Pandanguo village residents have donated 2.5 tonnes of maize as part relief to the drought hit Bahati Kalale villages and Mokowe Arid School in Hindi ward to cushion them from the biting effects of drought.
The villagers most of whom are from the marginalized Aweer community were able to harvest 30 tonnes of maize from their 300-hectare communal farm which they were fortunate enough to harvest following a distribution of drought resistant seeds in March this year by Kenya Red Cross in a bid to transition the community from a hunter and gatherer trade to subsistence farming.
The Aweer Community also known as the Boni are traditionally hunters and gatherers, a trade that is currently under threat due to drought and the national government’s directive against illegal poaching in the Boni Forest.
This has led to many Boni villages relying heavily on relief food for their sustenance regardless of whether there is drought or lack of it in the county.
Speaking to the media during the food distribution exercise to be done through Lamu’s Kenya Red Cross Chapter, a local elder and Mzee wa Mtaa in Pandanguo village Mzee Shaturi stated that the food donation was a gesture of goodwill from the community and to other drought hit villages and institutions.
“The key reason we as villagers chose to distribute relief food to Mokowe Arid Boarding School is because it is the main school that children from the Boni community attend due to insecurity in areas such as Barsuba, Mangai, Kiangwe, Bodhei and Kiunga,” he said.
The village elder further noted that the donation to Mokowe arid boarding school is in part informed by the school feeding programme initiative aimed at ensuring students stay in school.
Sentiments echoed by Alwy Fadhloon Noor, a Pandanguo resident who added that the food donation is aimed at providing relief for other Boni villages afflicted by the drought.
“We are also showing our fellow Boni community members that it is possible to transition from hunting and gathering into subsisting on the communal land that we have,” Alwy said.
Speaking during the food distribution, Kenya Red Cross Regional Coordinator Hassan Musa hailed the food donation by the Boni community saying that the relief would provide food for at least 300 Boni residents living in other areas within the Boni.
He further revealed that the harvest came from planting seeds given to the villagers by Kenya Red Cross had distributed earlier this year alongside planting tools.
Lamu County Red Cross Coordinator Ahmed said that the relief food would also be distributed across schools affected by the drought crisis adding that his organization would soon rollout a school feeding programme across schools affected by the drought crisis in Lamu.
He further stated that relief initiatives such as destocking would also be unveiled in Lamu, if the drought crisis persists.
By Amenya Ochieng