By Nabongo Kwach
A total of 93,000 households from pastoralist counties in Kenya are set to benefit from a Sh7.7 billion World Bank project.
The is after Government on Sunday launched its component of the Sh19.1 billion (US$197 million) Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project (RPLRP).
The beneficiaries whose livelihoods rely mainly on pastoral activities in the 14 participating counties are expected to benefit directly from the project.
The RPLRP supported by the World Bank is designed to help the beneficiaries manage climate risks, develop coping mechanisms against drought and animal diseases that are frequently the bane of African pastoralists.
"Our main focus is on livestock, which we all know, is the single most important asset and the key source of food and income for pastoralists," said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya adding that pastoralists face unique challenges because they also live in the most under-resourced areas in Kenya, and this project will help mitigate some of them.
The project aims to reduce the death rate of cattle by 30 per cent; increase the value of livestock traded in selected project markets by 10 per cent; reduce the number of livestock traded in drought years by about 8 per cent; increase the number of livestock traded in normal years by about six per cent, and to also halve the time lapse between early warning information and the response.
A vaccination campaign saw 15,000 heads of cattle, 10,000 sheep and goats vaccinated during the launch which took place at Muwarak/Posta (PND) in Laikipia County.
Major livestock routes converge in the PND area in search of pasture and water in times of drought, and as they head to Rumuruti livestock market. As a result, it is an area that is prone to livestock disease outbreaks.
"The focus on livestock corridors like in Laikipia is based on the reality that seasonal and cross-border movements are a crucial feature of pastoralist livelihoods and coping mechanisms against droughts and conflicts," said Philip Jespersen, Senior Social Development Specialist and Co-Task Team Leader for the project.
He added, "The ecosystems from which pastoralist derive their livelihoods often go beyond national borders and counties as do the market networks."
The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) is contributing US$77 million for the Kenya component.
Besides Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia are participating, and 267,000 households are expected to benefit directly from the project in the three countries.
Reaching the pastoral population and improving their livelihood resilience is key to achieving Kenya's Vision 2030 and realizing the World Bank's twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.