08 October 2009

South Rift Drought Emergency

The worst drought in living memory is gripping Kenya's savannas and devastating lives on a scale not seen in more than half a century.

World news is finally focusing on the human and wildlife tragedy - images of dead and dying cattle and wildlife, and people struggling with feeding themselves and their families through this terrible drought.

There is yet another victim of the drought that is lesser known: Education.

While pastoralist Maasai families are struggling to survive, their wealth slashed, many of the hardest hit are not able to pay for fees that cover teacher allowances and food. Scores of schools across the South Rift are closing.

The elders of the South Rift Association have approached us for help. Many of them remember the horrible droughts of the 1960s, when they had to drop out of school due to the movement of their families away from the areas were the schools were located and for their own survival. Few of them ever returned to school. 

The elders asked us to focus on the Pre-school in the area, as these young children are the most vulnerable in times of drought and the schools are all parent-funded. Some 60 pre-schools and 3040 children are affected in the South Rift alone.

It is a critical time for the Maasai - the elders know that school is the most important tool for the future of their lives as pastoralists, to help inform management of their land, resources, and opportunities such as science and tourism. Without education, the future is lost.



Three months of food and teacher salaries to see them through the worst of the drought.

Teacher salaries, Magadi region (20 teachers for 3 months):  $4,000 USD   /   300,000Ksh.

Food*, for 40 of the most affected schools:  $23,000 USD   /  1,725,000Ksh
*it takes ksh 3,600 Ksh / $48 to feed 50 children (the average size of a school) for one week.


Hold a fundraiser with your schools - we'll send images and messages to the schools in Magadi. Car washes, bake sales, contests.

Solicit donations from your friends and family. If you ask ten friends for $10 each, you can raise $100. Ten of you can raise $1000!

Solicit donations from businesses - $50, $100, $500 or more

We can't accept food or goods donations from overseas - due to import duties and problems - cash is best.

All international funds can be sent through African Conservation Centre's international representative, African Conservation Fund, and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and we guarantee the aid will be delivered as promised, through the South Rift Association of Land Owners.

ONLINE: click the DONATE NOW button on the upper right main page of the website http://www.africanconservationfund.org or checks can be mailed to African Conservation Fund, 3400 E Speedway, Suite 118-146, Tucson AZ USA 85716

In the US:
Contact Roseann Hanson at 520-591-1410
In Kenya:
Contact John Kamanga, South Rift Association of Land Owners ( 722 709514, Soralo@acc.or.ke) Or Samantha Russell (722 583734, samantha.russell@acc.or.ke), South Rift Resource Centre

(Pictures Above) The Embirika Nursery School, in Olkiramatian Group Ranch, is one example of a pre-school which is unable to open due to the current drought. The school teacher is Mary, Albert Kuseyo’s wife. Albert runs the South Rift Resource Centre. The pictures show the school in October 2008, and now standing empty in September this year.

Posted on behave of Roseann Hanson