The Sustainable Livelihood Development Project (SLDP) in Mau Complex was approved in December, 2009, initiated its field activities in January 2010 and is scheduled to end in December 2011. The Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) budget is USD 450 000 and the Project is managed by Kenya Forest Service with FAO’s technical support.
The project’s main aim is to facilitate the increased adoption of sustainable economic or livelihood activities by communities living adjacent to national forests and other protected areas. Major outputs of the project include:
Ø Provision of skills required to support sustainable livelihoods development
Ø Testing and adoption of the livelihood Support Approach (LFFS)
Ø Development and implementation of a livelihood support management system. The most important element of this output is the development of a Mobile Phone-Based Monitoring System.
A national consultant from ATS- Africa (Mr. Patrick Mburu) was contracted to develop the mobile phone base monitoring and evaluation system in early may 2010. The system design was finalised during the visit by Mr Takayuki Hagawira (FAO Investment centre, Rome) in October 2010 backstopping Mission to Kenya and the launch and training scheduled for the Month of November 2010.
In this activity, a mobile phone-based data management platform to enable project managers monitor the progress of target groups as they implement the activities of the LFFSs was developed. The system comprises of software development and provision of mobile cell phones to farmers. To ensure operationalization of the system, a training was organised on the 8th Of November 2010 at the Kericho Forest Zonal Manager’s Compound. Over 40 farmer field school members and 8 farmer field schools facilitators participated in the training.
The content for the day’s training included; Introductory remarks to project background, Framework of reporting and system operational design, Application of the system and use of the cell phone functionalities to input information, Practical session on the use of cellphones to enter and send reports and the display of the final processed report via computer screen
All the sixteen LLFS groups were issued with mobile phones and group representatives had hands on experience on the use of the cellphones and how to compile and send session reports. LFFS representatives were requested to record available airtime before compiling and sending the reports using the cellphone. After sending the reports, LFFS group members and facilitators were amazed at the low cost which ranged from 0.08 to 0.57 cents per report sent via the cellphone.
The participants and the trainers appreciated the training and all concluded that it was very successful. The participants requested that the reporting be expanded to cover all components of the LFFS that are usually reported on a monthly basis.
During the training, the Consultant was accompanied by the Project Coordinator (Oscar Simanto), Assistant field coordinator ( Mr. Thomas Kiptoo) and FAO/KFS Kenya Liaison staff, Mr. John Ngatia.
Report By Oscar Simanto