Helen Akuom, a 30-year-old widow and a mother of eight from Kapua gypsum mining located about 50 kilometers from Lodwar town in the central region in Turkana County, has mined gypsum since 2003.
Gypsum is the most common sulfate mineral used in the cement industry, in fertilisers, and as filler in various materials such as paper, paint, and in the manufacture of the Plaster of Paris.
Turkana County’s 2015 natural resource mapping and context analysis report indicates that nearly 92 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, earning less than $2 per day. Kapua receives little rainfall, and has extremely high temperatures. In addition, the un-tarmacked roads are often rendered impassable making it hard for investors to invest in the gypsum market.