Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program :: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

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notes from the field

These field notes are personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

Amy Quandt

Isiolo, Kenya
May 18 – August 5

July 21, 2013

Volunteer conducting an interviewHello everyone from dusty Isiolo.  Time continues to fly very quickly and I cannot believe that my time here is drawing to an end within the next few weeks. 

The climate-smart, ecosystem-friendly livelihoods assessment is in the final stages of data analysis and report writing.  The results will be presented in a week and a half to the Partners for Resilience organizations here in Isiolo, Kenya (which include the Netherlands Red Cross, Wetlands International, Cordaid, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate, Kenya Red Cross Society, and Merti Integrated Development Project).  We finished field work a few weeks ago and ended the surveys in the two communities, Burat and Manyangalo, which are closest to Isiolo Town.

Burat is only 3 km outside of town but they are facing several unique challenges.  In the past few years Burat has faced serious problems with insecurity, cattle rustling, and inter-tribe conflict.   Sadly, three of the 20 women surveyed for the livelihoods assessment admitted to having lost their husbands to cattle rustlers.  However, Burat does have the advantage of being located very close to Isiolo Town and it is located along a river which provides a valuable resource for farming.  The second community near Isiolo Town, Manyangalo, is also lucky enough to be situated on a relatively permanent river and they have taken full advantage of this.  Manyangalo is a farming community and the people there plant everything from maize to onions and tomatoes and they are even planting lots of trees for fruits and lumber.  Manyangalo uses pipes and sprinklers to irrigate their farms and gardens and are a great example of how agriculture could be carried out in other parts of Isiolo County.  However, my favorite part of conducting the surveys in Manyangalo was the drive there.  To get there we drove through Lewa Downs Conservancy, which is where Prince William and Kate took their honeymoon.  We saw lots of giraffe and zebra as we drove through the Conservancy and it was a great way to start/end a day of field surveys!

Giraffe at Lewa DownsOverall, my team of Red Cross volunteers and I conducted 270 household interviews and 6 focus group discussions.  That is way beyond my goal of 200 household interviews and I am very grateful to all the volunteers that helped conduct interviews.  These 270 interviews have given me more data than I know what to do with and I have spent the last two weeks very busy with data input and data analysis.  The data analysis has been incredibly interesting and will make writing a concise report very difficult because there are so many interesting and relevant results.  However, I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks writing up the results of all our hard work and making valuable livelihood recommendations to the Partners for Resilience.  I hope that my recommendations of climate-smart, ecosystem-friendly livelihoods will be able to help them in the future and in turn help the communities where I have spent the past two months build livelihoods resilient to the impacts of climate change.


Top photo: Volunteer conducting an interview
Bottom photo: Giraffe at Lewa Downs