Resilience in the face of Climate Change

Coping with water scarcity in ASALs of Kenya

Increasing variations in Kenya’s climate are evident: irregular rainfall patterns, prolonged droughts and flooding intensity are the new norm. In the absence of adequate investments in water infrastructures, the rapidly growing population is putting pressure on water catchments consequentially reducing freshwater availability. This is already causing conflicts between the different users and has the potential to lead to civil unrest. Kenya’s economy is at stake with the water-dependent primary sector directly and indirectly responsible for over 50% of the GDP.

ENV evaluated four development projects funded by the BMZ – German Cooperation for Development to understand what role development can play in building adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change. How is water scarcity affecting the livelihoods of the rural poor in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya? What strategies should be favoured to boost farmers’ climate resilience?

Thanks to a Community-Led Development approach, these communities act now as ‘change agents’ and rights-bearing, active citizens with a shared vision who can drive their own development.

Top takeaways

1. Sand dams effciently restore permanent water access and should be combined with pipelines to serve the broader community.

2. Self-Help Groups need to play an active role in regional fora for informed, bottom-up water and sand management.

3. Malnutrition and inadequate hygiene practices are at the root of widespread diseases triggering vicious poverty cycles.

4. Development agencies should unlock potential of skilled locals to tackle the chronic lack of public extension services.

5. Effectively recording lessons and best practices starts with the allocation of at least 5% of the budget to MEAL.

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