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Community Development
Leadership development
Mapping      Initiatives
Consultancies Portfolio
Who we are

ERMIS Africa was established in 1999 and has since then provided development services using state of the art technology that combines the most up to date knowledge, skills and practices to its communities surrounding its area of jurisdiction after her registration in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

ERMIS Africa has done much in Corporate Social Responsibility especially here in Kenya and other countries in Africa with the aim of producing higher standards of living and quality of life for both marginalized and non-marginalized communities through donors,partners and other stakeholders.

Our Client

Due to the nature of our work,we mostly target the following categories of clients: governments; multilateral financing institutions; donor agencies; private companies; educational institutions; and civil society organizations.

Over the past close of 20 years, we have provided development and environmental research and mapping services in Eastern, Central and Western Africa regions summarized in table below:

Where we work

SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE IN THE REGION

Country

Date

Map Kenya, Head Office
Kenya 2000 to present
Uganda 2008 – 2009
Somalia 2003 – 2004
Rwanda 2008 – 2015
Tanzania 2001 – 2002
Liberia 2014 – 2015
Sierra Leone 2014 – 2015

Our Departments

ERMIS Africa has a pool of experts that include in-house experts and associates. These are called in to form consultancy teams as per the demand of each assignment.
ERMIS Africa has five departments that include:

(i) Administration and Human Resource Development
(ii) Finance
(iii) Business Development Services
(iv) GIS and ICT
(v) Environment and Natural Resource



Partners & Donors

COMIC Relief and ERMIS Africa are partnering in Bees for Climate change and Bees Mitigation in Kenya

ESSAP – The development of OPAT was planned by the Ogiek Indigenous People as an attempt to define their territorial domains towards securing of their ancestral
territories, rights and interests, cultural heritage, and natural resources within the Mau Forest Complex. The exercise was technically supported by ERMIS Africa with Financial assistance from ESAPP - Switzerland.

ERMIS Africa has collaborated with Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) - in conducting research on Forests in Kenya.

Inter Climate Change (ICC) – This is a project by Inter-Climate Network and implemented by ERMIS Africa. The Project challenges secondary students to come up with innovative ideas that will provide practical solutions to the increasing concerns of climate change

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) in collaboration with ERMIS Africa, NEMA, Computer for Schools are implementing a UNESCO-HP funded project on "Computer Supported collaborative E-Waste Management Research towards Developing a National E-Waste Management Strategy for Sustainable Development in Kenya". The project will utilize Grid Computing Technologies to link the Students and mentorship within the Kenya and the Diaspora to optimize on Brain Gain from the eminent Brain Drain phenomenon characteristic of most developing countries

Ministry of Water and Irrigation – In conjunction with Ermis Africa, this Ministry has been able to capacity build Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) In Kenya

The participatory 3D mapping process was organized by ERMIS Africa with the assistance of CTA. Community elders played a central role in the legend making process that helped in stimulating a rich intergenerational knowledge exchange and in strengthening the indigenous language.

Mapping Initiatives
Ogiek Indigenous People in Mau Forest Complex

Ogiek Community : Mau Forest Complex is the home of the largest group of forest dwellers, the Ogiek. Since time immemorial, the Ogiek people have been living inside the Mau forest and depending on it for subsistence and shelter. Traditionally, the Ogiek managed the forest in clan and family line territories that run from the densely forested highlands to the sparsely forested and warm lowlnads. In these transect, they would practise a trashumans practice of migration and resources utilization following the seasonal availability of resources and evading extreme weather patterns that could endanger their health, especially for the young children and asthmatics.

The community has experienced historical land injustices, inferred by Article 67 (e) of CoK, 2010, committed by colonial and past government regimes. The community’s ancestral lands within the Mau Forest Complex were initially expropriated from the community and appropriated to the crown by the imperialists by way of forest gazettement. The community was subjected to assimilative mechanisms into the dominant members of the wider Kenya society. Nevertheless, their cultural identity persisted though they lost a reasonable proportion of their hunter-gatherering practices due to enactment of legislation that criminalized the practice.

