Impact of climate change on water resources in Kaloleni, Kilifi county, Kenya

a field report of Ms. Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda (CIPSEM alumna, SC68)

dsc_0428

In most of the rural parts of Kenya including the coastal interior, few know of the term climate change. However, impacts have been felt far and wide, with many left with lingering questions on their minds. Drought is the most worrying issue that the communities in Kilifi county face. In recent years, the weather patterns have been predictable, but in 2016 it was different. It is evident that the harsh impacts of climate change have affected water resources and in turn affecting food security, and other sectors including health and education. In mid October 2016, just a few weeks after completing the SC 68 Integrated Water Resources Management and Health short course, I set out to find out more on the impacts of climate change on water resources in Kaloleni, Kilifi County with the aim of gathering sufficient information on the situation which can aid in future interventions. I interviewed some of the residents in Kaloleni, Kilifi county, and this is what some of them had to say:

Dama Kahindhi

I find Dama an elderly woman with five other ladies surrounding a well known as Mwabanda, in Zizimo village, Kilifi County, catching up while fetching water. Mwabanda is a well, which has been the source of water for the villagers for almost three years. In Swahili, she informs me that the water is undrinkable and is dirty because sediments flow in especially from harsh winds. I spot a number of frogs in the water. She also admits that sometimes the quality of the water affects health especially in young children who are vulnerable to disease. She tells me that she in normally at the pond thrice in a day and sometimes even five times. As Dama speaks, a woman balancing on her head a jerrican full of water, commonly known as a ‘kia’ interjects informing me that there is no rain and the maize crop has failed due to the severe drought. As a parting shot, Dama tells me “the drought is so severe that even men now days have to join us to fetch water”.

Glory

She is a young girl probably not a teenager.  She trembles on spotting the camera and is afraid to answer any questions; however she does answer a few in low tones. She goes to school but today she is not in class because she has to fetch water. She barely makes any eye contact but informs me the pond is called Kwa Kagogo. She then continues to fill in her jerrican with water, under the scorching sun.

6

Clemence Mjeni

Clemence is a middle aged woman who informs me that the river Bemkambe, in Bemkambe village Kilifi County, has been dry for about five years now. She points towards the path where the river meandered previously which is now a bed of rocks and sand. ‘In previous years, the rains would start in March and continue till May. However this year, there was no rain at all. Our maize and rice crop failed due to drought’. She also mentions that she heard that the country would experience El Niño, but was also worried that when the rains are in excess, the coconut trees in her farm would fall because the roots become saturated with water. However she says that she is still waiting for the El Niño, because it will bring hope.

 

Samson Chome

‘Tangu El Nino ya 1997, hakuna mvua ya maana…’ which means that there has been no significant rain since the 1997 ElNino, claims Mr. Chome, who is a resident of Chanagande, Kilifi county. He is appalled by the weather pattern changes, and claims that people and livestock have died due to drought. The 60 year old man informs me that this village, Kagombani, which means ‘banana plant’, was characterized by banana plantations when he was in his youth. He counts and points three frail banana plants on his farm, which is the current situation in most parts of the village. Mr. Chome is chatty, and goes ahead to say that he is from searching for pasture for his one lactating cow but he insists that he needs a borehole to sustain his cow and calf and also his family; because the ponds that he was relying on are also drying up and the soils are no longer fertile.

Naomi Kenga

She is commonly referred to as Hawe Dena in Kaloleni area, Kilifi County. Hawe Dena is 87 years old but is strong and very knowledgeable, clearly from the many years of experience. She informs me of how the weather patterns have drastically changed affecting the water supply in the area. She has a subsistence farm, which she plants various crops, but complains that it is very tiring to carry water to the farm. ‘Mwaka huu mahindi hayakukuwa kwa sababu ya ukosefu wa mvua,” she says, meaning that this year the maize did not thrive because of lack of water. She tells us that her farm is rain-fed and so when it does not rain she is severely affected. The soil beneath my feet is very hot. She also tells me that she has a well constructed in her ‘shamba’ and she takes me on a tour around the farm and to the well, however the well depends on rain water and is currently dry. She also takes the opportunity to request for any intervention that could make the situation better.

Other than the impacts on the land and on water and agricultural resources, other effects can be seen such as the receding coastline. Boats are spotted stuck in sand in need of evacuation. Therefore it is necessary to find both short and long term solutions towards adaptation and mitigation strategies towards climate change. How is climate change affecting you? What can you do about the impacts?  What can you do about climate change?

11

Advertisements

CIPSEM meets the German president

For two days, CIPSEM presented how TU Dresden contributes to addressing essential questions for our common future at the “Woche der Umwelt”. This event – literally ‘week of the environment – showcases innovative projects contributing to environmental protection and sustainability. It is special, because exhibitors and projects come from all parts of society: universities and research institutes, ministries and government agencies, NGOs, enterprises, professional associations, youth, and many more. The venue is also unique: the meeting takes place in the garden of Bellevue Castle, and is hosted by the president of Germany.

Almost 12 000 people came to learn about and to get in touch with various initiatives, as well as to join one of the numerous panel discussions on issues such as the energy transition or sustainable cities.

In his opening speech, the Federal President, Mr. Joachim Gauck, referred to the Agenda 2030: “Especially now we need additional momentum for more environmental protection, as we have agreed on ambitious targets for sustainable development and climate protection on an international scale.”

At the CIPSEM booth, visitors were attracted by a wheel of fortune presenting a selection of countries from which our course participants are coming (out of 138 from which our more then 2200 alumni total since 1977 came). The wheel was a helpful starting point to start discussing about typical environmental problems, how they are related to the sustainable development goals, and how we are addressing these issues in our courses.

Many visitors also used the opportunity to inform themselves about the international master programs in “Tropical Forestry” and “Hydro Science and Engineering” as well as other environment-related study programs at TU Dresden. Overall, we were happy with this opportunity, also because we got in touch with several experts who might teach in our courses in the future.

> More pictures of the “Week of the Environment”, made available by the organizer, the German Environment Foundation, DBU.

> Background information on the “Woche der Umwelt” (German only)

 

Soon: come to go – a theatre project with CIPSEM participants

Eight of our current course participants reflect on their experiences in Dresden in a joint theatre production with die bühne (the theatre of TU Dresden). Performances will take place in the CIPSEM facilities in the evenings of April 08, 09, 15 and 16.

You are very welcome to join, if you are around. Please check the website of die buehne for more information.

In any case, we will also report in our blog!

ComeToGo_Flyer_final_HQ

CIPSEM is turning heads …

… and getting attention in the last University Journal of TU Dresden. The occasion was the festive closing of the 66th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB Internatioal Short Course on Soil and Land Resources and the general overall efforts in education towards sustainable development provided by CIPSEM and its partners.

Uni Journal SC66