Stakeholder exchange visit to the Kilimanjaro area

On a bright, Friday morning a group of thirty participants from the Taita hills began their journey from Wundanyi, through the Taveta border to Moshi, Tanzania, the home of the Kilimanjaro. Comprising of representatives from different stakeholder groups from the Taita hills region involved in the CHIESA project; women, men, youth, PWDs and government representatives.

The main purpose of the exchange visit was to contribute to the CHIESA project’s Work Package 7 overall objective: to fill knowledge gaps related to natural and human-induced factors contributing to land use/ land cover change, and climate variability/ change impacts on ecosystem services and food security in Eastern Africa’s mountain ecosystems. Through participation in this exchange visit it was hoped that the capacity of the Taita Hills stakeholder groups for water resources management would be enhanced thereby improving the capacity of catchments to sustain local livelihoods through the sustainable use of ecosystem services, and to contribute to development of adaptation strategies to the climate change problems experienced in the target areas.

These goals are in line with the CHIESA project’s objectives of development and dissemination of adaptation tools and building adaptation capacity in collaboration with local communities; and development of adaptation strategies to climate change in order to improve food security and livelihoods in project target areas. The activities of the visit comprised of two guided farm tours, and a stakeholder’s exchange and dialogue workshop between Tanzania and Kenya participants.

 

The first visit was to Kilimanjaro Plantations, a large scale coffee plantation that was using drip irrigation to water their plants. Mr. Bill Harris, The farm’s Production Manager welcomed the group and in detail shared about drip irrigation, the effects of climate change on large scale farming and how drip irrigation was being used as a technique to efficiently use the dwindling water resource.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The participants  were able to see how the drip irrigation looked like, the laying of the pipes, the spacing of the holes in the pipes. It was a very interactive session as the group from Taita hills was eager to learn about drip irrigation.  

 

The team also visited the Miwaleni springs in the outskirts of Moshi town to see the source of the springs and witness the different ways in which the local communities were utilizing the fresh water from the springs. It was evident that the spring was of importance to agricultural and domestic uses of the community that lives around the area.  

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group visited a small scale farm that practiced drip irrigation with water from the Miwaleni springs. The water was pumped and stored in a 20,000 lit tank placed on an elevated point so that the water flows by gravity into the pipes that had been laid down on the farm. A filter was placed on the mouth of the tank to clean the water before it was let into the pipes. This experience was a good opportunity for the group from Taita hills to see that drip irrigation was possible in small scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the second day both the teams from Kilimanjaro and Taita hills had a session where they shared their problems caused by climate change; the solutions that they had implemented. The two groups were also able to share lessons from each other. Mr. Philipo Patrick of Pangani Basin Water Board (PBWB) made a presentation on the Pangani basin, its uses and the challenges faced by the PBWB in the execution of its duties. He however noted that there were some strides achieved such as the registration of 11 Water Users Associations (WUAs) responsible for the restoration and improved utilization of the water resources. The stakeholders from both Kenya and Tanzania made presentations and had discussions on the lessons they had learnt from each other and the common solutions that can be used to cope with the effects of climate change. Conflicting policies and laws was one of the challenges that both groups felt was common to them and that involving all the stakeholders was actually bearing fruit in the protection of the water resources. Some of the solutions that the stakeholders said would be useful in coping with climate change were the use of alternative energy sources; protecting the sources of water and involving all the stakeholders in the protection of water resources. 

 

 

 

 

This visit has been an eye-opening experience for me and I have learnt that conservation of resources is necessary for the health and livelihood of the community. It was good to see that farmers in the Kilimanjaro area are using the drip irrigation method to conserve the diminishing resource. Ms. Nancy Mwakio Bonjoni SHG Chairperson , Taita Hills

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