Monthly Archives: March 2016

Water project puts a smile on faces of community members

Twelve-year-old Faith Sei broadly smiles. She draws clean water from a water point that is connected from a natural spring, about 200 metres away; then drinks it. Faith is from Eluai Village, Mara Division, Narok County.

“I live there. It takes me about five minutes to walk to this water point,” the Standard Four pupil, at Endoryo Erinka Primary School says, as she points at her parents’ homestead, about 400 metres away.

The teenager is among close to 2000 community members benefiting from Ochorro Le Koiyiaki Water Project. In 2009, AAH Kenya protected a natural spring and put up a 15, 000-litre water tank. The organisation also set up three water points at 200 metres, three and six kilometres, from its source.

The local community is appreciative of the water and says it never dries up. “The spring has never dried up, although the water can substantially reduce when it is very dry,” says Olekisotu Olesitany, chairman of the water project.

The water tank started leaking a year after it was put up, due to what locals say was poor workmanship, and as a result, it is not being used. However, the residents have made the project sustainable. For example, Nkirimpa Sitany, 44, has constructed two water points to serve his family- the water points are situated in his land, near his homestead.

“I decided to have water close to my homestead; my three wives do not have to walk for long distances to fetch water,” says the father of 18 children. He says before the protection of the spring and creation of the pipeline, they used to access water, three kilometres away. Sitany’s 600 herd of cattle drink water from a trough, next to one of his water point.

A neighbour of Sitany, Naisula Naurori, 28, excitedly fetches water from one of the water points, which is about 200 metres from her home. “The water is clean. I do not have to walk long distances. I have time to take care of my children, and do other household chores,” says the mother of six.

The water project is the under basic services theme undertaken by AAH Kenya – that has been working in Narok County since 2005. The projects were under Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), education and health sectors.

The interventions were carried out under the flagship ‘Improving the Standard of Living of Pastoralist Communities in Mara Division’ programme in the 14 sub-locations of Mara Division. The programme utilised a strong community-based approach, working with local community development committees and the Mara Division Development Programme (MDDP), a Community Based Organisation.

Currently, AAH Kenya is implementing the Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP) that aims to enhance self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods for 4,080 refugees in Kakuma Camp, Turkana County. This it through development of models that will address resilience, safety net and consumption; skills enhancement, employment opportunities and enterprise development.

Through the Mara Entrepreneurship and Market Development (MEMD) project that started in January 2015, in Narok County, AAH Kenya will build on previous engagement with the communities and the county government. The two-year project aims to develop an ‘entrepreneurial mind-set’ in community members, in order to strengthen their resilience and capacity to lead their own development.

Farmers improve their yield after interventions

The 35-year-old mother of three has a broad smile as she leans on her cow shed. She was given a grade cow three years ago that has transformed her farming.

Peruth Musubika, 35, milks eight litres from her Frisian cow at Katikara Village, Hoima District, in Uganda. The cow has calved thrice. “The first calf was given to a group member, while the second one died. We have a third calf that is one week old,” says Musubika. She is a member of God’s Grace group, which has 20 members, engaged in farming of diverse crops.

The farmer says she sales three litres daily for USh5000. She plants crops such as maize, simsim, beans, groundnuts and rice. Her proceeds from maize doubled after training on proper farming methods. Initially, she used traditional farming methods. “I had put less than half an acre under maize but after the training I doubled the acreage,” she says.

Musubika’s group was trained regularly by community-based extension workers (CBRWs). Among the support they received was field preparation, harvesting and construction of cribs. Musubika’s husband is veterinary officer within Hoima District. The couple is a beneficiary of a three-year initiative, the Enhancing Local Capacity for Self Reliance Project Legacy that was funded by European Union (EU). AAH Uganda undertook the design and implementation of the project that was started in 2011.

Several other groups benefited through the projects. For instance Muungano Group in Kagoma Village, within Kyangawali Refugee Resettlement. The group’s secretary general Innocent Bahati says they received training on bee-keeping. “We have traditional bee hives that one produce about four kilogrammes of honey. But the one that was introduced to us by European Union made of wood gives us about six kilogrammes,” Bahati explains.

