In Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, people crowd towns and cities to escape drought. Now food is short and prices are high. Smart gardens can capture and use water efficiently to quickly grow nutritious vegetables. Reach 500+ families with good vegetable seeds and resources like water tanks, drip irrigation, and skills training. Most gardeners are organized in women's saving groups whose focus is to make their communities ever more resilient as the climate grows ever more uncertain.
Forecasters now predict a 4th year of below-average rain for late 2017/18. Areas served by our partners in Kenya and Ethiopia already suffer from crisis-level food shortage. Farming large plots becomes impossible without adequate water. Rivers dry up, livestock have died, and people crowd towns to find needed supplies. When resources become scarce during crisis, women face increased risk of violence as they travel to find the food, water, and work needed to support and feed their families.
Small gardens give much-needed food and income at home. We work with women's groups who already pool resources to ensure maximum gain from investment in good seeds, water sourcing, training, and shared supplies - one water storage system can extend the growing season for 50 families. Vegetable sales help the whole community and generate cash, and the program develops local leaders and puts economic power into women's hands. This project will adapt to the needs of our developing partnerships.
Climate change is a daily reality in the Horn of Africa; nobody views the current crisis as an isolated event. In villages and cities alike there is a clarion call for new strategies to build community resilience, reduce dependence on aid, and develop lasting, locally-run strong social and economic ties. Vegetable gardens persist as a source of life-affirming income and nutrition that adapts to change and helps ensure women's safety and economic power.