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Welcome to Friends of Kinangop Plateau

SAVING THE KINANGOP GRASSLANDS THROUGH WOOL SPINNING AND WEAVING

Kinangop Highlands are important agricultural area. The high altitude grasslands of Kinangop Plateau are recognized as an Important Bird Area due to presence of specialized birds and therefore of great conservation priority. The livelihood of the local community revolves around livestock rearing and small-scale cultivation for both subsistence and cash crops. For a long time since settlement around 1964, the Kinangop Plateau was used primarily for dairy and sheep farming.However, livestock farming (which retains grassland as pasture) has given way to other forms of land-use, especially cultivation of crops leading a huge decline of the natural grass cover. The grasslands are home to globally endangered fauna and biodiversity especially the globally endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei), Aberdare Cisticola among other beautiful birds. Several scientific research conducted in Kinangop and other grassland areas have indicated thatspecies such as Sharpe’s Longclaw will only survive if we can develop ways of managing their habitats in a manner that is consistent, rather than in conflict, with the needs of the agricultural community. The greatest potential appears to lie in measures to enhance the viability of the animal husbandry, with the aim of making livestock farming once again a more attractive proposition than crop farming.

The new start-of-art wool spinning and weaving workshop has just been constructed with full support from the D. J. Fox and family, long-time friends to Bakari.

The grasslands are home to globally endangered fauna and biodiversity especially the globally endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei), Aberdare Cisticola among other beautiful birds.

In a natural setting, the bird’s nest lies quietly in the grassland of Kinangop. FoKP seek to conserve the grassland and the habitat and this is just a bird breed among the many that the grassland hosts.

Friends of Kinangop Plateau Background

One of the successful tool to help preserve the grasslands is the Njabini Wool Spinning and Weaving Workshop. An initiative of Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FoKP), a community based organization that was founded in 1997 with the major goal of conserving the Kinangop Highland Grasslands. The wool spinning workshop started in 2004 in a small rental shop in Njabini Township. Successful outreach to farmers earned the workshop a bigger working space in the Njabini Agricultural Training Centre back in 2007.  Under strong leadership of Ng’ang’a Bakari, the workshop have managed to form a cooperative society, fundraise for a new plot and construct a new wool workshop. The new start-of-art wool spinning and weaving workshop has just been constructed with full support from the D. J. Fox and family, long-time friends to Bakari. A special wool products and hand-craft shop, wool collection point and a dye-plant garden will be opened soon.

The new workshop has a capacity to create direct employment to more than 40 young men and women when in full operation capacity. Currently eight young men and women are working as spinners and weavers.The activities of the wool spinning workshop encourage local farmers to continue rearing sheep and conserve the natural grassland instead of converting it for crop cultivation. The workshop also provides employment and skills to youth, both men and women. An average 1,500 kg of wool is bought annually from farmers, representing 10% of wool produced in Kinangop.However, all not smooth. There remains some challenges, the main being access to market and the capacity to produce quantity and in time.

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