The primary source of income for most people in Mandera is their livestock. However, their flocks were decimated by years of extended droughts. While the men of the family would be away for months seeking pastures and water for their animals, mothers would stay home with their children. Food was scarce and many meals were missed.

In the initial phase of our response to the drought, ADRA Canada partnered with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) to provide food vouchers to families. The families were able to redeem the vouchers at local shops to buy the food they needed.

As the drought continued, ADRA knew a more sustainable solution was needed.

During the second phase ADRA began teaching families how to grow their own food. Traditionally pastoralists, many did not believe that agriculture was possible in their semi-arid location. However, with the proper tools, seeds, and training, they were soon planting kitchen gardens and improving the soil’s fertility.

Vegetables from these gardens, supplemented by the food vouchers, ensured that families were able to eat three meals a day. In many cases, the gardens produced more than the families needed and they were able to take the extra to market, boosting their incomes, and allowing them to eat an even greater variety of healthy foods.

ADRA and CFGB are also working alongside community members to rehabilitate the natural grasslands of Mandera West through a method called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). Through FMNR, community members are restoring the grasses native to the area and providing their livestock with fodder. Now families no longer need to be separated for months while seeking food for their animals.

Read more about these efforts here.