International Desertification & Drought Day

    Two of the CFF’s major school projects are based in Tanzania, Shimbwe Chini and Sia Shimbwe Primary Schools. The children who go to these schools are normally the sons and daughters of agricultural labourers who have not been fortunate enough to receive such an education. However, these children and their parents and their parents’ livelihoods are at stake. Read on to find out how.  

    Where is Tanzania and how does its climate work?

    Tanzania is situated in the East of Africa in the African Great Lakes region. As such, its climate is characterised by longer periods of heavy rainfall interspersed with substantial dry spells. The periods of rainfall are divided up into two rainy seasons: the long rains which fall during April – June and the short rains, falling between October and December. Thus, these six months account for the entirety of Tanzania’s annual rainfall, meaning that if they don’t arrive on time or don’t come at all, the country suffers from severe water shortages. Tanzania may well still be enjoying the long rains as Lyconet writes this article; however, this is not the case every year.

    How do the two annual rainy seasons prevent this?

    The long and short rains perform several functions. They refill surface water basins, make it possible to farm crops and allow land used for grazing to recover from the dry seasons.

    How are the rainy seasons in Tanzania disrupted?

    On average, Tanzania receives ±50% of the normal amount of rainfall in the centre and south of the country and less than 30% of the normal amount of rains in the north of the country, leading to overall droughts. For farmers, this means that the maize crop of the harvest doesn’t reach demand due to crop failure. It also means that the next season will not meet conditions in which the seeds can germinate, leading to an unfavourable harvest, regardless of the long rainy season.

    International Desertification & Drought Day

    As yesterday was International Desertification & Drought Day and it’s precisely this which is here to draw attention to. You might ask, what is desertification? Desertification is the “degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas”. This is caused by human actions and climatic variations. It doesn’t mean that existing deserts are expanding. Its areas of otherwise productive land which become desert-like as the result of dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world’s land area. These areas are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Many factors contribute to fertile areas becoming dry and unproductive, such as poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices.

    What can Lyconet do to help the children at Shimbwe Chini and Sia Shimbwe schools?

    By teaming up with the CFF, we here at Lyconet could ensure that the children at Shimbwe Chini and Sia Shimbwe schools have access to the necessary food reserves and water supplies necessary in the event of a severe drought. It’s these measures which could make the difference between life and death for these families and they wouldn’t cost much to implement. So let’s support these children, by giving just a little bit back and know that we are preparing CFF’s schools for the future.

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