Impact of climate change on three Masai families (videos)

Up to 80 percent of the Masai living in Magadi, in southern Kenya, have lost their cattle due to drought, which is becoming more frequent as a result of global warming.
(Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN)

Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans, and one of the hardest hit communities is the Masai, in the Magadi area of southern Kenya, where up to 80 percent have lost their cattle due to increasingly frequent drought brought on by global warming.

Water is becoming harder to find and in many places grass has stopped growing, leaving no food for cattle, the main source of food and income in this community of around 4,000. While some attempts have been made to supply them with water, experts say the effects of global warming are outstripping these efforts.

In this three-part series from Africa, we look at how three Masai families are coping with climate change and how it has affected their economic stability.

Samuel Kikoso struggles to keep his cattle alive (video)

Photo: Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN

This short video tells the story of Samuel Kikoso after 300 of his cattle died of starvation in Magadi. He has lived for decades in his village of Ndope, where the nearby lakes have dried up. He says the grass that grows there is sparse and of a variety that is not sufficient for cows to graze on.

He has 10 children and two wives to feed, and fears that the 50 cattle he has left will also die soon. Kikoso warns that the changes he has seen in the weather and in his village look set to get worse.

Click here to watch this video

Nasha Shinini finds it hard to feed her family

Photo: Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN

Nasha Shinini's husband left to look for work in Tanzania four years ago after their cows died in the village of O Lesorian in Magadi. Without any income of her own, she is struggling to raise their four children.

The effect of climate change on her village has claimed the lives of their entire herd of cattle, and without a ready supply of dried dung for the cooking fire, collecting wood has become a growing hardship in the continued drought that is devastating the land they live on.

Nasha struggles to feed her family and they often go to bed hungry.

Click here to watch this video

Gladys Sekento moves in search of food

Photo: Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN

Gladys Sekento was forced to move to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, because of drought in her village. Frequent dry weather in some rural areas has severely affected food and water supplies for cattle, a main source of income for Masai families.

According to Practical Action, a local non-governmental organisation, many have moved to the capital, bringing their remaining cattle and setting up homes wherever they can.

Although Nairobi is greener than her village in southern Kenya, Sekento says life is expensive. The Masai people also face discrimination for trying to keep their traditional pastoral way of life alive in the city.

Click here to watch this video


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

Share this article
Join the discussion

Support our work

Donate now