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Ground Breaking Ceremony for E-Agriculture Project!

Macheru Karuku, 1st place winner of Round 3 tells us about the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the launch of his Electronic Agriculture Project, turning his idea into action!


It was song and dance on the Gakawa Secondary School grounds on 13th day of November, 2009.  This school is situated on the western leeward slopes of Mount Kenya and just 4 km south of the Equator. Wildlife from the forest is prevented from roaming the school compound by an electric fence.  

Many had trooped to this venue early, people from all walks of life, who arrived by different means.  Some came on foot, others bicycled; some came in hired taxis and even others came in state-of-the-art SUV’s.

The centre of attraction was however the already installed water harvesting and drip irrigation system, coupled with green bicycles (the color signifies  the role bicycles play in the fight against environmental pollution and degradation), professional riders from the Wheels of Wonder Bicycling Club who performed stunts to the excitement and applause by the now seated crowd.  Green bicycles will be used to draw water from various resources during draught while at other times they would be used by students who travel long distances each day to and from school.

       Drip irrigation system    

Notable participants included 20 representatives of the 250 member strong Irura Women Group who had hired vehicles to this venue to witness the launching of a project that is so close to their hearts.

The occasion also brought together seven principals of needy day secondary schools. One principal who heads a girl’s only school had travelled all the way from Karatina municipality, nearly a hundred kilometers away.  Others who graced the occasion included the neighboring peasants, local leaders, NGO/private collaborators and even government officials who were led by the area District Officer, Debra Mwarania.  Debra was the guest of honor and she launched the E-Agriculture project with gusto.  Only one part of the project (roof water harvesting, drip irrigation and agro forestry) was implemented.  The website part will be operational before end of January, 2010.  Songs, dances and poems then followed while the excited students and members of the Irura Women Group tried to outdo each other in the merriment.

      

One thing was clear however. The subject was only one – a project that would fast-track food production was needed and speaker after speakers hyped on E-agriculture as that project that would achieve this feat.   They stated that for the first time in their lives, they had been asked to vote for a project.  After their E-agriculture won the first position of the third round they were promptly informed by Africa Rural Connect.  After the $ 3000 was received by Seanet International, they were also informed.  And now this was another occasion, to involve them in launching of the project!

     

The guest of honor, District Officer Debra Mwarania, was then taken around to inspect the gutters, the water reservoir and the now operational drip irrigation system and this was accompanied by much clapping and ululations.  She then led the community in planting of Grevellea robusta agro forestry trees that also form part of the project to mitigate environmental pollution. 

The six hour ceremony had finally come to an end!

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