At a time when many people are leaving their homes in search of food and water, World Vision is helping a community in northern Kenya to fulfil their decision to stay in one place.
As the truck empties water onto a blue tarp, women and girls from a village in Wajir South scoop it up with plastic jerry cans. Each family receives 20 litres per week, a vital contribution to their health.
Community elder Farah agrees. “When there is water, children go to school and have good health. Without it, the reverse is true.”
Just over six years ago the community were nomadic herders, travelling with their camels, cows and goats in search of places to graze.
Farah, 67 explains that at its height, this 560 family community had a magnificent menagerie—1,500 camels, 4,000 cows, and says Farah, “an uncountable number of goats.”
Yet the elders felt something wasn’t right. The community continually moved around, looking for places to graze their animals. They knew that their children would grow up to do the same. Their success in life would be determined by the weather. Was that wise?
Six years ago, with the children’s future on their minds, the elders decided to make a change.
“We used to move with our animals from place to place,” says Farah. “We realised it wasn't a good life. We decided to stay in one place, build a school, and teach the children.”
They found an area in north-eastern Kenya, built a school, and hired two teachers. The children began to learn. However, after four years of drought the elders have struggled to maintain their dream.
“This is the longest drought we have ever experienced,” says Farah.
Without water livestock died and the community could not rely on crops. Children in the community became sick and were unable to go to school. The hope of new opportunities through education was fading.
Unwilling to give up on their dream the community approached World Vision for support and, in partnership with the Kenyan Government, the water deliveries began.
So what about tomorrow? Relief for this community ultimately depends on rain. This unusually long and extreme drought has pushed many families and communities in East Africa to breaking point, overwhelming normal coping strategies.
As they wait and hope that the October rains will come, World Vision will continue to help them stay put. Here, children have the chance to attend school and, through education, the opportunity for a better life than their parents.
World Vision is currently assisting drought-affected communities from Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in its emergency response. Long-term development programs are continuing in conjunction with the current emergency response.