In early 2015, Excellent Development started working in Lekurruki conservancy, Northern Kenya, a remote region of the country which suffers from persistent droughts resulting in food shortages, hunger and migration.

Water and education needed

The 24 members of the Mukogodo Maasai women farmers' group are some of the people who will benefit from the network of sand dams to be built in Lekurruki this year. Agnes Kariga, women farmers group, LekurrukiThe water from the sand dams, together with training on climate-smart farming methods, will provide them with enough water close-by to irrigate their farms and enable them to plan their activities more effectively.

“Once it rains within these areas, most of the members plant the wrong seedlings so they end up harvesting nothing. So they fail getting food for their families. The second problem is the rain - you plant and then the rains fail, so you end up with nothing.”

Agnes Kariga, women farmers group, Lekurruki, Northern Kenya.

Agnes Kariga, a member of the group explains: “Once it rains within these areas, most of the members plant the wrong seedlings so they end up harvesting nothing. So they fail getting food for their families. The second problem is the rain - you plant and then the rains fail, so you end up with nothing.”

Living with elephants is tough

Lack of rain and knowledge aren’t the only challenges faced by Agnes and her community. “We are near the forest and there are so many wild animals in the forest and they come at night. The elephants come specifically when the maize is ready to be harvested. Once the elephants broke in and ate almost everything.”

The Maasai are committed to protecting the wildlife they share their home with, but it’s not easy when your livelihood is at stake and often leads to tragedy for both people and wildlife. The additional water provided by sand dams throughout the conservancy will help keep wild animals further away from farms and will complement the fences that have been built - all part of a bigger project to enable people and wildlife to live together in harmony.

No water – no food – no peace

As with many of the communities we work with, the Maasai’s challenges are multiple, but just as often the problems lead back to the same root cause: lack of water. Without water no food can be grown, communities and wildlife are more likely to get into conflict over dwindling resources, and people spend so many hours collecting water every day that they don’t have any time left for education and investment in their farms.

Please consider making a donation today to enable more pastoralist communities to extend the network of sand dams in the Northern Rangelands, providing their families, neighbours, livestock as well as wildlife with clean water for life.

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