The Research and Information Management (RIM) Program at PELUM-Kenya is aimed at ensuring effective Information sharing and knowledge management through an efficient hub at the PELUM Association Kenya Country Secretariat (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 best 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 establishment 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 Chapters. 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. The application of these pest management technologies has been widely up-taken and continues to be used by farmers; in training colleges under the PELUM Kenya network i.e. Manor House Agricultural Centre (MHAC) www.mhacbiointensive.org; Baraka Agricultural College (BAC) www.sustainableagri.org and the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) www.kiof.net.
For more information about OISAT, please visit www.pan-germany.org
FARMER LED INITIATIVES
Farmer-Led Documentation (FLD)
In October 2008, a Farmer Led Documentation (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 through 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; http://pelum.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/FLD-final-publication.pdf
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) http://pelum.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Hidden-resources-AgroSpecial-8-screen-compleet.pdf 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 marketing the NTFPs.
The Promotion of Indigenous Food Programme
This project was facilitated to be carried out among 10 community groups each from the Pokot, Kamba, Luo, Luhyia and Kikuyu communities in Kenya. The aim is the promotion of indigenous food as a sustainable solution to perennial hunger and the rampant poverty in Kenya and Africa as a whole by changing food consumption habits to embrace 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 emphasis is on the production, consumption, value addition through ago-processing; and marketing of indigenous and local foods.
From this Programme, PELUM Kenya documented 15 recipes in a book http://pelum.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/cookbook1.pdf Hard copies of the book are available for sale from the PELUM Kenya Secretariat in Thika, Bridges Organic Restaurant www.bridgesorganicrestaurant.net in Nairobi City Centre located on Tubman Road Opposite the City Market, or Kates Organics in Kilimani, Nairobi.
Additionally PELUM Kenya prepared a video documentary explaining how growing more indigenous foods and community seed bulking, banking and saving could help to improve the country’s food security. Watch these videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0iIxHOGbqkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdLy2z2AAsw
A case study of increased use of seed saving at community level, being integrated as a social tool for not only food, but peace security can also be seen as documented here http://pelum.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Seed-Saving-for-food-security.pdf
PELUM Association Indigenous Food Torch: The PELUM Association’s Regional Indigenous Food Campaign is an 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 (trophy) which is competed for triennially in the region.
Facilitation of Market Development for access to Agro-markets
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 gr eat 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 Secretariat for the PELUM Eastern Africa sub-region. PELUM Kenya was represented by five member organization staff involved in marketing issues in their respective organizations. In a Pilot initiative the grain Amaranth sub-sector was selected for exploring based on this marketing approach.
PESA Agro-marketing Model: Since June 2010 to date, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) and the East and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) in Eastern Africa, with support from the Ford Foundation Eastern Africa have implemented a Pilot project on Empowering smallholder farmers in eastern Africa to access agro markets and secure agricultural land. In 2010, a marketing scoping study was conducted, which profiled challenges for smallholder farmers’ access to markets in the sub region. In order to address the marketing challenges, phase one and two of the project implemented various activities to identify and disseminate identified marketing models. Furthermore, marketing principles and best practices were identified in each of the 4 countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) and used to develop a PELUM/ ESAFF marketing model – The PESA agro enterprise marketing model. PESA stands for PELUM and ESAFF, as well as the Swahili word meaning money.
In Kenya the Pilot projects placed emphasis on curriculum development, and developed a guide with standalone modules. The curriculum is a hybrid of the FAO farmer business schools, the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) and other market development approaches. The main curriculum comprises of:
} Step 1: developing/adapting curricula to guide capacity building for facilitators
} Step 2: training of facilitators (methods, tools)
} Step 3: Rapid assessment of the chain or sub sector to identify key actors along each node of the model
} Step 4: Building engagement amongst the actors: analyze joint market opportunities, develop ‘business’ plan
} Step 5: Chain development: operationalization of business plan
} Step 6: Learning and reflection concertizing model for rolling out in the future
Some of the general strength areas from the Pilot phase include:
} Piloting the model on four value chains, especially soy and maize which are complementary and fit well in the partner farmers farming system
} Establishment of platform with a broad array of chain actors and supporters – more especially bringing financial institutions on board
} Innovations in production technology – supporting farmers to adopt new technologies like the green house in Kayonza
} Identification of alternate market outlets – a good coping strategy for market failure, as envisaged by linking farmers to SOSOMA to counter the negative effects of delayed payments by RAB
} Strong farm institutions that foster collective action in engaging in both input and output markets
} Institutionalization of the model: the activities have been well integrated in other project activities. This is a commendable sustainability strategy since the model ideally operates best outside a project mode.
