November Moments and upcoming mentoring service

 

After a busy few weeks in the field, followed by a four-flight hop (or, rather, series of hops) from Dakar in Senegal to Bangalore in India, I’m writing to share my Moments of November with you. As you’re surely by now aware, these come from my ‘Moment of the Day’ feature, in which I publish one image every single day on the Robin Wyatt Vision Facebook page.

This feature has continued to prove extremely popular, and it has helped drive my Facebook fan base to over 800 in under four months. I’ve noticed that among these new fans there are a lot of photography enthusiasts, and I’ve been touched by how many have written to me to say that they admire my work. Many have even asked whether I can help them improve. I’ve therefore decided to offer a new mentoring service to help budding photographers develop their photographic vision. It won’t be a technical course (there are plenty of those already available elsewhere). I’m talking about how we communicate through our images. This is a subject of both subtlety and depth, and I find that it’s seldom given the importance it deserves.

I’ll be announcing more about this service shortly. The trigger point will be when my fan base passes 1,000 fans. At this point, I’ll be launching a competition, the winners of which will receive free mentoring. If you are interested in having a chance to be one of my first students for absolutely nothing, go ahead and spread the word about my Facebook page! If you’ve already ‘liked’ it, you can paste the link to your wall: https://www.facebook.com/RobinWyattVision.

Thanks for your continued support! I hope you’ll enjoy last month’s ‘moments’:

20111116 IMG17064 November Moments and upcoming mentoring service

CLICK THE IMAGE to go to the gallery.

 

Two new photo essays on climate change adaptation

 

Greetings! I’m writing to let you know that I recently completed two photo essays on work commissioned by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on climate change adaptation in Kenya. You can click on the two images below to check them out. If you like them, please share them around! There are social network buttons at the bottom of the page, and you can also e-mail people this shortened link: http://bit.ly/vVNCOn.

kenya climate change nyando basin problem iied link Two new photo essays on climate change adaptation
Climate Change in the Nyando Basin: The Problem
kenya adapting climate change nyando basin iied link Two new photo essays on climate change adaptation
Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin

 

I will shortly be commencing some more work on a similar theme for the IIED in Senegal, working with their partner organisation, Environment and Development Action in the Third World (ENDA-TM). I will of course be sharing that work when it’s ready!

 

Climate Change in the Nyando Basin – The Problem (IIED)

The Nyando Basin supplies mighty Lake Victoria with much of Kenya’s contribution to her volume. It covers an area of roughly 3,500 km2 in the west of Kenya, and traverses the provincial boundaries of Rift Valley and Nyanza. Those living in this region have been subjected to changing weather patterns since as long ago as 1961, just a year before Kenya’s independence, when they suffered dramatic and unprecedented flooding. Many people were displaced and had to be resettled. Things have never been the same since, and in recent years the frequency, intensity and irregularity of severe weather events have worsened considerably. However, the realisation that their problems are being caused by the now globally acknowledged phenomenon of climate change only dawned on these people and those who now advocate for them around five years ago.

Since 1961, floods came consistently during March to May each year. These times and the extent of the rains then started changing in the late-1990s, with the worst occurrence since 1961 coming in 1997. Particularly bad floods followed again in 2003, 2007 and 2011. This year, it rained for a few days during the month leading up to my visit in late-October, and did so heavily. The first day of my stay and the day before it bore witness to especially severe rain and flooding. Several houses within the town of Kisumu were destroyed, and many more were filled with water. On this page, you’ll see how two classrooms also collapsed at a village school. Previously, it was not normal to get a lot of rain during September and early October, though late October and November would typically see some rain.

The Nyando Basin suffers not only from flooding; it is also subjected to periods of drought. December to February would typically be the area’s dry period, but this year that spell extended from November all the way into April. Communities here can now see clearly that there has been a change in the rainfall pattern, which – at times of drought – kills off vegetation and increases the distances they have to travel to allow their cattle to drink. It is also becoming more and more difficult for them to strike water at this time when they try to dig wells, which clearly shows how the water table is affected.

