© 2019 Centre for Science & Technology Innovations

We link scientific innovation to the benefit of every day people: climate adaptation, biochemistry, biotechnology

Applied research: 

Strengthening Community-Based Adaptation to Climate-Sensitive Malaria in Kakamega and Kericho Districts, Western Kenya Highlands.

Our project brings together stakeholders in the highlands of western Kenya using innovative participatory and networking methods to enable and support effective adaptation decisions that reduce vulnerability to climate-sensitive epidemic malaria, while also promoting sustainable development. Stakeholders comprise the subsistence farming community at risk, health service providers, NGOs, environmental health scientists, government health policy makers, and donors.

The main research activity involves two complimentary components:

  1. The science component: The acquisition of data and pooling of knowledge to create a contextualized systems model of climate-sensitive malaria in Kakamega and Kericho, including the identification of hotspots and unstable areas prone to epidemics, assessment of existing capacity among stakeholders, and the malaria implications of down-scaled climate-change scenarios.

  2. The policy component: To identify possible adaptation strategies that target system drivers (including risk communication methods and materials), compare them using multiple criteria, select the most sustainable alternatives for the context, and implement priority actions.

 

In addition, we will develop and apply indicators to monitor and evaluate the performance of the overall project and pre- versus post-adaptation intervention, including the pilot work's utility to inform a Regional Community-Based Malaria Intervention Strategy. 

Micro-science Learning And Teaching Materials: Towards New Trends In Chemistry, Physics and Biology Teaching. 

 

The micro-science learning and teaching materials was introduced to Kenyan schools by offering teacher training workshops and donation of the micro-science kits to schools.

 

This project was designed to meet the high demand for sciences by utilizing more intensely and more rationally the limited available resources to improve science education in Kenya. 

The teaching and of basic sciences, biology, chemistry and physics in Kenya is faced with the following problems:

  • lack of learning materials, books, equipment, refurbishing consumables and laboratory space;

  • shortage of science teachers;

  • inadequate training of teachers;

  • lack of support for teachers;

  • poor motivation of teachers and students;

  • professional isolation;

  • language barriers-inability to express scientific concepts in local languages;

  • compact curricula whose planning does not allow enough time for science;

  • lack of comparative competitiveness within a region/world;

  • suppression of innovation/creativity by the syllabus due to over emphasis on passing examination;

  • lack of financial resources for science subjects;

  • inadequate and inappropriate allocation of resources by principals of schools to science teaching;

  • unfavourable students/staff ration in some schools;

  • emphasis of rote learning/recall over evaluation/conceptualization.

 

Micro-science offers

  • reduced costs to schools and parents,

  • does not require built laboratories,

  • running water or electricity to conduct laboratory practicals.

  • It is friendly to the environment and gives the students the opportunity to have hands-on learning experience,

  • laboratory practicals take short time to complete,

  • students have chance to do exercises at school or at home and concepts are easily understood.

 

A class of 40 students require only US$ 164 for chemicals and microkits per year compared to a normal cost of US$2784.

 

To construct a laboratory costs between US$ 63,291 for schools near a major road and US$ 189,873 for schools far from highways. To supply such laboratory costs between US$ 6329 and 18,987.

 

Our  Micro-physics kit uses the same principle for electricity, magnetism, semiconductors etc.

 

The practical experimentation using micro science kits for chemistry, electricity, magnetism and water chemistry have been introduced to students and staff at the primary, secondary and early university education levels in Kenya Uganda and Zanzibar.

Review Of Rainfall During The 'Long Rains' (March To May) 2009 Season and The Outlook For The June-July-August (JJA) 2009 Period.

 

The 'Long Rains' (March to May) season in 2009 has ended over most parts of the country. As per the prediction, the performance of the season over most parts of the country was generally poor. This poor performance was depicted both in terms of amounts and distribution (both in time and space) of the rainfall especially over the northern, coastal and southeastern parts of the country. Most meteorological stations in these areas recorded rainfall that was below 60 percent of the Long-Term Means (LTMs) of March to May. However, stations like Voi (in southeastern lowlands) and Wajir (in northeastern areas) managed to record slightly over 70% of their seasonal LTMs rainfall in less than 5 days. Despite a late onset of the season, the western parts of the country recorded significant rainfall amounts that were also well distributed and resulted to floods and even loss of lives and destruction of property in some areas like the Kano plains in Lake Victoria Basin.

Building Community Resilience to Drought in Sakai (Makueni County, Mbooni East District) 

 

The area has contrasts between the low-lying, sparsely populated grasslands in its southern reaches, the volcanic Chyulu Hills along its southwest border, and the more densely populated, resource-rich rolling hills found in its north. 


In this mainly semi-arid district, rainfall patterns are highly variable in terms of their onset and duration. Drought and food insecurity are always a worry. A swelling population, land fragmentation and the migration of people into the sparser, drier lowlands, all contribute to Makueni's considerable vulnerability to current climate variability and long-term climate change.

 

We started with a government request to downscale meteorological data in a way that farmers in Makueni could use to plan for planting.  Climate change has made rainfall patterns irregular which negatively impacts farmers' ability to get fields ready on time.  Meteorological data were simplified and planting instructions were added.  Information was disseminated via pamphlets and radio broadcasts.  A training manual was developed and adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture for use in other areas.

Based on our success with meteorological data, we were asked to help farmers improve crop viability.  Mbooni East District is one of the arid and semi arid regions of Kenya that has suffered from periods of prolonged drought for decades. In recent years, these droughts have become more pronounced and the rains have become less predictable - putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. This pattern is consistent with projections that Kenya's vulnerable arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) will experience an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts and significant declines in rainfall and river flows due to climate Change.

To cope with this challenge, the Government of Kenya supported implementation of the second phase of Arid Lands Resource Management Programme (ALRMP). Since November 2003 this program has worked to enhance food security, reduce livelihood vulnerability and improve service delivery in the ASALs. One of its key activities has been drought monitoring. In 2004, the drastic drought situation in the region also spurred the Kenya Government to join forces with the World Food Programme and initiate the Emergency Operation Programme (EMOP). 

The main factor that caused livelihood vulnerability in the project area was inappropriate farming methods resulting from: 

  • inadequate knowledge by some farmers on appropriate crop varieties;

  • limited access to quality seed (most of dry land crop varieties are not commercially available);

  • limited knowledge on appropriate crop husbandry practices including effective use of climate and weather information.

 

In addition, prices of the available seeds tend to be relatively high and this limits access to quality seed.  Sand dams were introduced to improve irrigation

Results:

  1. Down-scaling climate forecasts to guide the choice of crops planted and the timing of agricultural activities

  2. Improving agronomic practices by providing access to fast maturing and drought-resistant crop varieties

  3. Building sand dams, shallow boreholes and drip irrigation systems to improve access to water for use in crop production

  4. Increasing local self-help groups' access to income-diversification activities.

Click here for the report  and video from our funder: International Institute for Sustainable Development  (IISD)