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MKEWP TO ADVANCE THE “WRUA AGENCY MODEL” WITHIN THE BASIN FOR WRUA SUSTAINABILITY

Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) have the responsibility to increase water conservation efforts among their member. This responsibility forms part of their mandate in the protection of water quality and quantity in their sub catchment. The WRUAs serve as a critical bridge between Water Resources Authority and water users within a sub catchment and are critical to improved water resource management.

However, most WRUAs struggle to operate and address water resource issues within their sub catchments due to lack of capacity, resources, and funds to run their operations and activities. They provide few services as a result. Simply put, without resources the WRUA model is not working.

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership is piloting the WRUA agency model in order to address these shortcomings. The WRUA agency model describes an arrangement between WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. The model is yet to be operationalized but it does provide an opportunity to redefine the WRA-WRUA relationship around specified deliverables in a way that also improves WRUA operations, financing and WRA functions.  To accelerate the operationalization of this model, WRA headquarters needs to endorse and approve this approach. Moreover, WRUA capacity needs improvement to undertake specific services contracted by the WRA.

MKEWP is leading adoption of this new model with its development partners the World Bank and CORDAID. They are also working with WRUAs to build their capacity to improve on their governance and service delivery.

There’s some important history here. Private-public partnerships within the basin have been shown to work well. For example, Ngusishi WRUA, in Timau, operates a functional service-based WRUA with support from its membership. Their membership is drawn from commercial growers, small scale farmers, and the WRA. Water fee collections actually provide the WRA with the ability to contract Ngusishi WRUA, and in turn, the WRUA is seen to provide value-added services to its members.

MKEWP will nurture similar partnership in other WRUAs to improve WRUA capacities. To kick-off this model, 7 WRUAs will be selected this year for piloting. Their success will build a case to scale the WRUA agency model within the Ewaso Ng’iro Basin and the Country.

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Laikipia Youth Farmers Establish a Youth Forum for Information Sharing and Learning

40 Laikipia youth farmers, with the support of the SNV Smart Water for Agriculture Program, came together on May 4, 2019 at Beisa Hotel Nanyuki, to establish a forum for information sharing and learning. The meeting highlighted the challenges facing youth in agriculture.  Farmers face an abundance of challenges from farm inputs to climate change; from access to money for farm improvements and volatile markets, to access to improved seed and adequate storage. These challenges are no different for our young farmers. 

Despite the challenges, agriculture can be a sector of opportunity for Laikipia’s youth. A World Bank report on youth employment, explicitly stated that “if young people can gain access to available resources and use them in conjunction with strategies to make agriculture more productive, the results could be transformative for livelihoods and economic growth.”  

In order to catalyze more activities in support of young farmers, the Group agreed to establish a social media platform (WhatsApp) for information sharing and learning:

  1. The members agreed to join the EMU-SACCO as a financial partner in advancing their Agri business enterprise.
  2. The group elected a Chairperson, Jecinta Mwangi, to represent the group in County and National forums.
  3. The group requested MKEWP to consider their membership and possible representation to the MKEWP Council
  4. The group further planned to meet quarterly for follow-up and learning on individual progress, emerging innovations and collaborative ventures.

MKEWP will continue to support this group to improve water productivity for agriculture and developing sustainable livelihoods for the youth.

For more information, please contact James Mwangi, at james.mwangi@laikipia.org and Jecinta Mwangi at jecintanyaguthiimwangi@gmail.com

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EMU-SACCO The Solution for Small-Holder Farmers in Ewaso “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”

Ewaso Maji Users (EMU) SACCO’s recent engagement with the chairpersons of the Water Resource Users Association (WRUAs) has cemented the role that the Savings Corporation can play in the community.  30 WRUAs were represented in the meeting. This access will give the SACCO access to about 4,000 small holder farmers in the region. The SACCO comes in as a focused and sustainable means of entrenching a water harvesting culture in our people.

For years we have taken the water resources around us for granted. We have misused our rivers without taking into consideration the grave impact we have on our environment and the impact we will have on our future generations.

The SACCO is starting at the grassroots, at the household, right at the farmer’s doorstep. This is our sure strategy to ensure a bottom-up approach that will multiply membership and enhance adoption of water-saving techniques and technology.  There is a great re-awakening among the wananchi in our country today – that is absolutely necessary for us to pick ourselves up and become the drivers of change.

