Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Let the Water Flow: Improved Irrigation Canals in Garissa

Construction of Enhanced Irrigation Canals 
Bukuyu, Garissa County, Kenya

Kenyan farmers have been using traditional irrigation methods for over 400 years. 

Earthen dams, rainwater harvesting, and bucket irrigation are just some of the common methods we see throughout the country. These small-scale, low-cost methods have been used to support subsistence farming that cannot rely on rainfall alone, but, with a little help, farmers are finding ways to improve their irrigation practices that allow them to increase their harvests. 

Over the past four decades, CBM has been helping farmers improve irrigation practices through the adoption of practices such as the use of water catchments, motorized and non-motorized water pumps, gravity-fed drip irrigation, and enhanced canal irrigation. 

Through improved irrigation and conservation agricultural practices, we are seeing a transformation from subsistence farmers into commercial agents that are increasing the health and wellness of their families and community. 

Our colleague, William Wako, shares the impact of this important work of Canadian Baptists in Garissa.

"Over the past month, CBM has been assisting more than sixty farmers in the community of Bukuyu. This project is helping them to improve their traditional earthen canals. Among these sixty farmers, twenty also participate in our conservation agriculture project, where they are receiving additional training and support to improve their farmers. 

With the support of the Canadian Baptist churches, we have had the resorces to complete a proper survey of the topography of the land, which was needed to improve the grade of the canals. We were then able to help improve over six hundred meters of the canal and provide much needed set boxes that act as the joints that direct the flow of the water to the sixty different farms. 
The six main set boxes were a huge improvement. The water now flows much more quickly, and there is far less waste. This reduces the shared fuel costs for the farmers and is allowing them to better provide water to their crops.  
The water flows from the Tana River into the large catchment and is released into the fields through a series of gates. Even in the arid lands of Garissa, the farmers are harvesting banana, tomatoes, mango, maize, green grams, peas, casava, kales, and onions. We are so happy to see them not only producing for their domestic use, but also the Garissa market. This is having a big impact on the lives of these families."
One of the improved catchment points in the Bukuyu irrigation canals

The Bukuyu farmers were very excited by the opportunity to work together with the local CBM food security project to improve their canals. In addition to increased productivity in their fields, the project constructed a 2,000-litre catchment that is helping the village to safely access water for domestic use and livestock, without damaging the fragile river bank or braving the crocodiles in the mud red river. 

But there is another side to this story that we are so glad to share. As our friend William explains, the project was an important way to bring people together.
"As Christians and Muslims working together, projects like this are building bridges. During the canal work [in Bukuyu], we were able to have good times of conversation and sharing. 
With the Kenyan national elections on August 8th, there are mixed feelings of fear and expectations in the community. We all hope for peace, but there are fears of division and conflict, especially between rival clans. 
Over the last month, as the people have been working together in the canals, there has been peace. I can say that we have seen improved relationships between the Somali and Waliwana people as they have worked together to improve each other's lives. God is overcoming the distrust and fear. This is one of the best aspects of this work."
In Prayer 

The need for improved food security is a major need throughout Sub Saharan Africa. Please join us in praying for the ongoing work of CBM's team and partners as we work together in assisting local churches in their efforts to bring hope and healing to their communities.
Please join us in praying for a peaceful Kenyan election. May God bring the nation together however the election goes. This will be our third national election since coming to Kenya in 2006, and we know how important it is for a peaceful transition of power for the well-being of all Kenyans.

We are also praying for our partner and colleagues serving in Rwanda, where people will head to the polls to vote in their national election on August 4th. Our colleague Andre Sibomana, recently back from Canada, is very thankful for the peaceful campaigning that he has witnessed throughout the country. Please join us in remembering the people of Rwanda during this time.

1 comment:

  1. It is so great to see the hope a practical project can bring to a community!!