Climate Change Poverty: Kenyan children struggle to survive on the frontline
Towards the end of March the hot sunny days start to peter out and the long rains of the wet season begin. In the countryside, small farmers start to harvest their crops of corn, potatoes, bananas, beans and chillies for sale. Up on the hilly slopes the larger holdings prepare the plentiful supply of tea and coffee beans for export. But not anymore...
In recent years Kenya has begun to experience a devastating change in its usual seasonal weather pattern. The small farmers who are totally dependent on agriculture have witnessed the surge in temperatures, unreliable rainfall patterns and increasing drought. Now instead of harvesting their lush fields of crops they are faced with a barren dust-filled land which only acts as a graveyard for their livestock. Even the summit of Mount Kenya has not been spared. Today 10 of the 18 glaciers that covered the country’s highest point a century ago have disappeared. In general, the disappropriate impact of climate change on the African continent has been staggering. Despite only accounting for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s people are already suffering from one of its most severe consequences - food insecurity.
And it's the most vulnerable children that have been the worst affected by this crisis. With little or no crops for their parents to sell, they have been forced to give up school to find often dangerous work in local factories or on building sites. By risking their health and sacrificing their futures they bring home less than $2 USD each day - just enough to save their families from starvation. And these are the ‘lucky’ ones. As the Coronavirus pandemic makes finding work even harder, many more Kenyan children have become victims of child labour schemes and other exploitation.
And it is into this reality the DCI team has stepped. By working directly with rural communities we have continued to make regular deliveries of vital food aid to countless men, women and children who are suffering the consequences of climate change poverty. These lifesaving deliveries mean that families do not starve due to the lack of crops and children do not have to give up on their education to help feed their brothers and sisters. Additionally with the support of our partnership network we are providing the education and tools necessary to help the many farmers cope with the huge changes taking place around them. But with an increasing number suffering the negative consequences of the climate crisis, it is clear our work has just begun.
Find out how you can help here.