EMU-SACCO is not just promoting water harvesting and storage;  it is also promoting efficient use of water through appropriate irrigation technologies that will ensure greater resilience and livelihood security, free from dependence on the ever changing rainfall patterns that have proven to be totally undependable.

The SACCO achieves this goal through a one-of-a-kind loan system, where the farmer gives us a proposal of what they need in their farm in terms of water infrastructure. For example, if one requests for a water pan and drip system costing about Ksh.150,000 we link them with companies that will give us a subsidized price for the technology and work, and they will install the system on our member’s farm. They use the proceeds from the improved agricultural production to pay back the loan.

It’s time we all take charge of our future and be kind to mother nature . This is a first step the help her forgive our environmental sins and take us back to the natural balance we need for our survival.

With a registration fee of Ksh.1000, share capital of Ksh.2,000, and a savings account of Ksh.5,000 and above, you can become our member and join in this great cause.

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Using Community Led Solutions to Solve Community Problems

 

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MKEWP enters into a new Partnership with CORDAID

MKEWP adds a new partner in the Ewaso Basin.

In the beginning of the New Year, MKEWP entered into a new Partnership with CORDAID, the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid, as a local implementing partner for the Partners for Resilience (PfR) program. The PfR program is an alliance of the Netherlands Red Cross (lead agency), CARE Netherlands, Cordaid, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, and Wetlands International.

PFR

Ms Zeituna Roba, Cordaid Program Manager and Partners for Resilience Country Coordinator briefing partcipants at a familiarization meeting among Cordaid, MKEWP and Ngare Ndare, Ngare Nything and Isiolo WRUAs at Kisima Centre, Meru County

An initial one year contract between CORDAID and MKEWP will see the partnership support the operationalization of the newly established EMU SACCO and implement the WRUA agency model.

WRUA Agency – “Commercializing WRUA Services”

Within the basin, WRUAs serve as a critical bridge between the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and water users at sub catchment level who are critical to improved water resource management.

Most WRUAs (Water Resource User Associations) struggle to operate and address water resource issues within their sub catchments due to lack of capacity, resources, and funds to run their operations and activities. They provide few services as a result, especially when asked to provide value-added practices in support of water management.

MKEWP will pilot a WRUA agency model to address these shortcomings. The WRUA agency model is an arrangement between the WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services rendered. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. WRUAs will provide services valuable to WRA and WRUA members. In return, WRA and WRUA members will pay WRUAs to finance their operations and professional/technical support. The WRA can do this because increased WRUA efficiency results in the more effective collection of water use fees and payments.

Cordaid will support MKEWP to build awareness on this model, build the capacity of WRUAs, lobby at County and National government for adoption, and provide the necessary support for implementation of the model in two (2) WRUAs.

UPDATE!!

The World Bank has again joined MKEWP with continued support to the Partnership for two years. The new Bank grant will support the expansion of the WRUA Agency Model to an additional 5 Water Resource User Associations, and assist these WRUAs along lines similar to the CORDAID work. The close collaboration between these two grants – CORDAID and World Bank, is expected to yield a model of WRUA financing and operations that can be embraced throughout the country

 

       

 

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EMU SACCO-EWASO MAJI USERS SAVINGS AND CREDIT COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD

THE NEW-OLD SOLUTION TO WATER SECURITY

emusacco logo

The official Emusacco logo

 

 

The Ewaso Maji Users Association (EMU SACCO), the newest innovation by MKEWP – Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, is working to enhance water security for communities through financial solutions for Laikipia farmers

As part of MKEWP’s goal to improve water security in the Ewaso River Basin, EMU-SACCO has been developed to finance water investments at farm level. The water crisis in the Ewaso River Basin has been a never-ending challenge for our communities, too often accompanied by conflicts among the people.

Unreliable dry season river flows have led to general misuse of the already limited resource. This situation pits communities against each other, and puts a lot of them at a disadvantage.

To ease pressure on the already limited resource, MKEWP wants to increase and accelerate innovate water financing for water investment at farm level.

EMU SACCO is a community-based financier that supports farmers access to finances for household level investment in water harvesting, storage and efficient used. We encourage water users to be self-reliant and to invest in on-farm and community water conservation infrastructure.

