IPI wants to reclaim and regenerate our environment and build ecological sustainability by building the Njuruta demonstration site for water harvesting and ecological farming. This strategic water management system helps utilising the little available water effectively from one, very short rainy season every year for the watering of trees and to grow vegetables. Simultaneously, it will stop topsoil erosion and restore the nature.
Njuruta is situated between two hills that were once forested but now are bare due to overgrazing and cutting of trees. This once lush, forested area where animals roamed free, is now a semi-desert land where hardly anything grows anymore. Currently, we fetch water either on donkey back or bull driven carts from a water source 4 kilometres away, and then we use this water to manually water the fruit trees. These days, we see people selling land and running away from this place.
Farmers and students can come to learn at the demonstration site – where we will be harvesting rainwater from the two hills that surrounds the land. The water will be used for the tree nursery, where seedlings are grown from donated seeds from the local farmers.
With the learning from the demonstration site, farmers and students can now duplicate these methods, whereby they will be helping each other to build and to learn collectively, reclaiming their land, planting trees, reducing soil erosion, and increasing its fertility. Farmers and schools will be able to grow their crops to full term even when rains are not enough.
Short term, the project will revive farming with higher ecological produce, providing food security for the community; In the year after the building of the demonstration site, 50 homesteads will have planted 100 trees on their property and the two primary schools in Njuruta will have planted 200 trees at their school compounds.
The 250 people of the 50 homesteads and 1,000 students benefit from the harvested vegetables and fruits grown on their land.
The project will also benefit about 10,000 people who live in the Njuruta region. For instance, because at least 50 homesteads follow the example and build an average-size dam for rain harvesting; and more homesteads will plant trees and the schools will plant more trees.
In turn, we expect it to result in healthier children – because of healthier food intake, as well as to less migration to urban areas; with the newly created agri-jobs for young people, they may now decide to stay in the area.
And finally, we hope to use this project to create awareness on the need to conserve nature at their school compounds and in their homes. This region will start turning green and the farms turning into food forests rather than mono-cropped farms with dried maize plants!
In this way, our region can become sustainable in real terms, so that we can meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future ones to meet theirs.
The donations of KSH453,200 (or €3,467) will allow us to purchase the equipment and labour for:
- Two large dams to harvest water during the rainy season.
- A long-term drip irrigation piping system.
- And swales to stop run-off.
The project is part of IPI’s daily already successful activities, such as:
- Planting a food forest at the demonstration site. For example, in May 2021 IPI already planted 150 Hass avocado seedlings in our Njuruta Farm.
- Providing information at the demonstration farm on harvesting water and growing organic food for farmers from the community and primary school children.
- Planting more indigenous trees on the hill sides, in the school compounds (500 more) and in the farms (5000 more), together with the primary schools and farmers.