This photo essay, like the second part entitled ‘Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)’, was commissioned by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London. It focuses on two villages in the Nyando Basin that have received attention from international donors and local implementing NGOs. Wakesi and Oyola are not far from the town of Kisumu, which stands on the banks of Lake Victoria. Oyola is on the outskirts, and is considered ‘peri-urban’, while Wakesi is rather more rural, located 20 km away from Kisumu. My trip was facilitated by Uhai Lake Forum, a local NGO. Its Coordinator, Dan Ongor, told me that Uhai estimates that over 30% of the people in these focus villages have given up on farming and moved to urban areas, thanks to climate change. Others have started earning a living by coming to town to hawk whatever they can. This is often viewed as a quicker solution than trying to adapt. This photo essay shows you what these people are up against.

All the images below, along with others from the same series, may be purchased as beautiful colour prints or licensed for download (I’m offering 35% off until 1st January 2012); they can also be shared via social media platforms. To make your selection, just click on the ‘Buy | Share’ link at the end of any of the captions, or directly on any image, and you will be taken to the gallery entitled ‘Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)’ in my Image Archive. You’ll find all the images from both photo essays there, and more besides.

kenya nyanza kisumu development climate change photographer iied dfid idrc acts uhai flooding lake victoria aerial view storm 16260 16624 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

An aerial view of Kisumu on the banks of Lake Victoria (left), and of the lake as viewed from the town as a storm brews overhead (right). This is the ultimate destination of the water that passes through the Nyando Basin. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai building church crops storm clouds 16350 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

With flooding and droughts increasingly common and often severe, the people of this region have much to pray for. Here, a church is under construction in the village of Wakesi, flanked by the crops these people depend on. When extremes of weather occur, as at this time, the villagers normally hold a special prayer and offer a sacrifice under a highly regarded tree. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai women churchgoers storm clouds 16358 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Women returning home from church, having prayed for the protection of their livelihoods while the storm clouds intensified. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai herder boys storm clouds 16360 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Mid-afternoon and already almost dark: thick black rain clouds continue to gather over two boys as they herd their family cows in Wakesi. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai raind mud hit sheep 16365 16379 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

The heavens open. Left: Raindrops splash into a sea of mud along one of Wakesi’s approach roads. Repeated intense rainfall has wreaked havoc with the infrastructure here. Right: Sheep huddle together for warmth and shelter as the rain pours down from clouds so dark that it appears to be evening already. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai trees 16392 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

The next morning: flooded fields in Oyola. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer iied dfid idrc acts breached culvert river mahenya 16621 16609 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Overnight, the River Mahenya – which had already burst its banks – swelled further. Left: A lone pedestrian walks along a culvert and prepares to wade through the water on the other side. Right: The river from another point. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai village road 16400 16398 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

The end of the road for our vehicle. Though this road runs into the village of Oyola, we’re unable to continue beyond this point because we don’t have a vehicle that’s four-wheel drive with suitably sealed doors. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer iied dfid idrc acts crossing river mahenya barefoot pedestrians 16619 16416 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

For the villagers, life must go on. So they wade right into the water, carrying their belongings on foot. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai home surrounded floodwater children 16497 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Vivian and Colins Angeso at home, surrounded by rising waters. Frequently, the water actually breaches the threshold of their home. When that happens, they relocate with their mother to the village school and wait for it to subside. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai rain damage home 16293 16290 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Left: Wakesi villager and Secretary of the Wakesi Community Project Committee Joseph Ayungi stands by a thatched home that’s typical for this area. Its mud walls have clearly been badly damaged by recent heavy rains, which often claim the lives of small animals the villagers depend on, such as the chickens we see running around here. Right: Joseph Ogoma, Committee Vice Chairman, shows us similar rain damage on the walls of another home. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai cows chicken floodwater 16449 16488 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Left: With the help of his trusty dog, a villager herds his cows past Oyola School. To the left of the shot, the school’s white toilet blocks can be seen. If it rains for one more day, the floodwater will flush out the human waste, causing great risk of the spread of disease to both the people here and their animals alike. Right: A stranded chicken. This bird would know no better than to drink from contaminated floodwater. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai sheep irrigation channel 16537 16542 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Left: The same goes for this sheep. The villagers are dependent on the animals they rear and the crops they grow, both of which stand threatened by severe weather events. Right: An irrigation channel at Oyola, designed to bring water to crops during dry times, now overflowing. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai crop damage woman firewood 16314 16321 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Left: An Uhai staff member crouches amongst Wakesi’s Black Nightshade crop, comparing healthy and unhealthy leaves. Climate change has hit this crop hard; around 75% was lost in recent floods. The leaf on the right shows evidence of stunted growth, caused by over-exposure to water. A nearby field of tomatoes saw its crop largely destroyed by flooding during September (90% was lost). Meanwhile, maize can only be grown in a few raised areas now. It used to be these people’s staple crop. They would grow it for their own consumption and sell only what was surplus to their personal requirements. They now grow sugarcane and rice for export instead, and are net importers of maize. Right: A Wakesi woman carries home a headland of firewood. During floods, this becomes harder to find as branches become sodden. Yet the villagers here are becoming increasingly reliant on woody sources of fuel owing to fossil fuel price inflation. There is therefore a need to further develop the efficiency of devices used to burn wood, and also to plant more trees. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai sand mining gully 16434 16533 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

