Impact assessment of desert locust infestation response in Samburu North and Samburu East sub-counties, Samburu County, Kenya, December 2020

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Samburu County is one of the 47 County governments in Kenya and it consists of three sub-counties (Samburu North, Samburu East and Samburu West). It is located in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Kenya. According to the 2019 Kenya population and housing census, Samburu County has a population of 310,327 individuals and 65,910 households (HHs).

Since December 2019, Samburu County among other counties in Kenya has been affected by desert locust invasion as billions of insects devour crops and grazing lands (browse and pasture), threatening the food security and livelihoods of a population in a region already weakened by extreme-climate events and armed conflict. HHs in Samburu County primarily rely on sale of livestock and consumption and/or sale of livestock products such as milk. Kenya is likely to encounter a second wave of the desert locust infestation from mid-December 2020. The second wave of desert locust infestation could make the vulnerable communities who had not fully recovered from the effects of first wave more susceptible to their effects.

Several actors have been responding to the desert locust invasion in different ways including desert locust surveillances, spraying of the areas invaded by the desert locusts, reseeding of range lands and cash assistance to the affected households. In order to understand the impact of these responses to the affected communities, REACH initiative in close coordination with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Samburu County government and other implementing partners conducted an impact assessment of the desert locust infestation response in Samburu North and Samburu East Sub-counties.
Findings from this assessment provide updated information on how affected communities perceive the impact of the desert locust response provided by the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies that are responding to the desert locust infestation. In addition, findings provide an overview of desert locust control and early warning measures taken in the communities.


The assessment used a mixed methods approach with both qualitative and quantitative data collection. HH interviews were conducted in the six wards of Samburu North and the four wards of Samburu East between 16 and 23 December 2020. HHs were sampled at ward level, using a stratified random sampling strategy, to reach a 95% confidence level and a 10% margin of error. A total of 573 HHs in Samburu North and 390 HHs in Samburu East were interviewed. The data was weighted to be representative at sub-County level hence attaining a 95% confidence level and a 4% margin of error. This level is guaranteed for all questions that apply to the entire surveyed population while findings relating to a subset of the surveyed population may have a wider margin of error and a lower confidence level.

Eight key informant (KI) interviews were conducted between 16 and 23 December 2020 with representatives of organizations that were involved in the desert locust response in Samburu County to understand the early warning that the organizations provided to the community, the control measures that they undertook and the recovery assistance that they provided to the communities.

Findings from KIs are indicative of the trends at the time of data collection.