Kenya Acted

Direct financial support driving recovery and resilience to drought-affected communities

In Moyale Sub-County, pastoralists grapple with the challenges of balancing tradition with modernity in a vast and complex landscape. Abdi, an experienced herder, notes that their way of life depends on the availability of grazing lands and water, but accessing these resources has become increasingly difficult as pastoralists face numerous obstacles jeopardizing their long-standing way of life.
The impact of these challenges is evident in the empty livestock markets of Moyale, Sololo, and Damballa Fachana, making it harder for pastoral communities to make a living. Water scarcity is particularly problematic in Moyale, where vital water sources like water pans and ponds are essential for the well-being of their animals. The vulnerability of these water sources has been exposed by incidents of water pans and riverbanks overflowing and bursting after heavy rainfall, further exacerbating the challenges faced by pastoralists.
The reduction in milk production, a crucial resource for children in these dry areas, has increased malnutrition rates among pastoralist families. The arid and semi-arid regions have experienced three droughts in the past decade, notably from 2020 to 2022. Marsabit County has been hit particularly hard, with over 121,000 sheep and goats, 35,000 camels, and 38,000 cattle dying recently, affecting the area's economy and culture significantly since livestock is critical to the community's social structure.

In addition, the recent El Niño phenomenon brought a new set of difficulties in 2023 in an area already impacted by a succession of severe droughts. It caused disastrous flooding, impacting approximately 93,000 households, displacing 58,000 individuals, and resulting in 26 deaths.

The floods arrived just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, and they washed away whatever little we had managed to save.

Adan Duble*, community leader in Marsabit

Empowering resilience: A collaborative success in Moyale sub-county

Collaborative efforts led by Strategies for Northern Development (SND) and Acted, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led to the Locally led project “Multi-Purpose Cash Response to Affected Communities in Kenya”. The project aimed to bring much-needed assistance to the resilient communities of Moyale Sub-County affected by extreme weather conditions, particularly floods.

The primary objective was to deliver critical humanitarian assistance and facilitate early recovery for populations in dire circumstances. Cash transfers are deemed a flexible form of aid that allows recipients to prioritize their needs and determine the best way to use the funds. The goal of the cash assistance is to help households meet basic needs like food, water, and healthcare while also enabling them to invest in income-generating activities that increase resilience to future shocks.

The anticipated outcome of the program is to enhance the living conditions of vulnerable households in Marsabit County, ultimately stabilizing the local economy and aiding in recovery from the crisis. The project provides Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance to 275 households in Damballa Fachana, Anona, and Nana.

Fortunes revived: Stories of renewal through cash assistance

In Marsabit County’s remote and rugged regions of Nana, Anona, and Dambala Fachana, targeted cash assistance programs have brought hope to three communities heavily impacted by severe droughts.

Nana and Anona Village, located in the arid landscapes of Moyale, have been facing severe challenges due to prolonged droughts and erratic rainfall patterns. The communities have been struggling to meet basic needs such as food, water, and healthcare. The program identified them as priority areas where two cash disbursements were made to eligible households, allowing them to address immediate needs.

Dambala Fachana, another ASAL community in Moyale, faced similar challenges. Erratic rains disrupted agricultural cycles, leaving families food insecure. The program targeted the area, providing cash transfers for two months. This allowed households to adapt to changing conditions.

Adan Duble, the administrative official of Dambala Fachana, has lived through the despair of his community members after losing nearly all their livestock—the main livelihood of this community. With the drastic reduction in their herds, they faced dire financial hardship.

Some of them were going mad and speaking gibberish things nobody understood. Some went through immense depression facing the realities of their losses.

Adan

Introducing the Multipurpose Cash Assistance provided such communities with crucial financial support. “Upon receiving the funds, they meticulously planned their use, prioritizing food security for their families“, he further explained.

Qabale Yattani*, a 47-year-old mother of 10 from Anona, shares her story of hardship turned hopeful. Due to the prolonged drought, her family lost livestock and was left without a reliable source of income. However, the cash assistance program proved to be a critical lifeline for them.

The day we enrolled in the program, I knew I had to use every shilling wisely.

Qabale Yattani

With her first payment of KES 9,126, she bought essential food supplies and saved a small portion for emergency medical expenses.

The impact of the assistance has been extended beyond mere survival. Qabale plans to start poultry farming. “Chickens require less water and can survive better here than cattle. It is a small step towards rebuilding our life,” she notes, illustrating her pragmatic approach to adapting to new economic realities.

For decades, Abdul Tani*, a resident of Nana Village, like his ancestors, relied heavily on pastoralism. However, in recent years communities have experienced droughts, drastically reducing their herd of goats and camels, the primary source of their income and sustenance.

Watching your livestock perish one by one is a painful sight that haunts you.

Abdul

The Multipurpose Cash Assistance program targeted his community, recognizing the acute needs brought on by these environmental changes. He was among the participants that received monthly cash transfers designed to help families navigate the immediate crises and invest in sustainable solutions.

He also wants to purchase a few drought-resistant seedlings and essential irrigation equipment to start a small vegetable garden, an uncommon practice in his traditionally pastoral community.

With the payment I received, I was able to secure enough maize and beans to feed my family for a month. It was the first time in a long while we had enough food at home without worrying about the next day.

Abdul

The vital role of cash assistance programs is clear. They provide more than just financial relief; they offer a foundation for long-term recovery and resilience in the face of climatic adversities, laying the groundwork for sustainable community development in Marsabit County.

Adan

Acted, the ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN), and other partners are providing a coordinated and harmonized Multi-purpose Cash response to meet the basic needs of communities affected by climatic shocks – drought and flooding in the ASAL communities in Northern Kenya. Through the consortium, more than 5,000 households have been able to enhance their food security and purchasing powers and thus improving their food consumption, dietary diversity, and a reduction in negative coping strategies.

*Beneficiaries’ names have been changed to protect their identity.

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