Save a family out of hunger was a theme fashioned out of the realization that environmental conservation not only focuses on tree planting and the physical aspects. It also does focus on the social aspect, more specifically community empowerment. It is said poverty is both the cause and effect of environmental degradation; a less privileged person will depend directly on environmental resources such as wood fuel hence contribute to degradation. On the other hand, a polluted degraded environment will directly affect the poor, such as direct use of polluted water which translates to health issues such as water borne diseases. For sustainable development to be achieved we not only need to ensure a clean and healthy environment but also a family is hunger free and a society is self sustaining.
SEJELAI Organization carries out environmental education awareness within Narok County – Maasai Mara region. The organization conducts clean up exercises on a monthly basis in which the surrounding communities readily participates in. it also engages students in motivational talks, career talks and helps out in menstrual matters (donation of sanitary towers in girls schools)
During the very recent drought and famine conditions these communities were greatly affected, especially the elderly, disabled and widowed. The organization hence identified three worst hit villages and decided to help as much as they can. In partnership with KETRACO (Kenya Electricity Transmission Company), some money was raised and foodstuffs were bought for donations as a relief.
Additionally, there were talks to educate the communities on sustainable measures to ensure food security in future. These included; Rain and Storm water harvesting , small organic irrigated kitchen gardens and planting of drought resistance crops.climate-smart-agriculture
Another area of focus was on girl child education, each household was greatly encouraged to ensure their girls are in school; it was made clear that women are at the fore front of sustainable development and livelihood improvement. They were made to understand the benefits of education including that of the girl child.
Emarti village in Sekenani Sub-Location
With the help of the area chief, we handed out the food stuffs to 100 people from 14 households including the old, disabled and widowed.
Olepolos village in Talek Sub-Location
With the help of the area chief and locals, we handed out the food stuffs to 23 households with an average of 8 per family. Later there was a small clean up activity in which everyone took part in.
Nkinejii village in Siana Sub-Location
The area chief assisted in identifying the disabled and finding a suitable meeting venue. After the activities a small discussion on the challenges faced by the disabled was held. Some of the challenges were lack of special schools, lack of hospitals and professionals as well as lack of appropriate knowledge and information.
One of the issues faced is on the negative impact of traditions, such as a disability being viewed as a curse and a disabled child is prevented from going to school and sometimes interacting from the rest of the children. Disability was a major challenge in the area and the extreme conditions only made life harder for them. Treatable cases like cerebral malaria turn into lifelong mental disability due to lack of proper treatment. In a case like Nkinejii village, the area chief stated lack of schools and hence professionals and health facilities for treatment and child birth are a great contributor to disability cases.
Another is on the level of severity of human-wildlife conflicts in the area. One is either left disabled or sadly dies, this occurs when man and elephants cross paths.
On the physical aspect, we noticed the homesteads and manyattas were clean with barely any plastics and plastic wastes lying around. This was so due to the fact that the plastics when ingested by livestock lead to health complications and later death. So to avoid this loss, the plastics are disposed and burnt almost immediately after use. This was a good example and evidence of traditions and culture interacting mutually with conservation and ecosystem care.
To ensure the sustainable development goal on poverty eradication is achieved, there has to be access to basic resources and services. Communities and disadvantaged persons have to be supported especially in dealing with climate-related disasters.