Water for Livestock creates employment in Kenya
by Abdinassir Mohamed Harret
For the last five years, Fatuma Mohamed and her five children have been living in Jalango village, some 20km from Modogashe in Garissa County of Lagdera district, North Eastern Kenya. Garissa County is made up of arid and semi-arid lands and is mainly inhabited by pastoralists. However, the area has been systematically ravaged by recurrent droughts, forcing long-distance trekking of livestock in search of water and resulting in the death of countless animals. “The only source of water in both wet and dry seasons is scooping holes for both humans and livestock, but it’s unsustainable since during the dry season one has to dig holes as deep as three metres and even deeper at times in order to access water. Sometimes you dig and cannot find water and it is very tiresome work. I used to buy a 20 litre jerry can of water for as much as $1 USD during the drought,” Fatuma says.
In January 2013, Adeso started implementing the Water for Livestock (WfL) project in Garissa county with funding from Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). The project aims to strengthen the capacities of local communities in sustainable management of water (including water supply) and rangeland resources, improving water access and availability. Activities in Jalango village include the construction of a subsurface dam and shallow well through Cash for Work to increase the volume of water in the lagga (riverbed), and training for the Water Users Association and Rangeland Management Committee to improve water usage and maintenance.
Fatuma is just one community member participating in WfL’s Cash for Work activities. “The project has created employment for youth, women and men who have been idle in the village and therefore the peoples’ incomes have improved, leading to improved livelihoods. After completion, I hope the dam will solve the water problem and construction of the shallow well will reduce the time spent digging scooping holes,” she says. It is this positive attitude and determination that drives Fatuma and the community of Jalango to continue working in the 40 degree heat.