Samwel Kariuki is a farmer in the Tharaka-Nithi District, central Kenya. Due to a recurring drought for many years, Kariuki struggled to grow crops on his two acres of land and had to travel to urban areas for work. As water was scarce in his village, Kariuki and his family would have to walk four kilometres each day to collect water. Many nights, Kariuki and his family would go to bed hungry.
Climate change forcing families to brink of starvation
Kariuki is one of thousands of farmers in the region coping daily with the effects of climate change. Average temperatures have risen by 1C since the 1970s, and the rains, which once came like clockwork, are no longer reliable.
This means that crops wither and die and with no reserves or money in the bank, many families are forced to beg for food or go to bed hungry. Many families have also been forced to leave their land and move to the cities.
Water pipe brings fresh hope for families
In 2012, Trócaire and partner Caritas Meru started construction of a water pipe in the Tharaka-Nithi District to connect some 8,000 people to water.
With funding from Irish Aid and Australian Aid, the water pipe – the Gitgo-Kamainde pipeline – runs for 40km, sourcing water from the Ruguti River. The water pipe provided connected people with enough water for around half an acre of land, allowing them to grow crops – even when drought hits.
Kariuki is one of the 8,000 people who benefited from the Gitgo-Kamainde pipeline. He received training from Caritas on farm management and income generation. He was also supported to construct a concrete-lined pond to store water for irrigation.
Kariuki says the Gitgo-Kamainde pipeline was a “game-changer” for his community. The family are now able to grow a wide variety of crops such as tomatoes, kale, maize, avocado and sweet potato. Kariuki says he can now feed and educate his children.