 

Our objects are to:

  • Bridge financial gaps in water investment.
  • Provide a savings platform for water users
  • Offer a borrowing fund to help water users finance water storage and efficient use.
  • Promote water conservation within the Ewaso Basin.

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT.

  • We offer affordable and flexible rates.
  • We provide linkages between water users and modern technology service providers.
  • We aim at economic improvement of livelihoods of water users.
  • Link farmers to markets and business opportunities.

EMU-SACCO offers a revolutionary approach to water sustainability in our communities. We use a well-known Kenya credit and savings tool to accelerate solutions and ownership to our water conservation and management challenges.

EMU-SACCO is hosted by the Mount Kenya Water Partnership (MKEWP). Our offices are located at the Laikipia Forum premises in Nanyuki.

Join us – we are 50 members strong already. Please stop by for a visit and become a member!!

 

 

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Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Fauna & Flora, and MKEWP Joined in Support of Mutara Communities

mutara

Chief of Mutara Location speaks to residents during a meeting to resolve water crisis and conflicts between downstream and upstream water users in the area. The meeting was organised by partnership of Water Resource Authority, Ol Pejeta, MKEWP and WRUA members.

 Over the last few months, this partnership has hosted a series of engagements with WRUA members in Mutara and Suguroi Sub-Catchments of the Ewaso Basin.

The partnership is tackling issues related to water conflicts. They have also offered training of WRUA members on water conservation and management, focusing on a more equitable supply of water between upper and lower catchment water users.

Moreover, the partnership has focused on the mandatory development of the Sub-Catchment Management Plans , and is pushing for more women to participate in the management of water resources actively.

These partners are working together with the Water Resource Authority (WRA), Water Resources User Associations (WRUA), project committees and pastoral communities in the two catchments.

Water Crisis

A significant increase of acreage under irrigation and over-abstraction from users in all the zones of Mutara have contributed to conflicts between users in the upper and lower zones. This over-abstraction is causing conflicts with down-stream water users. In water crisis meetings held since September 2018, the partnership:

  • Developed water rationing plans prior to dry months, when most water conflict occur.
  • Supported Smart Water Agriculture – Farmers are helped to adopt modern farming technologies to reduce water wastage.
  • Supported a Ksh 10,000 fine on Community Water Projects that go against rationing plans and other regulations agreed on between the WRA and WRUAs.

Training of Community Members

Over 80 WRUA members have been trained on different aspects of water conservation, smart water agriculture, and good governance.

More specifically, farmers in the catchment now have access to a simple manual in line with the current agricultural policy used by the water and extension officers of the County to train farmers.

MKEWP has also facilitated farmers from Mutara-Suguroi to visit model farms in three counties (Laikipia, Nyeri and Meru) to learn about Smart Water Agriculture and market-based solutions.

Mutara WRUA member speaks during a meeting organized by MKEWP to train the community on catchment protection and sensitize them on the 2016 Water Act.

Mutara Sub-Catchment Management Plan

Finally, plans to develop the Mutara Sub-Catchment Management Plan (SCMP), by March 2019 are underway.

In its preparation, WRA, with help from Ol Pejeta Conservancy, conducted an abstraction survey while MKEWP commissioned a river study for the Mutara River. These two studies will come in handy in the development of the final plan. The SCMPs guide the management and maintenance of the sub-catchment by communities.

In 2019 MKEWP will continue to work with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) in the Mutara area on the Cattle, Water and Wildlife in Laikipia.

Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.

The project is implemented with partnership of FFI, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and LWF through Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP)

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More Crop for Each Drop

SNV farmer's field day

Farmers’ Field Day expose farmersto modern irrigation technology, profitable crops and maximizing water productivity on small parcels of lands.

‘Increasing water productivity’’ was the theme of the October’s Farmers’ Field Day held in Kiahuko Area, Naro Moru WRUA, Nyeri County.

The event organized by the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) in partnership with SNV. It attracted 230 farmers from 19 Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) from Nyeri, Meru and Laikipia Counties.

The farmers were trained on irrigation technologies, water harvesting and storage, water abstraction, access to finance, as well as market-based approach in agriculture. The ultimate goal being  to maximize farm production with minimum water use.

