Howu Dedu, 40
Howu Dedu, 40, is part of the FFA program, fetching water from the water pan that has been built as part of the FFA (Female Farmers Association) project that is run by ActionAid as part of its drought relief program in Garba Tulla, Kenya in summer 2012. This region has experience recurring drought for over ten years, and many pastoralists have now lost their livelihoods as a result. ActionAid has been working on an agricultural and Water Pan project to provide alternative livelihoods to some the most vulnerable communities in the area.
“We only had enough food for one meal a day before . We eat mainly maize flower with some sauce - normally at lunchtime. If I need extra food or things from the shop I take it on credit and will then try and pay back later when I can get some money. said Dedu.
I only joined FFA a year ago after my husband died. We are given food as part of the project for the work we do. I sell some of the food to buy sugar and tea. My biggest fear is not being able to feed my children or send them to school. The price of everything has increased recently and it is making life much harder.
The government has given some relief too but this isn't reliable. During the drought last year they were giving maize and beans. They give no help with agriculture or with our animals. The Water Pan project is now the only hope I have for supporting my children. I think farming like this is the only future we can have here - there is no point to buy more animals as they will only die in another drought.
I feel happy with the Water Pan Project and we could start to sell vegetables in the future. I lost three children during the different droughts. They died because of malnutrition and became weak. I blamed myself for not being able to look after them properly. I felt helpless that I couldn't do anything for them. With FFA I feel that I have more stability and can at least guarantee food for my four remaining children each month."
ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in 50 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. Together with more than 2,000 civil society partners worldwide, ActionAid works with and supports the poorest and most vulnerable people to fight for and gain their rights to food, shelter, work, basic healthcare and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. View the website at www.actionaidusa.org.