Kenya Uncategorized

Defying all odds to support one’s family

Life has been very difficult for the residents of Nomotio village, a peri-urban town in Samburu County, due to the failed rains in the whole of the county. Francisca, a 24-year-old mother of four children, recalls how the lack of rain and the consequent drought ravaged their water resources and devastated their agricultural output, forcing the family to rely on just one or two meals a day.

Living from hand to mouth

Fransisca has been living in Nomotio village all her life. The drought has had destructive effects in her village, where populations are faced with food insecurity and see their livelihoods more and more weakened, plunging them into poverty. Francisca’s husband was the sole provider of the family, until there was not much farming and casual labour to engage in. Francisca and her husband remained jobless, with three children and an extended family to fend for. They were living from hand to mouth, and, as she was expecting their fourth child and did not have enough to eat herself, Francisca soon became very weak. To make ends meet, her husband engaged in casual labour, but it was hardly enough to cater for the family’s growing needs. Despite their hard work, they were only able to eat one proper meal a day. Life was looking grim for them, but they never lost any hope.

Creating conditions for a brighter future

When ACTED introduced a cash transfer programme to Samburu County, Francisca had just given birth to her fourth child. The cash transfer programme came as a relief for her and the family: for three months, they would be able to face the consequences of the drought thanks to the cash received. Francisca used the cash to buy food supplies for the family and saved up to buy more supplies to set up a small shop. She worked her way out of poverty, but this did not happen overnight. It took a lot of discipline, saving up every last coin to make ends meet. Beneficiaries and other residents now patronize her shop to buy basic supplies, which is boosting her business all the more and enabled the family to pay off part of their debt.

ACTED 2018
Francisca in her small shop that she stocked with supplies after receiving cash from the ACTED cash transfer programme.

Francisca also bought seedlings, and took advantage of the long rains in April to plant some vegetables in her small kitchen garden. This will help supplement their food basket and ensure the family eats a balanced and healthy diet. “The cash transfer programme has helped me in many ways. I now look forward to better things in life.”

ACTED 2018
Fransisca weeding her small kitchen garden which supplies the family with fresh vegetables to balance their diet

With support from the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), ACTED was able to support 7,500 vulnerable families of Samburu and Mandera counties through cash transfer, thus contributing to their financial empowerment and to improving their access to basic food and essential items.