Kenya: Reducing disaster risk in Turkana District | Pastoralism | Livestock

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The Turkana district lies in northwestern Kenya, bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. Pastoralism is the main economic activity due to the arid environment. The region is geographically isolated and has a low population density, which makes it challenging and expensive to work with communities. The region has suffered from limited and often inappropriate investment in services, infrastructure, and broader development programmes. As a result, the region is one of Kenya’s poorest and most underdeveloped districts, where some 87 per cent of inhabitants live below the poverty line, and are unable to meet their basic food needs. People are increasingly less able to withstand drought (seasonal rains often fail in Turkana) with more families likely to lose livestock and face destitution. As people adapt their livelihood strategies to these conditions (having smaller herds or remaining sedentary – keeping their animals in one place), greater emphasis needs to be placed on giving direct support to these households. This includes investment in animal health services to improve the resistance of animals to outbreaks of disease and drought, and better access to markets so that households may sell surplus or unproductive animals. A flexible and integrated market infrastructure is vital if pastoralists are to be able to receive an adequate price for their livestock, even in times of drought or widespread animal disease.
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  Oxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Resources: Case Study Kenya: Reducing disaster risk in Turkana District Claudie Meyers, Josie Buxton and Christopher Ekuwom  Introduction The Turkana district lies in northwestern Kenya, bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. Pastoralism is the main economic activity due to the arid environment * . The region is geographically isolated and has a low population density, which makes it challenging and expensive to work with communities. People in the region have historically had poor political representation, and are marginalised, often perceived as being of low social status. The region has subsequently suffered from limited and often inappropriate investment in services, infrastructure, and broader development programmes. As a result, the region is one of Kenya’s poorest and most underdeveloped districts, where some 87% of inhabitants live below the poverty line, and are unable to meet their basic food needs. Women-headed households in the district are in a particularly vulnerable position, as they tend to have control over much smaller herds of livestock, which are insufficient to provide a sustainable livelihood. This is in part because they are unable to afford to keep more productive livestock, but also because traditional gender roles dictate that women are responsible for rearing and selling smaller animals, which are intrinsically less productive and valuable.Over the past 10 years, poverty levels among pastoralists have steadily increased, with many people deciding to abandon pastoralism all together. The size and diversity of herds have decreased because people are unable to afford to keep large numbers of animals and pastoralists have less capacity to migrate to other areas to find pastureland and water. People are therefore increasingly less able to withstand drought (seasonal rains often fail in Turkana) with more families likely to lose livestock and face destitution. As people adapt their livelihood strategies to these conditions (having smaller herds or remaining sedentary - keeping their animals in one place), greater emphasis needs to be placed on giving direct support to these households. This includes investment in animal health services to improve the resistance of animals to outbreaks of disease and drought, and better access to markets so that households may sell surplus or unproductive animals. A flexible and integrated market infrastructure is vital if pastoralists are to be able to receive an adequate price for their livestock, even in times of drought or widespread animal disease.In 2006, the situation in Turkana reached crisis point, during a severe drought. Just as livestock was beginning to recover, an outbreak of ‘peste des petits ruminants’ (PPR) 2  disease infected goat herds, further depleting their numbers. Drugs to treat the PPR were not widely available at the time, and once the outbreak was considered to have become an epidemic, a decision was made not to vaccinate. To control the spread of the disease outside the district, a government quarantine was put into place, restricting the movement and sale of goats. The Turkana population, dependent upon livestock rearing for their survival, were seriously negatively affected by these events and Oxfam decided to implement a new livelihoods project in the area. Pictured above: Pamela Ataa has taken part in Oxfam’s cash for work program. Photo: Jane Beesley/OxfamWhat it means when you don’t own livestock:  “They look at you in not a good way. At first they say you are a poor person, and they won’t give you any credit or anything. They think you are lazy. Even if you go to your brother he won’t give to you… but he would to those who have because he knows he will get something back. If you are poor you can’t even talk in a group where they’re making decisions… you are chased away, even if you have some thing to say or the decision affects you. The community will always know your position.”  