The African continent should work extremely hard to address the issue of drought in a bid to enhance sustainability of projects and standards of living to its citizenry.
The Director of Technical Services at the National Drought Management Authority, Orre Sunya said the continent could only celebrate its success when it completely eliminates or reduces the number of people affected by drought to a bare minimum.
Sunya said time has come for the continent to enhance the productivity of its resources and build the resilience of its communities to the region’s environment and socio-political shocks so as to improve the standards of living of its citizenry.
“If we acknowledge our challenges, we can get solutions to the problems affecting the region,” he added.
He announced that through Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the German government through GIZ and support from other partners, Kenya has established institutions for drought risks.
Speaking on Monday during the IGAD Annual Share Fair meeting on Drought Resilience held at a Nairobi hotel, Sunya said Kenya has an estimated 2.6 million people affected by drought out of which 600, 000 were children at risk of suffering from malnutrition. He noted that lactating mothers could also be affected.
“If a child does not get appropriate nutrition at the right age which starts from age 0 to 5 years, it will not develop to the full potential intellectually and physically. This has a bearing on the country’s development,” he said.
The two-day event has brought together ministers from the IGAD region member states and development partners to review and assess progress of the drought resilience and sustainability initiative.
In his address, the Monitoring and Evaluation Expert, Regional Pastoralists Livelihood Resilience Project from Uganda, James Kiwolu was of the opinion that pastoralists adopt an alternative way of living to avoid the adverse effects of drought which normally hits Arid and Semi-Arid Lands.
He at the same time, urged IGAD member states to consider having clusters in areas where they provide water to communities to avoid conflict of resources, noting that the size and structures of water projects should also be looked into.
The Director cited procurement procedures, staff recruitment, project implementation and capacity of staff as some of the challenges slowing down the progress of the IGAD drought disaster resilience and sustainability initiative projects in the member countries.
He at the same time proposed that the projects funded by World Bank and other partners should run for 20 year instead of 5 years for flexibility since the needs of the communities who were the beneficiaries kept on changing.
A Monitoring and Evaluation Expert on Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Project in Kenya, Hillary Nge’no said the country has received funding at a tune of Sh.5.4 billion from World Bank and other partners for the improvement of livestock infrastructure, irrigation, project management and capacity building in Baringo, Isiolo, Marsabit, West Pokot, Samburu and Turkana areas.
“We have already done 120 water structures, seven irrigation schemes, whereby the Marsabit scheme produces fodder while the one in Baringo produces horticultural products,” said Ng’eno.
He noted the impact of the projects has reduced cross border conflicts over resources in the region, adding that there was need to roll out more projects in other counties to support farmers, as well as ensure that farmers accessed markets.
The two-day event attended by IGAD Member States is aimed at disseminating resilience on good practices and lessons learnt from the IGAD region to increase knowledge on better preparedness and response to drought and other shocks affecting communities.
It also aims at increasing evidence based on different thematic areas to influence development of policies, scaling of good practices and design of future resilience interventions.
The multidisciplinary project that tries to address six components, namely natural resources management, market access and trade, livelihood support, pastoral risk management, project management and institutional support, has been implemented in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda since 2015 and has already achieved some outcomes with scalable good practices
By Bernadette Khaduli