Africa, CAFOD, CARITAS MARALAL, CATHOLIC CHURCH, Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction, culture, Gender Based violence, Governance, integration, Kenya, livelihoods, Marginalization, Samburu County, WASH
According to information obtained in a food security and needs assessment conducted in May 2013 in Samburu, by Caritas Maralal in partnership with CAFOD, various factors contribute to food insecurity among communities. They include; insecurity and conflict, lack of knowledge on better farming practices as well as changing rainfall patterns all contribute to keep many rural communities food insecure.
Reliance on livestock as a main source of livelihood, susceptibility to droughts, diseases and raids, have seen many of these communities become reliant on food aid most of the year. This is despite the existence of community resources such as land and labour to transform them into food secure communities.
Over the years, Insecurity has been the hindrance of development in Samburu County. Cases of highway banditry, cattle rustling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, lives lost as a result of inter-ethnic clashes and gender based violence are recurrent. These incidences affect access to markets, access to schools and hospitals, fuel extreme poverty and food insecurity because victims have to relocate and also share scarce resources. These include water points and pasture. It with this view, that in June 2014, the Caritas office launched a CAFOD supported Integrated Food Security Project in Samburu East and Central Sub- Counties. The project aims to transform communities’ ability to produce and access food through an integrated approach that takes into account various challenges that they face in realising this objective. CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The organisation supports a variety of development projects in Caritas Maralal which include: as Sustainable livelihoods, Disaster Risk Reduction, Justice and Peace, Governance, Health and nutrition & Water Hygiene and sanitation. These interventions are aimed at building peace, empowering the Samburu, Pokot and Turkana communities through training them and providing the necessary input for modern farming technologies. This project is working with 8,540 individuals to increase crop productivity through use of effective approaches like setting up demonstration farms and use of drip irrigation technology in Lchakwai and Lolmolog. Farmers are also being taken through intensive capacity building sessions in workshops to increase their capacity to realize better yields. Animal production has also been covered in the project, with communities in Kirimon benefiting from improved breeds for milk production. Five groups in Wamba, Sereolipi and Archers post have been granted loans to support Income generating activities. The project also seeks to strengthen the newly formed Seven Community Resource Management Groups and to increase their participation in governance. Six peace meetings have been held in project sites to offer security for any gains in the project that might be lost due to insecurity. Hygiene and sanitation is also be a key focus to make sure that food secure communities have improved knowledge on improving their hygiene and sanitation status. The Caritas Director – Evans Onyiego- has over 9 years experience as a peace builder. Under his leadership and partnering with stake holders, the church has seen a gradual transformation in areas like Longewan and Amaiya which were famous for being battle grounds. The clashes among the Samburu and Pokot communities have now ceased. Through the integration of sustainable livelihoods, water projects and peace, the communities have embraced farming and can access common markets and water points. Through the Catholic Diocese of Maralal and Other Key actors in Samburu County, Peace meetings among warring communities have yielded the desired results. Also, in view of the increased recognition of the importance of children in peace building, the Church has partnered with organizations to facilitate peace camps for Turkana and Samburu children in primary schools. 15 Green houses have been installed in Samburu central and North. Boreholes have been successfully drilled in Lchakwai, Charda Lekiji, Remote and Lengusaka. It is imperative that development and security work in tandem. Peace building is a continuous process. Integration of projects and processes is a logical step towards changing the lives of the communities we are working with. As a farmer benefits from farming inputs such as green houses and seeds, he also benefits from the results of ongoing peace building initiatives, hygiene and sanitation campaigns, the efforts to empower the communities to manage Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Projects. The Integrated Food Security Project will run for three years and we are positive that we shall see the desired change among the communities we are serving through this project.