A small-scale farmer, Mr Ephraim Kahenya and his wife, hosted the field day at their model farm in Nyeri County.  The family is a pioneer in water harvesting technology and they are great examples of how to harvest water and use it efficiently.

“Irrespective of being a farmer in a semi-arid zone of Nyeri County, Smart Water for Agriculture has improved my productivity and has diverted my mind away from over-reliance on rivers.” Says Mr Kahenya, adding, “Such field days are fundamental in offering farmers advice on the most suitable crops to grow with market and water conservation in mind.”

Mr Kahenya inspired other farmers with the possibility of a small-scale farmer making over a million shillings for the sale of garlic planted on 1/16 acre piece of land. “That’s how you increase water productivity: Make every drop count,” he told the farmers.

The series of farmers’ field days organized by MKEWP create awareness and build the capacity of the farmers to enable them to harness and use water resources better.

MKEWP supports activities in line with County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) for the three counties of Nyeri, Meru and Laikipia. These Plans prioritize the adoption of modern farming methods as opposed to just rain-fed agriculture.

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Ol Pejeta, Fauna and Flora International and MKEWP in Concert!

Water Act 2016

A community member of Mutara shares with WRUA Cluster during the sensitization on Water Act 2016.

58 Water Resources User Associations (WRUA) members from three sub-catchments in the Greater Laikipia landscape participated in a good governance efforts led by MKEWP in partnership with Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Fauna and Flora International.  They learned about the new policies for water, and the devolved functions of County Governments in water management.

The “Guide to the 2016 Water Act” is a MKEWP product that uses a simple guidebook of questions, answers and illustrations to inform water users on the major elements of the new water legislation.  The Guide answers a 100 practical questions that address the critical elements of the Act.

In recent months, the Partnership has been distributing the Guide and empowering communities within the Ewaso basin through the WRUA Clusters – Mutara WRUA Cluster in East Laikipia is the latest beneficiary of the sensitization exercise as part of Fauna and Flora International /OPC Project in the area.

Copies of the Guide to Water Act 2016 were also distributed to enable the WRUA management to continue sensitizing their members in the Pesi, Mutara and Surguroi WRUAs.

The Water Cluster Model is used to address common water conservation and management between river systems that share similar demographics, land use, and water governance challenges. The WRUA Cluster is used to expedite the delivery of messages, management, and technology, as well as to increase the sense of solidarity, planning and purpose across sub-catchment lines. By using this model, MKEWP is able to increase the effectiveness of its outreach and water monitoring activities, and to build comparative advantages between Clusters as a result of increased social cohesion. The Cluster also helps to increase the leverage of WRUAs on water management issues.

Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.

The project is implemented with partnership of FFI, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and LWF through Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP).

For these and other updates, ensure that you follow us on Facebook, Twitter: @MKEWP, or contact MKEWP’s Coordinator – Stanley Kirimi: stanley.kirimi@laikipia.org, to find out how you can join or support MKEWP.

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Smart Water for Agriculture Fund to benefit farmers in the Upper Ewaso Basin

SNV

MKEWP Water Resources Specialist James Mwangi talks to SACCO officials during the workshop in Laikipia.

Forty local SACCOs met to learn about Irrigation Acceleration Platform and how their members can access the newly launched Smart Water For Agriculture (SWA) Fund to invest in sustainable solutions in small-scale farming.

The activity, organized by Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), had the Kenya Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives Ltd (KUSSCO) talk to the local SACCOS. KUSSCO is a umbrella for cooperatives in Kenya.

KUSSCO are the custodians of the SWA fund provided by SNV. They trained the SACCOS on business linkages, access to finances for farming and service providers. SACCOs can now access the SWA Fund and obtain loans for their members who want to use drip kits for irrigation.

SNV

The workshop was organized by MKEWP through SNV’s Smart Water For Agriculture Program

As part of SNV’s goal to link farmers to sustainable water technologies, the SACCOs were also introduced to private service providers. Members can use the Fund to access money to buy irrigation kits from these providers.

MKEWP is the implementing partner for SNV’s Irrigation Accelerated Platform (IAP) in Laikipia County. They are a link between farmers and farming technologies that not only conserve water but also improve farm productivity.