Skip to content

PWRDF extends support in drought-stricken Kenya

Top-left: PWRDF Humanitarian Coordinator, Naba Gurung, with local staff and advisory committee members, Top-right: A project food distribution center in Kenya, Bottom-left: Women receiving food in Marsabit, Kenya, Bottom-right: Mary Obiero of Church World Service Africa

August 16, 2023

By Jacqueline Tucci

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PWRDF is extending its response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, caused in part by record drought, with more emergency food distributions in Kenya.

For another three months, PWRDF will continue to support a food relief project with Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Church World Service. The project will provide families led by women with life-saving food rations in the form of monthly food baskets. A typical basket will include 50 kg of maize flour, 10 kg of red kidney beans, 3 litres of cooking oil and 0.5 kg of iodized salt. Families with pregnant and lactating women and children under two – which account for approximately 50% of households – will also receive 5 kg of nutritional supplement Corn Soya Blend Plus Plus (CSB++) each month. The budget for these additional food baskets is $658,605.

This drought is the worst in 40 years in the region, leading to extreme food insecurity. The issue has been made worse by increasing food prices due to low-crop yields. Resource scarcity is also leading to conflicts, creating an increasingly unstable situation for millions of people.

A woman collects food from a project-distribution centre in Kenya.

This project will provide for the most food insecure among the affected communities in Laisamis and North Horr Sub Counties of Kenya. Communities are selected in consultation with advisory committees and relevant community groups to avoid duplication of similar efforts.

In addition to women-led families, other groups which will be prioritized in this project are the elderly, people with disabilities, families with children under two, families with pregnant or lactating mothers and other households severely affected by drought and with limited livelihood options.

In April of this year, PWRDF Humanitarian Response Coordinator, Naba Gurung, had the opportunity to visit Marsabit, Kenya. From there, he and partners from Nairobi drove north towards the Kenya-Ethiopia border where they visited the project and local partners.

“I met with the members of the Advisory Committees who are drawn from the target communities,” said Gurung. “They play a central role in designing the project, finalizing the selection/targeting criteria, handling complaints, coordinating with the local staff, warehouse and supplier’s representatives such as the truck drivers. They gladly volunteer their time for the project and are the backbone for its success.”

A project-distribution centre

Gurung witnessed food distribution at various distribution points in the remote pastoralist communities, and spoke with the project beneficiaries, chiefs, elected representatives of the County and local staff.

“I saw some fresh carcasses of livestock around the villages. Fortunately, rain was coming while I was still in Marsabit, and there were some signs of regeneration of grass in the pastures. However, many vulnerable households had already lost their most important livelihood asset, that is their livestock, to the worst consecutive droughts.”

PWRDF’s support for drought relief in Kenya is funded in part from Anglican Grow Hope projects with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in Manitoba. Earlier this year, Mary Obiero of Church World Service Africa travelled from Kenya to meet with Grow Hope farmers Fred Wiebe and Chris Lea, as well as other representatives from CFGB and PWRDF. They shared food and exchanged ideas, knowledge and experiences – an extremely valuable learning opportunity for all.

Watch more from their meeting: