Samburu Pastoralists: PlantVillage Saved Us From Desert Locusts, Now They Are Giving Us Water

Posted on December 17, 2021 by PlantVillage

Reflect on the beaming smiles on the faces of students at Lolokwe Day Secondary School, located in the driest northeastern Kenya. PlantVillage has just concluded the installation of a water harvesting project that is going to be a life-changing plan for not only students but also the community that leads a nomadic lifestyle.

PlantVillage's One Health Scout, Francis Lekirimpoto, has been up to the brazen project worth KSh 200,000 ($ 1770) to ensure the 10,000 litre tank stands high in the ever hot and harsh sun, which has deprived the school of a basic privilege enjoyed by others across Kenya.

Students in this school, which started in 2017, have been finding it hard to concentrate on their studies thanks to the many trips they make outside in search of the commodity.

"The students here have been suffering, especially from a lack of water and food. It is a young school that began four years ago and doesn't have the essential infrastructure in place. Many homes, from where the boys and girls come from, do not have ready access to safe water for drinking and household use, "Mr. Lekirimpoto says.

Students of Lolwokwe Day Mixed Secondary School in Samburu pose for a picture beside the water harvesting project sponsored by PlantVillage. 

Mr. Lekirimpoto asserts that the school is located in a marginalized community known for lacking good infrastructure and essential commodities such as food and water. 

"The Samburu people live a hard life which has been made worse by climate change, resulting in the death of livestock, the source of income for the majority of the pastoralists," he says.

The school headteacher Simeon Patrick Lepakiras is thanking PlantVillage. He mentions how the project will go a long way towards solving the water problems in the school and the community.

"One of the biggest challenges facing Lolokwe Secondary School and the surrounding community members is the lack of water. One of the nearest boreholes drilled by Italians through the Catholic Church has very salty water, which has been discouraged because it causes health complications, especially kidney problems. Having this project by PlantVillage will really help the students, teachers, and the surrounding community. Students will have access to clean water for drinking, which has been an issue. PlantVillage is a great blessing," he asserts.

The KSh 200,000 water harvesting project by PlantVillage at Lolokwe Day Mixed Secondary School, Samburu.

PlantVillage's success against desert locusts

Another big project by PlantVillage that the community lives to remember is how the organization stood up against desert locusts in 2020.

One resident happily recounts how he was impressed by the project.

" PlantVillage came in and created job opportunities for Samburu youth during the locust invasion. This has greatly helped control the desert pests and secure vegetation and food for our people, "he notes.

PlantVillage's campaign against desert locusts in 2019 saved vegetation and crops in northeastern Kenya.

PlantVillage up in arms against the desert weed juliflora

Marsabit pastoralists taking part in cutting the harmful juliflora weed which would be used for making the soil-friendly biochar.

Two weeks ago, a group of One Health Scouts, among them Francis Lekirimpoto, were trained together with CDR from the Samburu community on syndromic surveillance and reporting of livestock diseases. 

"This has impacted knowledge for us and the same is shared with the community members," Francis says.

- Written by Sam Oduor

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