However, the members modified this bee hive by making it longer.” It gives us nine to 10 kilogrammes of honey,” he says. Currently, they have 50 long bee hives, 30 made from mud and ten introduced by EU.

Muungano is among 43 groups in Kyangwali and Kiryandongo areas that were trained in bee-keeping. This was through site identification, setting and management. However, the members face challenges such as lack of market for their locally- processed honey

AAH Zambia awareness campaigns bearing fruits

Falling pregnant at a tender age is trouble but becoming expectant as a mentally challenged can be unfathomable pain.

However, Linden Chanda, 21, was lucky to have an aunt who immediately sought the services of AAH Zambia to save the life of a relative, who had no idea of what had happened to her.

Linden’s aunt Judith Chikosa says she discovered Chanda was four months pregnant in September 2014. “I knew the condition would put her life in danger because not only is she mentally retarded but looks small for her age,” Chikosa adds.

Chikosa said her niece’s mental condition made it difficult to taken care of and look after a baby. So it was disturbing that someone had taken advantage of her condition, impregnated her and fled.

”Being a beneficiary of the awareness campaigns on the importance of early antenatal care, I hastened to register Linden for ante-natal care. The community action group members counselled me on how to take care of Chanda during pregnancy, taking her for ante-natal care,” she explains. She encouraged Chanda to take the supplementary drugs. Since Chanda was incapable of understanding anything she was to deliver at Kawambwa District Hospital,” She explained.

Chikosa followed and her nice delivered a girl successfully, through a lower caesarean section. The baby is now three months.

“I am very grateful to AAH Zambia for their special advice, counselling and precautions taken by medics at the clinic and the hospital,” she added.

Couple adopts family planning

‘’My children or I could have died. I kept on getting children’’, says Doreen Chola, remembering years when she was not on family planning.

Chola who hails from Kawambwa area had no time to contribute economically to her family’s wellbeing because she could either be breastfeeding or sick due to her body not having enough rest in between pregnancies.“I had three of my eight children a year apart from each other. This has an adverse effect on my health as well as children’s because I knew nothing about how to space my children,” she added.

Chola said through the intervention of AAH Zambia in last year she and her husband learnt about the importance of spacing children using modern family planning methods.

“Through the continued counselling sessions we got from the Community Action Group members of AAH Zambia, we finally decided to stop having children in October 2014 and since then, “ she says, adding I am able to help my husband in our small farm and provide all the basic needs for our children. “ My health has also improved tremendously,” she says with a smile.

Giving vulnerable people better housing

Dor Peter has been living in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Uganda since 2001, after fleeing fighting in in Bentiu, Sudan (before cessation). He set up a temporary mud-walled and grass-thatched house soon afterward, and in 2005 with the support of friends he built another one.

Peter, 44, who is physically challenged, last year reported to the AAH Uganda office about the rickety state of his house as rainwater would seep into it through the walls and roof.

“I am glad that they listened to my plea and build for me a house in October 2014,” he says with a smile, adding that he was also assisted to plant maize and beans on a half an acre piece of land. He says the crops will make him food secure and he will sell the surplus.

The house is mud-walled and grass-thatched. It is sturdy (thick walls and grass layer), meant to last several years. Peter has spruced his house, including its entry.

Another beneficiary of a similar house, Petero Rimenya, 77, has been living in a ramshackle hut in for five years. Rimenya came to Kyangwali six years ago from Rumangabo, North Kivu Province, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He lost all his four children and wife, due to conflict.

He lives in Munsisa B Village. “It is a much better house. My former house had started leaning and was almost falling,” says the elderly man.

The chairman of Munsisa B Village, Lazarus Ndagijimana, 43, says many of the beneficiaries were living in houses whose walls and roofs had gaping holes. “Petero used to request us to assist him; there are days he would cry. We appreciate the well-built houses,” says Ndagijimana, who fled fighting in North Kivu in 2008.

Kampaya Mpaso, an official with AAH Uganda in the Community Services sector, says since 2013, they have built 150 mud-walled houses. AAH Uganda competitively secures a contractor to construct the houses. “We seek to assist the most vulnerable in the 22 villages of the settlement such as the elderly and physically disabled,” says Mpaso, adding that Munsisa B has a population of 1320 people.