The main hazards affecting Kenya are droughts and floods, which trigger other problems like conflict and human and livestock disease. With an economy that depends mainly on agriculture, Kenya has been facing big economic challenges as a result of the ever-increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods. The 2011 drought, seen as the worst in the region in 60 years, affected about 3.5 million Kenyans. In some places nearly 90 per cent of livestock was lost.
People who live in PfR project locations are mainly pastoralists and agro-pastoralists and extremely vulnerable to droughts and floods. Recurrent droughts erode coping strategies and the scope for recovery. Communities have poor infrastructure and social services. Some areas are also plagued by conflict – over pasture, water and politics. The Ewaso Nyiro River, a lifeline and a source of water and pasture, is shrinking rapidly because of prolonged drought associated with climate change and the mismanagement of water along its course. To address issue associated with the river, the partners supported the establishment of the Waso River Users Empowerment Platform (WRUEP), which unites local community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations. In August 2013 and 2014, partners organized a camel caravan to raise awareness and support among donors and other actors for the valuable water source in the region.
PfR is helping to establish early-warning systems for drought, flood and conflict, and is supporting the diversification of livelihoods by, for example, introducing crop varieties that can withstand drought and flood.
Environmental protection overall is being enhanced by expanding nursery sites, strengthening “green clubs” in schools and introducing drought-resistant fruits and trees.
PfR supports community organization and leadership and fosters links with government offices and other stakeholders who can provide financial, technical and material support.
The once-pastoralist Biligo community in Merti district now farms the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, since they were compelled to diversify due to the droughts that killed most of their livestock and left them dependent on food relief.
Training on ecosystem-based, climate-smart disaster risk reduction (DRR) facilitated through the PfR project helped the community realize necessary changes in their environment, and pursue collective and individual actions to adapt livelihoods to reduce the impact of drought.
They identified the opportunities and potentials in their area and used irrigation with water from Ewaso Nyiro.
They also got certified and drought-resistant maize and sorghum seed from PfR partners, while the local government agricultural office provided them with intensive technical support for irrigated cultivation. Large numbers of households started with irrigation farming, cultivating a wide variety of vegetables.
Most households manage to meet their needs and market a surplus. Biligo, a place that used to be associated with acute dependency on food aid, is now slowly but surely escaping the vicious cycle of emergency relief.
Total beneficiaries: 29,250
Project locations: Ewaso Nyiro North river basin, Isiolo county
Implementing partners: Kenya Red Cross Society, Merti Integrated Development Programme, Netherlands Red Cross, Cordaid, Wetlands International