The villagers of Oyola sometimes harvest sand, plentiful in their area, as it can be an alternate source of revenue for them. Two of the sites for this are shown above. Left: Severe collapse occurred here after heavy rainfall, forming a gully. Further rainfall then washed sand into a nearby culvert, built to allow a road to stay open during flooding, blocking it and preventing it from serving its purpose. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer education flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai school teacher classroom collapse 16468 16471 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

Left: Marlene Anyango Ogwa is a schoolteacher at Oyola’s school, with a class of 39 12 to 13-year-olds. Here, she’s standing in her classroom with her youngest son, Mark Arnold. The room is partially underwater, thanks to the heavy rains that have been falling during the past two days. Water enters every time it rains, she says, and right now the room is cleared of desks for this reason. She cannot teach here for now. Right: Where two classrooms used to stand adjoining Marlene’s, there is now only water. Two days ago, flooding and the saturation of walls with rainwater caused these classrooms to collapse. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer education flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai school schoolboy classroom pupils 16464 16474 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

The collapse of the classrooms has directly affected 120 children, some of whom have been absorbed into other classes, while the rest have been sent home. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer education flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai children wading floodwater 16500 16486 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

No dampened spirits here: schoolchildren brave the perilous route home from Oyola’s school. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai children crops 16507 16282 Climate Change in the Nyando Basin   The Problem (IIED)

These are the climate witnesses of Oyola (left) and Wakesi (right), and also the villages’ next generation. My next photo essay, ‘Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)’, shows that thankfully, there is still hope for them owing to projects aiming to bequeath them villages that they can live and thrive in… in spite of climate change. Buy | Share

 

Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

In ‘Climate Change in the Nyando Basin – The Problem (IIED)’, I showed how this region that traverses the Kenyan provincial boundaries of Rift Valley and Nyanza has been experiencing increasingly unpredictable and intense instances of flooding and drought thanks to climate change. Here, I explore how international donors and local non-governmental organisations have been coming together to help communities here adapt in the face of this reality.

Uhai Lake Forum is a local sustainable natural resourse management NGO. Fittingly, ‘uhai’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘life’. They work with farmers and fisherfolk to enhance their capacity to preserve their environments. The main aim of this particular project is to promote community-based climate change adaptation. It is part of the ‘CLACC’ programme (Capacity building in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) on Adaptation to Climate Change), being undertaken in eight African countries (Kenya, Sudan, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa). Uhai have been implementing this project in Kenya for slightly over two years together with the Nairobi-based African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), and have been supported by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), based in London, the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada and the Department for International Development (DfID) of the UK.

This pilot phase has focused on the Nyanza villages of Wakesi and Oyola, which were chosen from 24 villages assessed in a participatory climate change effects assessment during 2008-9. These two communities were encouraged to draw up and share action plans with government departments, NGOs and other supporters. Since then, many have stepped forward to assist with implementation of parts of these action plans. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for example, contributed funds for improving infrastructure, as will be shown below. Comic Relief also provided support for two manually operated irrigation pumps and application of the ‘farmer field school’ approach to train farmers on tree nursery establishment and management as part of their community-based adaptation activities.

