For a long time, Mwikali Musyoka’s harvest has never been enough for her and her two grandchildren. “I didn’t have food to last us through this dry season. I depended on handouts from relatives that live in the city,” she explains.
Mwikali is a 66-year old widow living in Kimu, Mwingi North sub-county, one of the driest regions of Kitui County in Kenya. This location has been adversely affected by recurring droughts. The short rains of late 2019 were a sign of hope for Mwikali and neighbouring farmers, and they planted crops with the hope that the yields would last them at least one year. Unfortunately, their hope was short-lived due to the damage to their farms caused by the desert locusts that invaded the region.
“The locusts not only destroyed all our crops but also the pasture, leaving my goats malnourished. It was so bad that I could neither milk them nor even sell them to get money to feed my family,” explains Mwikali. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened their situation, as they could not access food since the supply chain was affected by government containment measures.
It is in response to the triple disasters of prolonged droughts, locust infestation and COVID-19 that ADRA Kenya, supported by Latter-Day Saints Charities, is implementing the Mwingi Tharaka Nithi Locust Response Recovery (MTLRR) Project in Mwingi North Sub-county. This project supports 500 households affected by these disasters to safeguard their livelihoods. Through a market-based intervention in the form of a restricted e-voucher system, the families can access food items, livestock feed and agricultural inputs including seeds to support them until the next harvesting season in March 2021. Expressing her gratitude for the support, Mwikali says
I am delighted to receive all this food. I am happy that for the next six months, my grandchildren and I will no longer be relying on handouts. God bless ADRA!
In addition to receiving the food basket, fodder and farm inputs, the project also trains the farmers on community-managed disaster risk reduction and climate-smart agriculture. This training provides them with the necessary skills that build their resilience to climate-related disasters as well as safeguarding their livelihoods.