A delegation led by World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley visited Wajir Monday to assess the drought mitigation preparedness in the County.
The Director was accompanied by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya Stephen Jackson, WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa Michael Dunford and WFP Kenya Country Director Lauren Landis.
Speaking at the ICT Hall in Wajir Town after being received by the County Secretary Abdullahi Hassan, the Director said it was a honour to celebrate World Humanitarian Day, with the World Food Programme team in Northern Kenya.
“No matter what challenges may come, we will be working hard to give help and hope across this nation and all over the world,” said Beasley, adding that they are in the County to assess the effects of drought and put in place measures to respond to the situation.
The County Secretary particularly thanked Beasley for the gracious opportunity and inaugural visit to the County.
“We thank you for visiting us at this time when we have just concluded our General Election and are preparing to inaugurate a new governor into office,” observed Hassan.
He also congratulated the WFP Executive Director for winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. “Indeed, the award is a clear testimony of the global role you play in the fight against hunger,” noted Hassan.
Besides, the County Secretary also acknowledged the long term close collaboration between the County government of Wajir and World Food Programme.
“Our Collaboration in the Sustainable Food Systems Program (SFSP) ensures smallholder producers and food-insecure and vulnerable populations benefit from more sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems, enabling them to build their resilience, enhance self-reliance and meet their food and nutrition needs,” he observed.
In addition, according to Hassan, WFP supports the devolved unit in developing policies and bills that provide a framework for the county to deliver efficient services to residents.
“Such Bills and Policies include the disability Bill that has obligated the County Government to allocate funds for monthly stipends to families and guardians of disabled dependents,” he added.
Another WFP supported programme in Wajir is Early Childhood Education policy that has ensured that the county government allocates money for feeding school children.
Hassan also cited the collaboration of the County Government and WFP in the development of the county capacity on disaster response and management.
“Currently, the county technical teams are able to quickly step in and conduct assessment and targeting as a result of capacity building that WFP has instilled in the teams such as training on KIRA (Kenya Inter-Agency Rapid Assessment) and strengthening the Disaster response committees,” he explained.
Hassan also acknowledged WFP’s timely response to drought by supporting 13,021 families who are adversely affected by famine.
WFP is also currently supporting the county in the development of County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), a 5 year- master plan that gives an overall framework for development and coordinates the work of national and county levels of government in a coherent plan to improve the quality of life for all the people and contribute towards devolution. The county development priorities are usually generated from the CIDP.
“WFP has been a great partner in realizing the county spirit of devolution and leaving no one behind in socio-economic development, inclusion and opportunities for women and youth,” said the County Secretary.
At the same time, Hassan appealed for more support in upscaling of drought mitigation interventions such as cash transfers, provision of livestock feeds, fast moving spare parts for strategic boreholes, fuel subsidy to strategic boreholes and water storage tanks.
He also called for up scaling of health interventions including outreach programmes and provision of nutrition commodities to curb malnutrition and disease outbreaks and spread.
“Livestock diseases remain a major threat to livelihoods, thus we appeal for concerted efforts in disease control including heightened surveillance, ring vaccinations, treatments and parasite control,” he said.
The delegation later made a field visit to Bulla Hagar, Wagalla and Alas Farm on the outskirt of Wajir town in a bid to get a first-hand report and assessment of the drought situation on the ground.
Present during the occasion was the Wajir County Commissioner Jacob Narengo, County Security Committee Members, Development Partners and County Government Officials.
By Donald Ngala