Responding to drought in Marsabit through cash transfer

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Kenya is currently going through a drought situation in some parts of the country, that has seen an estimated 1.3 million Kenyans acutely food insecure and in need of assistance. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) with support from partners is implementing a cocktail of intervention to reduce the effects of drought on both the human population and livestock.

Cash Transfer Project (CTP) is one of those intervention that KRCS is implementing with an aim of helping communities cope with the drought.

Marsabit is among the counties greatly affected by the situation. Located in the North Eastern part of Kenya, it is among the 11 counties that have experienced three failed rainy seasons and at an alarm stage of drought classification. The other 10 are Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Baringo, Turkana, West pokot, Samburu, Tana River, Kilifi and Lamu. The situation has greatly affected the community members’ livelihood since they are greatly dependent on their livestock.

With funding from the Danish Red Cross, KRCS is carrying out cash transfer to a total of 900 households in North Horr and Laisamis sub counties, targeting individuals with; severe/moderate malnutrition cases, people with disability, individuals living in extreme poverty, orphans, among other levels of vulnerabilities.

The project that is running for a period of four months – January to April 2017, will see households receive a total of 3000 Kenya Shillings on a monthly basis through selected vendors.

“The choice for this approach is informed by the fact that when an individual is given cash, they have a choice meaning they can buy a variety of food stuff depending on their preference which sometime varies from one culture to the other, said Talaso Chucha, KRCS Regional Manager, Upper Eastern. With food donation, an individual is bound to receive the contents of the food basket.” Talaso Chucha added.

Since emergency has a general impact on livelihoods, CTP gives beneficiaries the freedom to use the cash on priority basis depending on their immediate needs. Other intervention being implemented in the affected regions include: In kind food distribution and Livestock off-Take program that aims to remove the affected animals before they lose their value, die or pose a risk of public health.

The drought has led to high malnutrition rates, poor pasture, and inadequate water resources which have further resulted in unseasonal migration, livestock deaths that have negatively affected farmers’ incomes and access to animal products, and ethnic conflicts in pastoral areas.

By Florence Ogola, Kenya Red Cross Society