Residents of Tetu Constituency are eagerly awaiting completion of the third phase of Kaigonji water project, which holds key to irrigation in the agriculturally rich area.
For many farmers who rely on cash crops such as coffee and tea, the project spells a chance to venture into food crops which ideally rely on seasonal rains.
Venasio Wachira, a resident of Wamagana Ward, already has plans to expand his dairy business and engage in horticultural farming.
“Before this project was a reality, many farmers in my area relied on Kagumo River for farming. However, those whose farms did not border the river had to rely on erratic rains,” Wachira said.
Wachira said the project will provide jobs for youth who were educated but had missed out on formal employment.
Mary Gachora said climate change had destroyed viability of rain-fed farming which was the mainstay in the constituency.
Ms Gachora, who hails from Aguthi Gakii ward, said most farmers living downstream of Gura River had experienced water rationing which had made it impossible to carry out irrigation.
With the project in its final phase, she plans to set up a horticultural farm and a nursery with seedlings for sale.
“The Kaigonji Project will change most households who would like to start farming or who would like to boost quality and quantity of existing cash crops such as coffee,” she said.
Tetu MP Gichuhi Mwangi and his Constituency NG-CDF office have been at the fore in making this project a reality by lobbying for necessary funding.
Mr Mwangi said the project was completed at a cost of Sh300 million.
“This project will change the lives of thousands of families who have been waiting for its completion for years,” he said.
The first phase involved construction of the intake in the Aberdares forest and laying of the 15 kilometre main water line at a cost of Sh500 million.
More than 5,000 residents will benefit from the second phase of the irrigation project.
Aside from the pivotal Kaigonji Irrigation Project, several development projects have been carried out in education, security and roads.
Tetu NG-CDF Bursary Programme facilitated at least 7,500 students who could not join secondary schools and institutions of higher learning, many particularly from poor families, to get the much-needed education.
These funds were disbursed in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.
With a total of 35 secondary schools and 65 primary, the local MP has overseen the upgrading of existing institutions and improved infrastructure via his NG-CDf kitty.
Schools and lighting
Specifically, Ithekahuno Secondary School has benefited from a dining hall, while Kiandu, Kiriti and Wamagana have received funding to purchase water storage tanks and gutters to harvest rain water.
Tetu NG-CDF has also constructed Gachatha Secondary’s modern administration block while Kangaita Primary benefitted from an ablution block and renovations on a multi purpose hall.
“This has been achieved through provision of school infrastructure such as classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, water and sanitation facilities among others,” he stated.
The MP said accessible schools and improved structures have been a great motivation for many as they encourage pupils to go to school.
In line with enhancing security, the NG-CDF team has facilitated the connection of homes to the national electrification grid.
A strategic plan has also been drawn on how to connect the remaining homes and achieve 100 per cent connectivity.
Almost all main towns in Tetu have been installed with high mast lighting.
At least eight high mast lights have been installed, offering businesses an opportunity to operate late into the night and progressively allowing for a 24-hour economy with improved security systems.
Improvement of police stations and the officers’ welfare has not been left behind.
The constituency has continued to enhance the working conditions of police officers working in the constituency.
At Gichira, Githakwa and Wamagana, the NG-CDF fund has put up residential units to boost the welfare of officers and accommodate them in modern housing.
As an agricultural hub, the need for infrastructure that supports farmers and movement of people is crucial for the constituency.
Key roads such as Ihwa-ihururu, Gura-Gachatha, Gachatha-Ndugamano and Ithekahuni-Gatiki are being upgraded to bitumen standards.
Gichuhi has been passionate in creating ICT hubs across the constituency.
“These ICT hubs will create innovative spaces particularly among the youth. Successful installation of the ICT hub at Tetu Technical and Vocation College has been a good boost to youth empowerment,” Gichuhi said.
Tetu Constituency office has also engaged the youth through sporting activities.
Every month, the local teams engage in sports and have been issued with uniforms. The youth have also been encouraged to engage in farming and other income generating activities.
Gichuhi said involving stakeholders in a participatory analysis and decision making around community and project development issues is important to bring successful change.
“Tetu has considered the interest of all groups by including them in all development committees. Further, public participation forums are held bi-monthly to allow constituents participate in development matters and prioritise what affects them,” he added.
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