Manyirani Farmers Water Project
Tharaka Nithi, in Eastern Kenya, is tucked away from Nairobi by about 187 kilometers and is semi-arid. In Kenya, arid lands were dismissed as unproductive because of the tough climatic conditions, that include high temperatures and low rainfalls. Ten years ago, the communities were convinced that farming was impossible in Tharaka Nithi. In-fact they heavily relied on food relief for their daily food supplies like other Arid communities in Kenya.
The IAS Kenya projects team realized, however, that food relief was not a lasting solution. Food relief only solved one solution- food for a few months. Besides water scarcity, the community faced other glaring challenges- they did not have regular income and could not afford to take their children to school.
The projects team sat with the community and pondered over the myriad problems in Tharaka Nithi. They all agreed that water scarcity was the root cause and agreed that an abundant plus readily available water supply could provide a lasting solution to the erratic and unreliable weather patterns.
“We tapped water from the nearest river and stored it in an in-take structure. We then built a pipe from the structure that supplied water to farms and households in Tharaka Nithi. Swedish Mission Council (SMC) later came in and funded the second intake structure to increase the amount of water so more farmers could irrigate their farms. We thank the community members, funding partners and government officials. The government county leaders were instrumental because they trusted us to not only provide water but restore hope in the hearts of the people of Tharaka Nithi”, adds Mary Githiomi, the Executive Director of International Aids Service, Kenya.
Tharaka Nithi is a model community and inspires other semi-arid communities to adopt its model. IAS Kenya launched a new phase of the project in January 2020 and also expanded to Tharaka
The wonders, beauty and development in Tharaka Nithi county are hinged on the abundance of water. If IAS-Kenya did not listen to the community and partner with them to develop a lasting solution, ten years later, Tharaka Nithi would not the food basket it is today!