Pastoral communities in four counties in the Arid and Semi Arid Areas (ASALs) are set to benefit from a three year drought resilience programme to empower them on management their natural resources.
The programme dubbed Integrated Management of Natural Resources for Resilience in ASALs (IMARA) will be funded by the Swedish government at a cost of Sh. 1 billion and will be implemented by World Vision in Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu and Laikipia counties for three years.
Joan Sang from the Swedish Embassy who represented the Amb. Anna Jardfelt during the launch of the programme on Thursday at Doldol, Laikipia County said the initiative aimed at addressing challenges faced by communities in the areas such as food safety, environmental degradation and insecurity among others.
“The programme aims at addressing life challenges by uplifting livelihoods of communities in the four ASAL counties especially in tackling food insecurity brought about by drought,” Sang said.
Jeremiah Nyaga who will coordinate the programme for World Vision said that they had targeted 19,720 households as direct beneficiaries and another 16,302 indirectly.
Nyaga added that the programme will see establishment of alternative livelihoods through natural resources, market systems for livestock value chains, cottage industries for value addition, restoration of degenerated land ecosystems, promotion of renewable energy and also support county assembly in policy formulation and addressing development needs among others.
The Laikipia County Commissioner (CC), Onesmus Kyatha said that the region mostly received below normal rainfall throughout the year leading to food scarcity and intercommunity conflicts brought about by inadequate pasture and water for livestock.
Kyatha observed that if communities in the area were empowered to mitigate effects of climate change, cases of conflict would end.
The Laikipia County Executive Member for Environment, Njenga Kahiro said that the county government was working to assist communities whose land has been invaded by the cactus plant (Opuntia ficus-indica) through innovation that would see it turned into biogas, juice and wine for commercial purposes.