Climate change affects us all, but the situation is dire for women and children in vulnerable areas. Three women from Tangulbei in Baringo County share their stories on how the drought had put their lives on the edge and how the Gender Responsive Alternatives to Climate Change Project has progressively transformed their lives. The three survivors represent how climate change has impacted communities negatively.
Tangulbei is situated in Tiaty, Baringo County; the area is categorized as an Arid and Semi-arid land (ASALs) by the National Government. ASAL regions receive minimal rainfall and are usually associated with low development indicators. The inhabitants of Tangulbei are majorly pastoralists, with a few practicing small-scale farming, though with challenges due to the failing rainfalls.
Coming from a pastoralist community that always depended on livestock for a livelihood, Chepokulumong, Longoria, and Salina struggled to provide for their families. The drought never spared their livestock; many died, while the remaining few were sold off at a loss. Their situation was and is further complicated by the insecurity that is being experienced in the county. The area occasionally faces insecurity due to banditry attacks associated with cattle rustling and boundary conflicts.
Limited resources like water and pasture often find communities in this region at loggerheads with neighbouring communities. Currently, an ongoing security operation seeks to bring peace to the area. We happened to have experienced what these women go through due to insecurity as we had to cancel our day two of documentation due to a bandit attack at a market about 10 km away from where we were.
The Gender Responsive Alternatives to Climate Change Project came in handy for them as it helped improve their livelihoods. They have benefitted greatly from being educated on new farming methods like agroecology, transforming them into Agro pastoralists. They have also been educated on their rights and to advocate for services from duty bearers. They are also engaged in income-generating initiatives through Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), spearheaded by the project. Through these initiatives, their lives have been improved.
“The drought has affected us in a big way. I struggled to provide for my family, but an exchange programme to Isiolo organized by ActionAid exposed me to practices that changed my life for good. During our visit, we saw how other pastoralist communities bettered their lives by practicing new farming methods and village loans and savings associations. After the visit and the skills, I acquired after training, I started practicing new farming methods by growing indigenous vegetables. I can now sustain myself by selling vegetables for an income which I use to buy other food items. I also started a village loan and saving association group together with other women, where I save profit from my small business. Through the savings, I have been able to get a loan that I used to pay school fees for my child.’’ Chepokulumong Daniel
“I previously depended on livestock for a livelihood, but we lost most of the animals due to drought. This has left us poor. With the education on new farming methods, I now practice small-scale farming that enables me to grow food for consumption and sell extra for an income. The project has also educated me on my rights as a woman and can stand against violence” Longoria Lokipunah
“Life was very hard over here due to the drought and insecurity; we always live in fear. We struggle to feed our families, but the ActionAid project opened my eyes. They taught me how to easily better my life and that of my Family. I do manual jobs in people’s homes, and with an education in saving, I now work hard and save money in my local Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). The village and loans associations have enabled me to borrow and repay. The borrowed money has allowed me to return my daughter to school. She had dropped out of school and got married but was still struggling where she had been married. Once I got the money, I went and brought her back home and ensured she went back to school.” Salina Kakuko
The Gender Responsive Alternatives for Adoption to Climate Change project has played a critical role in strengthening women’s resilience-building capacity, supporting women-led protection mechanisms, modelling community climate-resilient livelihood systems and engaging duty bearers, including the County Government of Baringo and the national government.
The project is Funded by the Department of Foreign and Trade Australia (DFAT) Gender Action Platform and implemented by ActionAid Kenya in partnership with ActionAid Australia.
Author: Ezra Kiriago, Communications Coordinator. ActionAid Kenya