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Funds secured for an environmental project in Kawambwa, Zambia

 

Lameck Simwanza (right), AAH Zambia Country Director, with Finland Ambassador to Zambia, Timo Olkkonen during the contract signing ceremony for the Environment Project.

 

AAH Zambia has signed a two-year contract to implement an environmental management project funded by the Finnish Government. The project, worth  €147, 000 ($166 110), is earmarked to benefit 1300  people and will be implemented in Kawambwa District, Luapula Province. Activities will include tree planting, making and use of energy-saving stoves and promotion of conservation farming methods.
 
Speaking during the signing ceremony held in mid-April, Finland Ambassador to Zambia, Timo Olkkonen, said the overall objective of the funds is to enhance the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the implementation of sound environmental management projects.
 
“Finland is committed to building the capacity of CSOs to implement sustainable environmental projects that benefit communities,” explained Olkkonen.
The envoy said the funds will especially support advocacy initiatives. "This is even more important among communities in rural areas that rely heavily on natural resources for their livelihoods,” he said.

On his part, AAH Zambia Country Director thanked the Ambassador and the Finnish government for providing funding this project. "We are very grateful that we the Finnish government has recognized AAH Zambia's effort in this sector. We will do all it takes to ensure a successful project that benefits the Kawambwa community," he said in his closing remarks.

 

Mara project takes stock of its progress

Ms Nareiyo Loikero discusses  a point during the workshop at a Narok Hotel.

 

Stakeholders of the Mara Entrepreneurship Project gathered at a Narok hotel for a three-day workshop to review progress of the project that is now entering its second year. 
 

The workshop. which was held in mid-April, brought together thirty participants comprising of members of cooperative, farmers and livestock owners, business owners, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries staff and community leaders.

 

The two-year project, started in 2015, and implemented by AAH Kenya with funding from Bread for the World (BftW) is working towards inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset among community members in the Mara Division by strengthening their business skills and approach to  assets like livestock.

Among the successes stories that emerged at the meeting included the Nkoilale Community Marketing Cooperative that had made remarkable strides in the one year that the project has supported its members. The group has entered into a partnership with the Narok-based Mara Beef Limited. This arrangement has allowed the group to sell their livestocks directly to the company for slaughter and thus eliminating the middle-men who eat into their profit. 

Ms Nareiyo Loikerro, 38, a livestock entrepreneur, shared her experience at the forum. “I run a livestock business where I buy calves from different markets and fatten them for a year, after which I sell them at profit,” said an excited Loikerro. She added: “Usually the buying price ranges from KSh10,000 - KSh12,000 ($100-$120), while the selling price  varies from KSh20,000 - KSh25,000 ($200-$250) after one year of fattening." Currently, she has 15 bulls which she purchased mid-last year, which she plans to sell in June this year. Running the business, however, has a number of challenges. “I lost four bulls after they succumbed to diseases. Nonetheless, I still feel this business is worth the risk as the returns are good,” reveals Nareiyo.
 
Ms Charity Sankoi, 40, a teacher at Napoishio Primary School, pointed out that there is a negative perception that livestock fattening is only carried out by divorced or widowed women. “When we visit livestock markets, we meet a number of women from other parts of the  country, who manage families and run successful businesses,” she argued.

The Mara Project is working to end these and other cultural misconceptions which harm the community members' potential for running successful enterprises. For example, the project introduced fish farming and in the past one year, it has helped start two fish ponds and trained the youth. The first harvest is expected in June this year.

Overall, the workshop was successful and all stakeholders present including the government representatives pledged their support for the remaining year as the project sets its sight for another phase in 2017. 

Refugees in Kenya are farming their way to success

Kakuma refugee camp is situated in Turkana County, Kenya and comprises of four refugee settlement areas; Kakuma 1, 2, 3 and 4. Over the years, the camp, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Kenyan Government and the Department of Refugee Affairs has recorded a high influx of refugees fleeing from war-torn areas. The camp has a diverse refugee population estimated at 180, 138 (UNHCR Kenya, 2015) with majority of refugees being Somali and South Sudanese and the rest being Congolese, Burundian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Rwandese and Ugandan.

 

The increase in refugee numbers in Kakuma has come without corresponding opportunities in livelihoods and the expansion of infrastructure has put a strain on both the environment and host community-refugee relations. Livelihoods for the new arrivals and host community are limited; literacy levels are low coupled with harsh climatic conditions. The young population continues to grow (58% below 18 years) with limited access to livelihood opportunities. Little efforts have been done in investment in livelihoods while the needs for durable solutions are rising. Early this year, the County government donated land to for the establishment of the Kalobeyei settlement which will be used to resettle refugees to help ease congestion from the older camps. It is envisaged the refugee population here will eventually be integrated into the County Development Plan (ICDP). 600 acres of land in the new settlement are earmarked for agriculture.

