Mars 2016

Dear friends of Kabondo,

We believe and trust that all the FOK family are doing well will be celebrating another fruitful year with an AGM marking the fourth anniversary; we (Karopa Intergrated CBO) are happy to associate and work with you. You have made a lot of contribution to the development of the CBO and enabled us run throughout with financial support you have continued to provide.

You have remained a true friend to Karopa as a partner and wished even more corporation now and in future. During the past years we have started and even completed some projects through your support and still more are expected to continue as we grow together as two partners. We are equally happy with the direct individual support from the members of FOK on some projects. I wish to narrow the activities of the CBO as per objectives;

1. Conservation and protection of the environment.

Kabondo as an area has been facing a lot of environment degradation in the past years, due to too much cutting of trees for building and fuel energy on charcoal and wood fuel, poor farming methods and general global climatic change this is as a result of population growth in the past few years. Sometimes back Kabondo was very green and naturally covered with indigenous forest, full of food both for human consumption and the livestock as opposed to day.

Today there are big gullies in most parts of the river side, bear infertile farms on the slopes with nearly nothing as tree cover and little food crops growing, and there are also big problems with water shortage both for domestic use and farming. Karopa with your support is trying very hard to turn around the situation by initiating intervention projects and activities.

Tree nursery

We (Karopa) stand in promoting the culture of planting environmental friendly trees by establishing a tree nursery, since water has been a challenge to this establishment we have not really managed to have a whole year running tree nursery this has made us think of how best we can re-start the project. We have therefore decided to re-start the tree nursery project at the fish pond site using the water from the Ologi spring. You can note that the Ologi Spring was funded by the Water 4 all through the support of the FOK assisting in making the application and the fish project that was supported by Sven Noren a member of the FOK.

Currently Karopa in collaboration with FoK has done an application to SSK (Swedish Society of Kenya) for a funding for the re-start of tree nursery project and should we fail to get the funding then we have to look for other possible means of seeing the project goes through.

Water management

So far Karopa with the support from FoK, we have managed to protect three water springs namely, Ologi that was funded by water 4all, Karoko spring funded by Swedish Society of Kenya(SSK) and the last one being Kadongo funded by funds from in memories of Ragnar Odman and Birgitta Odman parents to Margareta and Ingrid. All the springs gives clean water but vary on the volume capacity, Karoko gives more water followed by Ologi and then Kadongo which gives less water this is due to the different areas they are situated at. At the moment most of the water points(streams and wells) have dried up leaving the springs as the only water sources, women make long queues and walk long distances to get this important source of living. We still have a lot do to protect more springs and even see a huge water project that can reach as many communities as possible. We see a situation that the community will be able to get enough water for irrigation of their small gardens. All ideas of water management will be encouraged from all sides.

Through the support of FOK we also managed to harvest rain water behind the Karopa offices to be used for cleaning our EcoSan toilets and washing of the hands after latrines visits this should be extended to the farmer groups for their house hold usage. Renewable sources of energy.

Karopa is championing the use of renewable energy sources like the use of solar lamps that some of the FOK members donated to the scholar families. Sven Noren a member of FOK has funded the purchase of a charcoal kiln that burns corn cobs into a charcoal this is to reduce the rate of tree cutting as we use the available material from the corn/maize cobs that would be thrown away or left to rot.

We also encourage the use of energy saving stoves that uses less charcoal/firewood. We wish to get more projects of this nature in future.

2. Income generating activities through better and sustainable farming methods.

Agribusiness farm

Karopa has got a farm that is leased for five years with one year already gone, last year we planted sweet potato that did not do well due to many factors like draught. We later planted maize crop in the next season and managed to harvest 200 kg we intend to sell all these by May 2016 and the sales proceeds are to be re-invested back in the farm project.

We encourage good farming practices with good seeds selection, getting training on agronomic practices and thinking of planting draught resistant crops. Proper plans to achieve this are well spelt in the strategic plan document under construction.

Fish Farming.

During the end of last year 2015 Karopa CBO started fish farming as one of its income generating activities. The activity was supported fully by Noren Sven being pond construction, fingerlings and feeds to the fish. The project is doing relatively good despite some challenges with the damage of one pond due to too much rain in November-December last year 2015. In the farm we have over 1500 fish to be harvested in the next three months, we anticipate to re – investing the money received in producing more fish to generate more income.

During the past week 21-24 March 2016, James attended FAO (Food Agricultural Organization) workshop in Mwea, Kirinyaga County on doing aquaculture as a business. The training highlighted the aspects of the best factors of production for the fish, how to market and sell. By the end of the workshop a tool for identifying whether the project is viable was developed. This tool can be used not only in fish production but in other farm production. We also saw how important to integrate farm activities so as to supplement one another. The Mwea workshop opened my eyes that one need to wait for rain water to be able to do farming but should develop the idea of irrigation of crops, I noted many small fields irrigated with peas, beans and vegetable growing despite the hot scotching sun with temperature above 30 degrees. I hope we be able to get a good water source to see our community do the same in their farms.

Crotchet and Jewelry Making:

Since we value gender mainstreaming, our Karopa ladies have got a special income generating project namely crotchet making. Here the ladies make and sell crotchet items like seat covers, mobile pockets, table mats, hand bags, necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets. Currently the ladies have been financially supported by Elisabeth Johnsdaughter through materials and little training and at the moment they are able make wonderful items, we’re trying our best to find for them a market where they can sell their products. They will also have a house in the center of Chabera where they will store, meet to work and sell their products.

3. To enlighten the community on issues of HI/HIV and STI

During the last year our CBO and FOK group struggled very much to develop a two year application on HIV/AIDS awareness to Forum Syd (Sida) targeting the youths named “Time to Act Kabondo”. The application was done after carrying a pre-study to identify the root causes and effects of HIV/AIDS in Kabondo. We cross our fingers wishing for the best answer from Forum Syd on the funding of the programe in the coming few weeks from now.

With or without the funding from Forum Syd we will still do all what we can to create awareness among the youth about the disease.

4. To train members of the organization on leadership skills and gender mainstreaming.

As our organization grow we need to develop leadership skills and organizational development, we therefore need a lot of training in this area as well. Currently we have identified areas to be addressed in the assessment of our CBO Karopa and the farmer groups that we have developed as the working units within the CBO.

A strategic plan for the CBO for the next three year is developed for us to see every activity and training that will be needed for the CBO. We hope the strategic plan will help us achieve our vision, mission and objectives. The strategic plan is developed in line with VIFFOKA agreement and the logframe and VI agroforestry will play a major role in the training.

Our CBO was also lucky to be invited by Global South for a civil society support programe workshop in Kakamega that took place between 21-24 March 2016, we were represented by two members from the board Martin and Paul. Our representative had the opportunity to link Karopa with Action AID where we’re required to develop an application on Land and Environmental management specifically water management, carry out advocacy on promoting girl child education and on Organizational Development. We wish you the best during your AGM, May you be blessed.

Message from
James Ojwang
Project Manager,
Karopa Intergrated CBO.