Powering Community Resilience
Resilience building is at the core of Kenya Red Cross programming, an approach that targets to achieve sustainable if not permanent risk reduction among communities. To best address common and underlying vulnerabilities, communities were given a central role in order to collectively enhance and achieve community resilience against crises, shocks and other stresses.
In Garissa County, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) initiated a Hunger Resilience Project to increase food production and access for communities through modern agriculture and livelihood diversification. Farmers in Damanjaley got a bumper harvest of watermelons, cowpeas and other farm products, a timely harvest that ushered in their 2018 new year on a high note.
The Project that commenced in October 2015 is among the many community-centered initiatives that have made resilience a defining component of KRCS work. It directly supports a total of 2,500 households, another 665 households through farming support, 1,200 households through pastoral activities while 635 households benefit from environmental initiatives.
The project is being implemented in Jambele, Nanighi, Kamuthe, Warable and Kamuthe locations in Fafi Sub-County and Damanjaley and Kulan locations of Dadaab Sub-County.
Speaking to one of the beneficiaries in Damanjaley farm, Mr. Hassan Abdi says that ever since they got involved with farming, their lives transformed making them economically able. “I paid school fees for my son that amounted to Ksh50,000 using the money I earned from selling the first harvest.”
“Previously, I had lost all my cows and camels in the drought and I was left with nothing. I thank Kenya Red Cross for helping us start up farming which has really changed my life,” Hassan added.
The project’s success has also been attributed to community support and uptake. Apart from partaking in the project, KRCS has further trained the farmers and involved them in different farming activities.
Farmers receive support throughout the production process from inputs to market linkages. “After such a harvest, Kenya Red Cross helps the farmers to get market for their farm produces. The farmers in Damanjaley sell their farm produce locally,” said Mr. Victor Kiprotich, KRCS Project Officer.
“The locals have greatly benefited from the project. It has enabled them to provide for their families and improve their state of living.” Victor added.
Such projects are anchored are anchored on the KRCS Strategy 2020, which emphasizes the need to link the humanitarian actions to long-term development initiatives towards reducing risks and vulnerabilities and resilience building. Close monitoring and evaluation is conducted at every stage to measure progress.
The community Liaison officer Mr. Aden Adow noted how the hunger resilience project commendably improved the lives of the Garissa people, both direct and indirect beneficiaries. “As of now, we not only depend on our animals but also the farm produce.”
“The project has given us the power to meet our needs. The locals have been able to buy school uniforms for their children due to the good sales. Additionally, the project has supported various schools through environmental education and women who get trained to create awareness about good nutrition” Aden Adow said.
KRCS continues to build on its objective to enhance community resilience across the country.