A guest blog from Emma Rockey, Project Officer at our Partner Christian Aid…
We’re facing a global climate emergency, a reality that has been clear to the communities that Christian Aid works with for many years. The seasons are getting hotter, droughts are lasting longer, and extreme weather is becoming more severe.
In Marsabit county, Northern Kenya, droughts used to occur every 10-15 years. Now they happen every 3-5 years. In 2016-2017 a severe drought lasted for 2 years, almost wiping out the herds of sheep, goats and camels belonging to pastoralist communities in the north of the county. The drought was so severe that the camels began to die of thirst.
In 2017 Christian Aid worked with PACIDA, a Kenyan NGO, to support pastoralist communities during the drought by providing cash transfers, animal feed and better access to water. PACIDA staff also trained communities to set up voluntary savings and loans associations (VSLA’s). The VSLA’s encouraged pastoralist communities to put aside money for water and additional animal feed when the next drought comes. Because one thing is certain, the droughts will continue to come.
I was fortunate enough to visit communities in Marsabit county in February this year, to see how life has changed now the rains have come. I met a with El Qancharo VSLA from the Woldageti area. The group, made up of 20 men, agreed that life was much better now herds were growing again, the savings group had started to make and sell palm mats to bring in additional income. The group said they could feel another drought coming, the weather is changing, and the old seasonal cycle is disrupted. The herds are growing but they are still far from safe levels which could endure another drought. The El Qancharo group said they don’t know how long the next drought would last and they fear for what will happen to their families, herds and way of life when it does.
In the UK we feel the impact of climate change in record-breaking weather, but in Marsabit county climate change destroys communities.
We are at an important moment for climate justice: school strikes, protests, petitions and documentaries are all urging the government to do more. We need you to join us to fight for climate justice. Christian Aid will be making a walk of witness from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall on the 26th of June, as part of the Time is Now mass lobby organised by the climate coalition.
We are encouraging people from all over the UK to sign up through our website, meet their MP and urge them to vote to make the UK Government legally commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2045. We need you to help us support communities like the El Qancharo VSLA group, and to change the world so the droughts stop coming.
Join us on the 26th of June – The Time Is Now!