When an opportunity to settle the community arose through degazettement of portions of their ancestral territories within the Mau Forest Complex, they were never satisfactorily settled as the exercises was marred with irregular and illegal land allocations to non-Ogieks. The community has fought these injustices through the Kenya Court systems and has filed a total of seven court cases, most of which have been dismissed.

In the recent past, the government, after realizing the wanton destruction of Mau Forest Complex and the need to restore the ecosystem, engaged the community in discussion mechanisms for addressing their land tenure issues. The community has undertaken several initiatives including mapping of their ancestal territories within the Mau Forest Complex, restructuring their traditional governance system and, in collaboration with the government, have registered and screened the bona fide members of the community for consideration of addressing their land issues.

Mt Elgon: Chepkitale – Ogiek from Mt Elgon

Mt. Elgon Forest is one of Kenya’s water towers as well as home to the Mt. Elgon Ogiek indigenous community. Like the Ogiek of the Mau Forest, the Mt. Elgon Ogiek community has been struggling to gain recognition as the rightful owners of the Mt. Elgon Forest which is their ancestral land. With the assistance of ERMIS Africa the Mt. Elgon Ogiek are mapping their ancestral territories and the natural resources thereof and will use this spatial information to support their claims and advocate for their ancestral rights as well as for intergenerational passage of traditional knowledge

Sengwer Community from Cherangany hills

Cherangany Hills Forest is one of Kenya’s water towers and also home to an indigenous forest dwelling community known as the Sengwer. It is also a source of a number of rivers that drain to Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. The Sengwer – referred to as Cherangany or Dorobo are traditionally forest dwellers and their lifestyle is characterized by hunting, gathering and beekeeping.

The community live in Kapolet, Kipteeperr, Kerer, Kaisingor,Torapket, Chemurgoi, Sogotio, Lelan, Kipkunur and Kapkanyar natural forests. Sengwer traditional governance is made of sub-tribes , clans , totems , and orkoi . Each sub-tribe had their own portion of the ancestral territory whose boundaries are marked by rivers, hills, trees and other natural features. The sub-tribe territories covered the plains of Kapchepkoilel and highlands of Cherangany Hills. That means each of them had a portion of soi the plains and mosop the forests which forms the Cherangany Hills. Hunting, gathering and bee-keeping was well coordinated. It was illegal for a member of one sub-tribe to either hunt or gather or harvest honey or fetch herbs in another sub-tribes territory.

ERMIS Africa helped the community develop a participatory 3D model of their ancestral territories, indicating all the natural resources thereof and the ancestral boundaries as well. The P3D model was designed for the purposes of intergenerational passage of traditional knowledge as well as for advocacy for cultural rights to land and the forest resources. ERMIS has also undertaken activities to empower the community and educate them on their rights as well as policy and legal issues concerning the forests.

Yiaku Indigenous People

Yiaku Community: Mukogodo Forest is a natural forest located in semi-arid areas of Laikipia County. The land covers an estimated area of 30000 acres. The Yiaku, an Eastern Cushites, represent the second wave of cushitic immigration into the Rift Valley area of East Africa. The Yiaku has claimed to have lived in Mukogodo forest from time immemorial, living as cave dwellers and practicing a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The Yiaku community is composed of four distinct clans who include Orondi, Lossos, Luno and Sialo. .
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The clans are further divided into family lineages where
(i) Orondi clan has
(a) Pardero,
(b) Losupuko,
(c) Matunge and
(d) Leitiko;
(ii) Sialo clan has

