Raising cattle instead of selling firewood and charcoal is empowering women and allowing trees to grow back in a denuded part of rural Kenya.
Kenya has been experiencing a series of prolonged droughts followed by shortages of water, pastures and crop failure which has destroyed the livelihood of the rural population majority being women who rely on rain fed agriculture for the income.
“I started selling firewood when I was young, trees were all over and we could collect outside our homestead,” says Easther Tuiya, a 63-year-old mother of eight.
Like many women in rural Kenya, she began selling firewood and charcoal as a teenager. It was a particularly good way to get through drought periods, when farming didn’t pay.
But in this part of Africa, climate change has aggravated the cyclical droughts. Growing food crops has become increasingly challenging and more women are looking for alternative ways to survive, crowding the market for firewood and stripping the landscape around Tuiya’s village of Motony, west of Nairobi.