Socio Economic Development, Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity protection of the Ogiek Community, Mariashoni.

Apiary Establishment

Beekeeping is one of the major socio-economic activities carried of by the indigenous Ogiek community in Mariashoni location. Traditionally the activity was carried out by men, particularly the elderly in the community. Young men accompanied their fathers to the site where they had placed their traditional log hives and were taught the traditional ways of rearing bees and the trees on which beehives should be hung. One of the most common trees used for the placement of hive is red cedar. It’s also utilized for making of log hive due to its nature of lasting for ages and resistance to pests like termites. In terms of fodder the community prefers the use of Dobeya species whose flower acts as bee fodder. These flower give the Ogiek honey its signature whitish grey color and unique taste.

Given the available potential in both local and international markets available for Ogiek to take advantage of. Production of honey for commercial and consumption purposes remain relatively low due to the lack of/ inadequate proper equipment for beekeeping and management, processing equipment and inadequate knowledge on beekeeping. These factors lead to low honey yield annually, low competitiveness of the honey in the domestic market and low income from the beekeeping enterprise.

With the ongoing project in Mariashoni location, Necofa in partnership with Manitese (An Italian N.G.O) set out to improve the current state of beekeeping in Mariashoni. Their objective being to enhance the Ogiek community’s knowledge on beekeeping, to increase the honey output in the location and to increase household income for families undertaking beekeeping activities. To achieve this. project is working with eight community groups who have already been trained on beekeeping and management. These groups will be supported with hives, and beekeeping equipments so as to establish their apiaries. The apiaries will acts as educational and training centers for both group members and community members. Demonstrations will be undertaken there to make sure that all members gain the skill necessary to establish apiaries on their own. The group apiaries will also help in increasing the revenue for individual groups. The honey will be processed in the newly established workshop at Mariashoni center.
The eight groups working in collaboration with Necofa include:
1. Kaptembwa self-help group
2. Ogiek East Mau beekeeping self help group
3. Taparia self-help group
4. Imani youth group
5. Besin Visionary network self-help group
6. Samitap Kapkeringet self-group
7. Kolanda self-help group
8. Ongeset self-help group

Already groups have been supported with Hives and beekeeping equipment while the other four will be supplied with hive in September and October 2012. The number of hive supplied is 35 Kenya Top Bar Hive (KTBH), 25 Langstroth hives, 25 Log hives. The table below shows the distribution of hives.

Environmental clubs establishment.

Four schools have been trained on the establishment of environmental/ 4 K clubs. The training mainly focused on leadership and management, diverse activities that clubs can carry out in the school, record keeping and benefits of being environmental club members.
The four schools that have undergone the training include:
1. Mariashoni Primary School
2. Ndoswa Primary School
3. Kaprop Primary School
4. Oinoptich Primary School
These clubs consist of 44, 38, 29, 41 members respectively. Each school has set aside a piece of land which will be used for establishing a botanical garden planted with local indigenous trees and plant species native to the Mau ecosystem. The botanical garden will also consist of local medicinal plants varieties and edible herbs and vegetables native to the areas. This will aid the students in learning about their local traditional food culture and also the significance of each plant species to the community; considering that very few of them have a deeper understanding of their local traditional culture. It will also help them in understanding the need for environmental conservation in the Mau Forest Ecosystem.

Tree Nurseries Establishment
The project has also supported local self-help group to establish Tree nurseries in the community. The support included nursery maintenance and work tools, and seed. These Nurseries include:
1. Imani Youth Group
2. Jamii Empowerment SHG
3. Besin Visionary SHG
4. Taparia SHG

These groups were trained on tree nurseries establishment and management, Record Keeping, resource mobilization and marketing to help them sustain their groups in the long run. These tree nurseries will be raising both indigenous tree species and exotic agroforestry trees. The seedlings from the nurseries will be sold to local communities for agroforestry purposes and some to other stakeholders e.g. Kenya Forest service and other non-governmental organization who participate in reforestation activities in the region to help restore the Mau Forest Ecosystem. The groups will engage themselves in the collection of seedlings from the forest to enable them gather seedlings that are native to the Mau Forest and have a cultural bond with the Ogiek community. These nurseries will also be used as learning centers for community members who are not familiar with the local tree species and to promote the conservation of local biodiversity. The group also helps to cultivate entrepreneurial skill amongst the members thus acting as income generation activities for the community members.

