This is the powerful message coming out of the convening of major stakeholders who implement programmes and projects on resilience livelihood in the arid zones of Kenya, combining nine counties taking place at Marigat Baringo County facilitated by staff from JKUAT. Water is at the centre of issues discussed, noting its central role in affecting both the challenges and solutions for the arid zones. The workshop started on 20th May 2019 with the aim of disseminating technical skills to participants who are key in implementing resilience programmes in the arid counties. JKUAT through its Water Research and Resource Center (WARREC) is offering technical backstopping to the World Food Programmes’ resilience programme implemented in nine arid counties.
In his workshop opening remarks, Baringo Governor H.E Stanley Kiptis in a message read by his Deputy H.E Governor Jacob Chepkwony welcomed the participants to Baring County and registered the County’s commitments to the programme and working with WFP to build resilience and transform lives. He further acknowledged the many benefits accruing from the programme including capacity building, policies and frameworks, feeding programmes, health and nutritional support, gender analysis and more resilient programmes. He applauded the good partnerships observed in the spirit of building resilience in arid lands.
Director WARREC and leader of the JKUAT project Prof. Bancy Mati in her remarks commended the workshop participants for their commitments and also World Food Programme for giving JKUAT an opportunity to offer its expertise to address community challenges in arid areas. Prof. Mati further stated that JKUAT is committed to research and innovation including entrepreneurship to solve community challenges. She pointed out the many challenges and potentials in arid lands and called for increased resilience building through use of climate adaptive technologies for resilient livelihoods. Prof. Mati requested the participants not to sit on knowledge but turn it into services and deliverables.
In his remarks Mr. James Kamunge Programme Policy Office World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed the participants to the workshop and applauded them for their support and corporation towards addressing the issues affecting vulnerable groups in arids lands. Mr. Kamunge registered WFP’s commitment to improving resiliency livelihood among the vulnerable groups. He argued the participants to embrace food system approach to help promote resilience in arid lands.
Speaking during the workshop, Mr. Mathew Kigomo Rangeland management expert stated categorically that pastoral production should be anchored on strategies that seek to complement and or adjust from the traditional extensive practices to more adoptive practices that allow pastoralists to build resilience in the face of uncertain or unstable natural, socio-cultural and economic environment.
Mr. Jeremiah Mbugua agronomy expert and Director Extension JKUAT, applauded the initiative and stated that there is need to select the right crop types and varieties and apply the recommended practices for optimum productivity in arid areas. He emphasized that sorghum millet and cowpeas are reasonably drought tolerant while with irrigation a variety of vegetables can be grown which however require specialized management practices.
Speaking during the workshop, Dr. Florence Kyallo, a nutrition expert and chairperson of the department of Human Nutrition Sciences emphasized that it is the responsibility of each participant to ensure that interventions in their sector are nutrition sensitive, and explore ways of addressing the cultural hindrances to healthy diets while promoting cultural practices that improve the access to healthy diets at the household level.
While sharing her expertise on gender and youth for resilience building in arid zones, Dr. Florence Mwaura called for a gendered lens when creating interventions in arid areas as they determined project effectiveness and sustainability. She also appealed to the counties to create viable interventions for the youth who provide an opportunity to spur economic development.
This workshop closing on 25th May 2019 is attended by 82 participants drawn from nine counties of Wajir, Tana River, Baringo, Turkana, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Garissa, Samburu and various agencies i.e WFP ,JKUAT, NDMA and line ministries. JKUAT was represented by Prof. Bancy Mati Director WARREC, Dr. Florence Ondieki Mwaura Department of Development studies, Dr. Florence Kyallo chairperson of the department of Human Nutrition Sciences, Mr. Jeremiah Mbugua Director Extension, and Mathew Kigoma of Land Resource Planning and Management and Mr. Wycliffe Nyangau of WARREC.