Kenya + 1 more

Strengthening Community Managed Drought Risk Reduction in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia (SCMDRR)

Attachments

Mapping of grazing corridors for the Garre and Degodia clans in Wajir and Mandera Counties in Northern Kenya and Moyale, Dolo Ado, Filtu and Hudet Woredas in Southern Ethiopia

Background

Drought is an extreme climatic event that is part of normal climate, and is frequently observed in arid areas all over the world. Drought phenomenon in most cases triggers emergency responses when the impact on local people is severe. The impacts depend upon the local peoples vulnerability to such shocks, and hence the need to understand the vulnerability to droughts as a prerequisite of designing preparedness, mitigation and relief policies and programmes. This would in turn prevent acute disaster by reducing disaster risk at the community level, through identification of the risks and translating the knowledge into preventive actions. At community level, the local people would become more resilient and prepared to respond to the drought disaster, which would then be further enhanced by government disaster preparedness efforts.

The past practices however have largely focused on interventions after drought with little investments in strengthening the communities’ capacities to manage risks on their own. Existing drought contingency plans, especially in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia are usually ad hoc with little local level inputs and largely top down based on government’s departmental level staffs’ perception of the community needs. There is need to reverse this approach and focus on contingency plans that originate from the local population, and inbuilt into district and national level drought disaster plans. This would in turn fit into regional and international strategies and policies thereby integrating the planning systems into coherent strategic plans that would in future be ecosystem based and consequently create higher impact.

At the moment, drought risk mitigation measures have rarely been linked to existing international and regional strategies like the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 and the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (2006-2015). There have been some efforts at international, regional and national levels to address the challenges of increasing drought risks, but more needs to be done to improve coordination on aspects like drought monitoring, predictions, early warning and disaster preparedness programmes.

An appropriate disaster mitigation plan requires that there be a comprehensive early warning system that is based on multiple physical and social indicators and indices that can guide and facilitate implementation of appropriate coping and mitigation actions. At the moment, existing early warning systems are largely lacking in content. The data and information products are often not user friendly and the target users are often not trained in the application of this information to decision making process.

There have been previous cases of unreliable seasonal forecast and no specific information on projected impacts with the data itself, not appropriately shared among the stakeholders. This has largely left both the government and communities ill-prepared to tackle subsequent droughts despite having previous experiences in droughts.

Governments have the primary responsibility for sustainable development and appropriate disaster risk reduction policy. Drought-related policies and plans should emphasize risk reduction (prevention, mitigation and preparedness) rather than relying on drought relief. Due to increasing global interdependence, there is need for all actors to at least share information and where appropriate act in tandem with government strategies where they exist or facilitate improvement of such strategies.

However it should be recognised that climate change has recently brought some new challenges and forecast implications especially for the arid land ecosystems. Climate change is expected to have subsequent implication of how to address frequent disaster and the need to scale up preventive and preparedness initiatives at community level in light of adaptation to emerging climate change phenomenon. The need is usually more especially for the poor and the more vulnerable communities that inhabit the very climate sensitive sectors and have fewer livelihood alternatives.

In summary, the major problems associated with drought risk reduction strategies in the project area are:

  1. Communities and governments’ that are poorly equipped in drought risk identification, risk monitoring and early warning.

  2. Communities and governments that are ill-prepared to respond to drought disaster

  3. Communities that are not resilient to shocks and have no locally generated plans to respond to disaster

These problems have led to a situation that makes arid land inhabitants in the Horn of Africa to be reliant on emergency response repeatedly due to lack of preparedness. This calls for a more pro-active approach in addressing disaster risk reduction issues.

Objectives of the study:

The study aim was to map the grazing corridors for the Garre and Degodia clans in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, as part of the mechanism of minimizing drought risks