Category Archives: Farming

Including dairy, poultry and bee farming

Kileva Newsletter #8


CONTENTS

 

Cowpea Threshing
Wheelbarrow & Spades Gift
Cleaning School Compound
Sagalla Cluster Ball Games
World Environment Day
Lost Maize Harvest
Testing honey badger deterrent methods


Cowpea Threshing

Report by
Mdm Beata in charge of School Lunch Feeding Programme

Below are ‘photos of Kileva Eastfield pupils threshing cowpeas harvested from the school farm. The cowpeas will be cooked for lunch in the school feeding programme.

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Wheelbarrow & Spades Gift

Report by
George Mwaviswa-Farm club Patron

Farm club members receiving a wheelbarrow and two spades from the Elephants and Bees Team of the Save the Elephants organisation:

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Cleaning School Compound

Report by

Mdm Priscillah Nguku Music and dance patron and Teacher on duty

Pictures of routine cleaning of the school compound:

Pupil’s are eager to make their school more child-friendly by using a wheelbarrow and spades to remove stones, cowpeas husks, papers, bottles and sharp objects to the disposal pits, thus making the compound safe for pupils.

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Sagalla Cluster Ball Games

Report #1 by
Games Master, George Mwaviswa

Today we were privileged to host the Sagalla Cluster Ball Games competition. Over 15 schools took part in four disciplines namely : Football,Volleyball, Handball and Netball for both boys and girls.

Of the 10 participants from our school, 5 managed to proceed for Divisional Ballgames which will take place on 6/6/2018 at Upper Sagalla.

Report #2 by
Mdm Priscillah Nguku & Mdm Beata in charge of the School Lunch Feeding Programme.

Spectators from Sagalla zone schools today converged at the Kileva Eastfield for ball games.

Below you can see Kileva ball games players being served with a special meal to motivate them for their hard work – you see hard work does pay!

It was a great fun day indeed for the pupils at Kileva Eastfield primary school. Such a lovely way to end May month.

Below is the headteacher Mr Mwalwala addressing the crowd, giving a vote of thanks:

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World Environment Day

Report by
Md Priscillah

Today (5/6/2018) was World Environment Day. Pupils and teachers participated in making the environment clean and safe to mark this important day in Eastfield Primary school.

The learners were given gloves to protect them from germs, bottles and sharp objects.

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Lost Maize Harvest

Report by
Mdm Beata in charge of School Feeding Programme

The crops in Kileva Eastfield Primary School have dried up due to shortage of rains. They have not harvested maize. This situation has also been experienced in the villages in Mwakoma. Parents also have not harvested maize crop.

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Testing honey badger deterrent methods

Report by
International Master’s student Abi Johnson

During my time as an intern with the Elephants and Bee Project (EBP) in 2016, I became aware of the fact that honey badger predation of hives often makes the beehive fences less effective. EBP is and has been using metal sheeting on the hive posts to prevent honey badger attacks on hives with some success.

Beehives protected by metal sheeting as a deterrent

Yet, often the honey badger was still able to gain access to the hive. Once on top of the hive honey badgers use claws, teeth and sheer force of will to break through the lid of the hive. This often causes the bees to abscond, leaving the farms vulnerable to elephant crop raiding once again.

Honey badger damage to the lid of a beehive

Therefore, I decided to research economical and non-lethal honey badger deterrents as my Master’s degree thesis project. I am testing how the honey badgers of Sagalla Hill react to motion-activated lights as well as hive protection in the form of wire cages for the hives and cones for the posts. I have added these deterrents, one method per hive, to 18 hives and monitor them using camera traps.

Wire-cage-deterrent-being-installed-during-night-work

Cone-deterrent-being-installed-during-night-work-copy

Camera trap photo featuring an elephant and the cone deterrents

I have been officially collecting data and camera trap footage for just over two months now, during which time my cameras have caught 4 honey badger visitations! Often when I go out into the field I just switch the SD cards and have to wait till I get back to camp to check the footage. Who knew someone’s heart could beat so fast while opening a computer file!? Generally, I get a lot of videos of hares and mongooses, which was cute at first. Yet, those videos lose their appeal when you get a taste of real data producing videos.

I was in the office after dinner sorting through footage when I came across my first honey badger video. I lost my mind a little bit, cheering the little bugger on from my desk. My yells of “climb, climb, climb” attracted my fellow Elephants and Bees team members, by which time I was out of the office dancing around with my computer. Crowded around my computer we all exclaimed in disbelief when the video cut short just as the honey badger reached the top of the post.

Camera trap showing a honey badger climbing a post to access the beehive

Once I calmed down, I saw that the next video was of the hive violently swinging as the badger walked away, meaning the honey badger must have made contact with the hive. Unfortunately, this behavior was not caught on video because of a delay between videos (this setting has since been changed). If the honey badger was able to make contact with the hive via the post, then why didn’t the hive have any damage? I suspect the wire cage deterrent must have done its job and prevented a honey badger raid on the hive. FIRST WIN OF THE PROJECT!