MACODEV’s Activities

The Mariashoni Community Development SHG, which was formed recently has been engaging itself in the popularization of its initiatives in the community. They have been conducting meetings and barazas with community members so at to engage them to participate more actively in the process of community development. To strengthen their capacity to operate more efficiently the project supported them with a one day training for it’s committee members. The training entailed Leadership and Management, Record Keeping Resources Mobilization, roles and responsibilities of committee members and growth and development of an organization. The CBO has also been coordinating the honey procurement from local farmers. This activity is ongoing considering that the harvesting season is approaching thus the CBO is trying to acquire as much as they can so that it can be refined at the Mariashoni honey refinery, then certified for by the Kenya Bureau of Standards. After the honey is certified the CBO will be in charge of Marketing the honey countrywide thus providing a path way for Mariashoni Ogiek community to be able to earn some decent compensation for their honey production without being exploited by the middlemen who buy it at a throw away price. Other areas of the CBO engagement include commercialization of locally produced milk, wool purchase and value addition and pyrethrum commercialization and popularization in the area.


Network for Eco farming in Africa(NECOFA) in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture Molo District, Ministry of Education, Kenya Forestry Service are collaborating in a project dubbed “Promoting Students Participation in Agro-Forestry Practices For Environmental Conservation”

Project targets areas are in Molo,Sachang’wan,Turi and Elburgon divisions of Molo District. The target beneficiaries are;

        >School youths


        >Vulnerable households

    The goal of the project is to contribute to the restoration of the Mau forest ecosystem.

This aims at giving youths a chance to participate in the restoration of the ever decreasing forest cover in the society.

The launch was held at Michinda boarding primary school and was attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, five community groups, six schools i.e. Michinda,Mukinyai,Chandera,Tumaini,Nyakiambi and Mariashoni secondary schools.

The venue provided a perfect case study for the schools and communities who will be implementing the NMK project, the participants had a chance to visit the school garden which was established by the 4K club in collaboration with Necofa-Kenya and Slow Food Central Rift Convivium, learn about various gardening techniques, crop diversity and nursery management.

 The students interacted and shared ideas on environmental conservation, a perfect example was from Chandera Secondary School whose members of the environmental club are in the process of establishing a cottage industry which will train people on ways to recycle waste papers by making manila papers, necklaces and other ornaments which will be sold and the money will help fund club activities and create a gainful activity for the jobless majority.

Michinda Secondary school has already set the ball rolling by organizing a tree planting day before breaking for the holidays and they have set a 200 seedlings mark for planting.

The event was attended by a total of 115 participants.



Mushroom: This is a fruiting body of a fungi which is non-photosynthesis thus feeds on organic matter and plant organism. The fungus includes moulds, yeast, toadstools and mushroom.
They are characterized by sudden and rapid growth hence require a balanced and supplemented carrier material(substrate)to ensure optimum production within its life span.

Mushroom are of different varies which include edible and non-edible ones. Some of the common varieties grown in Kenya include:
Oyster Mushroom (plerotus)
Button Mushroom (Agricus)
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
Chinese Mushroom (Ganoderma)
Advantages of growing mushroom over other cash crops:
1. Demand for less Acreage
2. Fast growing (duration between planting and harvesting is only 28-35 days)
3. Use of agricultural waste, as growing media e.g. sugarcane, banana, leaves, fibres, maize stovers, bean trash, wheat straw etc.
4. No fertilizers or chemicals used, thus contributing to less input.
5. Growing media (substrate)could be used in the farm as soil conditioner after harvesting period(compost)

