED’) is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and planet earth. It was established by United Nation General Assembly in 1972 on the day that United Conference on the Human Environment began.

WED is celebrated every with different themes. Over the years WED has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach on environmental issues that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. WED is one of the United Nation primary vehicle through which it stimulates environmental awareness, enhances political attention and action worldwide.

Today environmental concerns are major issues all over the world. These issues relates to the natural element that makes up the earth and surrounds living organism, enabling life. The environment is not a single factor but a lot of things which interact and interfere with human activities. Human environment concerns are related to proper hygienic conditions. Importance of clean and healthy environment should be emphasized to each and every individual on the planet. When it comes to maintaining a clean and healthy environment it's everybody’s responsibility.

 Climate change has been recognized as the most serious and threatening global environmental problem. While natural variations in climate over time is normal, human are contributing to climate change through emission of substantial amount of greenhouse gases. Some green gases exist naturally in the atmosphere and are necessary to keep earth at global temperature suitable for ecosystem and life as they have evolved. However greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from human activities are building up and trapping extra heat in the atmosphere.

This year’s county theme was “RAISING OUR VOICE FOR RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE.” Mwingi North sub-county` had an opportunity to show case the initiatives and best practices that the community and other stakeholders are undertaking and to act as an example for sub-counties to embrace

How will you make your voice heard this year for environment?
The call this year is to recognize that we all face the same challenges and are connected and united by our common goal of a sustainable and prosperous life. The call is to raise our voices in solidarity with one another, particularly with citizens of Kenya in general and Kitui County in particular. Whether it is to organize clean ups campaign, Food water reduction initiatives , plastic ban, art exhibit, tree planting drives, concerts, dances recitals, recycling drives and social media campaign because every action counts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Donkey to help in ensuring food security in Kyuso

By John Njue
Women in Kyuso sub-county have something to smile about after they were introduced to use of donkey for land preparation. 

Even though donkeys have been extensively used by people in many areas in the world their use has been synonymous with backwardness, underdevelopment and low status.

Donkey ownership has been associated to women in this area but is only used for ferrying water and farm produce to the market. The symbolic animals for wealth have been considered to be cattle, goats and sheep whereas donkeys reflect poverty and marginalization.  

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project under the Ministry of livestock production in Kyuso led by Mr. John Chege Ndung’u has done a difficult work to convince the residents to use donkey for other activities such as land preparation through plowing.

The farmer have been sensitized to use donkey for plowing as well as how to make proper harness for donkey using locally available materials. 

Speaking with Mr. Chege at  a women plowing competition using donkeys at Kyandoo he said use of donkey for other chore except ferrying water in the area is alleged to lower the social status of the user.  

He informed the congregation that each family in Ukambani has a donkey but few have oxen for plowing. Family without oxen and especially woman led family are queued last when it comes to plowing services by those who have the oxen.

Due to the unreliable rain fall experience in the area, farmer can use donkey for plowing instead of waiting for those who have the oxen to come and offer the service at later date. It’s expected that if farmers adopt using of donkey for plowing they will do early planting and hence producing more leading to ensuring food security in the area.

Kyuso Maarifa centre Field officer Mr. John Njue also promised them of marketing linkages after harvesting through Sokopepe platform which he said can also be accessed on mobile phone. E.g. check agricultural commodity prices by sending a SMS Price#commodity name#Town to 20245. E.g. Price#maize#Nairobi.  For more info