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Governments to support ASAL communities build resilience against negative effect climate change

The government will set up sustainable programmes to help communities living in arid and semi-arid areas build resilience against climate change, East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development Cabinet Secertary Rebecca Miano has said.

According to the CS, the ministry is targeting the 29 counties which have previously been categorised as ASAL areas to benefit from the programmes and the focus will be on interventions that communities have prioritised.

Further, the CS said that her ministry will be partnering with county governments and other agencies to set up the interventions which will help the said communities combat the negative effects of climate change particularly, drought.

The CS was speaking in Gatuanyaga in Kieni-East sub-county, Nyeri during the commissioning of a Sh 8 million solar powered community water project.

The project was constructed through the joint collaboration between the European Union and the National Drought Management Authority and the county government of Nyeri and is powered by 36 solar panels which pump water over a three kilometre radius.

“We have witnessed the effects of climate change and we are working on projects that will mitigate the negative effects of climate change, encourage tree planting and promote mannerisms in the community that will eventually alleviate the negative effects of climate change,” said Miano.

Already, over 200 households have started benefiting from water for irrigation and water for domestic use while another 2,000 people are expected to tap into the water project.

“It is gratifying to launch a project powered by renewable energy that will, besides cutting down operational costs, fits in well with the Kenya Kwanza Government’s resolve to, as much as possible, rely on green energy, necessary in promoting a cleaner environment,” said Miano.

“Even more gratifying is the fact that this project is already making a difference in the lives of the residents of Gatuanyaga by providing adequate quality water for domestic use and enabling agribusiness opportunities to prosper and transform lives,” she said.

Ann Njogu, a beneficiary of the Gituanyaga borehole water project in Kieni sub-county offers a farm demonstration to East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary, Rebecca Miano (2nd left), Nyeri Deputy Governor, Warui Kinaniri(3rd) left during the commissioning of community water project in Gituanyaga, Kieni sub-county.

Ann Njogu, a beneficiary of the project termed the intervention as a game changer which had brought water closer to the community. She said the water will now support their small-scale irrigation farming projects and cut their reliance on government for relief food.

“We used to travel a distance of four kilometres in the morning and in the evening to fetch water from Tigithi River to fetch a 20 litre jerrican of water. Now that the commodity has been brought closer to us, my neighbours and I have taken to farming and we are on our way to becoming producers. What is now left is for us to diversify our farming and to source market for the farm produce,” she said.

The CS was accompanied by Nyeri Deputy Governor Warui Kinaniri and Kieni Member of Parliament Njoroge Wainaina.

On his part, the DG said that the county was keen on collaborating with the national government in putting in place measure to improve the food security in Kieni sub-county.

While calling for the establishment of similar projects in the sub-county, Mr Warui has at the same time welcomed plans by the national government to sink two mega dams in Naru Moru and Kiawara which he noted will alleviate the water crisis in the sub-county.

“Kieni sub-county represents 52 per cent of the entire county and if this 52 per cent is not food secure then we are in danger and that is what we want to deal with. We want to ensure that Kieni is able to produce food like the other sub-counties,” said Warui.

Kieni sub-county is among areas that were hard hit by drought in Nyeri County last year following five consecutive failed rainy seasons leaving at least 200,000 families fully dependent on relief food.

The situation is still dire as farmers in Mwiogo in Endarasha are facing a 95 per cent crop failure after their crops were affected by frost early this year.

By Wangari Mwangi


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