For the past five years, Mandera County in Kenya has been gripped by a devastating drought. The people in the county, who are traditionally pastoralists, have watched as their livestock and livelihoods succumbed to hunger and thirst. Without a means of providing for their needs, people themselves are suffering from acute malnutrition.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been working in the region since 2011 with a variety of projects providing food relief, pastureland regeneration, kitchen garden training using permaculture techniques, and now group savings and loans associations. In addition to assisting members in saving money, the savings and loans groups help members identify business opportunities and provide access to necessary funds. It is something that has enabled the group members to diversify their incomes. Rather than relying solely on their livestock, they are now able to build small businesses, such as retail shops.
“ADRA has done a lot of work around here,” said Rahama, one of ADRA’s 1,000 current project participants in the region. “They have trained women and the community at large on how to grow their food in gardens. They have assisted us in making small gardens.”
Rahama shared that the people who have received training from ADRA have also been of help to other people by sharing their knowledge with them. “More people have been able to start up small gardens and grow vegetables like tomatoes, maize, and more. The knowledge continues spreading,” she said.
ADRA has also provided food for orphans and needy households through a voucher system. People use their vouchers at the shop to purchase food and necessary supplies. ADRA has also helped widows and divorcees by showing them that they, too, can create small gardens of their own, according to Rahama.
“I am a member of the Takaba Women Leaders group,” Rahama said. “When ADRA calls for seminars, they do not leave women leaders behind, but rather invite us to attend. Women know the struggles that the community faces with their children and with their families, too. When they speak out on such issues, the women feel relieved and benefit greatly,” she explained.
Rahama also shared that women especially have benefited from the support ADRA has been giving them. “ADRA has provided us with seeds and training and helped us to bring produce to the market to sell,” she said. “ADRA is a good organization. They have brought many benefits and assisted a lot of people in our region. We hope they stay here with us and bring us more projects,” Rahama said. “Thank you!”