 

In 2015, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) partnered with UNHCR with an aim to promote self-reliance and change the dependency mind-set among refugees by initiating agriculture and business related activities. Since inception, the project has assisted over 300 refugee farmers access agriculture inputs for improved production. Two model farms have been established complete with shallow wells and solar technologies to pump water for drip irrigation. Over the last one year, the farms have shown there is potential to earn Ksh. 200,000 (USD 2000) per acre per season.

 

Due to this success, AAH-I has been allocated an additional 20 acres of land to be used for expansion of agriculture production for 800 people.  For the land to be put under full production, we require USD 100,000 to set up the irrigation infrastructure including boreholes, water storage tanks and piping. AAH-I is mobilising support from well-wishers to make this initiative a reality. It is estimated that the 20 acres if put under full-scale production, will give a return of USD 80,000 annually, benefitting both refugees and the host community.

 

For more information please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  +245 722 207 726 www.actionafricahelp.org

 

This article was first published in the Farmers Review Africa- http://www.farmersreviewafrica.com/blog/2016/04/23/refugees-in-kenya-are-farming-their-way-to-success/

 

 

 

 

 

Humanitarian agencies launch partnership with private sector in Kenya

 

AAH-I banners at the exhibition stand during the humanitarian partnership event at a Nairobi hotel.

A number of organisations drawn from UN, International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) and the private sector convened at Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi Kenya to launch the Humanitarian Private Sector Partnership Platform-East Africa (HPPP-EA) on March 8, 2016.

 
The platform, an initiative of UNOCHA and World Vision, is aimed at providing a more structured opportunity for humanitarian, business, Government and the community representatives to effective sharing of information on the needs of the sector.

Furthermore, the partnerships is expected to facilitate networking, collaboration  and innovation. This will encourage synergies in their work.
 
As the lead livelihoods implementing agency in Kakuma Refugee Camp,  Turkana County,  AAH Kenya was represented by Dr Githaiga Kamau (Country Programme Manager) and Robert Alela (Senior Project Officer). The duo gave a  presentation that  highlighted key milestones that the project has realised since its inception in 2015.

Other agencies that were also in attendance included World Vision, The Partnering Initiative, Save the Children and key businesses in Nairobi such as D. Light, Ushahidi, Equity Bank, DHL and Mastercard, among others.

 

 

 

Centre launched to enhance peaceful co-existence in Hargeisa

 

Mr Ali Saed, Somaliland Resettlement Minister (with microphone), Hargeisa Mayor Abdirahman Mohamud (left, next to the minister), Ms Veronique Genaille, the Head of Sub-Office (HSO), UNHCR, Somaliland (extreme right)  and Mutuku Nguli, Country Programme Manager (extreme left) with other guests during the launch of the Peaceful Co-existence Centre, in Hargeisa.

 

A facility has been launched to facilitate peaceful co-existence among different nationalists in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

The Peaceful Coexistence Centre (PCC) was handed over to AAH -I  in December 2015 by the Norwegian Refugee Council, and officially opened in March by Mr Ali Saeed,  the Somaliland Resettlement Minister.

The centre is a unique project of the UNHCR. Ms Veronique Genaille, the Head of Sub-Office (HSO), UNHCR, Somaliland, said the facility is the only one of its kind in Africa. AAH Somalia/Somaliland had carried out an assessment of the facility in November 2015, from whose report, recommendations were made on how to revive and revitalise it.

 “This centre will benefit many people, considering that integration is a major concern for the Somaliland Government,” said the Mr Saed. Hargeisa Mayor Abdirahman Mohamud pledged to contribute towards the construction of an additional room for the centre. “This is a major project to support social cohesion and integration efforts,” Mr Mohamud said.

AAH Somaliland/Somalia Country Programme Manager, Mutuku Nguli, thanked all those who had contributed to the re-opening of the facility. “The refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and the host community will have a neutral space to come together, interact and blend the different cultures. This will promote harmony and coexistence,” Mutuku said.

The centre has a computer learning section, meeting hall, a library and a children's learning and playing section. There are more than 3000 refugees in Hargeisa from countries such as Syria, Yemen and Ethiopia. PCC is an initiative aimed at enabling them live amicably with locals.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.