According to the United Nations, droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development and are forecast to affect over three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050.
For this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, the theme "Rising up from drought together" calls on us all to take early action to avoid disastrous consequences for both the planet and humanity.
Since 2017, the Robert Walters Group has partnered with the Global Angels Foundation, which is working on the front lines of climate change with some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, who are directly suffering the effects of unpredictable weather patterns such as droughts, extreme heat and deforestation.
As part of the Global Angels’ community transformation programme, the foundation is working with the community to provide safe drinking water to over 100,000 people in the Taru Desert, Tsavo, East Kenya, through their ‘Water for Life’ project. The aim of the Tsavo Project is to develop a highly impactful, holistic and scalable model of community transformation in one of Kenya’s driest regions, the Itinyi Valley, and then implement in other parts of Kenya and around the world.
Working with the community
Typically, families in the Itinyi Valley live off small holdings of 1-4 acres where there are serious issues of deforestation, soil erosion, and dangerous unpredictable flooding. Without the necessary resources, the community hadn’t been able to investment in water collection and storage, terracing land or in sustainable farming methods, thus keeping its people in a cycle of poverty.
The Global Angels Foundation began working in the Itinyi Valley after discovering that women and children were typically walking 10-15 km a day to fetch water from open-to-the-air rainwater catchments, which are muddy and shared with livestock. Additionally, young people had little opportunity for work or further education and very often women were having to carry the load of providing for their multigenerational families.
Developing sustainable farming practices
As Global Angels’ main Corporate Angels partner, we are committed to playing an active role in transforming Tsavo. We support the foundation’s activities by providing funds and resources, by raising awareness and funds through activities like our annual Robert Walters Group Walks to Kenya charity fundraising event, and by putting ‘boots on the ground’ where each year Robert Walters Group volunteers go to Tsavo to work with the Itinyi Valley community, building critical pieces of infrastructure.
Impact on the community
Water - providing easy access to water is one of the project’s main priorities, and the Global Angels have been developing the means to help the community collect and store rainwater for agriculture and household needs.
Farming - being a semi-arid region, families have difficulty producing sustainable crops. The Global Angels and community of Tsavo have been developing a 24-acre organic model farm with water pans, shade houses, a poultry project and a mill process that can produce two tons of grain a day and provide sustenance all year round. By introducing diverse and drought-resistant crops suited to the area, families can achieve their required nutrition levels.
Soil and trees – the community has been regenerating the lands, terracing and digging swales (trenches) along the nature contours of the land, improving soil fertility and moisture content. The Global Angels have launched an indigenous tree planting project, as well as testing nutritious crops that are suitable for the soil composition of the area.
Education – Global Angel’s Academy for Sustainable Community is teaching team building and leadership skills, sustainable land and water resource techniques, organic crop and poultry farming to schools and farmers.
Collaboration - women across the Itinyi Valley are joining the Global Angels Network Groups and Academy. Each group is given a piece of land or a shade house to work on, to develop a small business to support their families. Schools and families are encouraged to join our programme to develop their own Forest Garden under our tutelage.
With food security being such a huge problem in the Tsavo area due to water issues and soil degradation, along with severe poverty, the work Global Angels are doing becomes increasingly more important. With the community, they are working to ensure the people of Tsavo create sustainable growth, transform their land and build thriving communities. Our hope is that the Tsavo Project model will also become a blueprint for rural community sustainability in many other parts of the world.