The different faces of climate change: the Zambia drought

A series of three articles written by Sofia Ollvid from SolarAid. 1/3


Sofia Ollvid

Subscribe to The Beam Magazine to read more on the subject. Read Part 2/3 of the series here.


‘When there is no water, we go to bed and we sleep. And hope there is going to be water tomorrow’, the group of women sitting around the dried out well hum in agreement.

Philip Mwenga is one of our agents distributing solar lights in rural Zambia. He lives in a scattered settlement called Mwana Mainda, in the South of the country. I am meeting Philip for an interview about his business, but our conversation keeps leading in to the severe drought that Zambia has been suffering for the past years. There is no denying that the drought has taken a firm grip of the country and is affecting every aspect of life for families like Philip’s.

Philip wants to show me the water well in the village. Even though it’s only a five-minute walk, I break out a sweat — the sun is beating down on me. A group of women and a boy are sitting around the water hole — as if they are waiting for something. The hole has dried out, there is a small puddle of murky water just at the bottom, and you would have to climb down the water hole to reach it. Philip explains that this water is useless, contaminated, and can only be used to cook with. However, as food prices have been increasing tremendously due to the difficulties cropping, people are going hungry.

‘My life is difficult a bit […] We have struggles about the hunger this year in Zambia. The food prices are going up, like me, I’m buying five bags of mini meal per month, and now, sometimes I’m struggling […] When it’s difficult then we just sleep sometimes with the hunger’, says Philip, who has a family of 12.


All pictures by Sofia Ollvid, SolarAid. Read Part 2/3 of the series here.

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This piece is also available on our Medium page.