From water and food scarcity to lush mango and papaya farms, a community in rural southeast Kenya share how their climate-smart agriculture training and activities have transformed their lives and land.

Kwa Mbithi self-help group draws its membership from Kaasya village in Makueni County, southeast Kenya. The group of motivated community members came together to spearhead development activities in the region which is an arid land that which receives little to no rains; thus experiencing extended drought periods.

Consequently, the nearest rivers flowing in this area are seasonal and they experience water run-offs as soon as the rain ceases. This results in extensive pangs of hunger, crop failure, walking for long distances in search of water, livestock deaths among other disasters.

In a bid to mitigate these challenges, the community group has been supported by the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) in collaboration with Sand Dams Worldwide (formerly Excellent Development), and with generous funding from the Isle of Man Government, to implement climate-smart agricultural activities.

Some of the community members came out to share their experiences and strides made during the project period. Boniface Nzomo, 49, has been serving as the group secretary. He says:

Boniface Nzomo, farmer from Kwa Mbithi self-help group, southeast Kenya“Over the project period, I have learned the importance of terracing my farm to take advantage of water run-off and make maximum utilization of the low rainfall water for crop production... Terracing here will help in improving yields from my small piece of land. The project also helped me to learn about soil conservation by preventing soil erosion."

Regina Mbesa, 63, serves as the group chair lady. She states:

Regina Mbesa“Before the coming of ASDF in my life, I had little knowledge on tree planting and their management. Through the training and support, I have managed to plant 30 mango trees and several papayas which are doing quite well... This will help me earn income and improve my living standards. The future looks bright.” 

And Mukonyo Simon, 41, is a mother of five and a member of the group, she speaks up on her achievements in the area:

Mukonyo Simon, farmer from Kwa Mbithi self-help group, southeast Kenya"ASDF taught me the importance of trying different aspects of farming because our area receives little rainfall. I have been able to try my hand in fruits and crop production. Now I have managed to plant several mango trees and papayas which are faring well. This will provide enough income to educate my children and for food too.”

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