The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is a public body established by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Act, 2016. It previously operated under the State Corporations Act (Cap 446) of the Laws of Kenya by Legal Notice Number 171 of November 24, 2011. The Act gives the NDMA the mandate to exercise overall coordination over all matters relating to drought management including implementation of policies and programmes relating to drought management.

The history of Kenya’s work on drought management goes back to 1985, with the design of a drought contingency planning system in Turkana. In the early 1990s this system was extended to other arid districts with the support of the Netherlands government. It was then expanded further by the Emergency Drought Recovery Project (from 1992) and its successor, the ALRMP, both of them supported by the World Bank. By end of Phase II of the ALRMP, the drought management system was covering 28 arid and semi-arid districts (now 23 counties).

This series of short-term, project-based interventions were being carried out at a time when drought periods were becoming increasingly frequent and intense, directly affecting the household food security and livelihoods of more than ten million people. The government therefore recognised the need to strengthen the sustainability and quality of drought management in Kenya by establishing the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

The NDMA provides a platform for long-term planning and action, as well as a mechanism for solid coordination across Government and with all other stakeholders. The Authority has established offices in 23 ASAL counties considered vulnerable to drought.