The next video footage of a honey badger came after a farmer, Wabongo, called to say he suspected a honey badger visited his hive. The lid was slightly dislodged and the bees had left. This hive was protected by one of the first cage prototypes, which is shorter than the current design so protects less of the hive. The honey badger spent 50 minutes attempting to gain access to the hive, whereas it only spent two minutes at the previously mentioned hive that had the full cage on it. Perhaps, the honey badger perceived the hive to be more vulnerable, motivating it to continue the raid. This extended raid duration is likely the reason the bees deserted the hive, however, it was a weak/new bee colony. I had to assure Wabongo that although the bees absconded, a stronger colony wouldn’t have left. With some grumbled Swahili, he expressed that he was willing to try the newer cage model on his next hive. I am grateful for the footage and that Wabongo didn’t give up on the project.

Honey badger visiting Hive 4 (light deterrent)

My most recent footage came from hives protected by motion-activated lights! Two hives at the same farm were visited twenty-five minutes apart. Although I can’t claim it’s the same individual scientifically, I bet it is… And if you assume it is the same individual, the honey badger spent much less time looking at the deterrent at the second hive!

Honey badger visiting Hive 4 (light deterrent)

Time diagram of Hive 4 (light deterrent) video: honey badger spent more time looking (orange) at the hive and deterrent

 

Honey badger visiting Hive 12 (light deterrent)

 

Time-diagram-of-Hive-12-light-deterrent-video-less-time-spent-looking-orange

Although I am surprised I got these four visitations and the corresponding videos, I am a bit anxious and greedy to get more! I still have not captured any honey badgers visiting the hives protected by cones. So, here’s to hoping for more honey badgers and that the deterrents continue to work!

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Kileva News Letter #4


CONTENTS

Kileva at Voi Divisional and Voi sub-county Athletics Competitions
End of Term Exams
Toilet Cleaning Duties
Update on Competence Based Curriculum
Wildlife Club Update
Health Club Update
Music & Dance Club Update
Goodbye to Abi Jonson
The Elephants and Bees Community


Kileva at Voi Divisional and Voi sub-county Athletics Competitions

Report by
Games Master, Mr George Mwaviswa and Mdm Priscillah, Athletics Team Manager

24th March

Today we took four pupils for Voi Divisional Athletics Competition held at Voi Boys Secondary School. Margaret Mwake managed position 4 out of 10 in triple jump, John Mwandege was position 8 out of 15 in 3000m, Saidi Ali was no 5 out of 10 in triple jump. Jane Mwakima was position 1 out of 15 in 3000m. She will represent us in Sub-county scheduled for 29/3/2018.

29th March

Below is a ‘photo of Jane Mwakina just before leaving for Voi to represent Kileva Eastfield Primary in Voi Sub county Athletics Games today.

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End of Term Exams

Report by
Mdm Agnes Nyange, Examination officer

27th March

Day two end of term exam in progress. Pupils are doing science and kiswahili.

End term of exams started today. These are intended to end on 29.3.2018, then the school to break for Easter.

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Toilet Cleaning Duties

Report by
Mdm Kelly, Health Club Patron, assisted by Mr Mazai.

Here you see pupils cleaning their toilets then washing their hands after the exercise which was supervised by Mr. Mazai, who is the Health Teacher Assistant Mdm Kelly. We lack proper materials for cleaning the toilets.

Below are learners happily being served food after having washed their hands thoroughly. They are eagerly waiting to go for Easter Weekend. Happy Easter to you all.

Through Maggie ,on behalf of the First Aid and Health Club plus Wildlife Club, we sincerely appreciate f. or recognizing our efforts to help our school grow, and also for the kids to get support. we are very grateful for appreciating our efforts for the betterment of our school, and we still want to work hard and make sure that we surpass your expectationsWe promise to be more active and innovative in anything that concerns the school for you to get updates.

May God bless you all.

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Update on Competence Based Curriculum

Report by
Madame Kelly, Grade 1 teacher

Hi all,

The latest School Curriculum, which is mainly known as the CBC (Competence Based Curriculum) and is mostly based in talent nurturing, has helped the kids to do what they do best, and they seem to enjoy it.

The kids do modelling and learn everything naturally. Grades 1 &2 sing , do movement and creative activities. In it there are many subjects like religion, art enticingly drawing and painting, and many more subjects.

For example aboveis a child doing creative work which also in some way can be an environmental lesson. She’s creating a car using pebbles.

Learners enjoy this system well.

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Wildlife Club Update

Report by
Madame Kelly assisted by Mr Mazai.

The Wildlife Club, which is a newly formed club in the school, decided to plant trees in the whole school compound. This was done from Pre primary 1 to class 8.

