Drought and how Kenya Farmers Cope

While the stories splashed on the international media about the drought situation in Kenya, Tanzania and other parts of the Horn of Africa make for depressing reading, there are small-scale farmers in some of the traditionally drought-ravaged parts of Kenya that are proving that this is problem that can be solved permanently. Unlike their neighbors who rely on relief food, these farmers not only grow enough to feed themselves and their families but even have surplus to sell. Of Kenya’s 47 counties, Makueni is one of the counties that have traditionally relied on relief food. Farmers in this county (like most in the rest of the country) usually rely on rainwater but rain in Makueni is simply unreliable and drought is inevitable every few years.

Rainwater harvesting
The fortunes of a few lucky farmers in Makueni have been turned around by the support they get from the World Food Program (WFP). As of 2017, the WFP is working with close to 50,000 small-scale farmers to encourage them to participate in activities that promote farming in dry lands. Through this program, the farmers are given a monthly food ration while they participate in a wide range of dry farming activities which basically try to harvest the rainwater that has previously been going to waste. Such water is harvested using farm ponds which provide a steady supply of water when the dry season sets in.

How it works
Famers are encouraged to dig ponds on their farms and use them to harvest rainwater. Once water has collected in the pond, it is pumped into a raised tank (using a hand pump – and therefore lack of electricity is not a hindrance). Once in the tank, the water is fed onto the farm using gravity and used to irrigate the land by use of drip lines. This simple yet ingenious method of making use of water that has previously gone to waste has proved capable of ending the misery of frequent droughts that have afflicted farmers in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya. In the Makueni program, for example, it has been found that a pond that holds as little as 250 cubic meters is capable of irrigating more than a ¼ hectare of land and be sufficient to raise horticultural crops that are normally ready for consumption in about 3 months.  A larger pond, if properly constructed to safeguard against the loss of water through evaporation, is capable of holding enough water to last through a dry spell until the next rains come. Such ponds could therefore provide a permanent solution the perennial water problems.

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Kenya Dancing Part One

If you are concerned that you might be aging faster than you consider good for you, it might be time you tried dancing. Dancing not only keeps us happy but also physically fit and is one method of recreation that delivers massive benefits without making you feel overwhelmed.  Kenya has been using dance for exercise for years while the modern world is trying to catch up.  While all forms of physical activities that make us break a sweat are good for our bodies, dancing is actually a notch above other forms of physical activities because the very act of dancing is fun. Where you might feel physically strained by cycling and other endurance sports, you can dance the night away without feeling tired.  The health benefits of dancing are almost innumerable. When you are feeling stressed, taking to the dance floor could instantly elevate your mood and take your mind off whatever it is that is causing stress. Given that stress is the culprit in the majority of illnesses that afflict the modern man, the value of dancing cannot be emphasized enough.  Health professionals recommend the use of physical activities to help our bodies burn calories and if you are having trouble deciding which activity will work best for you, it might be time you took to dancing. Dancing helps burn calories and could be your best defense against obesity.

Farming and food security

Drought and Armyworms Deal a Deadly Blow to Kenya’s Farming and Food Security
For a country that is basically agricultural, the last half of 2016 and most of 2017 has been a time of great tribulations for Kenya. For three seasons in a row, the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya have experienced devastating drought that has threatened livelihoods by leading to crop failure and decimation of livestock populations. With hardly any reliable water sources to write about (most people depend solely on rainwater), a drought can only be catastrophic.

The situation in Kenya is dire but so also is the situation in other countries in the Horn of Africa. By mid-2017, the number of Kenyans in need of emergency food relief stood at close to 3 million (about 6% of the population) and the UNICEF projected that these numbers were likely to rise unless there were changes in the weather.

Some of the people most severely affected by the drought are inevitably children, the elderly and women. The destruction of livelihoods (especially for pastoral communities whose livestock has been annihilated) means that children are no longer able to attend school as they accompany their parents in search of food and water elsewhere. Drought has also seen an acute rise in the level diseases such as cholera (in both the arid areas and the slums in some urban areas). Other diseases that call for urgent medical interventions include measles and diarrhea.

While the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya have never been food-sufficient, the situation in these regions has always been salvaged by the production of food crops in other parts of the country. Parts of Central Kenya and the Rift Valley have always been relied on to grow most of the food that the country requires.

