IOM Trains Host Communities in Northern Kenya to Cope with Drought
GENEVA, Switzerland, August 3, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has completed five-day training for 180 pastoralists from six locations in Dadaab district in northern Kenya on how to protect their livestock and improve their livelihoods during periods of drought.
The training involved animal husbandry and feeding during the dry season, pasture re-seeding during the wet season, and de-stocking during drought alarm and emergency stages. Pastoralists who attended the course are expected to pass on their knowledge to others.
Raising cattle is the main occupation of the people of northern and northeastern Kenya, who are hosting thousands of Somalis fleeing drought and war in Somalia. The area is home to some of the world’s largest refugee camps housing some 453,000 Somalis.
During the dry season, thousands of livestock perish every year due to lack of pasture and the spread of animal diseases, and Dadaab pastoralists are currently on alert following a short wet season in April and May 2012.
Pastoralist communities are particularly affected by drought as they face the imminent threat of losing their livelihoods as their weakened herds struggle to survive disease, hunger and thirst in an increasingly desperate search for pasture and water.
The influx of the Somalis has exacerbated the difficult livelihood conditions and often spikes tensions between the refugees and host communities over sharing scarce resources.
Helping to improve the adaptability of livestock to drought is designed to reduce livelihood hardships for the hosting community and foster better communal relations.
IOM is also carrying out a five-day livestock vaccination of 15, 587 animals belonging to Dadaab refugees and the host community to help boost their resilience to drought conditions.
The animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys are being de-wormed and are also receiving treatment against various parasites common in the area and pneumonia.
IOM organized the training, which is funded by Japan, following a request from the Kenyan Ministry of Livestock and Development.
In 2011 IOM spent US$ 400,000 provided by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide livelihood assistance and training to some 40,000 vulnerable pastoralists in the region, 60% of them women.
The funds were used in a six-month emergency programme that involved re-stocking households with camels, which are more resistant to drought and disease, as well as providing training in various agricultural activities.
International Office of Migration (IOM)