In this video, Stanley Wood (IFPRI) introduces Stephen Kibet,
a student at the Moi University of Kenya
Stephen is one of the 13 talented individuals, each contributing to agricultural research for development, featured in our newest publication: “Growing talents: youth in agriculture“.
We met Stephen last year during the “Africa Agricultural GIS Week (AAGW), a conference that brings GIS experts, proponents and students together to look at ways of improving agriculture through the use of location specific information (GIS).
At the conference, Stephen introduced how he applied the RUSLE model (Revised Universal Soil Loss Erosion), in an attempt to model and counter the heavy losses in his community due to erosion. “Such models can provide us with a sophisticated tool for the selection of appropriate soil conservation practices”, Stephen told us.
As a young Kenyan, erosion is close to his heart. According to an article on the causes and consequences of soil erosion in Kenya, nature washes away some 9.3 billion tons of soil a year. But when man interferes, the rate goes up to around 24 billion tons a year. Kenya’s soil erosion problems stem from its semi-arid climate (in the interior), the fuel wood crisis and poor land management and agricultural practices.
When Stephen began studying geography at university, he was exposed to Geographical Information Services (GIS) for the first time. He quickly understood how it could be applied to practically help his community. “That became my passion”, he said. “to help my community through my skills”.
He is a living example how agricultural development, even through GIS-systems, often seen as highly theoretical, do have practical applications, and do have a profound impact on rural communities.
Even more so, Stephen is a living example how young, local scientist can get inspired to help their own communities, and in their turn inspire others: “When I go back to my village, I share my experience, and the importance of education to the elders and the young people in my community. I am the only one in my community who went to University.”, Stephen explained.