Kenya drought response evaluation report - Focus on Marsabit and Baringo Counties, 26 July to 1 Αugust, 2015

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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The poor performance of the long rains between the months of March - May 2014 in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in Kenya resulted in the drought that affected both pastoral and marginal agriculture livelihood zones (the North Western, Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern and parts of Coast) in turn affecting household food availability as well as livestock productivity. The situation continued to worsen with the increase in food prices which continually eroded household purchasing power driven by increase in fuel costs and general inflation.

To support affected populations, IFRC launched an appeal on 29 August, 2014 intended to enable the IFRC to support the Kenya Red Cross Society to assist 649,175 beneficiaries for a period of 9 months. The overall objective of the appeal was to contribute to the reduction of high rates of acute malnutrition through provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected population in the priority counties in Kenya.

A final evaluation of the drought operation was undertaken from 26 July to 1 August, 2015 in Marsabit and Baringo counties. The objectives of the evaluation were; to measure the appropriateness/relevance of the objectives and strategy, to assess the effectiveness and coverage of program implementation (programme quality) and to assess the extent to which lessons learned and recommendations from previous operations were incorporated within the operation and also draw more lessons for future disaster management and operational coordination support for national societies. A cross sectional study was used, adopting a mix of both primary and secondary data collection approaches. This included both quantitative (beneficiary satisfaction survey) and qualitative (focus group discussions and key informant interviews) data collection, and literature review.

KRCS implemented School Feeding Programme (SFP), Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) and health and nutrition outreaches in both counties. SFP targeted ECD learners as they were not supported by the WFP feeding programme. CTP targeted households with malnourished children under the age of five years whereas outreach activities targeted all community members. In addition to improving the nutritional status of learners, SFP also led to increase in enrolment and retention of learners in schools. The health and nutrition outreach activities also made it possible for affected communities to access basic health services. The CTP increased the purchasing power of households, enabling them to provide balanced meals and improving nutritional statuses. In some cases however, the cash was diverted and used for payment of medical bills, school fees and start-up of IGAs among others.

Despite the limited financial resources due to low appeal coverage, KRCS managed to implement activities in a professional manner. KRCS was however forced to prioritize activities and this led to cancellation of some activities related to WASH and food production.

To ensure sustainability and reduce vulnerability, there is need for linkage to longer term recovery and resilience projects. Integrating community engagement and accountability in future operations is all necessary to ensure community participation as well as enhance programme quality. Strengthening M&E systems in emergencies is also vital, allowing focus on measurement at outcome and result level and not only output level.