Research and Information Managements
The Research and Information Management Program at PELUM-Kenya is aimed at ensuring effective Information sharing and knowledge management through an efficient hub at the PELUM Association Kenya Country Desk (Office). The RIM Programme was established at PELUM-Kenya in the year 2005.
The objectives of the program are
- To develop effective communication and office ICT Infrastructure at the PELUM-Kenya Country office
- To enhance the capacity of Member Organizations in Information Sharing and knowledge management
- To develop documentation and dissemination literature and research information to share agricultural bet practices and innovations.
- To enhance the capacity of member organizations in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
- To enhance capacity of small-scale farmers through Member Organizations in Information gathering, documentation and sharing for Livelihood improvement
- To enhance capacity of farmers to access and share information, best practices and innovative technologies
The main programme activities and projects covered under the RIM Programme over the years include:
Online Information Service for non-chemical Pest Management in the Tropics (OISAT) Pilot Project
This was a Pilot Project to test the efficacy of the use of natural pest management methods. The project was piloted by establishing of farmer learning and resource centres in four (4) ecological zones in Kenya. From the centres, the OISAT information was downloaded from the Internet (www.oisat.org) or from CD ROMs and applied on farms. The formulations elaborated on the website were proved successful in the tropics by the end of the Testing phase.
A roadmap for mainstreaming OISAT in training and extension services was explored in 2009 in a regional consultative meeting organized by PELUM Kenya in Moshi, Tanzania. Participants were drawn from six countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – under the Coordination of the respective PELUM Country Desks. Some designed action plans included the production of publicity material, repackaging the OISAT information for training and introduction of the concepts in countries where this was relatively new information. This roadmap will be implemented in 2010.
For more information about OISAT, please visit www.pan-germany.org
FARMER LED INITIATIVES
Farmer-Led Documentation (FLD)
In October 2008, an FLD workshop was organized where farmers were pre-selected to share practical experiences on Farmer Led Documentation. These methods include the use of visitors’ books, photography, keeping of books of accounts and chart displays. The participants agreed to promote FLD in areas where farmers are passionate about and can sustain the documentation.
A pilot project was carried out in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia with the coordination of PELUM Uganda. The pilots sought to find out the methods used for documentation by communities, the source of motivation for documentation among communities, and where necessary how the methodologies could be improved. A dissemination meeting was held in Kampala Uganda in October 2009 where the pilot participants shared their experiences. The case studies were compiled with additional information, and an FLD toolkit developed. This toolkit has been pre-tested and a list of recommendations for further improvement of the publication given. The FLD toolkit can be accessed here (Farmer Led Documentation Toolkit).
Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) Documentation Initiative
A writeshop on Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) was organized in 2007 and executed by PELUM-Kenya in close liaison with Kenya Association of Forest Users (KAFU), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Programme (SACDEP-Kenya) and other private practitioners. Technical backstopping was offered by officers from Agromisa (Netherlands). The main aim of this writeshop was to disseminate pre-selected case studies of the use of Non-timber Forest Products. The cases sought to exhibit the best practices that contribute to improve livelihoods, are economically viable, can be replicated, are obtained from sustainably managed sources and are technically appropriate, socially acceptable and environmentally friendly.
After the writeshop an Agro-Special booklet (Hidden Resources) was published with support from CTA, Netherlands. The focus of the publication is on successful initiatives by communities neighbouring forests and their respective conservation methods. The book further explores how investors can come in to bridge the marketing challenges experienced while selling the NTFPs.
The Promotion of Indigenous Food Programme
This is an on-going project aimed carried out by the Pokot, Kamba, Luo, Luhyia and Kikuyu communities in Kenya. It is aimed at promoting indigenous food as a sustainable solution to perennial hunger and the rampant poverty in Kenya and Africa as a whole by changing food eating habits to include indigenous, local, traditional and medicinal foods. It also focuses on value addition and marketing aspects of indigenous foods for improvement of income and livelihood security. The project therefore looks at the production, consumption, value addition and marketing aspects of indigenous foods.
The joint trainings and activities in this project include:
- Baseline / status survey at the onset and end of the Project
- Ecological Production of Indigenous food Trainings
- Workshops on Agro-processing, value addition and marketing of indigenous foods
- Indigenous foods regional and National exhibitions
- Farmer exchange visits
- Formation of farmer marketing groups for outlets
- Radio and TV programmes on Indigenous foods recipes, among others
The Indigenous Food Programme is the Kenya national CWG initiative for the PELUM Association campaigns in promoting the utilization of indigenous food in combating food and livelihood insecurities. PELUM Kenya has for the last six years retained the coveted regional food trophy which is competed for triennially in the region.
Reports on these activities are available upon request from PELUM-Kenya. Watch this 15 minute documentary on: Indigenous Food: A viable solution to food insecurity (This will be the link to the documentary)
Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA)
Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) is a marketing approach that improves not only market access of small scale farmers but also fosters the competitiveness of the whole sector – creating at the same time important social capital, with great impact potential to continue and enhance the innovation process at different levels (i.e. micro, meso, and macro).
A 5-day workshop was organized in Kampala, Uganda by the Regional Desk for the PELUM Eastern Africa sub-region. PELUM Kenya was represented by five member organization staff involved in marketing issues in their respective organizations. The grain Amaranth sub-sector was selected for exploring as a pilot initiative on this approach of marketing. PELUM Kenya is currently exploring Resource Mobilization to support this Initiative.
Sharing of Information with other Networks
PELUM-Kenya partners with and is a member of many networks and forums. Development Information materials obtained from this Partner base are disseminated for wider sharing.
These fora include: The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), Promoting Local Innovations (PROLINNOVA), CTA (Netherlands), Africa Biodiversity Network (ABN), Insight (UK), International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM), Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC), Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Slow Food International, Agromisa (Netherlands), East and Southern African Farmers Forum (ESAFF), World Rural Forum (WRF), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany, Bread for the World, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), TAABCO, CORAT Africa, Action Aid (Kenya) among others.