In the scorching midday sun, Joyce Asibitar and Sarah Akale embark on a journey to fetch water from the sole borehole in their village. They each carry two containers capable of holding up to 60 liters of water.
Once filled, they skillfully balance one of the containers on their heads while they pull the other. The journey back home begins, this is just one of the many trips they have to make to fetch water for their homes.
Sarah and her friend Akale are thankful they now have fresh water somewhat closer to their homes in Nakabosan, Turkana South.
Turkana County remains locked in a relentless battle with drought, which has escalated food insecurity and severely limited access to water.
Despite earlier hopes for continuous rainfall during the short rainy season, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) June Bulletin revealed that Turkana County received below-average rainfall. Consequently, most water sources have dried up, placing immense strain on the scarce operational boreholes.
Nakabosan village grapples with the same challenges as other residents in Turkana County. However, through the IMPACT Program funded by Bayer Fund, PanAfricare sunk a borehole initially intended to provide water solely for the village’s farm.
Over time, the borehole has become the community’s lifeline, supplying water not only to the farm but also to the households and animals.
Reflecting on the time before the borehole’s installation, Joyce Asibitar recollects,
“We used to dig shallow wells along the dry river beds once our village well ran dry. But with time, these shallow wells grew deeper, and the water became increasingly salty. Fetching water from these wells became dangerous, often requiring several people to extract a single jerrican of water.”
She expressed relief at the presence of the borehole, which has lessened the community’s water burden.
Water for the animals
To accommodate the needs of the herders, a water trough was constructed just outside the farm. Throughout the day pastoralists bring their animals including goats, sheep, camels and cattle to the trough to water their animals.
Samuel Akai brings his camels every three days to the trough, he laments that many herders have lost their animals due to the drought. Gazing hopefully at the sky, he remarked, “The skies look promising, but the rain clouds appear and vanish, leaving us with the hope that tomorrow will bring rain.”
Akai emphasized that the borehole not only serves the herders from Nakabosan village but also those from distant communities. He credited the farm’s fencing for preventing conflicts between farmers and herders.
As the drought persists it is projected that more animals and livelihoods would be lost. Urgent measures are necessary to strengthen community resilience against the ongoing drought.