The Hole That Transformed Lives of Kenya's Desert Farmers

The Turkana area of northern Kenya, a county bordering South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, is known as the cradle of humanity and for Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world. Scientists come from around the world to do research at the Turkana Basin Institute, where Kenyan archaeologists discovered much of the evidence of the earliest human societies and the lake, with ancient volcanoes, is a tourist attraction. Locally, the remote area is known for a hard life, plagued by droughts and lawless bands of cattle rustlers. But east of the lake, about 30km (20 miles) from the border with Uganda, a rural community has found new hope for a sustainable life. The Natiira Ateni Self Help Group, with a boost from the United States African Development Foundation, is changing the narrative of persistent hunger with a water supply and irrigation to feed crops and livestock, as well as agriculture skills and management training. Even a simple borehole, or well, has been transformative.

Natiira Ateni Farmers Produce Crops For Market, Own Use After Borehole Installation

PHOTO ESSAYS: Natiira Ateni Farmers Produce Crops For Market, Own Use After Borehole Installation

Drip irrigation has made it possible for spinach to flourish at the Natiira Ateni community farm in Turkana County, Kenya.


Prospects for women and girls, like this young woman in Turkana, Kenya, are brighter through the work of the Natiira Self Help Group.

Members of the Natiira Ateni Self Help group preparing kale for the market day.


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