Text and images by humanitarian photographer Robin Wyatt.
Kenya’s North Eastern Province (see map) feels a world away from the country’s temperate, green and well watered capital city, Nairobi. This land is arid, and the temperature is almost always scorching hot. And now, the region has been caught up in East Africa’s worst drought in 60 years.
Among the people one finds here are many Somalis who have migrated from Somalia, particularly to escape the civil war, joining the large number of ethnic Somalis who were already present in the area at the time of independence from Britain. There are also Bantu people who have settled here from ‘down-Kenya’ and other parts of the country. These people live very isolated existences. Many are nomadic pastoralists, constantly moving on in search of food and water for themselves and their cattle. However, there is becoming less and less water and pasture available to them.
There are few government initiatives aimed at improving the situations of these people. Those who are unable to move on stay where they are and hope that relief aid will reach them before death claims them. Those who make it to towns find that the cost of living there is high owing to the great distance from ‘down-Kenya’ and other areas where food, industrial and other products are sourced, exacerbated by a poor road infrastructure. It is only in the last few years that schools have been established, so without hard skills, it is hard for them to find gainful employment or make exchanges for food and other basic necessities.
The Sheepfold Ministries (TSM) is a small Kenya-based organisation that is helping select communities build hope in the face of these conditions. Hope not only that the outside world will prop them up in these times of scarcity, but also the hope of a more sustainable, self-reliant future. TSM provides immediate relief through supplemental food and onsite feeding programmes in various locations, and invests in long-term sustainability through the rehabilitation of wells, sinking boreholes and developing small-scale agriculture projects. This photo essay introduces you to some of this work, setting it within the context of the current realities of this region.
All of the images below were captured by humanitarian photographer Robin Wyatt. They may be purchased as beautiful colour prints and high resolution downloads, as well as greetings cards and eCards (eCards are free). To make your selection, just click directly on the image that interests you and you will be taken to the gallery entitled ‘Building Hope in the Face of Drought (Sheepfold Ministries)’ in Robin’s Image Archives.