East Africa Drought Crisis

by ActionAid International USA
Feb 22, 2013

Use mobile phone technology in building drought resilience

Zainabu Kamato works on the field
Zainabu Kamato works on the field

“For all the people who gave their support to this project, I thank you" said Zainabu Kamato.

Zainabu Kamato, 45, is a member of a group of female farmers supported by ActionAid and Chairlady of the Relief Committee in Garba Tulla, Kenya. She shares her story and how ActionAid has helped support drought-affected communities in North Eastern Kenya, and uses mobile phone technology to establish two-way communication between ActionAid and the communities we are working with on the drought response.

“I am married and have six children. My husband is Abduallah, but he is sick. He has been suffering from a mental problem” said Zainabu. Heading the relief committee means that I am the main voice of the community when we make assessments to find out how much relief food each household needs. Most of us in the committee are women.

Zainabu helps manage the Food for Assets program in Garba Tulla, where community members work on farming and water harvesting structures in exchange for relief food. The aim is to build resilience to drought. 

We are building structures that hold the water, so we can farm with very little water. We have had one harvest where we harvested many vegetables. That eased the situation. The better we build these structures, the less rain we need. The phones are a big help when organizing workers for building the structures.”

“The phone also assists me in my communication with the entire community. I can now get updates from everybody with phones and also when relief food arrives.”

Zainabu’s ambition is to be able to pay her children’s school fees and to be able to put food on the plates of her family. I really want my children to be able to finish school and get jobs so they can travel out of this place - I don't feel that there are any prospects for them here. When we lost all of our animals I really felt that I had lost the power to control my life. We had to accept food from the government and I didn't like just living in this way - it made me feel dependent and bad. But now I work for the food I feel I have taken some control back into my life. "

Before I started working with this program, my children would often go hungry and not eat for a few days, but things are better now. I also like being able to work with other people in the field and feel that we are making our situation better.

Zainabu Kamato, 45
Zainabu Kamato, 45

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Organization Information

ActionAid International USA

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.actionaidusa.org
Project Leader:
Amy Leichtman
Program Manager
Washington, DC United States

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