Pamela Ataa 12 Factors affecting pastoralist livelihood strategies: ã An increase in the frequency and duration of droughts, as caused by climate change ã Population growthã Livestock buyers undervaluing animalsã Inflexible market structures, slow to adapt to environmental crisesã Livestock disease outbreaks and poor animal health services ã Land tenure policies, restricting access to pastureã Conflict, which prohibits safe movement to dry season  grazing areas Project objectives: ã To make the livestock market system more sustainable and equitable ã To support livelihood diversification, especially for womenã To develop an intervention system for the livestock sector, to  help it cope with periods of extreme stress, such as animal disease or drought Project activities 1. Working with pastoralists to make livestock markets more equitable In Kenya, there are agencies at national, district, and local level responsible for coordinating livestock markets and ensuring the welfare of herds. Local level Livestock Marketing Associations (LMAs) are members of District Livestock Marketing Councils (DLMCs), actively participating in activities such as elections, training, and collecting subscriptions. Beyond that, each DLMC is a member of the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council at the national level, and participates in decision-making at this level. LMAs serve as a valuable link between pastoralists and formal livestock authorities. Oxfam provided training in market and business management, legal compliance (e.g. levies and sanitary standards relating to animals), and financial support to four newly created LMAs in remote locations in Turkana, so that they could develop *  A note on Pastoralism In sub-Saharan Africa ,  pastoralism is predominantly practised in arid and semi-arid lands. These lands are hot and dry, with low and erratic rainfall. There are not many livelihoods suited to this unpredictable environment, but pastoralism is particularly appropriate, because it enables people to adapt by moving livestock according to the shifting availability of water and pasture. Pastoralism makes a significant contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) in many East African countries (around ten per cent in Kenya); it provides the majority of meat consumed in those countries; and provides a livelihood for tens of millions of people who live there 1 .  3. Planning for future crises Oxfam recognises that programme interventions need to adapt to changing circumstances, especially in light of climate change. For example, drought conditions require a shift from restocking herds to destocking (i.e. culling animals to reduce the size of the herd), while an epidemic may necessitate the implementation of a vaccine campaign. Oxfam GB worked with the pastoralists, LMAs and local authorities to build their capacity to react quickly and effectively when faced with a crisis. The core activities conducted to achieve this objective included: ã Establishing an internal early warning monitoring system for both disease and drought within the Turkana District to inform programme decisions; ã Developing internal contingency plans to realign programmes and secure funding as needed; ã Improving coordination of, and communication between, different governmental, development and emergency relief agencies. 34 new livestock markets- ‘sale yards’. These were built under a cash-for-work project, providing extra income for local people. Members of LMAs also received training in basic veterinary skills, so that they could provide veterinary services during emergency vaccination campaigns and on market days. Membership to the LMAs was   open to everyone in the community. Oxfam also worked with DLMCs and District Veterinarian Offices to ensure that the LMAs were integrated into the overall institutional framework, and linked up to other larger markets. 2. Supporting livelihood diversification, especially for women Recognising the particular vulnerability of women-headed households, Oxfam GB provided support to over 300 women through 15 women’s groups by providing them with business training and start-up grants. Initially, the aim was to create more local traders and buyers of livestock, and to increase demand and market prices.  Assistance was therefore given to help these women’s groups establish livestock trading cooperatives. However, during the training programme, the PPR outbreak occurred and Oxfam decided that the emphasis should shift to non-livestock market activities. To ensure that the business training provided did not go to waste, Oxfam worked with the women to help them develop alternative businesses, such as wholesale fuel and cement trading. In addition to providing assistance to the 15 women’s groups, individual women were also encouraged to take part in cash-for-work programmes (such as those to build the new sale yards), and offered the chance to access training and money through the Business Support Project*. Pictured right: Elizabeth, Alice, Celine, Mary, Asialem and John all worked on the construction of the pens at this livestock market as part of a cash for work project. Photo: Jane Beesley/OxfamNew sale yards were constructed through cash-for-work:  “We constructed this sale yard for selling livestock. We used to take livestock far away and would face problems along the way… it was a long distance so they would get thin and wouldn’t make the market price.’ ’  Alice. “We’re hoping this will attract traders for marketing livestock locally.’ ’  Asialem. *Helen Akale, Kaaleng Helen Akale and her husband have seven children, and are also caring for her sister’s eight children. Despite little formal education, Helen demonstrated a skill and aptitude for business and was one of the first women to join Oxfam’s Business Support Project (part of Oxfam’s long-term programme in Turkana), receiving training in business skills and a cash grant. [Participating in the Business Support Project],  “helped me to extend the business, to buy extra and new stock…. I have been assisted to walk on my own rather than clutching on sticks to stand.”  