Isiolo farmers train and plan for future growth

Publié: 19 août 2011 13:26 CET

While neighbouring areas in the Isiolo district of Kenya are facing famine, Burat is uniquely green during this time of the year. The livelihoods of over 8,000 people is based around keeping livestock, farming and selling charcoal, and these are all dependent of availability of water, a commodity that is often scarce.

This community is not seeking food aid but is making efforts to ensure it has a sustainable water supply. Early this year, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) trained village elders in the area to help them to assess and plan for interruptions in the water supply, and take early actions to mitigate against the expected drought.

Now, most of them grow tomatoes, maize and onions. They sell what they don’t need and buy others foods such as cooking oil, meat and other vegetables. The best place to sell the products of a bumper harvest is a big city such as Nairobi.  

The chairman of the local water committee said that before the early warning interventions, the area didn’t seem able to support such development. “We did not imagine we could turn the land into a food basket during this dry session. Without such efforts, we would be on the verge of dying now. These initiatives have brought us food security.”

The community has dug water pans that are used to trap water for farming. The water committee was able to approach the Lewa Conservancy, which have pledged to build a dam, and the National Irrigation Board provided the pipes that will ensure a sustainable water supply from the river to their farms through drip irrigation. 

Beyond the obvious gains in water management, the project has also fostered optimism and cooperation within the community, enabling them to survive the worsening drought. A spokesperson from the local KRCS brance said this was a great example of community commitment to improving lives through long term solutions.

These initiatives are part of KRCS’s early warning early action plan which was developed in  partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and funded by European Community’s ECHO fund.

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