I recently traveled to drought-stricken areas of northern Kenya – Samburu and Marsabit counties – to document ChildFund’s response to the crisis and see how families were faring after receiving desperately needed water and food support.

Kabale (3) and her sister, Tume (15), have experienced food shortages as well as relief from ChildFund due to the drought and ongoing pandemic in Marsabit County, Kenya. Since these crises began, ChildFund stepped in to help Kabale with fortified porridge that helped her gain weight quickly and improve her health. The family has, on several occasions, received supplementary food like maize meal, beans, cooking oil and rice. On six occasions they have received varying amounts of cash transfers. They’re getting enough to eat now thanks to the regular help from ChildFund, but Teso worries about their long-term stability. Since almost half their herds have died, she has little means to pay school fees, and schools are soon to reopen.
Lamin (10) washes his hands with fresh, clean drinking water at a ChildFund-installed well in Samburu County, Kenya.
Totto (20) washes her hands while carrying her daughter, Rashan (6 months) on her back at a ChildFund-installed well in Samburu County, Kenya. ChildFund installed this water well in Samburu County, Kenya, in August of 2021 as part of its emergency drought response. It serves 310 households with clean drinking water, as well as water for small gardens and livestock. Previously, when children and families could access water, it was from a dirty river a thirty minute walk away that was a cause of sickness in the community. Even that option dried up during the 2021 drought when the annual rains failed to come. ChildFund responded just in time to bring fresh, life-giving water to this community.

Home to people who traditionally practiced a nomadic herder lifestyle, Marsabit County, Kenya, has experienced a severe drought this year that has caused herds of livestock to die and children and families to go hungry.
Fillo (8) and her sister, Tume (15), walk to fetch water from a well near their home in Marsabit County, Kenya.

Galgallo (4) shown here playing with a homemade toy car, has experienced severe nutritional problems during the ongoing drought in Marsabit County, Kenya. However, the supplementary food and cash sent to his family by ChildFund have improved his health and nutrition and continue to sustain him.
Bati (6) plays with an old tire outside her family’s home in Marsabit County, Kenya.

A woman drives her herd of donkeys to find water during a drought in Marsabit County, Kenya.
We first visited Gilo (6) when she was 2 years old and a severely malnourished child living through a devastating drought in Marsabit County, Kenya. Four years later, Gilo is now enrolled in ChildFund’s programs (her sister is sponsored) and her health has greatly improved. Though she still has weakness and growth problems because she was so malnourished at a young age, she is now getting the food she needs and has started school. Her family are navigating the current drought and pandemic with the help of ChildFund and have received supplementary food and cash transfers several times in the last 18 months.