Being a farmer in a part of the world that is severely affected by climate change is very difficult. Pauline Karimi, 54, lives in an area that is recovering from a year-long drought. But despite this, her village is covered in green vegetation and farms. Pauline tells us how the help of Trócaire supporters has made this possible.
In the midst of recovering from a deadly drought that took hold of the area for the last year, Pauline’s beautiful home sits in the middle of her now very green farm.
“But it didn’t look this good last year,” she says. The drought, she tells us is one of the worst they have ever had.
Pauline’s village is deep in the Tharaka county of Kenya. In the past, they had been able to rely on rains to allow their crops to grow, but increasingly prolonged droughts due to climate change has meant regular access to water was becoming impossible.
“Last year during the drought, we went to bed hungry because we lacked food and money,” she said. “But thankfully that is now a thing of the past.”
Along with her husband, she is one of many farmers who took part in a project delivered by Caritas Meru who are working to help people in the area to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Supported by Trócaire, the project brought the local farmers together where they worked to dig trenches, a borehole and a pipe system throughout the village. They were also trained on how to build their own pond as well as ways to conserve water.
This project has changed Pauline’s life. She explained: “My pond has helped me to have a constant supply of water on my farm, hence why I am able to grow so many different kinds of crops.”
On her farm, she has grown millet; sorghum; green grams; onions and cowpeas. She has also implemented a drip irrigation system that allows for effective watering of the plants while conserving as much water as possible.
“I never thought it was possible to produce half of the crops I now have from my farm. We no longer have to worry about food since I am able to grow vegetables that has a constant water supply from the pond,” said Pauline.
The group also has a saving scheme and are able to take loans which they pay back over time. Pauline used one such loan to also venture into fish farming in her pond which helps her to bring in additional income.
“I am glad we can now sell the produce from our farm including the fish because it is less pressure for our children who have their own families to feed. Life is much better,” she said.