(a) Parmashu,
(b) Sakui,
(c) Moile and
(d) Nantiri family lineages;
(iii) Luno clan has 2 families
(a) Liba and
(b) Len-Nkilelenyi; and
(iv) Losos clan 3 families
(a) Lentula,
(b) Napei, and
(c) Lol kinyanyi.
The origin of these families differs within and across the clans. .
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The Yiaku practise a rich culture that is embedded in the forest landscape. Using traditional ecological knowledge, the community has derived their livelihood from the Mukogodo Forest for generationss. However, the emergence of unfamiliar extreme climate variability and climate change has weakened the community’s resilience against drought. This, coupled with criminalization of hunting and restriction of gathering of forest products from the forest – before the enactment of Forest Act 2005, has crippled the endogenous economy of the community forcing them to rely on relief food and other economic handouts. .
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The Yiaku have claimed to suffer from historical land injustices and therefore are in a socio-economic and political marginal status. They have indicated to have been treated with contempt by neighboring communities who refer them as as Iltoroboni (poor and primitive forest-dweller without cattle), dispossession of territories by the colonial government and inherently by the post-independence governments, destruction of the natural forest through corrupt concessions, lack of social facilities and amenities, among others.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest

The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is considered to be one of the most important sites for nature conservation in East Africa. It is the last large remnant of lowland coastal tropical forests in East Africa covering an area of 420 square kilometers and provides a unique and important habitat for a number of endangered birds,insects and mammals. .
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ERMIS Africa’s GISEEM project plans to venture to the coastal region and bring on board Waatha indigenous community that lives in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. In November 2010, ERMIS Africa with logistical support from KEFRI Gede station held a stakeholders workshop with Waatha representatives and other stakeholders. The aim of the workshop was to bring the Waatha community representatives to sit together and expose to ERMIS Africa their lifestyle and any issues or challenges affecting the community. The workshop was also a platform for stakeholders carrying out conservation work in the coastal forest and interacting with the Waatha community to exchange ideas of how best they could work together to promote the indigenous community rights and interests. .
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The expansion of the GISEEM project to the coast is to build upon what has already been done by other actors in conservation by empowering the indigenous community of Waatha and educating them on policy/legal issues as well as their rights as an indigenous forest dwelling /dependant community. The project will also document the history of the Waatha community, their Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and eventually map their ancestral territories.

Karima community lives from Aberdares Ecosystem

The Karima community lives around the Karima Forest located on the slopes of Aberdares around Othaya. The land under the forest measures about 265 acres. During the colonial era in mid-1950 a part of the Karima forest was burnt down to flush out the freedom fighters, the ‘Mau Mau’. Later deforested areas were converted into a forest plantation which marked the genesis of alienation of Karima community from the customary ownership and traditional use and management of Karima forest territory.
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During the colonial government, a land consolidation and amalgamation program was initiated which led to privatization and titling of land. The elders of Karima community decided, against the colonial decree, to uphold the will of their forefathers that they made on their deathbed that the community should perpetually preserve Karima Forest. Following the enactment a new Forest Act in 2005, which sought to involve local communities in forest management through a joint agreement with the government, Karima community saw an opportunity to be involved in the management of Karima Forest. .
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In a bid to prove customary ownership of the forest, the community sought to document their oral history about their origin, historical occupancy and collective attachment to the Karima Forest. Through GISEEM (GIS Enhanced Ecological Mapping for Improved Governance and Management of Natural Resources), the Karima community has documented the oral history of their origin, mapped their ancestral territories including cultural and natural landscape elements and traditional ecological calendar (eco-calendar) within and outside the forest. .
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This provides the community with an opportunity of accessing technical advice on sustainable management of their forest from the government agencies such as KFS, noting its community mini forest, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) due to the numerous wildlife present in the forest, and the National Museums of Kenya due to the cultural and ecological richness of forest ecological forest

Community Development
Food Security, Nutrition and Health

There is a growing concern of the food security, nutrition and their impacts in health on most families in Kenya. There is a clear link between food security, nutrition and health. Communicable diseases brought on in part by malnutrition are responsible for millions of preventable deaths each year. Mass population movements can result in high rates of malnutrition, sickness and death. Shortage of food also makes people more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation. Poor quality diets contribute to delayed childhood development, causing damage due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

