During the second day of his visit to Kenya, UK Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart met members of the Samburu community who live in Marsabit, one of the most arid parts of Africa.
While there, he saw how the impact the Department for International Development’s Hunger Safety Net Programme has made to individual lives in the region where poverty rates can reach 80 percent.
He heard from a mother and daughter who told him how UKaid is helping them.
After seeing how residents of Loyangalani and communities across the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) are feeling the impact of climate change with some now facing another drought, Mr Stewart announced an uplift in UK support for nutrition programmes to help babies and mothers living in Kenya’s drought-stricken communities.
ASALs occupy over 80 percent of Kenya’s landmass. They are home to about 36 percent of the population, 70 percent of the national livestock and 90 percent of wildlife. The annual rainfall in arid areas ranges between 150 mm and 550 mm and semi-arid areas between 550 mm and 850 mm per year. Temperatures are high throughout the year, with high rates of evapo-transpiration.
In Kenya, the ASALs are spread across 29 counties with varying degrees of aridity. These extreme climatic conditions have had devastating effects on the environment and livelihoods of communities with spiraling vulnerabilities.
Also seeing how support from the UK was benefitting the region was outgoing High Commissioner Nic Hailey who was revisiting Lake Turkana wind project for the first time in three years.
365 wind turbines spread out over 40,000 acres of land comprise the Lake Turkana Wind Project, and these are providing approximately 17% of Kenya’s installed power capacity. This reliable low-cost energy which goes straight into the national grid, is helping light homes and power businesses.
Accompanying a video posted to Twitter, Mr Hailey said that now the project is fully operational, it was amazing.
“Private and development investment (largest share from the UK) producing green growth, one-sixth of Kenya’s grid power, at Africa’s largest wind farm,” he added.