Posts in water

Easing the Effects of Drought

Considered a kind of miracle by some, sand dams are easing the effects of a devastating drought in these Maasai communities in Kenya. With your support over the years, participants have built dams over seasonal rivers. People and cattle use the water in the reservoir, and even when that dries up, can continue to draw water trapped in the sand.

While the drought has been extremely hard on cattle, families have turned to raising chickens and growing produce in kitchen gardens. These activities demand less water, enabling folks to get by despite the severe challenges.

Emmanuel, one of 15 members in his self-help group, got the idea of raising chickens during one of the program’s agricultural learning tours. He’d kept a few chickens before but, with training, he learned how to increase his efficiency, reduce losses, build better coops, and manage his business.

A little over a year ago, he started rearing 200 chicks, and they are now producing eggs. He collects about six trays of eggs a day and sells them at the nearby Ngong market. Emmanuel says keeping chickens is more profitable than cows.

He plans to expand his operations now that he has the experience, knowledge and skills. Emmanuel is also trained as a model farmer, and three other farmers have followed his lead so far.

Captions: 1) Women scoop water from a sand dam 2) Emmanuel’s chicken operations

Kenya Ngong Intashat Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner MIDI
10 communities, 4,500 households, 31,500 individuals

03/05/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Efforts by all result in water for all

My name is Marvin, and I’m the coordinator of our community water committee here in Nicaragua. After years of effort, we’re just about ready to inaugurate a system of piping purified spring water directly into all our homes.  You’ll understand what a big deal this is when you learn that our wives used to have to fetch water many times a day from a well almost half a mile away.  We never helped because men just didn’t do that in our community.

I used to prefer to keep to myself, so I was very unsure about accepting the responsibility when I was elected coordinator. I wanted to do something about our lack of access to clean water, though, so I decided to rise to the challenge.

We first presented our water problem years ago to our municipal authorities, and then to some international organizations, but we never got a response. When FRB started a new program with World Renew and Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC) that included water, we requested their support.

With lots of coordination with the technical staff of AMC and the municipality, we started the process of preparing a project proposal, taking field measurements, preparing a budget and submitting our proposal. We’ve all donated labor and funds, too. What a great achievement it’s been for us – a lesson in persistence and patience – to have clean water coming from a tap! Our children will be healthier, and our wives are done for good with the drudgery of hauling water.

We’re better organized as a community. Everyone’s more willing to volunteer and give of their time without expecting payment: no one’s saying “not my problem” anymore.  And we share more work with our wives now.

Caption: Marvin pauses as visitors inspect the work on the water system
Nicaragua Farmer Program
Led by World Renew and local partner Acción Médica Cristiana
7 communities, 361 households, 1,625

01/12/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Water Security Flows Into Food Security

During a severe 2014 drought, a neighboring community and its 10,000 head of cattle survived because of sand dams, the only source of water.  So, when the 15 members of a self-help group in FRB's Kenya Ngong Intashat program decided it was time to build one, they were able to recruit their entire community to pitch in.

These concrete structures, built across sandy areas along seasonal rivers, capture and hold water and sand from flash floods. As the raging waters slam into the dam, sand carried by the water sinks, and water collects in the sand in the hole dug for the purpose. More water is held in a pond on the other side of the wall, and used throughout the year for household needs, agriculture, and livestock.  When a drought hits and the pond is dry, water that’s been stored in the sand away from dirt and insects can be reached by digging. 

The dam in Kajiado County was inaugurated in April, and the community received instruction on its care and efficient use. Because maintenance is in the hands of the residents, they know it’s up to them to keep it in good order. They’ll be building a fence to keep livestock out, and directing water to collection points below the dam for cattle to drink.

This community has started a small vegetable garden near the dam site, planting kales, spinach and onions. Because most people’s experience and livelihoods are based on cattle, they receive training from MIDI, the local partner, on keeping bees, tending kitchen gardens, and creating small-business activities. Self-help groups are also learning dryland farming techniques to diversify their food sources and protect themselves from total crop failures.

Kenya Ngong Intashat program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and local partner MIDI
10 communities, 4,500 households, 31,500 individuals

09/28/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Water in Nicaragua

During a recent trip to Nicaragua, an FRB group met an amazing woman named Zaira. During the recent drought she carried two five gallon buckets up and down very, very steep hills.

12/10/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Indigenous communities in Mexico work to become self sustaining

In spite of the devastating loss of incomes due to coffee rust and severe drought in the region, hardworking participants in the seven communities of FRB’s Mexico-Chiapas program are managing to produce food for home consumption and sale for income. The program has supplied families with 750-liter water tanks in order to collect rooftop water whenever it does rain.

Doña Angélica said the first rains this year were few and sparse but she was able to fill her tank easily. Afterward, there was a period of 20 days without rain but, she said with joy,

10/07/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Equality in West Africa

While all humans may be created equal, they certainly do not have equal opportunities and access to food, water, healthcare and income. Watch this series of short videos by World Renew on their West Africa 1 Program and see how your life might be different had you been born in West Africa.

04/29/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Kenya, Farmer Field School graduates work together on poultry production and water collection

FRB’s Kenya Ganze-Jaribuni program supports smallholder farmers in coastal Kenya by organizing them into Farmer Field Schools (FFS) to learn conservation agriculture methods, agroforestry and animal raising. In Jaribuni there are 306 farmers in eight FFSs. The following profile of one FFS shows how the farmers have continued to use their skills to

03/12/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Kenya, communities build sand dams to address water needs

Pastor Matayo is a community leader in FRB’s Kenya Ngong-Intashat program who was involved in sand dam construction across a seasonal river, from start to finish. The program’s goal is to increase food security by making water more available for household use, livestock and agriculture.

07/19/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Fayza finds opportunities to increase household income in Jordan

Fayza is capitalizing on the agricultural training she receives in FRB’s Jordan-Greigra program to bring more income to her household. In this arid land, participants in the program receive training on expanding agricultural land and improving farm productivity with irrigation from new reservoirs and water catchment systems.

07/01/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Kenya, 10 self-help groups selected as leaders in their communities

To promote greater commitment to agricultural development among the Maasai participants in FRB’s Kenya-Ngong Najile program, ten of the program’s 39 established self-help groups were selected for special training to become “servant leaders” to the others. Their communities will benefit from the stewardship, good examples, knowledge, improved relationships, conflict resolution, and goal-reaching of these groups.

The program addresses food security for these once semi-nomadic, pastoralist people and encourages them to form inclusive groups across gender, age and political lines. The groups participate in trainings on

06/07/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More