Emergency drought response programme

Today was an exciting day for us. Journalists from a number of national UK newspapers came to Mandera, northern Kenya, to see an emergency drought response programme that we’re running, with funding from the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA).

We wanted to show them the best way of helping poor people cope with drought, in the hope that they would take this message back to the UK.

This is the situation that we are trying to raise awareness of:

Lots of food aid is arriving to feed the hungry. But poor people in this area are nearly all pastoralists who depend on their livestock to survive. Food aid is needed for their livestock because if they die, pastoralists won’t have a future and they will have to rely on handouts for the rest of their lives.

Part of our emergency drought response programme - feeding livestock to keep them alive











This is what the community in Mandera say:

At a meeting with elders in El Wak, a town in Mandera County, elder Haji Mohamed said: “Everyone who comes here asks if we are hungry, if we humans have enough food. That is important, but for us more important at this time is feeding the last remaining animals that have survived these years of drought.”

Another elder, Aden Kala Dido, added: “When the last animal goes, then it is time to start waiting for the humans to begin dying too.”

This is what we’re doing:

They are grateful for programme we are running in Mandera – supplying 90,000 tons of animal food to feed 50,000 goats and sheep, vaccinating 80,000 livestock against opportunistic diseases and facilitating drought related animal health services.


Vaccinating livestock












At first, prioritising livestock feeding doesn’t seem quite right when people are streaming to feeding centres to find food aid. However, the penny dropped for the journalists when they learned that pastoralists are actually sharing the food they receive from aid agencies and the Kenyan government with their animals, denying themselves and their families of these vital rations.

“The pastoralists would rather die themselves than let their livestock die.”

“That is the measure of how important the animals are to these people,” said Lenkai Ole Tutui, the district commissioner in charge of the area around El Wak. “The pastoralists would rather die themselves than let their livestock die so whatever food they get, they share it with their livestock. Everyone is looking at food aid for humans. It is high time that people realise this and send food for livestock.”

I think this photo (below) on the wall of the Practical Action office in Mandera is a poignant illustration of how the pastoralists feel about these animals and what we need to be doing to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the drought in Kenya.


2 responses to “Emergency drought response programme”

  1. Practical Action Blogs - Blog Archive » Livestock health key to drought survival| Practical Action Says:

    […] http://practicalaction.org/blog/east-africa/kenya/emergency-drought-response-programme/ […]

  2. fiona Says:

    It costs MORE and uses MORE grain to feed livestock and then eat them and use them for milk than if we USED the grains DIRECT. Please get some information on distribution of grains and giving the grain DIrect to starving children rather than filtering it thru animals. A plant based diet FEEDS MORE PEOPLE than filtering it thru livestock. Plant based ( or (or Vegan diet) is also far, far healthier. Please spend a little time looking into this. Also please look into a perma- farming project which has been called Farming God’s Way which uses amazing farming techniques which increases yield by 4 or 5 times the normal- just using small amounts of land. This i feeding more and more people in africa and is highly successful. People need sustainable methods and Farming God’s way is a wonderful, easy to teach tecnhique helping many many communities in africa…
    Please look up FARMING GOD’S WAY
    also please look up GARY YOUROFSKY’S BEST EVER SPEECH ON YOUTUBE – which show something about the VEGAN diet. Very informative wich positive moves forward we can make for our health AND other people’s too. health drastically impoved 3 years ago when i went vegan- inluding big weight loss, varicose vein disappearing (!!) and increase of energy/ mobility plus ( people say) I look younger….

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