Written by Edna Onchiri, PR & Communications Manager (Kenya)
Feed the Children has been working in Samburu County – Samburu East Sub County since 2011. Our programs are implemented in Archers Post, Weso West, Sereolipi and Ndonyo Wasin locations. This region does not have reliable water supply, hence there is limited water access in the region which makes both the indigenous population and wildlife seek and share the resource from the same area.
The communities in the four areas where we work relies on River Ewaso Nyiro, a body of water that is mostly relied upon by the wildlife in the area for their crucial survival. There are a variety of wildlife in the area including elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions and a variety of different species of wild animals.
In response to the water problem in Samburu, FEED has so far constructed four water pans in the area. The water pans provide water for community members and to their domestic animals. Before construction of the water pan, residents of Waso location used to walk long distances (20 – 30kms) to get water from River Ewaso Nyiro.
The water pan can hold water for up to seven months after every rainy season (April – May, Oct-Nov).
When the rains fail or they are inadequate like they were in 2016, the water pans are not able to adequately serve communities.
Current Situation in Samburu
A Food Security Short Rains Assessment report that was conducted between December 2016 and January 2017 in Samburu indicated that, rainfall cessation was early and below average with situation predicted to worsen. The available pasture expected to last for less than 4 weeks with milk production below normal. Food security status and prognosis showed that the current situation is at stressed phase (phase 2).
The major water sources (R. Ewaso Nyiro and springs at Kom) have dried up posing serious water problem for both human and livestock. People have migrated with the livestock to the neighboring counties and some as far as Mt. Kenya in search of water and pasture. Water access has been major challenge with sanitation and hygiene conditions also deteriorating. Mothers are forced to walk up to 15kms in search of water for their children. Young boys have also joined their parents in search of water and pasture leading to the high dropout rate of boys from schools. With no water in some of the schools and ECDEs children have been forced to stay at home with some ECDEs being closed.
Feed the Children has been working in Turkana County since 2013. FEED programs are implemented in Namukuse and Kalokol locations. Although Lake Turkana lies in this county, it is far from where FEED has implemented its activities.
The location has a limited number of water points with communities travelling over 10Km to collect water from shallow wells along river Lochor Aikeny (seasonal) and Nasura well. The community has been depending on these far distant water sources for domestic use.
Feed the Children constructed an infiltration gallery in Lochor Aikeny in 2014 with support from Turkana County water office. The water from the gallery is clean and safe for consumption and was meant to benefit Lochor Aikeny Primary School and the community at large.
Although the infiltration gallery was to provide water for the community throughout the year according to the tested yield, this has not happened due to technical challenges.
Current Situation in Turkana
The drought continues to bite in Turkana. In the past weeks there have been responses from the national and county government. Communities have received maize and beans but the supplies won’t last for long. Water shortage is critical. Turkana County Government has been conducting water trucking in selected points, however, the delivery is irregular and does not serve the hard to reach areas. FEED distributed CSB to all the schools we work in and hope to truck water trucking to the same schools. There were minor showers this week but the water sources have not re-charged.