What makes the situation dire in 2017 is an invasion of armyworms that has affected the country’s bread baskets. Maize (corn), which is Kenya’s staple food crop, has been ravaged thereby worsening an already bad situation. As in the rest of the Horn, the armyworms in Kenya have proved resistant to most of the pesticides available thereby making for a rather gloomy future outlook.

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According to OXFAM, the number of people in need of emergency food aid is likely to exceed 4 million as the year progresses. Prior to the elections held August 2017, the food situation was so dire that the government was forced to import and provide maize flour at subsidized rates.

Interventions by local and international NGOs have tried to address the situation but the outlook is gloomy especially if the short rains expected between October and December fail to materialize.

Water Sanitation is still a major concern in Kenya

Issue

The United Nations classifies Kenya as a chronically water limited country on the basis of having among the lowest natural water replenishment rates, at 647 metres cubed per head per year which is much listed below the 1,000 metres cubed per head each year. Quotes of water in the country suggest that only concerning 56 per cent of the population has accessibility to secure water. Approximately 80 percent of health center attendance in Kenya results from preventable diseases and concerning HALF of these ailments are water, hygiene and also hygiene relevant. Coverage of ample cleanliness has actually gone down from 49 percent to 43 percent recently. 16 million (HALF) Kenyans do not have sufficient sanitation; greater than 90 percent of the water and hygiene related disease episodes take place in the rural areas; 50 percent of country households have no toilet facilities in all, and where they exist they are typically unclean; approximately 50 per cent of the metropolitan populaces live in run-down neighborhood settings where sanitation problems are terrible; generally, schools have only one latrine per 100 pupils compared to the suggested optimum of 40 students each lavatory; greater than three-quarters of Kenya is still at risk to catastrophes, particularly floodings, droughts and also cholera.

Action

The Water and also Ecological Cleanliness Programme aims to boost accessibility to WES services in selected deprived casual settlements, slums and also the Arid as well as Semi Arid areas

This programme part contributes to the adhering to UNDAF results End result 1. Boost access to basic social services; Outcome 2. Enhance administration; Result 3: Mitigate the spread as well as impact of HIV/AIDS; Result 5: Decrease of Morbidity and death arising from Malaria and Outcomes 6, 7 and 8: Improve institutional and technological capacity for disaster administration.

This program has two crucial result locations: Increased usage of safe drinking water, appropriate cleanliness and safe health methods in homes, schools and health facilities; as well as the adoption of the Health as well as Cleanliness plan consisting of the execution in selected districts of the Water Act, the Water Plan as well as the Hygiene and also Cleanliness Plan. The geographical focus of the program remains in the susceptible pastoral locations of North and North Eastern Kenya and the urban run-down neighborhoods of Nairobi. Depending on the availability of additional financing, the geographic coverage of the WES programme will include the Lake Victoria area.

Outcome location 1 concentrates on the renovation of standard social services and also advocacy around access to risk-free alcohol consumption water, standard hygiene as well as health promotion, aimed at increasing the achievement of MDG Goal 7 on water and cleanliness. Particularly, the programme addresses the following:

Low accessibility as well as unreliable water supply in arid lands and also informal settlements
A great deal of individuals without adequate cleanliness as well as skills in risk-free hygiene practices, leading to high frequency and also frequent outbreaks of water and also environmental cleanliness related diseases
Water and hygiene solutions in schools, especially in areas where women’ engagement in education and learning is low
Water and also hygiene solutions in health facilities to boost application of the facilities.
Enhanced co-ordination in the Water and Hygiene market
Emergency situation preparedness as well as reaction to catastrophes.
Outcome area 2 concentrates on policy dialogue, solution and implementation problems with regular interaction with Federal government as well as other partners, as well as checking the impacts of these policies on one of the most prone groups. Specifically, the programme will involve companions on fasting lane the implementation of the National Sanitation as well as Health Plan, circulation and application of the Water Act 2002, the National Water Policy as well as the National Hygiene as well as Hygiene Plan in chosen Dry as well as semi arid lands (ASAL) areas contact us for heater replacement. Special focus will be put on constructing the capability of the new industry reform organizations to boost governance in water services shipment and water sources administration to advertise sustainability and integrity of services as well as resources. Reduction of future vulnerabilities to all-natural disasters, such as dry spells and floodings with far better sources use and also monitoring, will be motivated.