Pastoralists Diversify Income

Gem Village, Kenya


With so many years of prolonged drought affecting the Isiolo area, the community has come to be dependent on external relief food. This phenomenon has been seen in northern Kenya for years and has affected the livelihood of the communities living in these areas.


Pastoralism is the main source of income and spikes in cattle theft threaten to ignite intra-community reprisals and raids that could set the stage for a surge in regional ethnic fighting. Children are often pulled out of school because their families are migrating to be nearer to water sources for the livestock, without which they would no longer have means to make a living. Once a drought persists and all animals die, they can no longer afford to pay for school fees or school uniforms.


The ongoing drought in northern Kenya has put millions of villagers in need of immediate food assistance. Many children are at risk of facing the devastating effects of severe malnutrition. The reality which the communities of northern Kenya find themselves in has made the community believe that they are unable to do anything, even when the weather favours them. This has created a dependence syndrome. In Gem Village, the land is not good for farming compared to other villages.


With systems and educational programmes we are helping to promote Transformational Community Development (TCD). We are proud of our efforts, which are bearing fruit by replacing relief dependence with self-reliance among many families. Mrs. Ekman is one of the women in the village and she recently lost all her animals due to the long drought and was settling for relief food. The food alone was never sufficient, as her family has some other needs besides food. After we educated her, she started farming this long rainy season and found she could harvest enough food for her family and also take care of other family needs and pay school fees for her children. Our effort is not in vain as she has become a role model for many, and now the community of Gem has learnt the way to go is not relief but development.


Thank you!


GHNI National Field Leader