East Africa drought two years on: lasting change in Kenya

31 Jul 2013   |   Blog   |   Kenya   |   Emergency Relief

Two years ago, the Horn of Africa endured its worst drought in 60 years.

Caritas Australia launched the East Africa Crisis Appeal, and our supporters responded immediately. With the help of the Australian Government and our international partners, Caritas Australia’s supporters raised over $7.7 million to help communities in the drought-ravaged region.

This generosity allowed Caritas Australia and our partners to deliver immediate emergency relief to over one million people. But, just as importantly, the funds have sustained a long-term program that is helping people rebuild their lives and drought-proof their futures.
Read two inspiring stories of how Caritas has helped communities in drought-prone areas of Kenya.

I am hopeful

Boru Shedo from Marsabit County in Kenya

I was very happy to be selected [for the project], as this changed my life... It made me feel dignified.”

Boru Shedo lives in Wako Denge village, Marsabit County.  He and his wife are not employed. They farm the land when it rains and do casual labour to earn a living. The 2011 drought made their lives very challenging.

“I lost nine cows during the drought and I became frustrated because these cows accounted for a big portion of my wealth,” said Boru. “It was very painful watching my kids go hungry. I turned to charcoal burning and casual work to earn a living, but my earnings were meagre and casual jobs were not always available. 

When the Diocese of Marsabit held a community meeting in Wako Denge village to identify those most in need, Boru was selected to participate in a cash for work project de-silting a community earth dam.

“I was very happy to be selected, as this changed my life. I stopped charcoal burning and was able to provide food for my family. It made me feel dignified.”

Once the project was completed, however, Boru again worried about the future. In 2012, with funding from Caritas Australia, AusAID and CAFOD (Caritas UK), the Diocese of Marsabit trained Boru and others in his community on good farming practices and gave him seeds to plant. His village was given a pair of oxen, which Boru used to plough a bigger plot of land. His wife and children also received vital health services, such as immunisation, deworming and vitamin A supplements.

“The Diocese also provided us with training on saving and lending, after which we formed a Saving and Lending group in the village.”

Boru is positive about the future. “I am very grateful to the Diocese and their supporters. I see myself being in a better position in case another drought comes,” he said.

Life will be better soon

Njumarin Leperere with her four children at her home

When I received the goats I didn’t believe they were truly mine. I took them home and my younger children were so excited."

Njumarin Leperere, 42, is a single mother of six children. They live in Bendera, Baragoi, which was badly affected by the 2011 drought.

For Njumarin, life was always a struggle. During the drought she had to sell her remaining three goats to feed her family, and even then, the money didn’t last long. “I was at the point of desperation where I didn’t know what to tell the children the next day,” she said.

At a community meeting, Njumarin found out that she had been chosen to receive five female goats. The goats were provided by the Diocese of Maralal with funding from Caritas Australia and its partners.

“When I received the goats I didn’t believe they were truly mine. I took them home and my younger children were so excited. The goats didn’t go to the fields for almost three days because the children were scared they would be taken away.”

Two of the goats have now had kids. “I have milk for my children. And I hope that when all the goats have kids I will be able to sell one and buy a uniform for my child who is starting school next year.”

When asked about how different life is now that the drought is over, she said, “life is still difficult for me and many families. But it’s not as hopeless as it was. We can now get some food at a fair price, and we can work in our small farms and harvest some food. Above all I have some goats, and I know life will be better soon.”

Read more:

Back to blog