The natural resource management parts of these action plans have been dealt with by Uhai with the support of ACTS, who have been approaching adaptation through a focus on livelihood security. ACTS’ main role is to facilitate Uhai’s work by providing resources, such as mango seedlings, foot pumps for irrigation, etc. They also participate in some capacity building, e.g. training in tree nursery management and training local NGOs in climate change awareness. The pilot phase is now nearing completion, and the organisations involved are looking towards scale-up.

This photo essay, like the previous part, was commissioned by IIED. All the images below, along with others from the same series, may be purchased as beautiful colour prints or licensed for download (I’m offering 35% off until 1st January 2012); they can also be shared via social media platforms. To make your selection, just click on the ‘Buy | Share’ link at the end of any of the captions, or directly on any image, and you will be taken to the gallery entitled ‘Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)’ in my Image Archive. You’ll find all the images from both photo essays there, and more besides.

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai disaster committee elders 16460 16286 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Both Wakesi and Oyola have established committees to liaise with the outside organisations that are helping them, handle the villages’ response to natural disasters and carry out adaptation initiatives. Pictured are members of these committees. Left: Dokas Omolo (left), Secretary of the Oyola Disaster Committee, and Joshua Ondiek (right), another of the committee’s members. Right: Members of the Wakesi Community Project Committee, namely (from the left) Helidah Awino (Treasurer), Joseph Ogoma (Vice Chairman), Joseph Ayungi (Secretary), Rashid Achiando (Member) and Pius Owita (Member). Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai villagers evacuation centre storm clouds 16516 16322 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Left: Rose, Assistant Chairperson of the Oyola committee, stands outside her home with local children. She is one of those lucky enough to be living on land that’s slightly raised, so hers in one of the last homes to be flooded. Water crosses her doorstep only after rain has been falling consistently for around one month. Some time back, this used to be where the village had an evacuation centre. Currently, there is no official evacuation centre, though people use the school for this purpose. However, as I saw (and depicted in my other photo essay), even the school gets flooded at times. When this happens, people go to the neighbouring village of Kwasa – which is marginally more elevated – and stay with relatives there. The people of Oyola have raised the ground around their houses, and they repair this when April is approaching because they expect flooding from April to June (although this timing is no longer reliable). Right: JICA and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation decided to provide for an evacuation centre in Wakesi after seeing the findings of Uhai Lake Forum’s baseline study. It should be at the village’s primary school, pictured here, and should open after flood levels cross one metre in depth. Evacuation plans assume that 800 of the village’s roughly 2,000 inhabitants would take refuge here in times of bad flooding. Unfortunately, JICA’s project period expired before all the work on this was completed. Culverts still need to be built in the vicinity, while improvements are also necessary inside the school itself (e.g. raised floors, improved walls and toilets). An evacuation centre was not in JICA’s original remit, so the villagers are hoping for a further grant to pay for its completion. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi oyola development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai storm clouds crop damage adaptation 16351 16297 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Uhai’s main adaptation strategy for these villages is to develop the use of ‘planted resources’ that are indigenous to the affected area that can provide livelihood security. In collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, it has established farmer field schools in both Wakesi and Oyola. Those trained are charged with demonstrating what they’re taught to others. Future training intentions include tree choice, crop seed selection and preservation, energy conservation and the manufacture and use of the ‘Uhai stove’ (see below). Uhai are also encouraging soil and water conservation activities, the planting of trees (particularly those that are energy providing) in nurseries, the planting of forage crops on soil terraces and the planting of short-term cereal crops that can increase food security during times of flooding. Some of these crops can be seen growing in Wakesi above; they will be used both for subsistence and sale. Arrowroot, pictured on the right growing by a stream, can survive in wet places. It is an important source of carbohydrates, and moreover stops erosion into the streams. Additionally, it survives better than most vegetables during times of drought. Sweet potato can also be seen growing in this shot, for which the same principles apply. In Oyola, the villagers have been growing crops such as spider weed and cowpeas, which are leafy vegetables eaten traditionally in these parts. As I saw, they still face the challenge that flooding can nowadays even come when seeds have only just been sown or have just germinated, a time when flood resistant crops are also vulnerable as the soil is loose. Recent flooding came less than a month after the crops were sown. Once crops like sorghum (which take about four months to mature) have grown to about a metre in height, water can just flow through them without causing too much harm. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai mango seedling adaptation trees storm clouds 16288 16344 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Uhai are especially trying to bring about adaptation by encouraging the growing of mangos, which have also been scientifically proven to cope well in flood-prone places. Mango trees also prevent soil erosion, while the nearby city of Kisumu provides a ready market for this fruit. As shown above, there were already mangos being grown in the area, but this indigenous strain does not produce all that much fruit. Uhai has therefore helped these people enhance their capacity by training them on how to produce mangos in a modern way using improved seedlings that ACTS purchased for them. Left: Joseph Ogoma, the Vice Chairman of Wakesi’s committee, with a grafted mango tree that he is tending to. Uhai gave five mango seedlings to villagers selected by the committee. This one is four months old; it can be expected to start bearing fruits after five years, and will eventually grow to look like the trees on the right. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai mango tree seedling 16527 16531 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Each of the roughly 30 homes in Oyola that have benefited from the mango grafting initiative was given five seedlings. The committee laid down the condition that those who wanted to take part should dig places for the trees to grow, manure the area and then wait to be assessed. Those who were given the trees, such as the lady pictured here, were the first ones to do this properly. The point of this was that the committee was eager not to just give without people first taking the time to understand the significance and use of what they might be given. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai culvert elder 16430 16536 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

