Kenya Ngong Intashat
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Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
The Maasai are nomadic pastoralists whose livelihood is dependent on livestock including cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys. Many households earn less than $2 a day and include an average of 7 members. The biggest challenge facing the population is water scarcity in this hot, semi-arid savannah grassland, where rainfalls have become unpredictable. When water is unavailable, settled life becomes practically impossible and other income generating activities are limited. Sand dams are playing an important role in allowing the community to settle in one place where they are also learning about conservation farming, hay bailing, and zero-grazing methodologies along with improved livestock breeding. In 2014, students from Goshen College traveled to Ngong to film this documentary about the impact of the program.
Easing the Effects of Drought
Considered a kind of miracle by some, sand dams are easing the effects of a devastating drought in these Maasai communities in Kenya. With your support over the years, participants have built dams over seasonal rivers. People and cattle use the water in the reservoir, and even when that dries up, can continue to draw water trapped in the sand.
While the drought has been extremely hard on cattle, families have turned to raising chickens and growing produce in kitchen gardens. These activities demand less water, enabling folks to get by despite the severe challenges.
Emmanuel, one of 15 members in his self-help group, got the idea of raising chickens during one of the program’s agricultural learning tours. He’d kept a few chickens before but, with training, he learned how to increase his efficiency, reduce losses, build better coops, and manage his business.
A little over a year ago, he started rearing 200 chicks, and they are now producing eggs. He collects about six trays of eggs a day and sells them at the nearby Ngong market. Emmanuel says keeping chickens is more profitable than cows.
He plans to expand his operations now that he has the experience, knowledge and skills. Emmanuel is also trained as a model farmer, and three other farmers have followed his lead so far.
Captions: 1) Women scoop water from a sand dam 2) Emmanuel’s chicken operations
Kenya Ngong Intashat Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner MIDI
10 communities, 4,500 households, 31,500 individuals