Cheptebo AIC Rural Development Centre, Kerio Valley, Kenya

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World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) 

 A national event hosted by AIC Cheptebo on 17th June 2013

World day to Combat Desertification     Report by the Centre Manager


Dear Friends,

Greetings in Jesus name from Cheptebo.

We hope and trust in the Lord that you are all well. The same applies to all of us here at Cheptebo seeing and experiencing the hand of God daily. We are excited to give you a report of God’s work here at the Centre.

This year and in particular on Monday the 17th this week, we had the privilege and honour to be the host nationally of the global day to combat desertification. This is a convention initiated by United Nations which Kenya is part of and its objectives are to educate communities in environmental conservation. The event draw many people from various parts of Kenya including senior government officials led by Environment secretary, Deputy Governor, dignitaries from United Nations, NGO’S and stakeholders.

We had the lead Government agency that is the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) from the national office Nairobi together with the County office coordinating and organizing the event. Our centre was Chosen after passing a required criteria because of its track record in environmental conservation efforts in a practical way evident in its activities within and outside the Centre. Our compound/farm is quite different from many areas surrounding us due to our concerted efforts to conserve the environment. Our policy of planting as many trees as possible both exotic and indigenous and also preserving natural flora & fauna as made a big impact. Our farm has a variety of fruit &tree seedlings that are now changing the valley.

The tree  nursery now boasts of over 50,000 variety of fruit and tree seedling available for sale to farmers and others, since 1994 when the tree Nursery was established approx. 500,000 tree and fruits seedlings has been sold to farmers, institutions of learning, NGO’s and others. Through the availing of these seedlings A.I.C Cheptebo is immensely contributing in combating desertification in the world.

Having chosen our place as a national venue of the global event, we had all to participate in a big way to make the day successful, we had about a month preparing and ensuring that all areas were in order and clean ready for the event.  The theme of the event was     Droughts and Water Scarcity   “Don’t let our Future dry up” 


In part of the Church in attendance were the A.I.C Church leadership led by North Rift area Deputy Bishop Rev Luka Cheruiyot, Regional Church Council Chairman Rev Joshua Kenda, Cheptebo Board Members Lead by Chairman Rev Barnaba Kiptoo. Many Church members from A.I.C and other denominations within and from as far as Iten and Baringo attended.

World day to combat desertification has been commemorated annually globally on June 17th from 1995. Every year the national steering committee develops a criteria for involving community based organizations affected by desertification to host the event to mark the day.

Approx 3000 People attended the function, 250 from Nairobi headquarters who included NEMA national Board, the UNDP and UNEP representatives. Both national and County Governments were represented by the County Commissioner and the Deputy Governor. (His Excellency the governor could not make because he was in a trip to Belgium).Among those who attended include about 1000 students both from primary and secondary schools.

The day’s event began with the Nairobi team making a courtesy call at the Elgeyo Marakwet County office Iten, then a visit to a prominent farmer at Chepsigot Mr. Francis Kiplagat, another at Chekobei Mr. Luka Chemwotie who has a successful tree nursery with a variety of indigenous and exotic fruit and tree seedlings. From there they came out of their vehicles and the guests and school children participated in about 500 metres colorful procession all the way the our centre. The procession was led by Simbolei academy band (from Kessup) who came marching on the road with a wide banner reading ‘’ World day to Combat desertification – don’t let our future dry up”.

Once inside the Centre compound, the band proceeded ahead to the tents while the dignitaries planted a few trees to commemorate the day. The trees were planted strategically on the Church Compound, there after they proceeded to see our tree nursery, biogas unit, dairy, orchard, farming God’s way demonstration section and the green houses.  Exiting from the farm the dignitaries visited the various exhibitions stands starting with Cheptebo’s were we had demonstrated our activities and products which included variety of mango fruits. Other stands included KVDA – honey processing, Sego group – sunflower oil refining; GOK departments among others. The occasion saw many schools and local choirs entertaining the guests with songs. Praise the name of the Lord that we invited an evangelist by the name of Paul Kurui who sang many Christian songs and proclaimed the good news of our Lord.

On 16th Sunday afternoon the NEMA team planted trees ( Exotic, indigenous and fruits) at Rokocho mixed day and primary Schools.

The key speech was given By Dr. Alice Akinyi Kaudia – Environment Secretary - Ministry of Environment and Natural resources. The theme of the year is, “don’t let our future dry up”. Her speech and others who spoke emphasized the intention of the day; that is World day to combat desertification initiative to support local communities to adapt and build resilience by seeking to:

  1. Increase food security through enhancing drought resilient of local agricultural practices.
  2. Reduce poverty through diversification of enterprises to improve livelihoods
  3. Facilitate the integration of adaptation of drought into Kenya sustainable development plans and policies
  4. Undertake measures to reduce vulnerability of inhabitants of Arid and semi arid areas to vagaries of drought
  5. Illustrate how national policies through NAP (National Action Programme) may be influenced and modified based on lessons learned from the field.

The event also recognized local CBO’s for their efforts in environmental Conservation by awarding certificates. A.I.C Cheptebo Rural Development Centre’s work was highly recognized and awarded Kshs. 400,000/ which we received with great appreciation and encouragement. There after the guests were served with delicious meals in our Conference facility and thank God despite many numbers of those who attended almost everyone got something to eat. All the children were given a soda and bread. (Note that our Centre won a competitive tender to feed 1000 persons, however we managed to feed more, whereas the organizers brought bread and soda enough for 1000 students)

The event put the Centre in a new limelight nationally.  All major media houses covered the event both print and on TV. The Kenya standard daily Newspaper of 16/06/13 covered the day extensively with key note speeches by UN and national and directors of lead agencies. It also indicated that the year’s event was to be held at A.I.C Cheptebo Rural development centre the next day. The TV stations included the event in their news bulletins.

In all things we give glory to God for what is being done in Cheptebo that it is transforming the lives of Kerio valley both spiritual and economically. What began as a small mission station 26 years ago is now gaining global significance and recognition in its activities. Glory is to God. Thank God that the centre was given a few minutes of welcome speech where the manager shared the Centre’s achievements, challenges and future plans including our plans to start an agricultural institute in 2015. The founding missionaries led by Bill and Rosemary Rettie were appreciated and acknowledged for the good work.                                            

Thanks all for your continued prayers and support which indeed has taken us to greater heights. We will appreciate your continued prayers and support.


Joseph Kimeli

Centre Manager

                      WDCD procession arrives at CRDC entrance                                                                          Guests of Honour plant trees at the Centre
                          Manager leads chief guests, including Dr. Alice Kaudia – Environment Secretary - Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (centre) on  a tour of the Centre


Dr. Alice Akinyi Kaudia – Environment Secretary - Ministry of Environment and Natural resources being interviewed by KTN.

           Manager indicates the way ahead!