Our response as drought intensifies

Our project area, together with many parts of Kenya, is in the midst of a prolonged dry spell. In some locations there has barely been a drop of rain for a year with the last two rainy seasons producing well below average rainfall. The drought is intensifying under the scorching sun and desert dry winds, and with the next rains not due, if they come at all, until April, the situation is becoming critical for the community. With recent harvests having failed, food reserves are dwindling, whilst water sources are rapidly drying-up.

The effects of this drought are being felt within our partner schools too. Supplies of harvested rainwater are all but exhausted in most schools, with no sign of rains arriving anytime soon to replenish supplies. We are standing by to deliver fresh water from sources outside the project area to ensure that clean water is available for drinking and for cooking lunch. We have launched an emergency appeal which you can support here. A donation of £110 would pay for a delivery of 10,000 litres of water. We are not sure how much water we will need to provide – it all depends on when the rains arrive – but any excess that we raise from the appeal which is not needed to buy water will go towards projects to further increase rainwater harvesting and storage capacity.

It is at times like these that the impact and importance of our lunch programme is felt more than ever. From February we will be extending the programme to a further 100 pre-school pupils who are enrolled in three ‘feeder’ pre-schools to one of our partner primary schools. These had been established as children were previously walking long distances to reach the pre-school at Kisimenyi Primary. However with the on-set of the drought, more-and-more of these children have been transferring to Kisimenyi, attracted by the promise of a lunch. However the school does not have the facilities to accommodate this ever increasing roll of pupils and the facilities which we have built at the school were fast becoming overwhelmed. In order to redress this balance we have decided to include the three feeder pre-schools in the feeding programme at Kisimenyi from February, when the next batch of food is delivered to our schools. Lunch will be served on-site in each school and pupils formerly attending those schools will return, relieving the pressure on the facilities at Kisimenyi.

Our lunch programme now provides more than 2,700 pupils from schools in our project area with a daily lunch and it is an absolutely vital lifeline for many of these children at the moment.