Stories of Change

Top: Program participant with food rations, Middle: Dried lands in Tana River County, Bottom: Women in line to receive food rations

Food Rations Provide Thousands Hunger Relief in Drought

When we consider the effects of climate change, we might imagine wildfires, hurricanes and massive droughts. What we might forget, however, is that these consequences are already a reality for thousands of people worldwide.

In Tana River County in Kenya, thousands of people have been severely affected by the droughts that have been occurring for the past two decades. “The drought in Tana River caught the attention of CWS in 2016 when a major drought occurred and we mobilized resources in response,” says Mary Obiero, CWS’ Director of Relief Development and Protection in Kenya. “Tana River is known for cyclical disasters including severe droughts, floods, tribal conflicts, and more recently locust invasions that are now more frequent due to climate change,” she explains.

The lack of rainfall has devastated the people of this region who are primarily farmers. “The drought has really affected us. Our livestock died. If someone had about 100 cows, only two are left. If they had 300 goats, only five are left,” explains Mohamed Kunyo, a CWS program participant in the county. Inter-tribal conflicts have also worsened in the area as “resources (water and pasture) shrink,” Mary explains. Along with the burdens of the pandemic, these challenges have made it difficult for people to find the means to survive.

In response, CWS has partnered with the Canadian Food Grains Bank. Together, we are working to provide 3,000 households (15,000 individuals) with four months of emergency food rations.

Through this project, thousands of vulnerable families can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that they will have food for the next coming months. Program participant Hussein Shure Guyo told us, “we thank the organizations for the food they have brought. May God bless them.”

To ensure a lasting effect, this project has been led by advisory groups made up of leaders in the community. These leaders will be important in eventually implementing disaster risk reduction projects like the ones implemented by CWS in nearby areas. These projects include activities such as beekeeping and loan saving groups and have “so far witnessed significant impacts and successes,” says Mary.

CWS’ emergency response and long term projects help communities endure the effects of climate change and ensure there is enough for all.