In 2011, the residents of Wajir South’s Kulaley Division in Kenya, experienced a long and devastating drought that claimed thousands of lives and most of their livestock. To date, food insecurity levels in the area have increased significantly due to lack of rainfall.
In response to the crisis, four self-help groups from the area namely; Towfiq Youth Group, Bismilai Womens Group, Barwaqo Youth Group and Kulaley Tawakal Group, comprising 48 members, came together to find a solution to the problems of water and natural resource management in the area. Kulaley had always been the main source of water in the area and pastoralists would walk from as far as 120 kilometers from the neighboring communities in Hadado, Burder and Wajir Bor to water their animals. It previously took the pastoralists more than half a day to water their animals. Since the rehabilitation and protection of the wells, it now takes less than 3 hours each day.
The scarcity of water in the area presented other challenges. Women could not proactively participate in development matters because they spent over 2-3 hours waiting at the shallow wells to fetch water for use in their homes. Due to the distance and time required for this activity most women had no time to take part in other livelihood activities. In addition, famine and drought resulted in a search for alternative methods for growing food which in turn led to increased food insecurity in the area. A woman testified during the Natural Resource Mapping Exercise held in April 2014, that she would walk for over 10Km to fend for her children who would accompany their father as he took the animals into “the wild” in search of food. This meant that the children were out of school for extended periods as they followed the livestock for milk and blood for nutritional requirements.
During the REGAL-IR participatory Learning Planning and Action (PLPA) training in early 2014, the community identified grassroots committees to handle rangeland management. This group identified rehabilitation of shallow wells as a priority that would enhance resilience for the community that had been adversely affected by drought. Consequently, REGAL IR embarked on the rehabilitation of 4 shallow wells as shown in the photographs above.
The community supported the rehabilitation of shallow wells by participating in the excavation of the site. They also ensured water was readily available. “The shallow wells will provide the water we need to engage in small scale farming to improve our income” said Abdi, a community member. The community now seeks to have the knowledge and skills that can empower them to be more prepared to tackle the changing weather patterns. The Self Help Groups also seek to collaborate with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in the establishment of tanks and piping structures to enhance small-scale farming.
This Project was established by the members of Kulaley Settlement through the generous support of the American people through USAID and Feed the Future Initiative (FtF).