As discussed in the introduction, JICA has engaged in these two villages, as well as others within the Nyando Basin, undertaking mitigation activities. This donor has helped to implement large-scale projects requiring greater sums of money. For example, they gave the Kenyan Government about Ksh. 400 million (US$ 4.4 million) through its Water Resource Management Authority. This was used to build culverts and repair roads and bridges (as pictured above in Oyola), and also to dig boreholes and begin work on the evacuation centres mentioned above. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai jica well borehole adaptation 16301 16304 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Uhai’s initial assessment also identified the fact that during flooding, these villages have insufficient safe drinking water because overflowing stream water gets contaminated easily at such times. Since then, donor agencies have funded the construction of water wells. Left: Gobiero Moris from the Gogini Rajope Construction Company, contracted to build a well in Wakesi using money given by JICA, puts the finishing touches to the block that will hold its inaugural plaque. Right: Nora Atieno pumps water for her household. This borehole draws water from 130 feet underground, a depth that should guarantee water can also be reached during times of drought. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu wakesi development climate change photographer flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai car stuck mud road repairing 16354 16364 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

This approach road to Wakesi was badly damaged by flooding in 2009, and later rains have continued to worsen its condition. Left: Villagers help a driver of a two-wheel drive vehicle work out how to release his car from thick mud. Right: A government bulldozer working on long-awaited repairs to this road. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change agriculture flooding iied dfid idrc acts uhai storm clouds landscape culvert adaptation 16553 16296 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Oyola, as its inhabitants would like it to always look. Left: Irrigation channels carry water to the village’s climate change resistant crops. Right: One of the culverts built using funds provided by JICA helps to ensure the pictured approach road can stay open, so that the villagers retain all-important access to markets. Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu oyola development climate change photographer sustainability iied dfid idrc acts uhai mill women 16601 16591 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Uhai Mills, pictured here inside and out, uses highly ecological techniques to produce a kind of cement that is used to make bricks and as a means of binding the two main parts of the ‘Uhai stove’. The need to develop the efficiency of those devices that burn wood has become increasingly clear during recent years, as this is the resource that most people here depend on. They cannot afford to spend on fossil fuels, as these continue to be subject to galloping inflation, and they also need a means of getting by on less fuel at times when flooding makes it scarce and forces them to purchase dry firewood. This is why Uhai has been focusing on building the capacity of people in the region to make and sell the Uhai stove, designed Dr Kapiyo, one of its members. Left: Two of the roughly 40 women who work at Uhai Mills (20 are regular), Chairwoman Eunice Omondi (left) and Coordinator Helida Ouka (right). Right: The cement making process. The cement made at the mills is based on rice husks. Rice is grown all around this area, and generally its husks are just discarded as a waste product; yet they can be very useful. The mill workers collect the husks from the rice grinding mills and bag it up (foreground). They are then burned, and the ash that’s produced (left, in the wheelbarrow) is ground using the pictured machine (right). Two parts of the resulting product are then combined with three parts of regular cement and one part of sand. For brick-making, the mixture is then moulded into shape and baked inside a kiln (not pictured). Buy | Share

