UME-DOO Drought Initiative Launched

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Following the drought situation in the country since January 2011, an estimated 1.8 million people and over 20 million livestock in Kenya are threatened by the devastating effects of the same. On 14th February 2011, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) launched Drought Appeal seeking some Ksh1.9 billion to intervene through both short-term and medium to long-term interventions. Since then, the Society has received a total of Ksh150 million which has been used in water trucking in nine districts in the country including Wajir West, Wajir East, Ijara, Garissa, Marsabit, Mandera, Moyale, East and Central Pokot, among others.

The Society has also carried out destocking in Marsabit and Moyale with funding from the International Committee of Red Cross and UNOCHA. Destocking will be carried out, once more, in Moyale County, starting this weekend. KRCS is also supporting school-feeding programmes in more than 50 schools countrywide, as part of the response to the current drought. Traditionally, KRCS has been responding through food and relief aid, during droughts and floods. However, water trucking is a very expensive affair and is not sustainable. The same to food and relief aid distribution.

It is in the above context that a section of the private sector in collaboration with KRCS and the media, are championing an initiative that aims to support long-term and sustainable solutions that will achieve food security and access to safe water for vulnerable communities in Kenya. Through a public campaign dabbed "UME – DOO?" the Initiative aims to proactively "Call to Action" all Kenyans to support long-term sustainable solutions that will empower communities and promote food security for all Kenyans.

The campaign was officially launched at KRCS on Tuesday 5th April 2010. Some Champion CEOs and representatives of different organisations were present to grace the occasion. Among them were Jonathan Ciano, CEO Uchumi Supermarkets, Nora Odweso of Coca-Cola East Africa, Linus Gitahi, CEO Nation Media Group, Gina Din-Kariuki, Managing Director, Gina Din Corporate Communications, Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS, Adan Mohamed, CEO Barclays Bank Kenya and Les Baillie, the Chairman Safaricom Foundation, in a show of unity and support for the initiative. Over the past five years, the effects of climate change and global warming have become more pronounced. This has manifested itself in terms of cyclic droughts and floods in Kenya, with an increase on the intensity and impact of the same on populations. This has rendered many Kenyans food and water insecure. The guests, thus, all supported the need to initiate long-term interventions towards drought mitigation.