As part of our mandate, ERMIS Africa has continued to empower communities on nutrition and health through various capacity building initiatives aimed at equipping them with the necessary information that will help them sustain their livelihoods and co-exist harmoniously with their environment without exerting pressure on the resources hence risk depleting them

Climate Change

Climate change is a growing crisis with its main impact being economic, health and safety, food production, security, and other dimensions not only in Kenya but in the entire world. For example, shifting weather patterns threaten food production through increased unpredictability of precipitation, rising sea levels contaminate coastal freshwater reserves and increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, and a warming atmosphere aids the pole-ward spread of pests and diseases once limited to the tropics.
ERMIS Africa through the Kenya Climate Challenge Programme for schools has also realized the importance of children’s participation in climate change and disaster risk reduction. ERMIS is currently implementing biodiversity conservation project within Mt. Kenya geared towards climate change mitigation.

Water Supply,Sanitation and Hygiene

ERMIS Africa is supporting the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, through a collaboration with SNV-Netherlands and Water Service Boards in various regions of the country to establish water coverage levels in rural areas through a project dubbed "Water Point Mapping" (WPM). The project aimed at providing reliable data and information on water coverage especially in rural areas in order to bridge the information gaps that are currently characteristic of the rural water sub-sector. The WPM is a scale up from pilots conducted in West Pokot, Mbeere North and Kyuso districts in 2010 to include 8 counties i.e. Kisumu, Busia, Kiambu, Kajiado, Isiolo, Kwale, Turkana, and Embu, Counties in Kenya.

The Project utilizes Smart Phones Data Collection Techniques linked to a Cloud Server that allows the upload of data from the ground teams consisting of District Water officers and Public Health officers, WRMA officers, or NDMA officers depending on the regional context. The uploaded data is then downloaded for analysis and compilation into County Water Atlases that shows, inter alia, the location and type of water source, functionality status, water quality, ownership and maintenance and reasons for non-functionality where applicable. The data and information gathered is crucial for evidence and need based planning for water resource development and strategic targeting for optimal water resource use and maximum benefit/ impact on the target communities.

Community Forestry

ERMIS Africa was contracted to carry out an environmental impact assessment for the establishment of a proposed eco-camping site at Iloro in the southern parts of Kakamega Forest. The proposed project is funded by USAID through ACT!''s Kenya Civil Societies Strengthening Programme and hosted by Muileshi CFA in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK).

The unique biodiversity of Kakamega forest is an important asset with multiple tourist attraction sites including panoramic landscapes, caves and flora and fauna. Potential exists in establishing nature trails/walks ,jeep tour, Climbing & trekking, Safari camps & guesthouses, animal transportation (Horses & Camels), geological sites, local cultures & traditions (Kalenjin and Kikuyu), handicrafts, artifacts, skin wears and birding.

Other activities that will be incorporated include conservation activities through a volunteer programme, cottage industry for guava juice extraction and waste recycling. The goal of the project is to restore the biodiversity and ecological functions of Kakamega Forest Ecosystem through community-led reforestation efforts by providing the local community with incentives for conservation and building the local community’s capacity in conservation.

Leadership Development
Training on Leadership and Governance

ERMIS has provided several capacity development services on Participatory Resources Governance. Our services targets Community-based Organisation, NGO, Governments and donor intermediaries.

To date we have trained over 1000 development practitioners from some leading organizations/institutions such as:




i.     Catholic Diocese of Nakuru Water Program - Nakuru, Kenya
ii.   PACT-Kenya –Nairobi, Kenya
iii.  SUMAWA Project – Egerton & Moi Universities, Kenya
iv.   Northern Water Services Board, Kenya
v.    WRMA – Rift Valley Catchment Areas and Ewaso Nyiro North Catchment Area , Kenya
vi    Municipal Council of Kisumu, Ugunja Community Centre, Kenya
vii.  Menengai Medical Research Institute, Kenya
viii.  IFRA -South Africa, Kenya
ix.   Uganda Ministry of Geology and Mines, Kenya
x    ICRAF (CGIR –Uganda), Uganda
xi   Zambia Land Alliance, Zambia
xii   Ministry Local Authority – Tanzania

Natural Resources Management

ERMIS has developed a long term capacity in Environmental Information Systems by integrating spatial-based environmental planning and management tools with participatory learning and action methodologies towards supporting sustainable development in various sectors.


