From Green to Brown
Even for Isaac, one of the champion farmers in the program, despair is a constant companion after nearly three years of drought. He has lost everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.
Across Igembe, one of 47 counties in central Kenya, all that is visible is bare soil or brown vegetation under the scorching sun that keeps temperatures hovering around 100. Climate upheaval has eliminated the so-called long rains (March to May) and short rains (October to December) during this period.
Just like the other farmers he has supported over the years with his advice and example, Isaac used dry-land agriculture techniques like zai pits, water catchment, intercropping and mulching to produce food on his own land.
“But in the past two years, things have not worked out. Water is a rare find and expensive to buy. My rainwater-harvesting pond is completely dry. In my tree nursery, I had planted over 50 seedlings but only four survived the drought due to the water shortage. My kitchen garden is also withering for the same reason. Our major source of livelihood – farming – has been cut off.”
Because of the effects of the drought, the nearest market is now over six miles away. All the others had to close because farmers have had to look for other ways to bring in an income. Isaac’s family was completely reliant on their farm, yet now they must buy their food and are seldom able to afford three meals a day. Casual labor opportunities can’t be found locally, so most people in the village have had to relocate to Nairobi to look for work. Whether they find it or not is another question entirely.
World Renew Kenya and local partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East (ADS-MKE) are working on a cash-transfer drought response for the next six months for 1,500 households in the area that have been severely hit by the current drought. How to address chronic drought and minimize the catastrophic effects of climate change are challenges that remain, making the work of development absolutely essential for those who live in this region.
Kenya Igembe Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East (ADS-MKE)