The Kenyans for Kenya initiative is a fundraiser that was started in July 2011 by corporate leaders and the Kenya Red cross in response to media reports of famine and deaths from starvation in Turkana County. By July 2011, at least 3.75 million Kenyans in arid and semi-arid lands were threatened with death due to the threat of starvation because of drought.
Malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya were at emergency levels with more than 385,000 children below the age of 5 years in 13 districts suffering from acute malnutrition. Furthermore, many schools without school-feeding programmes had been closed.
Other visible indicators included increased livestock deaths and erosion of livelihood and survival options available to the affected pastoralists. The worst affected districts included Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, Moyale, Eastern Samburu, and Northern Isiolo although certain districts in rain dependent Lower Eastern Region such as the northern parts of Mwingi and Kitui districts and the Coastal Region, which had also sank into the emergency phase classification of food insecurity.
Further, at least 20 people were reported to have lost their lives as a result of drought-related effects. It was at this point that the Government declared drought a National Disaster.
Turkana North Integrated Emergency Drought Programme is located in Kaikor division, and is aimed at contributing to drought resilience in the County showing improvement by the year 2013 through increased water supply systems (for domestic, livestock and small scale irrigation).
Overall the project has improved food security and provided the residents of Kaikor an alternative livelihood to complement pastoralism which has been marred by cyclic droughts and characterised by resource based conflicts and other natural catasphies such as flash floods, high heat waves and dust storms.
The project site is located in Kaikor, approximately 215 KM North of Lodwar roughly 6 hours drive by road due to the tough terrain and poor state of the road.
In Turkana North, a total of 12 boreholes were drilled. Four of the drilled boreholes proved successful yielding adequate water for domestic use as well as irrigation.
With the boreholes, an irrigation project in Kaikor area was implemented. These initiatives aimed at opening up land for agriculture. Green houses were put up and irrigation kits installed.
All the boreholes were equipped with solar powered pumps and elevated steel tanks to ensure sustainable and energy efficient access of water to beneficiaries.
Each of these sites was also provided with livestock watering points, tapping points to fetch domestic water and connection to the farming fields.
Shade nets and Drip Irrigation System was also installed in each of the 4 sites.
In early 2013, after preparation of their farms and nurseries, planting in the shade nets of the four sites started with Nakinomet and Loitanit first and with Kang’itulae and Long’olemwar following.
The crops planted were tomatoes, kales and spinach. Later that month, the open fields on the 4 sites were planted with maize, watermelons, butternuts and green grams. Production and harvesting of tomatoes, kales, spinach, watermelons and butternuts has been ongoing since then. Beneficiaries have been consuming the fruits of their labour and are able to sell the surplus.
The Kenyans For Kenya project in Turkana is directly benefiting over 15,000 people living in Kaikor Division through the provision of water both for domestic and livestock use, the provision of alternative livelihoods to a largely pastoral community that mainly depends on livestock for survival and through the contribution to food security through increased production of food.
Nutritional interventions such as appropriate crop choices, cookery methods and utilizations are being undertaken to ensure nutritional security especially for the lactating mothers and the under-fives.