Special Programmes, Cabinet Secretary (CS) Professor Margaret Kobia toured the Isiolo County, together with World Food Programme representatives to assess the drought situation to facilitate government humanitarian intervention measures.
Drought has been affecting the Northern and Eastern parts of Kenya for the past two months, which has impacted negatively on the residents, and also prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare it a national disaster.
The National Government donated two billion shillings to the drought stricken regions. Sh1.2 billion was used to purchase foodstuffs, to be distributed in the months of October and November, Sh450, 000 was allocated to the Ministry of Defense, to enable The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to buy weak livestock to empower residents financially to buy food and other domestic requirements, and the remaining Sh350, 000 was allocated to the Ministry of Water for water trucking during the drought season.
Prof. Kobia noted that the food distribution method for drought mitigation had a lot of challenges, hence the need to use the cash transfer model approach.
She also pointed out that the transportation of the foodstuff was a long and tiresome process since it involved numerous modes of transportation and personnel, and food expired along the way before reaching the intended beneficiaries at various destinations.
Lauren Landis, Representative and Country Director of Kenya World Food Program said the cash transfer model gives the residents dignity and empowers them since they have the freedom of buying whatever product they need with the money received. Food distribution limited their option on purchasing the products since the food is already fixed and transported to residents.
Landis added that the model will help curb and eliminate corruption because it is easier to track such cases since the money will be wired between the money provider systems and the residents through mobile transfers.
George Kaiyo a resident of Elsa Ntirim village, Burat Ward, Isiolo County thanked the World Food Program organization which has trained women through Village Serving Loans association which has made the youth and the women to come together and save money which has helped them during crisis period.
Consolata Lomilio a member of Burat ward added that the village serving loans association has helped them start businesses, buy livestock and poultry. WFP also provided them with affordable irrigation schemes and drought resistant crops which has enabled farming during the famine.
Communities living within the Upper Eastern have lauded efforts from the National Governments and WFP in distribution of cash to help mitigate drought to supplement their livelihoods.
By Parklea Ivor and Gordo Godana