1. Substrate-carrier material used in growing mushroom
2. Spawn-mushroom ”seed”
3. Mycellium-This fiber- like ”roots” that grow through the substrate.
4. Pin-heads-The first signs of sprouting mushrooms.
5. Fruiting-process of mushroom development(growth)
6. Fruiting body-The actual mushroom.
7. Cluster- several mushrooms growing together sometimes from the same stem.
8. Colonization-Growing of mycelium through the substrate.
9. Contamination-infection of other unwanted organism e.g. green mould, black mould etc.
10. Dark room-Room with total darkness where spawns are put for the first 14-21 days for the mycelium to colonize (incubation)

a) Growing shed(house)-the structure should not be complex, it could be made simply from locally available materials, provided it meets the required conditions to favor mushroom growing e.g. (i)Lighting
NB: Growing shed (house) should include preparation room, dark room(incubator)and finally the production room to allow the farmer have a continuous crop.
b)planting materials (substrate)This refers to the carrier materials which include ,bean trash, maize stalks, wheat snow, sugar cane etc. depending on the locality of the farmer. The planting materials should make a good combination so as to give a balance3d nutrient supply to the mushroom.e.g bean trash-protein and nitrogen, wheat straw and banana fibers(starch)
(c)Spawn (mushroom ”seed”)
This could be obtained from different institutions recommended for high quality spawn production. Some of these institutions where farmers can source (get spawn include :
a. J.K.U.AT@600/=kg
b.Biosafe Technologies @500/=per kg
c.Vimpro(vihiga)@350 per kg
d.chiromo campus

d) Supplements: This is additional ingredients used to enrich the substrate to ensure a fertile garden plus increasing mushroom production.

Oyster mushroom resembles oyster hence its name. It has a funnel like shape, greyish,white in colour.Oyster mushroom is the most common, which most small scale farmers are growing due to some positive factors:
i)It grows on a wide range of substrates .
ii)Easy adaptable and can withstand a wide range of temperatures ranging between 15-32 degrees Celsius.
iii) High nutritional value e.gproteins ,fats, vitamins and minerals.
iv) Oyster mushroom are palatable due to their unique taste, texture, and flavour, hence a wide market.
v)Has medicinal value, thus manage several diseases. Some of the diseases suppressed by oyster include, cancer, diabetes,heart and coronary disease etc.
NB: Mushroom is referred to as healthy food due to high content of linoleic acids and antioxidants which helps to boost the body immune system hence suppressing diseases.

-Banana fiber and leaves.
-Sugarcane bagasse
-Straw:barley,wheat,bean,rice,soya,millet etc.
-Maize cobs.
-Ground nut waste
-Grass chaff
-Saw dust

-polythene bags
-empty gunny bags
-methylated spirit
-cotton wool
-plastic rings
-preparation table(or polythene paper)
-drum or giant sufuria with lid
-weighing scale

2.Soya meal
3.Kupa kula(or animal concentrate)

-First select your working area which should have controlled air/current flow, the air movement should be limited
-Weight the required amount using the weighing scale.
-spread the substrate on the preparation table (polythene paper)add 1%lime 1%supplement(soya meal, molasses or kupa kula)and mix thoroughly.
-Sprinkle water but not in excess. Apply the squeeze test(very little drops, when the substrate is squeezed)then know it is ready for use.
-Fill the substrate into polybags and tie tightly using sisal twine.
-Put a wooden rack on the bottom of the drum with a height of about 30cm.
-Fill the drum with water to the height of the rack.
-Pack the ply bags with the substrate inside.
-Put the lid on the drum and steam for not less than 3 hours by heating.
-Allow the steam to escape via a small hole on the lid.
-Take care not to boil away all the water in the drum.
-Remove the poly bags after 3 hours and store overnight.

