Agroecology and VSLA have propelled me to self-reliance.

Communities in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) have borne the brunt of the country’s worst drought in four decades due to failed rainy seasons. The lack of rains has resulted in the loss of livelihood for women and their communities.

However, women in Mokong’o village in Tangulbei, Baringo County, have embraced agroecology as a solution to their food needs and are supporting their families, thanks to the training they have received from ActionAid Kenya through the Gender Responsive Alternatives for Climate Change (GRACC) Project.

Lydia Katikit, a small-scale farmer in Tangulbei, is beating the odds at her farm. After undergoing alternative economic activities training in 2016 and being introduced to agroecology, she was eager to diversify her family’s diet. She looked forward to earning an extra shilling by selling surplus produce.“In these trainings, I have been taught a lot, and after each meeting, I return home with some fresh knowledge to improve my productivity in the shamba (farm). I am now in a position where I can handle the farm activities independently and chicken rearing,” said Katikit.

Lydia Katikit watering kales at her small farm in Mokong’o village Tangulbei.

Failed rain seasons had dealt her a blow, forcing her to walk long distances in search of water for her farm, domestic use, and her goats to drink. The construction of a water pan next to her farm has lessened the burden, but she is worried that the drought might be prolonged for an unforeseeable period.

“Before the water pan was constructed, I went to fetch water very far from home, and sometimes my daughter would sacrifice her school time to come and help me fetch water. The days she attended school, we would go to fetch water in the night, which exposed us to violence and wildlife,” she added.

“The drought is worsening daily, making our lives unbearable. The economy is also dipping. We are at a crossroads here,” lamented Katikit, saying that she has had to fence off her farm to deter goats from grazing on her crops.

“VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) has lifted me and many other women. I urge other women not enrolled in one to do so as soon as possible. There is so much unity and sisterhood in these groups. This ActionAid project has empowered me so much that I no longer depend on my husband. I am so grateful to you (ActionAid) and your supporters,” added Katikit.

Lydia Katikit feeding her chicken at her homestead in Mokong’o village in Tangulbei

She is optimistic that her children will attend school well, pursue college education, and have a better future. If this happens, Katikit feels she will have a good old age. She also implores her area leaders to implement measures to mitigate climate change and its effects.

Author:  Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya. Edited by Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.

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