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Small Grants Scheme

2003

In 2003, the small grants were funded by Carnegie Corporation and awarded to the following USHEPiA graduates.

  1. Dr Robert Kiunsi
  2. Dr Hagai Martine
  3. Dr Henry Mulenga
  4. Dr Crispino Ochieng
  5. Dr Simon Onywere
  6. Dr Cornwell Tepa

Here are some of the Summarised Research Projects reports:

Dr Robert Kiunsi, University of Dar es Salaam

Topic: Land degradation assessment in Community Based irrigation Projects in the dry lands of Tanzania: Chale and Bahi irrigation schemes in Hahi Swamp, Dodoma Region.

The general research objective was to assess the nature and extent of land degradation especially chemical deterioration of the soils in irrigated community farms. The increase in irrigation activities in dry lands has a big potential for improving the socio- economic welfare of the communities in the project areas. However the increase might also lead to an increase in secondary salinity and alkalinity in the irrigation schemes. The chemical deterioration of the soils may eventually lead to the fall in crop productivity. Hence the socio economic benefits that accrued due to irrigation activities may only last for a short period of time if no mitigation measures are put in place.

The soil analysis results show that alkalinity is high for both irrigation schemes at Bahi and Chale, however salinity is also a problem in some farms in Chale scheme. Based on discussions and interviews, salinity is seen as a problem by both farmers, district officers and extension workers affecting paddy at Chale, but none were aware that both Bahi and Chale irrigation schemes had alkalinity problems. At the moment it is difficult to tell on the effects of salinity and alkalinity on paddy production as no long term data is available. Therefore more investigation is needed to determine whether alkalinity and salinity problems in the schemes are due to natural factors or induced by irrigation activities. If it is induced by irrigation activities, then the effects on soil and crops should be established. The farmers should be made aware of the problem and be introduced to appropriate mitigation measures. This kind of research should also be extended to other irrigation schemes.

Dr Simon Onywere, Kenyatta University

Topic: Modelling the dynamics of Lake Naivasha drainage basin wetlands using a GIS platform.

The primary objective of the research was to establish a database for lake Naivasha drainage basin wetlands using a GIS platform for accurate and informed reporting on the lake and its enviros. The output of research will improve information flow on environmental issues, contribute to awareness raising, help in decision making towards sustainable management of the drainage basin wetlands and participation of local communities and development planners.

Dr Onywere’s proposal was excellent given the framework of his GIS laboratory established in the Kenyatta University in 2002.

The research results indicate that the agricultural development at the drainage basis, removal of lakeshore vegetation for horticultural development and construction of drill pads at the Olkaria Geothermal field have contributed to the increase in runoff leading to erosion hazard and thus increase in sediment load. This is reflected in the opacity of the lake waters due to turbidity. With the drill pads (each occupies an average of 4,100m2) and road developments at the Olkaria Geothermal Development site, there is accelerated runoff and thus an increase in annual average peak flow leading to river bank erosion. Water yield and nutrient transfer from the cultivated cropland and open fields is also significant. This is a reflection of a degraded land cover system. Flooding was occurs. The research recommended the need to grow vegetation in order to restore riparian vegetation to protect the streams and river and simultaneously reduce non profit pollutants, stream bank erosion and sediment loads in the river and onto lake Naivasha. Care should also be taken to store and dispose solid waste produced during geothermal development. Surface disposal of wastewater is hazardous and it can cause damage to flora and fauna. There is therefore a need to re-inject spent fluids into the subterranean.

The project established much needed data and new methodologies for sustainable river basin management in an African context. Dr Onywere is also providing a training environment for young Kenyan students to carry this forward in greater numbers. This work is vital for sustainable development in Kenya.

Based on this research, a paper will be presented at the Colloquium of African Geology (CAG20) to be held at Orleans, France from 2-7 June 2004.

Dr Cornwell Tepa, University of Zambia

Topic: A survey on the effect of energy consumption on production costs in mineral processing operations: The case for the Zambian Copper industry

The objective of the project was “to make industry aware that energy is a manageable resource” by building capacity for the development and effective utilisation of Zambia’s energy resources and motivating developing of capacity within industrial firms to plan and undertake energy management programmes in collaborative programmes with the Copperbelt University. This was carried out through awareness campaigns through a series of training workshops. The activities of the project were energy awareness, technical training, compilation of energy database, energy systems inventory, energy plant audits, load profile analysis, energy accounting and energy action plans.

The first two training sessions covered initial training module. These were attended by twelve participants from companies in the mining industry, Copperbelt University, ministry of energy and outside organisations.

A promotional seminar was conducted in October 2003. It was attended by eighteen participants from the Copperbelt University, and from other organisations. This promotional seminar was followed by a series of one-day in-house seminars at six companies from January to March 2004. There were well attended with an average of twenty people including the Chief Executive Officer of the company and relevant department heads. Arising from these seminars, one company, Konkola Copper Mines, requested a second seminar, while Chambishi Metals Plc established a new department responsible for monitoring energy usage.

In addition to the training sessions, Dr Tepa and his team, managed to place eighteen final year engineering students with six outside organisations to conduct energy surveys as part of their vacation training. These students attended a preparatory training workshop after their examinations before they took up the vacation training posts.