} Participation in the Agri-ProFocus gender coaching trajectory
} Visibility of women: while this is a mandatory requirement in Rwanda, it has been practiced and women visited where empowered
} Business plans have been developed and translated in local language
Access to Markets under the PENELI II Programme
PELUM Kenya is in the process of implementing the PENELI II Programme scheduled for 2014 to 2016. PENELI stands for Promoting Ecological Land Use Management (elum) And Networking for Livelihoods Improvement.The issues that are addressed by the PENELI Programme are as a result of PELUM Kenya’s past activities and programmes. It is also addresses issues identified in the strategic plan for the years 2010-2015.
The PENELI II Programme aims at increasing the application of ecological land use and management (elum) practices and networking to enhance sustainable natural resource management and improved food security for livelihood Improvement. One of the Objectives under this is aimed at strengthening the capacity of PELUM Kenya MOs to enable them facilitate small – scale farmers engagement with markets; to be assessed by the number of the businesses that record or report an improvement in business as well as the increase in the sales in terms of value and volume, with a bias towards organic and indigenous products.
Some key strategies which will be used to achieve this are:
- Strengthening the capacity of MOs in market support programmes
- Strengthening the capacity of SMEs to promote their products in the markets
- Promote sharing and learning among market chain facilitators
- Form a marketing working group
- Support gender sensitive incubation programmes
PELUM Kenya has established an interim committee comprised of nine (9) to guide the Market Access component of SUSALI II. The Marketing Committee provides a forum for its members to strategize, plan, network, and communicate recommendations for marketing agricultural products from the members, to the network members, current and potential members and partners.
The Marketing Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the PELUM Kenya Network through the Secretariat, on appropriate Strategies to be used in Strengthening Marketing Programmes. This will be done by developing strategic marketing initiatives guide, soliciting input, recommendations and feedback from the network members, Board of Governors and Strategic Partners involved in the Agricultural Markets Industry.
Responsibilities of the Interim committee members
i) An overall marketing strategy that will facilitate the achievement of objectives set in the Market Access Component of PENELI IIProgramme
ii) Strengthen all components of overall marketing programmes strategies from the MOs with reference to the marketing units involved
iii) Help identify opportunities and potential partnerships in the region to improve marketing initiatives from MOs for optimal results
iv) Review proposed initiatives and make recommendations
v) In a collaborative approach, help to market the Strategic Marketing Document prepared and developed by the same group through identification of potential initiatives and products, and possible strategic partners to promote an increase in borrower numbers, investor numbers and opportunities for income generation.
vi) Facilitate market information sharing and linkages by identification of ‘what is working’ and can be replicated within the network
vii) Carry out monitoring, follow-ups and reporting on target market proposals and initiatives as per the prepared work plan
The Changieni Rasilimali Programme
PELUM Kenya with support from ACT! CRM (Act Change Transform) Changieni Rasili Mali Facility has been implementing a three year (2012-2014) Programme known as Strengthening Community Engagement in Governance and Management of Natural Environmental Resources programme, working with local community groups, small holder farmers, fisher folk, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and other key stakeholders in strengthening governance systems and management of Natural Resources in five selected counties (platforms) in Kenya. PELUM Kenya Member Organizations (MOs) will be involved in implementation, monitoring, evaluation, documentation and reporting metrics.
This project improved participation by local community groups and other stakeholders in the governance, management and utilization of natural environment resources. The three-year advocacy programme which runs from January 2012 to December 2014 focuses on improving technical and organizational capacities of the members and target community groups in order to contribute to policy and legislative decision making processes and implementation, at the national and the decentralized government structures.
The identified counties target on specific areas especially the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), mountain ecosystems, wetlands & water towers and other bread basket areas in Kenya. The rights based advocacy approach has been promoted in engagement of the duty bearers by the community champions. The Counties constitute critical aspects of the decentralisation system as they have important political and administrative powers to prepare development plans, budgets and allocate resources.
The project focused on building a network of actors who can influence the policy process with messages tailored and focused to gain attention and support in order to scale up capacity of PELUM Kenya Members to dispense their mandate to small scale farmers. This project focused on seeing lasting solutions on how communities can be empowered to influence change in the governance and management structures of the utilization of natural environment resources. There was great need to engage the local communities and other stakeholders at county level directly in the articulation of their needs, analysis, design and implementation of NRM policies and innovations in addition to:
- The need to improve on governance, finance management and accountability of NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in order to strengthen its advocacy capacity
- The need to investigate the previous and existing policy environments and their impacts on NRM. This will help communities and other stakeholders in the counties to realize the potential for change, and the need to be cognizant as well as understand the forces that can facilitate or constrain change, and define workable strategies for seizing opportunities and dealing with potential challenges
- The need to involve communities on matters of the devolved county governments’ natural resources Management. The forums organized at county level will also be opportune for briefing on the decentralized government modus operandi
- The need to protect and manage the environment, and conserve natural resources
- Build on previous works of PELUM-Kenya on advocating for increased visibility of the small scale farmers particularly those from marginalized communities in governance issues for their counties
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), Sustainable Agricultural Network (SUSTAINET EA), 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.