Grow Your Know – March 2017
Kenya is a relatively dry country with 80% of the land arid to semi-arid. Land used for agriculture only accounts for 17%, but sustains 75% of the population. With that in mind, consider the ramifications when availability of water is low or unreliable. For decades, water scarcity has been a major issue in Kenya caused by numerous contributing factors including recurrent droughts, forest degradation (a quarter of Kenya’s largest forest, Mau, has been destroyed primarily by loggers and farmers), poor management of water supply, contamination of the available water, climate change, and a sharp increase in water demand due to high population growth.
Today, Kenya is facing a severe drought brought on by poor rains received last year in Kenya’s first rainy season (March to May), and then a lack of rain in their second rainy season (October to December). The situation has gotten so bad that last month the Kenyan government declared the current drought a national disaster. This lack of rain creates severe consequences for the economy, the environment and the people.
Livestock are dying, crops aren’t growing, food prices are going up, and millions of people are going hungry. In fact, current estimates are that 2.4 million people are food insecure (meaning they have no food of their own and no ability to buy food).
It’s unknown what sort of relief Kenya’s rainy season will provide this year. The country’s first rainy season begins now, but so far they’ve only seen a spattering of rain. If a lack of rain continues, as is predicted, the number of people needing urgent help could mushroom to 4 million.
So what are some things happening to help the people of Kenya?
The Kenyan government recently instituted a program of purchasing livestock (which are facing starvation and expected to die anyway) from the many pastorists, and then supplying the meat to the starving local population. (Hyperlink to this link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/185269/kenya-combats-starvation-with-livestock-destocking
The Kenyan government has started what is called “Home Grown School Feeding Program” (HGSFP) in primary schools across the country. This provides food for the students while also encouraging them to continue to come to school. (Hyperlink to this link: https://www.ammado.com/nonprofit/rkf/articles/137212)
The Kenyan Red Cross, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in Kenya, is distributing food, water, and sanitation and hygiene products, as well as providing basic health care. (Hyperlink to this link: http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/where-we-work/africa/kenya-red-cross-society/)
Even individuals are finding ways to help! Consider pea farmer, Patrick Mwalua, who has been raising money to bring water to wildlife in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park. Not only has he raised over $200,000 so far, he himself is delivering water for the animals! (Link: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-kenya-drought-stricken-wildlife.html)
A note about Global Hope’s partners, Spring Valley Children’s Center and Hope for Orphans Rescue Center: Both locations have water wells on-site that are expected to provide clean water for many, many years to come. The children are able to have water to drink and clean with as needed. Of course, both partners are experiencing an increase in food costs, which does create challenges. Any additional income that Global Hope receives designated to Kenya helps cover these additional expenses.
Marshall, Samantha. (2011, Jun). “The Water Crisis in Kenya: Causes, Effects and Solutions” https://www.american.edu/cas/economics/ejournal/upload/Global_Majority_e_Journal_2-1_Marshall.pdf
Oloo, Amos Odera. (2010, Oct). “Investigating Drought Frequency Analysis Over East Africa” http://meteorology.uonbi.ac.ke/sites/default/files/cbps/sps/meteorology/Amos%20Odera.pdf
Relief Web. (2017, Feb). “Kenya: Drought – 2014-2017” http://reliefweb.int/disaster/dr-2014-000131-ken
Zarembka, David. (2017, Jan). “#423 — Drought — January 27, 2017” http://davidzarembka.com/2017/01/27/423-drought-january-27-2017/
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