The climate crisis has had devastating effects on many across the world. This is a similar case for communities in Kenya who have experienced failed rains leading to loss of livelihoods. As communities experience these challenges, the situation is dire for women and children. Women must travel long distances in search of water and food.
One who has experienced the impacts of the climate crisis is Teresiah Mumbua Munyao from Makueni; she has experienced the devastating effects of failed rainy seasons. Despite this, she is determined to pull through. Together with 10 other women, they have incorporated agroecology practices to grow mangoes, pawpaws and lemons. They sell these seedlings for an income, which they then invest in a Village Loans and Savings Association. They can borrow money for personal development through the village and loans association.
“ActionAid educated us about VSLA (village and loans association). We came together and decided to engage in the growing of mangoes, pawpaws, and lemons seedlings. Considering our region is good at the growth of fruits, we came together, and with their support, we kickstarted this initiative and two years down the line, we have been able to sell seedlings and get the money we use for our basic needs.” stated Mumbua
She sites lack water as their biggest challenge.
“Our main challenge is water in this initiative. Failed rains lead to the drying up of young trees. To address this situation, the income we get after selling the seedlings is what we use to buy water for watering the seedlings. We have also purchased a chain link and nets to protect the young seedlings from animal damage.” She added.
“During the last year, our VSLA managed to raise 600,000 thousand, which we distributed amongst ourselves. This money enabled me to invest and pay my children’s school fees.” stated Mumbua.
As we wound our discussion, she took us to her farm, where we saw mango trees flowering. She proceeds to indicate that the situation would have been different if there had been enough rain.
“Growing up, the climate wasn’t this bad. We experienced rain that would be enough for my parents to grow food and keep livestock, but the situation has deteriorated with time.
Coincidentally, her name Mumbua means born when there was rain.
“Climate change is real, and its consequences are dire; we need to be serious about climate change mitigation measures. Locally, we are engaged in our small mitigation measures of planting drought-resistant trees and avoiding cutting the existing ones. People should be held accountable, especially those who destroy our forests and emit harmful gases into the air; they are the cause of all our problems.” she added.
Mumbua speaks for many other women worldwide who have survived the devastating effects of the climate crisis, and the little those who have played a role in this crisis should do is to be accountable.
Author: Ezra Kiriago, Communications Coordinator. ActionAid Kenya