The key Spatial Information Management Tools include :


- Geographic Information System (GIS)
- Global Positioning Systems
- Surveys,
- Remote Sensing,
- Participatory 3-Dimensional Modeling,
- web-mapping tools and customized mapping systems


(i) Participatory GIS Tools:
We have adapted Participatory-GIS tools and approaches for mapping of resources for collaborative planning and management of natural resources.
Examples include: PGIS activities with the 4 key watersheds (Mau Forest Area, Cherangany, Mt Kenya, and Mt Elgon Areas).

a. Facilitation of Geo-referenced 3-Dimensional of Ecosystems such as Watershed, Forest and Agro-pastoral areas
b. Facilitation of GPS and Cyber Tracking surveys to natural and cultural landscape including watershed resources such as water catchments.
c. Participatory aerial photo-mapping for mapping of traditional ecological knowledge, innovations and practices

Based on participatory GIS experiences, ERMIS in collaboration with other International Organisations has development a tool kit the has been used to training communities, government and civil society in participatory mapping technologies



(ii) Spatial Data infrastructure, Clearinghouses and Forums::
We have designed and developed diverse geo-portals for sharing of spatial data, ideas, skills and approaches. Examples include: Geoportal: Mau Spatial Data Infrastructure and Clearinghouse (MauSDI)



(iii)Multi-stakeholder Forums for Natural Resources Management:
ERMIS has facilitated the establishment of “Communities of GIS Practice” e.g. Kenya Community Mapping Network; Mau Conservation Approaches and Technologies “MauCAT Forum” and Eastern Africa Indigenous Communities Mapping Network.

Climate Change Support Programme

Climate Change: REDD+: ERMIS piloted Community REDD-plus initiatives within Mau complex (with support from the Embassy of Finland), Aberdares Ecosystem (with financial support from CDTF) and Mt Kenya Ecosystem (with support from GEF/SGP. The pilot project were aimed at creating awareness among 3 CFA spread in the three ecosystems and develop REDD+ elements that could support the National REDD+ steering committee.
The pilot activities included:
(i) Energy saving stoves in Sururu CFA – aimed at (reduction in dependency on forest fuel wood from Sururu forest over time;
(ii) design and pilot the development of a Community Forest Monitoring in Uplands , Gathiuru CFA and
(iii) undertaking forest enrichment and conservation of forest carbon stock by planting trees in degraded areas.

The outputs from the above pilot were shared with National REDD-plus Consultative meetings for purposes on scaling-up and replicating the approaches to REDD-plus initiatives in other areas around the country with similar social-economic and ecological characteristics
As a first step, ERMIS organized field reconnaissance surveys for 289 households with 50% of them selected as pilot sites in the 1st phase of the project. The terms of supporting Community initiatives included:

ERMIS agrees to provide the beneficiaries with “Energy Saving Jikos” specifically designed to fit the rural set up to minimize wood fuel consumption. This will go alongside training on use and installation of the Jikos.

• ERMIS shall provide 20 tree seedlings to the beneficiary that shall supplement as woodlots for fuel to promote farm forestry. The beneficiary agrees to plant more trees to supplement the seedlings given. The beneficiary agrees to provide monitoring reports on the daily usage of the “energy saving jikos”. These Jikos are aimed at reducing forest degradation by community members as they fetch wood fuel from the forest.

• The beneficiary agrees to provide any other additional reports required by ERMIS