Both communities have high expectations of the project. However a key issue is that changes in practice would need to be linked with demonstrated success and usefulness. This is particularly the case in Kambu where NGO interventions in farming particularly have not always been seen as successful and have not led to changes in practices and they associate some of the recommended changes with poor soil quality. Abstraction may be a problem. In addition there are issues of community and privacy. Picking out single members of the group for special treatment could be problematic. There have been instances of privileged farmers in Kambu being subjected to curses and witchcraft. There was also a possible link to witchcraft in Kiangwaci. Unexpected or unexplained events can be associated with witchcraft. Advice is more acceptable if obtained from someone of perceived status. Early lack of success results in early abandonment of practices.
Kiangwaci had access to water from rivers and streams and relatively plentiful rain fall. Mains water was supplied to the shambas by the government system but was metered so that it was too expensive to use for irrigation. Some shambas used water buts to collect water from the roofs but even this was used for domestic needs rather than for farming. In Kiangwaci water was pumped to some shambas while other used gravity feeds. Efficient and timely use of water was important.
In Kambu water was an acute problem as rainfall was very low. Rivers were relatively distant and streams had dried up. Some water was obtained from boreholes at an appropriate depth. Water from shallow boreholes could be contaminated. However in Kambu it was possible to see fertile farms where water and crop management was good and the farmer has a sound level of education. There were some examples of NGO interventions that had not been successful, for example the German Agro Action and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) had provided a borehole and manual pumping station to a community (community of Mada) in November 2006 but the water is hardly used. The community in Kambu had limited practical experience of how to exploit these facilities.
Telecommunication seems to be very effective in the Kiangwaci area. At almost every place visited there were mobile phone signals, with Celtel being the strongest coverage. There is a mast installed right at the entrance of the town from Nairobi. Nevertheless, Safaricom appears to be the most popular network among the inhabitants. Some argue that this is due to the fact that Safaricom was the first to penetrate the town. However the centre of the town experiences loss of the Safaricom signal whenever users are inside concrete buildings. With Celtel, this was very different: although the signal strength gets low within the hotel, communication is still possible.
Almost every family in Kiangwaci has access to a mobile phone either directly (owned) or indirectly (friends or relatives nearby). Cost of the phone, charging and credit do not represent a barrier to accessing or acquiring one, although literacy is a barrier. Few houses have electricity to charge mobile phones. Therefore most phones can be out of service for two to three days due to flat batteries.
Recharging greatly depends also on the level of activity and income. Phones can be charged by going into the town centre to charge the phone weekly. This costs currently Ksh. 20 per charging. In periods where farmers are not harvesting and therefore not selling crops to earn income, charging or adding credit to mobile can be delayed or ignored. It is perceived as generally not very important (i.e. if a family has youngsters studying or working away from home, keeping in touch gets very important). The farmers do not usually make telephone calls because of the expense. Normally the relatives and friend in the towns having salaried jobs would call the farmers. Those in the villages will not call unless it is an emergency. There is adequate network reception to operate the phone in the village. The farmers are not confident about using text messaging and see it as time consuming.
Few properties in either community have electricity. In Kambu only shops, offices, bars and hotels seem to make use of it. Most households do not have electricity as it can be costly.
14 Watt 5,000KES
45 Watt 15,000KES
Batteries 4,500 KES