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Electric Fence Brings Hope To Health Centre In Arjiju, Mukogodo Forest

Mr Stephen Njoroge is the Health Officer in charge of Arjiju Health Center in Mukogodo, that has been fenced as part of Disney Project in Mukogodo Landscape.

My name is Stephen Njoroge, I am the doctor in charge of the Arjiju Community Health Centre. I came to Makurian Group Ranch, about five years ago.

When I first got here, this facility was experiencing a lot of challenges. Insecurity, human-wildlife conflict, lack of a maternity ward and there was an acute lack of water in the hospital.

There was a great challenge of insecurity because of free-roaming wild animals and especially the elephants. In fact, community members could not visit the health centre at night for fear of attack by wild animals.

Water was also an issue, a big one! This health centre was a hotspot because it had water tanks and made it a prime spot for the conflicts.

Despite the fact that we had a seasonal water pan in the community and a water storage unit in the hospital, elephants would come and drink the water. Herds trooped about the health centre at night and drank all the water from our tanks.  We would end up without any water to use in the hospital. Imagine a maternity ward without water!

About two years ago, the committee at Arjiju met to discuss how we were going to curb this challenge.  It was decided that we would put up a barbed-wire fence around the dispensary. This was done. But after a couple of weeks, the elephants came back and destroyed the fence and as usual went for the water tanks.

We had to find a solution, and I am glad that the committee was determined and ready to find solutions to this. When the chairman of Makurian Group Ranch mentioned that Disney Project would bring a new electric fence that would include the health centre, I was excited.

These past few months, seeing the poles up and finally, the electric wires being installed ,has our community very excited. That committee made a good call to include this health centre in the boundaries of the fence project.

With the electric fences now erected around the dispensary, we plan to pull down the old barbed-wired fences.

This year our water tanks will be full! I won’t have to worry about water when I get an emergency at the maternity ward at night.”

#Ends

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Conservation Fund implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.

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Farming in Pastoralist Communities: “The fence is a game-changer”

Human Wildlife Conflict, Disney project

Top: Grace Korosian, a resident of Arjiju Village in North laikipia says they have adopted farming in their community.  Below: A tractor ploughs a section of the 44-hectare land protected by the new solar-powered fence implemented by Laikipia Wildlife Forum

 

“My name is Grace Korosian, I was born and raised here in Arjiju Village, Makurian Group Ranch.

A few years ago, we were just pastoralists keeping only livestock, like most Maasai Communities.  But we were introduced to crop farming by agricultural extension officers who visited our village. In our first harvest, we felt the joy of harvesting our own produce without buying as we would always do. We had been enlightened!

Back then, women like myself grew “sukuma wiki” on sacks behind our Manyattas and we would water them. This was the alternative source of food. But then, our farming practices attracted unwarranted visitors to our doorsteps. We had “someone else” harvesting our sukuma wiki – the Elephants!

Thinking about it now, it was expected. I mean, we live at the periphery of Mukogodo forest, with a big population of elephants.

ILMAMUSI CFA

The solar-powered fence in Arjiju is part of Disney Project Implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum

Having experienced this conflict, the community decided to dedicate one area of our village just for crop farming.  For a few seasons, we’ve been able to harvest from it, but it has also been a field day for the elephants. It’s a hassle  for us, chasing them away with fire, and sometimes having to harvest beans early so that we can salvage something for our families.

Early this year, when this idea of a solar-powered electric fence was discussed by our committee in Makurian, we were very excited. This was a new idea here and we knew what it would change things in the village.

And now seeing the fence complete around both the communal farm and the clinic, it is a source of hope for us. I mean, our villagers have been smiling since the poles were first delivered here, and seeing it shaping up into a fence is unbelievable.

I’m sure you have seen a tractor plough the land here today. The next time you visit, we will have grown some maize, some beans, potatoes and grass for our cattle.

We now know that farming is important. Those families that have been assigned a plot, can now comfortably grow something. Those without will at least have a place closer to home to buy food from.

We are hopeful that we are likely to harvest something sizeable from this farm.”

#ENDS

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Project implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.