-Sterilize the table (preparation)or the polythene paper with methylated spirit.
-Untie the substrate and spread on the paper or table.
-Spawn application should be done on top of the substrate.
-Close the poly bags using plastic rings then plug with sterilized cotton wool.
-Now, you have already planted gardens ready to be taken to the dark room for incubation.
-incubation period is 14-21 days and ensure that the temperatures does not exceed 28 degrees Celsius .
-After full colonization of the the substrate, transfer the planted gardens to the growing room.
-Make sure humidity is maintained, which should not be less than 90%.use a spray pump.
-After 6-7 days, pin heads will start to appear, make holes on the gardens for the mushrooms to sprout out.
-Maintain humidity level to 80% don’t let the substrate to dry.
-Within 2-4 days mushrooms will be ready for harvesting.
-Ensure to harvest before they are fully grown.
-Continue spraying and the cycle will repeat itself (4-5)times of flushes.
NB:The number of flushes will depend on the amount of nutrients in the substrate.

1kg of dry substrate when wet is approximately 3.14kg.That is (DM)=3.14kg(W.W.)
2kg spawn is supposed to plant 15kg (dry matter)therefore converted into wet weight; it will be (15×3.14) which is around 50kg(WW)thus 1kg can plant 25kg(ww)substrate.
3.Competitor mushrooms
4.Co2 accumulation
5.Light deficiency
6.Pesticide effect
7.Trichoderma (infectious fungi)

-Maintaining high levels of hygiene
-Proper substrate sterilization
-Spore filters in inoculation rooms

This is scariads and phorids ,which are attracted by mycelium scent
solutions:-using wire mesh on windows
-using sticky traps
-using organic pesticides e.g. (flower Ds 0.4%)which is pyrethrum based.
-Timely harvesting.
Control:>use of oil on timber works
>for snails use of ash is recommended(pour ash around the growing room)
Use water tunnels around the house to discourage rats.
Mushroom can be dried and grinded to powder form.
The powder is packed into air tight containers to improve shelf life.
Forming a marketing Association.
-Fresh-slice mushroom to thin pieces including the stem(which is rich in fiber)
-Fry your onion, tomatoes and other additives if any and then add the mushroom.
-Keep stirring till all water evaporates, add salt and keep stirring to avoid sticking to the cooking vessels
>If you need soup, do not add water, instead add milk.
>Serve the mushroom with ugali,rice or chapatti once ready.
>Powder-Add to porridge, milk, or hot water and drink.

For more information contact John-0721930498.


        Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) in collaboration with Rotary club through Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife (FKSW) has supported Mau Stinging nettle presidia producers in construction and installation of ‘‘Rope & Washer Pump’’to ensure availability of clean water, improve sanitation within the households hence reducing cases of water borne diseases, and providing water for farm use during dry spells. With the installation of the pumps, this has created more hours for the members (women) to partake other economically viable activities.





Michinda Boys Primary School Exposure Tour to Nanyuki Secondary schools..