The whole school which consists of more than 110 pupils managed to plant their trees. Each child takes care of their tree by doing mulching and watering daily in the morning and in the evening. The trees are going on well.

We the patrons offer support and do follow ups with the kids. Currently we are targeting to register the whole school to become wildlife members whereby the kids will access cards that will enable them to go visit the parks for free. Also the school gets a recognized certificate from Kenya Wildlife service. So far we have recruited more than 50 kids whereby they have paid each 50 shillings.

The Patrons look forward to come up with more activities to conserve the animals and environment at large.

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Health Club Update

Report by
Madam Kelly
First Aid/ Health patron assisted by Mr Mazai.

We as Health Club members embrace in eating healthy. We strive to lead a healthy lifestyle.

So in conjunction to this we got greens from the school shamba which is well taken care of by the Elephants and Bees Team just to add to our school diet of maize beans.

Below are pupils being directed and led by the teacher to sort the mbogas in order for our cook – popularly known as “MAO” – to cook. The kids enjoy doing this.

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Music & Dance Club Update

Report by
Report by Mdm Priscillah, Music and Dance Club Patron assisted by Mdm Agnes Mwapulu.

Kileva Eastfield Primary School Music and Dance Club make ornaments and musical instruments like drums, jingles, beads, strings and head gears from locally available materials such as boxes, lessos and feathers. They will humbly appreciate if they get more costumes and instruments, so if you’d like to make a donation to help out please go to the Gift Shop tab and follow the links.

The Music and Dance Club ushered in the Easter celebrations in a jovial style. There were sweet melodies accompanied by a guitar, from a guitarist a friend of the music and dance club Mr Mtume, a Mwakoma village dancer who taught pupils and teachers how to use the guitar.

Then a vigorous dance about “The Importance of Education.” – “Mashomo, Nani waniwangie mashomo.” This was in praise of their Founders, Sir Cliff Evans, Director Mdm Maggie, Teachers and their Head teacher Mr Mwalwala, not forgetting Hon.Godwin Kilele. Happy Easter to all.

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Goodbye to Abi Jonson

Report by
Margaret Kiriro

Today Abi Jonson Elephant and Bees intern student came to say bye officially after finishing her masters project . She took some time to chat with pupils on bees, and thanked them for their good cooperation during her stay with them. She was accompanied with two of her staff and Mr Kennedy

They also appreciated her for the good relationship she maintained, and they welcomed her back any time she feels like.

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The Elephants and Bees Community

Report by
International Intern, Ewan Brennan

January 2018

Community-based conservation projects – protecting wildlife while improving the livelihoods of local people – can be one of those rare, truly win-win situations where both local communities and wildlife enjoy the benefits. Before I arrived at the Elephants & Bees Project, I figured protection of crops from raiding elephants and additional income from honey production would make for pretty great community benefits. Being virtually safe from the potential of losing your entire seasons crop to a group of huge and hungry elephants must be quite a reassurance.

However, I soon came to realise the project offers many less immediately obvious benefits to the locals of Sagalla, the foremost being the incredible sense of community it helps sustain. The research centre serves as a central meeting point for all members of the surrounding villages, often being used several times each week by the various community groups. At the local school, the environmental education, weekly movie night and farm club build strong, positive relationships between the E&B team and the schoolchildren – joint after-school football games and high-5s in the street are common events. It’s not just the school children either – wherever you might be, pretty much everyone will greet you and be eager for a chat.

Beehive farmers hold a monthly meeting at the research centre to get together to discuss progress and issues. (photo by Rachel Dickson)

The beehive farmers themselves are quite a bunch. Every one hard working and enthusiastic about his or her beehive fence, they are a pleasure to spend time with. Always accompanying you during monitoring, tracking or night work, they are keen to share anecdotes about their shambas or find out more about how you ended up in Sagalla. I was very much left with the impression that they were envied by many other non-beehive fence farmers in the community.

Smiles all round even after a late night tending to active hives. (photo by Naiya Raja).

The sense of community and teamwork is also strong within the research camp. With a diverse, energetic, like-minded team, day-to-day responsibilities and issues are quickly taken care of with minimal fuss. Despite the dynamic nature of the camp, everyone is more than willing to get involved and help out with each other’s projects to make sure everything runs smoothly. The team spirit persists into the evenings and weekends too – hanging out and relaxing in camp or at one of the surrounding lodges was always great fun.

The team share a laugh during a weekend camp out in Tsavo East National Park after a long week of work. (photo by Ewan Brennan)

This sense of community – something that is of great importance in any conservation project – has been a definite internship highlight for me. When people share attitudes and work towards the same goals, I believe progress is far more easily achieved. It’s been an invaluable learning experience and quite the exciting adventure – I feel very fortunate to have been part of such a fascinating and successful project, and hope that I can be back in Sagalla before too long!

The (almost) full team looking cheery, even at 7am! (photo by George Troup)

 

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