Skip to main content

4 years without rain, but not without hope: life in drought-affected Wajir, Kenya.

A swirling sandstorm. As the dust rises it reveals a vast land that has is bare and dry. It would be picturesque only if the people in the land of Wajir, Kenya were not experiencing the longest hard-hitting drought in the region so far.

“The thing I miss the most is the bells ringing as I take my animals out to graze. The sound of wealth and good fortune. My animals represent availability of milk and food for my family and I. Now I no longer hear that noise. I miss it. Most of my animals have died for the 3 years that this drought has been with us.”

“My name is Diyaara. I live in Abdiwako. I have 10 children. Together with my grandchildren, we are a family of 20. There are problems everywhere and life is becoming harder by the day. But if the situation changes, the youth get sufficient means to earn a living and the young ones will have access to education. Then we will be happy and smile again.”

Diyaara and her children are seated in the kitchen as she narrates how badly the drought has affected her. She has just served her 3 sons some tea and she is reminiscing on how well her farm was doing.

“Life was good four years ago. We had our animals with us here. We milked them and used their products, We planted vegetables and sold to markets in nearby towns. Since then, the animals had to be migrated to far-away places in search of pasture and water thus depriving us whatever products we could get from them.”

“We used to have 3 proper meals a day. But after the drought, the crops dried off and we lost livestock. People survived on small donations from organizations and help from relatives abroad while the rest were stuck in a tough situation. I was rearing goats and operating a small shop which sustained my life. But after the drought, I lost all my goats and lived off on my savings until the last penny. I had to eventually close the shop.”

A happy Barey Ibrahim Korone is all smiles as she looks at her mobile phone outside her family hut in Tula Tula, Wajir.
Photo: Billy Owiti/Oxfam

Oxfam’s efforts to mitigate drought struggles

The Arid and Semi-Arid Counties in Kenya are prone to recurrent disasters ranging from drought, conflict, floods, and disease outbreaks. Rains have failed for four years consecutively, resulting in acute hunger and extreme vulnerability of local communities. Over 4.2 million people now, are in dire need of food and water aid. The communities in these regions are pastoralists and rear animals for livelihood. Now, they are on the brink of complete destitution and death is staring, following the longest drought ever witnessed in over four decades. Livestock have been decimated and those existing are emaciated and struggling to cope.

To mitigate the impacts of the drought, Oxfam in Kenya, with support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Thani Bin Abdulah Bin Thani Al-Thani have funded a Multi-Purpose Cash Transfer for vulnerable families impacted by drought in Wajir County, Kenya. This program was implemented by Oxfam’s local partners in the area; WASDA and ALDEF.

In Wajir each household received a total of KES 9,255 every month. With this, several beneficiaries were able to accomplish a variety of crucial tasks at the household level. So far, the cash response has benefited 4,286 households in the past six months.

As these crises continue to wreak havoc on the environment and livelihoods of those in Kenya and beyond, your generous support is what lets us continue to aid those affected by climate change. Please, consider donating now to ensure this work continues, helping those in need, together.