Saturday December 16, 2017

A new form of financing is being used by communities to prioritise and plan investments for helping them adapt to climate change. The fund set up by County Governments bring together vulnerable communities and technical officers from the county governments to make decisions on how the fund will be used.

Goats bleating near a dry water pan, failed crops, and women walking for long distances with their donkey in search of water is the sight that welcomes you when you visit Mtito wa Ndei in Makueni. This situation is made worse by poor, unpredictable and unreliable rainfalls coupled with increased human activities that have led to the drying of springs, streams and rivers across the county.

Innovative Climate Change Financing Helps Community Survive Perennial Drought

Makueni county lies within the arid and semi-arid zones of the eastern region in Kenya and is characterized by extreme rainfall variability and prolonged droughts. There are two rainy seasons in the County: long rains stretching from March to May with a peak season experienced during March/ April and the short rains occurring from October to December with the peak being November/December.

“I come from Ngiluni village, Mtito wa Ndei Ward, Makueni County. We have so many water problems especially during the dry season which forces us to go for long distances in search of water and in the process we waste so much time”. says Dominic Mutua Mueya an agro pastoralist “In June and July - during the dry period - we buy a jerry-can of water at Kshs. 20-30 and sometimes we buy from the water boozer which is more expensive. So if you have a family of six people and they need water for drinking cooking and livestock you will have to pay so much for water”. he added.

According to the Makueni County Vision 2025, the county is water scarce with only 36% of the population having access to improved sources of water. The average distance to the nearest water point is estimated at 8 kilometres. This is attributed to the cyclical droughts and shrinking water sources caused by encroachment on watersheds, degradation of water towers and uncontrolled sand harvesting. Other causes include limited resource allocation for water development by the county government.  

In Mtito wa Ndei ward, community members are benefitting from the Ngai Ndeithya sand dam built in 2016 and co-financed by the County government and Ada through financial support from Department for International Development (DfID’s). A sand dam is a steel reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal riverbed, which collects sand and store water that is used by communities during the drought period.

The County government constructed a sump tank to collect water from the sand dam and kiosks to distribute water to the nearby villages. Ada on the other hand oversaw the training of elected representatives, community consultation on the prioritized investment and constructed the concrete wall. Mutuku, a direct beneficiary of the Ngai Ndethya sand dam pointed out that after the construction of the Ngai Ndeithya dam, they now have water for longer periods, they don't have to walk for long distances in search of water and they have access to clean water.

In 2015, Makueni County passed Makueni County Climate Change Fund (CCCF) Regulations mandating them to put aside 1% of their development budget to climate change work. They also created a CCCF board to oversee how these funds will be used and coordinate climate change work within the county. Through the board, the county government has been able to source for more funds from their own budget, national government and also written proposals to international institutions for funding. The CCCF regulations under the authority of county governments stipulates strong fiduciary and high levels of accountability in using the fund. In this financial year 2017/2018, Makueni County has put aside Kshs. 50 million for implementation of new community adaptation investments in four new wards of Masongaleni, Kitise, Kalawa and Kikumbulyu North and oversight in the existing six wards of Kiima Kiu, Kalonzoni, Mbitini, Nguu – Masumba, Kilungu, Kithungo – Kitundu and Mtito Andei.. The added funding contributes to an increase number of households able to cope with the effects of climate change.

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