Reversing the effects of climate change through sand dams: A case story of Kyalimba SHG

June, 2014

“It’s a miracle to see cabbage grow here” 

Makueni County is one of the forty seven counties in Kenya. It is classified as an arid and semiarid area since it receives less than 750 mm annually rainfall. The vast majority of the population is subsistence farmers depending on farming as their main source of income. In recent times these farmers are under the threat of climate change which has affected their life dramatically. More and more farmers have been pushed to depend on food relief from the good well wishers.

I don’t need to have gone to school to know that the climate has changed. The last time I harvested anything from my farm was three years ago” narrates Paulina Kaviti.
Her old wrinkled face tells us all. The situation is more desperate than what is visible to us.

My small 2 acre farm was giving enough profit to be able to take my six children to school and that was all from the harvested products, but today I even struggle to put a meal on the table for my grandchildren”.

The rivers have dried up and our men have gone to look for jobs in the urban areas. For us women who are left suffering and now working for our families it really has been a hard time with a lot of struggles. But not anymore!

At last a smile appears on the face of the old woman.

“I now am able to access clean water for domestic use. I used to spend 5 hours daily fetching water, but now I spend less than 1 hour. This has enabled us (the Self Help Group) to invest our time in horticultural farming”, Narrates Paulina

Behind the scene it’s all green. Crops of different varieties are growing,

“It’s a miracle to see cabbage grow here” explains the chairman of the group.
“Cabbages grow only in the highlands of Kenya and are sold to us at high prices, with the support from ASDF technical staff we are now able to grow cabbages and sell them to the community and local markets thus improving our livelihoods.

Though the climate has changed for the worse the sand dams and the training support by ASDF have enabled us to adapt and cope against the effects of climate change. We are no longer vulnerable; we have created opportunities through sand dams and assured much brighter future for all of us!”

Mutuku Kioko Chairman Kyalimba SHG.

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