In Embu county, in Eastern Kenya, the rains didn’t come this year as expected. Nancy Muthoni is struggling to provide meals for her family and to afford to send her children to school.
The rains used to come regularly, and Nancy could grow enough food. As the planet warms due to climate change, now Nancy and her community face drought nearly every year.
“When I was young there was enough rain. It would rain for a whole month” says Nancy. “This year it only rained for about two days”.
38 year old Nancy is a widow. Her husband passed away in 2006 and since then she has had to provide for her 6 children on her own.
Nancy lives in this semi-arid area of Kenya, in a home that is small and basic, made of wooden poles and mud, with a corrugated iron roof. There is no running water or electricity.
As she can no longer depend on the rains to grow food, she is forced to find other ways to provide an income so that she can buy food and pay for school fees. She engages in casual labour, such a collecting small stones used for construction.
Some days she does not have enough money to provide supper for her children. When this happens she needs to ask her relatives to support her, or she needs to borrow money.
People like Nancy have done the least to contribute to Climate Change, yet are already feeling its worst effects. Kenya’s carbon footprint is 25 times smaller than that of Ireland. Yet Kenya is already being hugely affected by this global problem. In 2019, over 3 million people in Kenya were affected by the failed rains.