More than 5,000 households in Garissa county have benefitted by adopting farming, better animal husbandry, crop diversification and other income-generating projects.
The Kenya Red Cross Society’s Hunger Resilience Project is aimed at increasing food production and food access.
The project that started in October 2015 is among many community initiatives by the KRCS.
The project directly supports 2,500 households, another 665 households through farming support, 1,200 households through pastoral activities and 635 households that benefit from environmental initiatives.
The farmers in Damanjaley on Thursday last week had a bumper harvest of watermelons, cowpeas and other produce.
The harvest was timely, consididering many financial problems in January, such as payment of school fees.
The project is being implemented in Jambele, Nanighi, Kamuthe, Warable and Kamuthe locations in Fafi subcounty and Damanjaley and Kulan locations of Dadaab subcounty.
KRCS project officer Victor Kiprotich said farmers receive support throughout the production process, from inputs to markets.
“After a harvest, the Kenya Red Cross helps them get a market for their produce,” he said. Farmers in Damanjaley are currently selling their produce locally.
Kiprotich said residents have benefitted greately from the project that has enabled them to provide for their families and pay school fees.
Farmer Hassan Abdi said their lives have been transformed by the project.
LOST ALL ANIMALS IN DROUGHT
“I paid school fees for my son that amounted to Sh50,000 using the money I earned from selling the first harvest,” he said.
He said he has lost all his cows and camels due to the drought and was left with nothing. The Red Cross helped him start farming, which has changed his life.
Resilience-building is at the core of Kenya Red Cross programming. The approach aims to achieve sustaiable or permanent risk reduction among communities.
Communities themselves have been given a central role to collectively improve community resilience against crises, shocks and other stresses. The project’s success has also been attributed to community support and uptake.
CROPS AS WELL AS ANIMALS
The Kenya Red Cross Society has also trained the farmers and involved them in different farming activities.
The projects are part of the KRCS Strategy 2020, which links the humanitarian actions to long-term development initiatives. The aim is to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience.
Close monitoring and evaluation is conducted at every stage to measure progress. Community y liaison officer Aden Adow says the hunger resilience project has significantly improved the lives of the Garissa people, both directly and indirectly.
“As of now, we not only depend on our animals but also the farm produce,” Adow said.
Adow said residents have been able to buy school uniforms for their children due to the good sales. The project also supports schools through environmental education. Women are trained to create awareness about good nutrition.
In October 2016, former Governor Nathif Jama declared the worsening drought in the county a disaster and called for urgent help from the national government.