The Tana Delta in the southeast of Kenya is one of East Africa’s largest and most important wetlands. Covering over 130, 000 hectares of land spanning across Tana River and Lamu Counties along the Kenyan coastal region, the delta comprises expansive mangrove systems, beaches, as well as marine salty and freshwater zones that form a network of productive areas.
It supports over 350 species of birds and is home to the endangered red colobus monkey and the Tana River Crested Mangabey. When the delta remains undisturbed, it is an important flood control ecosystem, absorbing and storing run-off, something that keeps it green all year round.
The core delta is an oasis of hope for pastoralists from at least three counties during the dry seasons. In such seasons, cattle herders walk hundreds of kilometres to graze in the core delta for months until the rains return.
But this time things are different. Due to prolonged drought and overgrazing, even the core delta is bare.
This is perhaps one of the clearest signs that the Tana Delta ecosystem is in distress. Rampant felling of trees for charcoal, firewood and expansion of farmland; overgrazing and frequent droughts have left the environment degraded and with increasingly minimal capacity to support livelihoods.
Juma Majanga met a group of community members living in the heart of the mess yet cultivating hope through a restorative project.
Watch their story here: