Enhancing resilience to drought in Marsabit County, Kenya

Published December 15, 2015 by REGAL-IR Marsabit team

REGAL-IR completed the construction of Kambinye underground water tank in Marsabit County to improve water access and storage for the local community.  The tank will help reduce loss of livestock and strengthen the capacity of local communities to cope with drought in the future. 

THE 2011 DROUGHT ACROSS KENYA’S ARID AND SEMI-ARID LANDS ADVERSELY AFFECTED VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES IN MARSABIT COUNTY. PASTORALISTS in KAMBINYE AND KARGI LOST THEIR LIVESTOCK, AND THERE WAS GROWING CONFLICT BETWEEN HOUSEHOLDS OVER REDUCED QUANTITIES OF GRAZING LAND, WATER AND OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES.

As such, efforts to increase the capacity of pastoralist communities to cope with and adapt to a greater prevalence of drought due to climate change require a holistic approach that addresses their need for information, capacity building and new livelihood opportunities.

To demonstrate actions that can be taken on the ground to increase resilience to climate change, the USAID funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands - Improving Resilience (REGAL-IR) project - in partnership with the Kambinye Community and the Marsabit County Government - identified a friendly rain water harvesting technology and the construction of an underground water tank as opportunities to increase access to reliable water sources. 

Now that it's completed, the underground tank - which stores up to 147,000 liters of water - is contributing to improved water access while promoting water conservation. The tank serves approximately 163 households whose women and children used to travel an average of 30 kilometres to collect water.

“It is a big relief for a pregnant woman like me,” explains Naribu Kholbokha who is expecting her second child.

Naribu is among a group of pastoralists who have relocated from Kargi sub location to Kambinye with her livestock in pursuit of reliable water.

The REGAL-IR project is driven by a Participatory Learning and Planning Action (PLPA) process through which the people of Kargi and Kambinye identified their priority concerns. From there, they created a response plan and were given technical support and linked to the County Government and other stakeholders.

To ensure sustainability of the project, each household has contributed Kes.1000 (US$ 10) towards the purchase of a water boozer. As a result, this community is now confident it can cope with frequent droughts and secure a better livelihood for themselves in the future.