Facing drought one drip at a time in Turkana

In Turkana, Nawoyawoi farmers are facing drought one drip at a time. Digging canals to tap water from river Turkwel into the farms or growing drought resistant crops, they changed the landscape of a region once deemed unproductive.

Turkana County has been in the limelight in the past, especially during humanitarian emergencies. The regions’ vulnerability to disasters is due to a combination of several years of under development, frequent exposure to natural and man-made disasters, influx of refugees and proliferation of small arms. Porous borders and conflict over scarce resources of food and water compound the issues.

Previous interventions have often taken a reactive and short term approach aimed at saving lives, but in most cases leave communities vulnerable to subsequent disasters. UNDP is working with communities affected by drought, not only to support recovery but also build resilience.

Nawoyawoi farmers Cooperative Society is one of the beneficiaries of intervention activities directed towards addressing short term livelihoods economic recovery needs of youth and women while establishing in the process the capacities and building blocks of sustainable local long-term development.

Through irrigation, Nawoyawoi group members have been able to change the landscape of a region once deemed unproductive. One drip at a time the once bare fields are now green with vegetation spelling renewed hope for families that would otherwise be facing starvation and malnutrition.

The group cultivates vegetables under green house and open fields, maize and fruits in the 100 acre piece of land. The harvest is utilized amongst households and surplus stored while some is sold to generate income for members. UNDP has assisted in digging canals to tap water from river Turkwel into the farms.

Nawoyawoi farmers have also been trained on agribusiness, modern farming methods including provision of seeds, farm tools and installation of shade nets. This has significantly increase their output and also built their capacity in business management.

Perennial drought and subsequent food shortage due to unreliable rainfall might soon be a thing of the past for the group members, and  the greater community as they seek to encourage more residents to adopt irrigation to improve their food crop.

In the Turkana community agro farming is mainly practiced by women as men primarily concentrate on livestock. Consequently, the majority of the group members is comprised of women. In Kenya, women form the majority of the population that depends on rain fed agriculture as their key source of livelihood.

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