For the last five years, Mandera County in Kenya has been gripped by a devastating drought. The people in the county, who are traditionally pastoralists, have watched as their livestock and livelihoods succumbed to hunger and thirst. The people themselves, without a means of providing for their needs, are suffering from acute malnutrition.

ADRA has been working in the region since 2011 with various projects providing food relief, pastureland regeneration, kitchen garden training using permaculture techniques, and now group savings and loans associations. In addition to assisting members in saving money, the savings and loans groups help members identify business opportunities and provide access to necessary funds. This has enabled the group members to diversify their incomes. Rather than relying solely on their livestock, they are now able to build small businesses, such as shops.

Rather than relying solely on their livestock, they are now able to build small businesses, such as shops.

Rahama, one of ADRA’s 1,000 current project participants, tells her story:

“My name is Rahama. First and foremost, ADRA has done a lot of work. They have trained women and the community at large on how to grow their own food in gardens. They have assisted us in making small gardens. The people who have received training from ADRA have also been of help to other people by sharing their knowledge with them. Thus, more people are able to start up small gardens and grow vegetables like tomatoes, maize, and more. The knowledge continues spreading.

Secondly, ADRA gives food to the orphans and needy households through a voucher system. The people use their vouchers at the shop to purchase food and necessary supplies. ADRA has also helped widows and divorcees by showing them that they too can create small gardens of their own.

I am a member of the Takaba Women Leaders group. When ADRA calls for seminars, they do not leave women leaders behind, but rather invite us to attend. Women know the struggles that the community faces with their children and with their families, too. When they speak out on such issues, the women feel relieved and benefit greatly.

ADRA has assisted women groups in a great way. ADRA has provided them with seeds and training and helped them to bring their produce to the market to sell.