 

kenya nyanza kisumu development climate change photographer sustainability iied dfid idrc acts uhai bricks latrine stove women 16599 16607 Adapting to Climate Change in the Nyando Basin (IIED)

Left: Eunice and Helida share a joke while standing by a demonstration latrine that’s been constructed using these bricks. Right: The same ladies show the Uhai stove (left) in comparison with the ‘traditional’ charcoal burning stove of these parts (right). Uhai’s model achieves a reduction of almost 50% in the amount of charcoal that’s necessary for cooking. Currently, charcoal consumption is not at all sustainable, as not enough trees are being planted to replace those cut down for charcoal production. People are having to source their fuel from further and further away; much of the charcoal used here comes from Uganda or similarly distant places. The same mixture as is used to build the bricks of the latrine is used for binding the stove’s clay inner part to the metal outer section. It is because the Uhai stove is made in part using clay that it retains heat, meaning that it requires a lot less fuel for cooking. Unfortunately, the Uhai stove costs a lot more money (Ksh. 700, or US$ 8) than the old type of stove (Ksh. 250), which feels like a big pinch for those on the lowest incomes. However, the Uhai stove clearly pays for itself in time through savings on charcoal. Uhai stoves are sometimes also given on hire purchase, with instalments added together coming to Ksh. 800 in total. Almost a million stoves have now been sold around Kenya. Buy | Share

 

Special offers! Coupons for great value images & photography services

 

Greetings! Christmas is approaching (and with it, the New Year), and with that in mind I’ve decided to make some very special offers for both my image buying clients and those in the NGO, CSR and travel worlds who wish to engage my services. So, to cut straight to the chase, here are three coupons for you:

 

35 percent off Fotomoto Special offers! Coupons for great value images & photography services

A premium, fine art or canvas print from my collection of beautiful images could make the perfect Christmas present for a loved one, or New Year’s gift for the wall of your own home. To use this coupon, simply hover over ‘Images for Sale’ at the top of the page and select either ‘Themes’ (which will allow you to choose from the humanitarian, environment and travel/life sections of my Image Archives) or ‘Daily Moments’ (which consist of a favourite image from each day since mid-June 2011). Use the Fotomoto eCommerce tool and, when prompted, enter the coupon code. This offer is only valid through till New Year’s Day, so get your skates on!

 

50 percent off communications services Special offers! Coupons for great value images & photography services

If you avail of this offer, I will devote myself exclusively to your company or organisation for a whole calendar month for a mere half of my usual rate! Note that time cannot be divided with this offer, and it may not be combined with the flights offer below. To avail of it, click the coupon above and write to me using the form you’ll be taken to, not forgetting to mention the coupon code. And note the expiration date… don’t delay, because I’m sure my time will get snapped up and I can’t offer my services in two places at once!

 

Flight offer Special offers! Coupons for great value images & photography services

This offer is intended for first-time clients. I know it can be burdensome to pay to fly in international photographers in order to be sure of getting a high quality of work done. But I’d like to prove to you that I’m worth it! That’s why, subject to engagement of my services for a minimum number of days (number dependent on the location), I am ready to underwrite the cost of getting myself to the country you want me to work in. Note that this offer may not be combined with the communications services offer above. To avail of it, click the coupon above and write to me using the form you’ll be taken to, not forgetting to mention the coupon code. And once again, note the expiration date!

Offers like these are too good to keep to yourself… so please forward the e-mail you received or the address of this page (short link: http://bit.ly/sZmZY8) to anyone you think will be interested!