July 6th 2012 boys at Michinda primary school hastily loaded their belongings, into the school bus with much enthusiasm. The trip ahead was going to be an adventurous one full of new experiences. The boys were going to have a whole weekend to socialize with their senior counterparts from Nanyuki Boys High school, Moi equator girls high school and Gakawa High school; it was going to be an intensive weekend full of learning experiences: both socially and intellectually. The idea of conducting this trip was conceived in mid 2011 when a group of students from the above schools visited Michinda Boys Primary school for an exchange learning program. During the said visit the students were given a guided tour around the 4K club garden and they were really impressed that the young boys aged between the ages of 8 and 13 years old could achieve so much given their ages thus this challenged them to go back to their respective schools and implement the same. They vowed that in future they’ll invite the Michinda boys so that they could show case what they had achieved since the mid 2011 visit. That time had come and on 6th July 2012 roughly a year after they had visited michinda, it was now the time for michinda to visit the other schools i.e. Nanyuki boys high school, Moi equator girls high school and Gakawa high school. After a long drive of approximately 7 hour we arrived in Nanyuki, a town located at the feet of Mount Kenya, in early morning it offers an impressive magnificent view of Mount Kenya. That evening the student had dinner and spent a night at Nanyuki High School where they had an interaction with the team that had organized the visit i.e. Seanet ‘s director, Mr. Macheru, Lukas and Anna both from People in Peril Association (Pipa)and Nanyuki high school.
On July 7th the Students had a chance to visit the Nanyuki E-clubs’ Garden where they learnt about the activities the club has been undertaking. The Demo offered by the E-club members tours included: Demonstration on drip irrigation, Biogas production, Water harvesting and use efficiency and Green house farming technologies. The E-clubs are run in such a way that the produce from the E-gardens is processed by the members of the club and sold to both the school for consumption and the local market. The E-gardens were adorned with mainly vegetable e.g. kales, spinach, onions, cabbages, tomatoes and tubers: potatoes, carrots and sweet Potatoes. After the Demo tour the students participated in a joint tree planting activity together with the members of cooperatives societies in Nanyuki as a way of marking the world cooperatives day marked on July 7th annually. Shortly after completing the tree planting exercise we departed for Moi Equator girls high school which is located at a five minutes drive from Nanyuki town along Nanyuki – Kiganjo highway. Here we found that our hosts – The E-club Moi Equator girls high school had prepared a guided demo tour around their E-garden. As they had witnessed earlier the boys from Michinda had a chance to see various agricultural technologies ranging from greenhouse farming, drip irrigation, chicken rearing, rabbits and pigs rearing. As with the previous E-club from Nanyuki boys high school, Moi equators’ garden mainly composed of vegetables and tubers farming. During the interaction session which was held in the garden the students had an intense and thorough discussions on the methods of cultivation used by both schools, advantages and disadvantages of each method. They also visited the cottage industry of the school’s E-club where they had a chance to witness various food transformation processes aimed at value addition. Guided tasting sessions were also conducted by the hardworking members of the E-clubs.
Later that afternoon we departed to Gakawa high school which boarder Mt Kenya forest reserve, 30 minutes drive from Nanyuki town towards Kiganjo. Here the students were given a tour of the Gakawa High school E – garden by the members of the E-club, the tour included demos on drip irrigation, agroforestry, Greenhouse farming technologies, tomatoes farming and roof water harvesting technologies. After the visit to the garden the members of both the 4K club and the E-club (from Michinda and Gakawa schools respectively) held intense discussions on their farming practices before proceeding to Gakawa’s E-club cottage industry. In the cottage industry the taken through a demonstration on the transformation and processing (Value addition) of potatoes to make potato chips. This was done using readily available kitchen equipment making it easier for students to replicate when they are back to their respective home. This was particularly significant as the students gained could market their product to their peer in school and at the local market to earn the club some income which can be used to propel the club forward moreover to cultivate interest in other students from the school who have not yet joined the club or have a negative view of agriculture and economic activity. When the demo was done the overly generous students from Gakawa high schools’ E- club offered their guest a packet of potato chip as a gesture of good faith and strong friendship.
At the conclusion of trip the students from Michinda were challenged to implement the activities they had learnt about in their school and also to challenge their parents back at home to adopt them as this will go along way in contributing towards a food secure Kenya where the youth no longer look down upon agriculture as a peasants way of life instead they should perceive it as a viable and respectable way of earning an honest and dignified living. This successful trip eventually, I believe taught the young boys from Michinda a valuable lifelong lesson. We are forever grateful for having had this wonderful opportunity to interact and experience all the good stuff we learnt and for all the nice people we met. Many thanks to PIPA, Nanyuki boys high school, Moi equator girls high school, Gakawa high school Seanet and Necofa Kenya for having made this trip a success.


Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) has been involved in a number of activities both in Kokwa Island and Eldume village, Baringo county. Manitese which in Italian translates to ‘embracing with open arms’ started partnering with NECOFA two years ago in a number of projects. The first project involved capacity needs assessment for Indigenous Ogiek Community living in Marioshoni, support for construction of office, store and classroom for Kirepari primary school in Kokwa Island, rehabilitation of Eldume irrigation scheme and a new project on biodiversity conservation and livelihood improvement for Indigenous Ogiek community, a project which was launched officially on their arrival.

The construction of Kirepari primary school in Kokwa island was initiated through the support of Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife (FKSW).
Last year Bruna from Manitese visited Kokwa Island accompanying her was Damiano who is a friend of Manitese and who was touched by the situation of the pupils he saw in Kirepari. The young school children attending the Pre-school could not be able to trek on foot to Kokwa island primary school from one side of the island, Kirepari, to Kokwa the reason being lack of infrastructures and public means of transport since no vehicles or motorbikes can manage in the island and hence the community came up with the idea of starting ‘a school under tree’ program to educate their young ones since the classroom available could not accommodate all the children. On seeing the young children under the tree, Damiano was very touched and through Manitese funded the project and by May when the two visited again a classroom, an office and a store had already been constructed. Two other classrooms are under construction from other well wishers. The community played a big role in the building of the classrooms through the provision of labor. The pupils can also enjoy clean rain harvested water, since the Lake. Baringo water is very rich in fluoride leading to dental problems.

Apart from Kokwa Island school project, Manitese is also involved in helping the Ilchamus community who are dominant of Eldume in rehabilitating the irrigation scheme. The scheme which mainly depends on water from Molo river to irrigate the semi arid Eldume required a canal to direct water to the scheme.. Following the heavy rains this year Molo river has collected water from the surrounding tributaries and is full. The Canal is still under construction. One major challenge which the Ilchamus community and other communities who depend on the Molo river are facing is protecting the river banks from the soil being washed away. Urgent action is to plant indigenous trees along the river banks to conserve it.


Climate change is the ultimate test for our collective intelligence as humanity. The diversity of cultures and of knowledge systems required for adapting to climate change need recognition and enhancing through public policy and investment. A new partnership between science and traditional knowledge will strengthen both knowledge systems and enhance our capacity to respond.

Biodiversity is the basis of food security. Biodiversity is also the basis for ecological and organic farming because it provides alternatives to chemical inputs. It also increases resilience to climate change by returning more carbon to the soil, improving the soil’s ability to withstand drought, floods and erosion. Biodiversity is the only natural insurance for society’s future adaptation and evolution. Increasing genetic and cultural diversity in food systems, and maintaining this biodiversity in the commons are vital adaptation strategies responding to challenges of climate change.

Together with People in Peril Association, Necofa is working with Koibatek community in conservation of Koibatek ecosystem which is part of Mau Ecosystem. The conservation efforts include:  Capacity building on climate change adaptation in Agriculture and natural resource management, support of communities with tree seedlings to establish wood lots, energy saving stoves, establishment of environmental clubs and arboretums in schools, tree planting in the forest.

Together with Manitese, Necofa is working with Indigenous  Ogiek community from Marioshoni forest in biodiversity conservation. The project involves beekeeping activities, capacity building on importance of biodiversity conservation, mapping of traditional foods and ecotourism. Rehabilitation of Eldume irrigation scheme is also ongoing and capacity building on production and marketing of horticultural crops is one major activity.

Together with Friends of Kenya School and Wildlife, Necofa is working with different communities and schools in support of education and health, main schools are in Arid Baringo County, Kajiado and Isiolo. The scholarships offered ensure bright students do not miss out, as they prepare for a brighter future.

Health of a community is important, and together with FKSW, Necofa has ensured yearly medical camps and monthly monitoring of community health, especially malaria cases at Kokwa Island in Baringo.

Together with Slow Food International, Necofa is implementing projects involving small scale farmers, establishing community and school gardens that will ensure diversified and quality food availability for communities in rural and urban areas