||The Ground Breaking Ceremony of “The Project for the Rehablitation of Kalimani Earth Dam”was held in Kalimani Location, Matinyani Division and witnessed by among others, officials from the Embassy of Japan in Kenya. The grant contract for this project availed funds to be used for rehabilitating the earth dam. The dam will be having 2 water withdrawal systems, fencing and 1,000 nursery plants to supply clean water.
Initiative for Green Kenya was established in 1993 as a CBO and was registered as a NGO in 2014. The organization is a multi sectoral NGO working mainly in Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado and Baringo County in the fields of water sanitation, health, education, capacity building and environmental conservation.
Kalimani Earth Dam was built in the 1980s through manual labor, but the dam silted up and the dam unfortunately breached in 2005. Though there was plenty of rainfall during the rainy season, ever since the dam breached, the dam was not able to hold enough water and most of it flowed out of the dam. Therefore, during the dry season, people in the community had to walk approximately 10km per day to a seasonal river which they had to scoop a hole each time they fetched water. Even before the dam breached, there were problems such as contamination by cattle waste causing water borne diseases and children drowning in the dam. The numbers of beneficiaries are expected to be approximately 5,000 people and 1,200 cattle.
Before arriving to the project site, H.E. Terada, Ambassador of Japan, made a courtesy call to the County Commissioner of Kitui County, Mr. Boaz Cherutich. The Ambassador explained to Mr. Cherutich about the Government of Japan’s Country Assistance Policy for the Republic of Kenya which identifies five priority areas as Environmental Conservation, Agricultural Development, Health and Medical Care, Development of Economic Infrastructure and Human Resources Development.
On the way to heading to the project site, Ambassador Terada unveiled the signboard which is on the main road of Kibwezi-Kitui Road together with the C.E.O./Secretary of Initiative for Green Kenya, Ms. Edith Martha Mulwa.
At the ceremony, the community expressed their appreciation and joy to the Government of Japan for their assistance, by giving a speech and dancing a traditional Kikamba dance.
Ambassador Terada, in his speech congratulated the community for having qualified to obtain this highly competitive grant. In addition, he referred to a couple of other projects that are implemented in Kitui by the Government of Japan to express the strong ties of relationship with Kitui County. One of the projects is a technical cooperation project between the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) called the “Project on Development of Drought Tolerant Trees for Adaptation to Climate Change in Dry Lands of Kenya”. One of the main characteristics of the species, called Melia Volkensii is that it grows much faster than the normal trees. A nursery plant grows to an average of 2 meters in 6 months.
Apart from the JICA-KEFRI project, on the day of the ceremony, a delegation from JICA Headquarter and JICA Kenya was in Kitui to do an investigation on how to implement another forestry project called, “REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). One of the members of the delegation, Ms. Miharu Furukawa, Project Formulation Advisor of Environment/Climate Change attended the ceremony and was introduced by the Ambassador. Mr. Momohiro Kanekiyo, a JICA volunteer working in Kitui for Kenya Forest Service was also introduced explaining that Japan also has volunteers working at the grassroots level to serve the people in Kenya.
At the end of the speech, Ambassador Terada addressed about the big conference that would be held next year in Kenya for the first time in Africa called, “The 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI)”.
In closing his remarks, he made a request to the county officials, grantee organization, and the community to provide each of their support towards this project and to cooperate with each other to get the best results out of it wishing the successful implementation of this project.