For women in Kenya’s dry north, water is power

For women in Kenya’s dry north, water is power.
By Anthony Langat WAJIR, Kenya, June 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sitting a couple of kilometres outside the village of Wajir-bor in northeast Kenya is something quite rare for these dry parts: a small, well-maintained reservoir full of water with a watchman standing guard at the gate.
A dam was constructed here after the Wajir County Assembly passed a climate change act in 2016, one of the first in Kenya, freeing up government funds for projects chosen by local people.
The people of Wajir-bor, 40 km (25 miles) west of the border with Somalia and inhabited mainly by the Degodia clan of the Somali ethnic group, decided on the water pan, which provides water for domestic use and for livestock to drink.
"This dam will be opened for use when the livestock have exhausted water in other dams."
She also works to maintain the fence around the water pan, and prevent people and animals from trespassing.
El-Ben dam is another water project paid for by Wajir´s Climate Change Fund.
"Giraffes are strong and can damage the fence and get into the dam to drink, especially when it is dry," said Hussein.
The El-Ben water users association has already reported the invasions to the Kenya Wildlife Service, asking it to provide water for the wild animals.
Women´s involvement in climate change adaptation committees is a step forward but it is not yet enough, experts say, as they do not yet have equal representation in most cases.

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