President’s Message – Fall 2022
By FHF President Judy Loo
The big news this fall is the weather. Extreme conditions both in Kenya and on P.E.I. are challenging everyday life, and changing the way that we think about the future. On P.E.I., two weeks after the strongest hurricane ever recorded here, many people are still without electricity, as we survey the mess of trees and branches obstructing driveways and resting on homes.
In Kenya, people are hungry amidst the worst drought in decades. Children are too hungry to learn, and in many cases, mothers are limiting themselves to one meal a day. It is painfully apparent in both locations that climate change is not just a concern for the future; it has arrived, bringing with it uncertainty, and fear for food security, livelihoods, and homes.
Farmers Helping Farmers cannot change the weather, or address the most serious impacts of the changing climate. But all the supports that we have been providing over the years continue to help women and families cope with the extreme drought in Kenya. For example, the water tanks can be filled, allowing irrigation of gardens. Grow bags can provide greens for a family when water is available, feeding programs in schools are preventing serious malnutrition.
With the help of our staff on the ground in Meru County, we continue to monitor the situation and provide direct assistance to those who are hardest hit, where possible. Our work with women’s groups, dairies and schools has perhaps never been more important than it is now. It is heartbreaking though, to see the drought undermining the progress that people have made, and we know that much more needs to be done.
Our current project, supported by Global Affairs, helps families become more resilient in the face of climate change impacts, and ideas for future projects include even more of a focus on adapting to climate change, within the overarching themes of food security and women’s empowerment.
At the global level, attaining the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been made more difficult by the East African drought. Many of the SDGs require a simultaneous focus on climate impacts, as indicators of well-being are increasingly affected by climate extremes.
Our work in Meru County has incorporated a climate focus, and contributes to several of the SDGs. These include reducing poverty and hunger, improving health and well-being, promoting quality education, empowering women and ensuring availability of water. As we develop new project ideas, we will ensure that our work continues to contribute to the SDGs.
We are pleased that travel to Kenya is resuming with two visits planned; a small delegation in November with a reconnaissance role, and a larger working group of volunteers in January. Watch for updates on Facebook and on our FHF website.