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Community Investment

The focus of this phase is on laying the foundations and developing the infrastructure required for income generation and meaningful investment. This phase includes physical infrastructure as well as community systems strengthening and capacity development. The following activities will be implemented as part of the community investment phase.

Asset Register:
In order to enable effective and ecologically sustainable utilisation of the resources at the community’s disposal, a comprehensive asset analysis and register will be conducted. The aim of the asset register is to ascertain all the available resources within the group ranch and identify the most effective ecologically sustainable strategies to harness their potential for income generation. Conducting an asset register will require the technical expertise of an external, impartial consultant.

Micro-hydro plants:
The lack of access to power in the Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit group ranch is a major barrier to development and economic empowerment, significantly limiting both the range and level of enterprise possible. Recent research has shown that there is great potential for micro-hydro power generation in the area, with an estimated total of 10-15 megawatts which could be generated through construction of micro-hydro schemes on appropriate streams. Whilst producing sufficient power for the community needs, surplus power generated could be sold to the national grid, bringing in further funds for community development and investment. Micro-hydro schemes are a highly effective and low impact means of generating power, enabling renewable power to be produced from small streams and rivers. Unlike large-scale hydro schemes which can have serious effects on water management and require large areas to be flooded for reservoirs, micro-hydro schemes take only a limited amount of water (typically less than 50% of the total water flow), have a very small storage volume and return the water a short distance downstream, thus mitigating the negative environmental and human impact of large scale systems. This method of producing renewable, clean energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution from burning fossil fuels, including kerosene for lighting and diesel for machinery, and presents new business opportunities by enabling refrigeration and the operation of electric machinery.

TRADE has recently sourced funding for the construction of a micro-hydro demonstration site which will be used, amongst other things, to power a refrigeration unit to enable dairy production. The aim of the pilot site is to validate the research claims and gain the buy-in of community members through practical demonstration of the income generating potential of micro-hydro power generation.

Road infrastructure:
The existing road network in the group ranch is very limited and the few roads that do exist are in a state of serious disrepair, making trade and transportation of goods inefficient, prohibitively costly and often impossible. Currently, road maintenance falls under the jurisdiction of the county council and, due in large part to the community’s relatively low lobbying power within the constituency, funds available tend to be channelled to other areas in the district which are perceived to be of higher economic and political significance and, as such, of higher priority. Further, when funds do become available for road maintenance within the group ranch, external consultants are contracted, channelling much needed employment and funds away from the group ranch. A lack  of proper accountability or monitoring, combined with the fact that external contractors foresee no long term personal benefits of improved infrastructure in the community, also exposes opportunities for corruption and siphoning of funds.

An effective and well constructed road network is a vital investment to initiate community development and enterprise. However, the current arrangements and systems have not proved effective. TRADE, therefore, proposes that responsibility for road maintenance be turned over to the local community, using the funds available through the county council to contract willing community members to maintain certain stretches of road that are near to their homes. Contracted community members, recognising the longer term impact that a good road network would have on other business ventures, have a greater incentive to ensure the planned construction is completed, and a natural system of accountability will be instituted through other community members holding the locally contracted community members responsible to utilising community funds effectively.

Home grown security systems:
The current lack of security systems, with no police post in or near the group ranch, disincentivises both private and public investment in the area. A key example of this is the reluctance of cellular network providers to construct cellphone towers which would provide much needed telecommunication services, with the potential to open up access to new trade opportunities, and related services including telephone banking. Through discussion with local cellular network providers, TRADE has found that there is willingness to introduce such services within Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit group ranch if an effective security system could be guaranteed.

Valuing home-grown solutions which prioritise local employment and income generation, TRADE proposes to identify small scale income generation projects which can be implemented at the site of investment, for example where a cell phone tower is constructed, and revenue generated through the enterprise used to compensate security personnel or guards. In the case of the cell phone infrastructure, this would require that the community sets aside a small piece of land for the construction of the cellphone tower, and assign that land for use by a family or group of community members willing to take on responsibility for the cell phone tower’s security. Suitable small scale revenue generation projects may include bee keeping, processing nuts or high value fruit or cracking stones for gravel.

Communication Infrastructure:
The booming cell phone industry across Africa has revolutionised business and presented huge revenue increase and new income generation potential for a wide variety of sectors. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, described the cell phone as the single most transformative technology for development, due in large part to its ability to break economic isolation, widen markets and trading opportunities and enable faster response to changing market conditions. Cellphone connectivity has had the greatest impact in areas where access to previous forms of communication, such as land lines, was non-existent. In areas such as these, access to telecommunications has reduced business running costs tremendously, with a telephone call now replacing the prior system of message delivery by hand; enabling producers to find out basic information about market prices for their products and accelerating response to problems and emergencies, amongst other key benefits. New smart phone technology also opens up access to the internet in areas where this key information database was not previously accessible. The Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit is lagging behind the cellphone revolution because of the security concerns outlined above. Initiating home grown security systems, specific to the provision of security to a particular cell phone tower, and endorsed by community leadership, would help to attract cellphone network providers to the group ranch and expose the community to all the positive impacts being experienced elsewhere in the developing world.

Conservancy:
Located on Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit group ranch is Kenya’s only unexploited forest area. The pristine forest, never having undergone destructive logging or deforestation, is an area of great national ecological importance; it’s successful preservation of paramount importance. The key to preserving the forest is to demonstrate the greater, long term, sustainable economic benefits of its preservation relative to the short term economic gains achievable through its destruction.For this to be realized, a key milestone is to obtain government-endorsed conservancy status for the area, to ensure it’s protection through existing state legislature, whilst also opening opportunities for it’s economic value to be explored in an ecologically friendly and sustainable manner. For more information regarding the conservancy please click here.

Capacity Strengthening and Training:
In order to support the success and sustainability of the infrastructural developments proposed, which aim to build the foundations required, and create an enabling environment, for income generation and enterprise, capacity strengthening and training in a number of fields will be required. This includes training on road construction, hydro-power utilisation, conversancy management and care, security provision as well as specialised training in the tourism and service industry, amongst other key areas. More general training on business management, community management, finance and investment will also be required to support the success of the development plan. As activities are rolled out, and these create knock on effects, it is expected that new areas of training will also be identified. TRUST aims to support the successful development of the group ranch by identifying training needs and facilitating appropriate and relevant capacity strengthening sessions.

Recently a major gap was identified with regards to women’s health and access to required health services, particularly with regards to pre- and post-natal services, which were predominantly provided in the home by ill-equipped traditional mid wives. Recognising this gap, and the need for a culturally sensitive and relevant response, TRADE identified field experts to train traditional mid-wives in better pre- and post-natal practices, covering basics such as hygiene as well as safe delivery of infants in a non-vertex position. Monitoring of maternal and neo-natal health following these training sessions showed the huge impact of targeted and appropriate training as, within two years, the maternal fatality rate during delivery dropped from an average of one per month to zero to date.

Community planning:
For development in the area to be sustainable and ecologically viable, proper planning needs to be put in place and endorsed by the government. This includes allocating land to key public amenities including clinics, schools and commercial centres. Planning for development also requires introduction of proper public systems, such as waste disposal and sewage. The provision of such services is a public responsibility but demanding the services can be costly and is beyond the reach of the group ranch committee. TRADE proposes to support the group ranch committee to lobby for the implementation of these public services to enable properly planned and formal development structures and infrastructure to be established.


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