The Business Support project helped Helen “…solve many problems…. Since I joined the project I have never thought of going to register as a beneficiary [for food relief]. I’ve remained independent and that feels good.” Helen’s success as a businesswoman enabled her to participate as a trader (a contracted service provider) in Oxfam’s innovative pilot – distributing food aid through small traders. Here, rather than continuing with ‘normal’ methods of food aid distribution in parallel to the market in times of severe food insecurity (and negatively affecting market functioning), food is distributed through small traders’ shops. Food aid beneficiaries receive their rations when they want them, using vouchers, and the traders are paid a fee for this service. “I now have this business. Now I’m a person in the midst of others. No one can now chase me away from where VIPs are meeting because I’m wearing tattered clothes. I now have the chance to meet a minister which I wouldn’t have had been able to do in my previous life. I’m very excited because I have this chance... People have now recognised my presence. I’m going to Lokitaung to meet the minister. We’re expecting a vehicle today to come and take us there. I even have the confidence to speak in public. At meetings if women are invited to speak I stand up… I would never have been able to do that before.” ’ Kile Lokor (pictured above)  Key Programme Impacts   1. Increased adaptive capacity By the end of the project in January 2008, four livestock markets had been established, helping many pastoralists to sell their animals at decent market prices, even in times of drought. The livestock marketing system is now more efficient and more capable of responding effectively to disaster events. The livestock markets – and the LMAs that control them – have proved to be an important means of mobilizing pastoralists to take part in emergency interventions. For instance, when drought hit the district after the project had begun, an emergency de-stocking intervention was implemented by Oxfam and working through the LMAs, targeted up to 7,500 households. With a total of 15,000 goats de-stocked, the producer households each received a compensatory payment per animal of Ksh800 (approx. $11). Meat from the sale of livestock was distributed to approximately 41,000 people, alleviating the effects of the drought on food supplies for this group of people as well. Weak animals were targeted for culling as a means of protecting the core-breeding herd. This, in addition to the provision of veterinary services through the LMAs on market day, has helped to build up a much healthier, more resilient stock of animals. 56 Destocking During the 2006 drought in Turkana, people struggled to sell their animals. Even when they could, the market value had dropped significantly: the best animals were selling at less than 50% of their normal price. Livestock owners were quickly losing their assets and cash income. In response to this situation, Oxfam introduced a programme of de-stocking. In return for their animals, livestock owners received cash for the meat, and kept the skins to sell. The meat was then redistributed among the community. Initially, pastoralists were reluctant to take part in the destocking programme; they wanted to keep their animals as long as possible in case the situation changed. But as the drought got worse over the next two years, more people decided to de-stock; “There was a big difference in our feelings about destocking this year compared with 2006... In 2006 the sheep and goats were only weak because of the stress of drought and no pasture but this year we have had to face two things - drought and PPR. This time …we asked Oxfam staff to bring forward the slaughter dates because of these two enemies... The programme is good... Before, when the animals died we received nothing.” Jacob Eremon, Kachoda . Destocking also benefited small traders like  Anna Ikaal , who took fourteen animals for destocking,   “…I was thinking of buying more animals with the money but with PPR and more drought I would lose them so I’m going to increase the [range of] items in my shop... If I get enough money I want to extend the shop.” Pictured below: Jacob EremonPictured above: Anna Ikaal “I’ve been able to replace what a husband used to provide. Secondly, at least I am able to provide and have some livestock and have something for the children, like uniforms for them to go to school. I’m now like any woman who has a husband who can provide.’ ’ Kevina EsinyanBelow: Some of the 311 members of the Livestock Marketing Association, Kaaleng. 2. More secure livelihoods,  particularly for women Many pastoralists living in remote communities are now making a more viable livelihood, due to the creation of more accessible sale yards where they can sell their animals for a decent price, without having to travel long distances. Improvements in the quality of livestock – due to the provision of veterinary services and emergency vaccination campaigns by LMAs and community animal health workers (CAHWs) – means that pastoralists can now charge more for their animals, increasing their income. LMAs also monitor the animals for any infectious diseases that may require emergency interventions. This service helps to keep the quality of animals high and ensures that gains from any restocking initiatives are sustainable in the long term. In addition, the project has encouraged several new buyers to participate in the local markets. As a result, both livestock prices and demand have grown.The situation of many impoverished women in the district has also improved. Over 300 women, who had little or no income before the livelihood diversification project, now have access to more secure sources of income. The Business Support Project enabled women to improve their skills and training in business management, empowering them to seek new livelihood activities. With this, they have also improved their social status, self esteem and economic security. 3. Establishment of Livestock Management Associations Four new LMAs were created as part of this project; primarily responsible for running the new sale yards, and providing basic veterinary services on market days and during emergency vaccination campaigns. These have enabled pastoralists to secure better prices for the animals, as well as increasing the local population’s resilience to the effects of drought. The LMAs now function independently; they are recognized as key stakeholders in the area and have gained further legitimacy from pastoralists. In addition, the LMAs have given pastoralists access to information and a degree of control over their own livelihoods that had previously been absent.
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