Marsabit County, the largest county in Kenya in land size, is currently experiencing the worst drought in four decades after five seasons of failed rains. The county is in the critical EMERGENCY phase of the crisis according to humanitarian agency FEWSNET. 1The county has been facing acute water and food shortage with over 98% of its open water sources having dried up according to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) January 2023 report. Malnutrition rates have hit EXTREME CRITICAL LEVELS – three times the global average – according to the NDMA. Most pastoralists have lost over 80% of their herds. These developments have come with heavy livelihoods and assets losses as well as severe mental health challenges on communities.
As a grassroots organisation, Juhudi Mashinani has been at the forefront of communities’ humanitarian interventions. The organisation has been the driver and host of the OKOA KENYA, a multi-sectoral initiative that is raising resources to cushion communities from ASAL counties affected by the drought. For Marsabit County, Juhudi has been running the ‘Lisha Familia’ campaign that seeks to feed families in the county.
Some of the direct emergency interventions that the organisation has been undertaking include:
- Mobilisation of dry foods
- Mobilisation of nutritional supplements for breast feeding mothers and malnourished children
- Water trucking
- Cash transfer
The organisation is also pushing for the following long-term measures:
- Provision of water: solarized boreholes, water pans and dams
- Water desalination where water is salty
- Complementing pastoralism with subsistence farming e.g kitchen gardens
- Smart farming technologies e.g drip irrigation
- Supporting communities-water harvesting in their communal settlements : large tanks
- Adoption of indigenous food preservation mechanisms e.g dry meat among the pastoral communities
- Farming of drought-resistant crops e.g sorghum and millet in communal farms
- Adoption of smart fodder farming and preservation practices such as silage, hay, among others