Groups in Turkana South that had been earmarked for the disbursement of the World Bank-supported Emergency Locust Resilience Fund now have a leadership structure after conducting peaceful elections.
The incident-free exercise was supervised by County officials in charge of the Locust Disaster programme led by Victor Lochee who is also the acting Deputy Director for Agriculture and others.
The elections come barely a week after residents of the area had been sensitized of the programme and told of the need to have functional community structures and legit groups as a requirement for accessing the livelihood restoration funds going forward.
Director Lochee explained that registered groups, producer organisation (Crop or Livestock based) and community Sub projects would get seed money to engage in livelihoods restoration activities, build resilience from current climate variability and to regain the economic stability they had before the devastating locust invasion.
He added that livelihoods restoration activities will benefit the communities in restocking, provision of livestock and farm input, Mechanization and support for FPOs.
Other support will include refurbishment of water infrastructure, refurbishment of irrigation infrastructure, supporting fisher folk with fishing gears, promotion of climate-smart/conservation agriculture and relevant farmers’ trainings.
Director Lochee also said that the efforts would complement activities of the County in respect to drought response currently being spearheaded by Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai.
On group discipline and monitoring of the funds, Director Lochee cautioned groups, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), project management committees for sub projects to desist from leadership wrangles and attempts to divert the funds from their intended purpose.
He explained that World Bank would institute an independent team called SAIC (Social Accountability Integrity Committee) to undertake an audit of the exercise and help the beneficiary groups attain the desired level of compliance.
“So far, the elections have been conducted in Lokichar Ward which was zoned into four (Kapese zone, Lokichar zone, Locheremoit zone and Lomunyenkupurat zone) where groups elected their representatives who will, after completion of the exercise in the ward, elect their executive officials.
We aim to reach all other wards across the County and complete the exercise next month.” Director Lochee explained.
The World Bank-supported Emergency Locust response programme was recently transformed into a resilience project to meet the current needs of drought mitigation alongside aiding livelihood restoration of last year’s locust invasion disaster.
By Peter Gitonga