Drought impacts goes beyond administrative landscapes. Consequently, available capacities for community systems and structures and individuals to respond and survive the devastating impact of drought may be located within or without the affected communities boundaries. An isolated – inward looking drought risk reduction effort only acts as temporary/short-term stopgap measure.
Intra-county interventions may not respond to the experiences of communities in prolonged or frequent drought episodes, especially where there is mutual interdependence, mobility and ecosystem linkages. This is more so when the drought has potential to trigger secondary hazards like resource-based conflicts, outbreak of trans- boundary livestock diseases and rangeland degradation.
The experience from recent droughts episodes shows that access to resources and coping strategies goes beyond individual community’s defined resource maps. For instance, investors and County Governments also faced challenges hosting influxes or negotiating on behalf of pastoralist communities to access resources in neighboring counties.
Above all, the coping strategies of livestock/pastoral production system directly influenced and affected the drought response and coping capacities of other productive/livelihood systems. It also brought out opportunities for growth and symbiotic relationship between pastoral/livestock production and other livelihood systems. Key to this anticipated growth and inter-dependence is the central role communities and stakeholders play, especially in inter-county and multi-sectoral approach and coordination at the grassroots.
Ending Drought Emergencies
The Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE) strategy focuses on strengthening foundations for growth and development. It hopes to accelerate investments in four broad areas namely: Peace and security; Climate-proofed infrastructure, Human capital development and Sustainable livelihoods options and opportunities in drought affected communities. The four broad areas, called pillars, hope to reduce drought risk and enhance resilience.
It is against this background that NDMA is keen on supporting joint efforts by proactive stakeholders and communities such as the Amaya Triangle Initiative to address drought impacts. The initiative presents a very good cross-border and ecosystem approach, traversing four counties.
The Amaya triangle traverses, four arid counties – Isiolo (Oldonyiro Ward) Baringo (Churo Ward), Samburu (Suguta Marmar Ward) and Laikipia (Sosian and Rumuruti Wards). The triangle consists of plain savannah grassland, giving way to bushlands. It is the pastoralists gateway and transit to the Aberdares to the Southwest and Mt Kenya to the East, especially for livestock and wild life during extreme drought years as was witnessed in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2017. The triangle boasts excellent flora and fauna, attracting both wildlife and livestock and providing excellent rangeland breeding and production opportunities at household and commercial level. The triangle is home to various private and community ranches.
The increasing changing land use in form crop production, settlements and competition between private and community livestock producers and wildlife conservancies has seen cut-throat competition, resulting in heightened tension and occasional conflicts. Frequent droughts and climate change have made the situation worse, especially due to an increase in invasive plant species and influx of communities affected by drought far and beyond the triangle catchment area. This has resulted in overgrazing, increase in vector/livestock diseases and complex conflicts, thus threatening communities livelihoods and investor confidence.
Mitigation measures for the multiple hazards require a social, political, and multi-sector approach to sustainably optimise the potential of the triangle and reduce potential losses and damages to stakeholders within the Amaya triangle and beyond. To ensure ownership and sustainability, the NDMA support to communities within the Amaya triangle will build pro-active actions by other stakeholders.
The NDMA has responsibility and mandate to coordinate all drought risk management action by all actors. All the four counties have fully established and staffed NDMA county offices. The NDMA, through County Steering Groups (CSGs), has been supporting sector identified drought response activities and preparedness actions using European Union supported Drought Contingency Funds.
There is evidence that involving communities in planning taps into their existing traditional systems for management of natural resources, resulting in more sustainable and inclusive development since they are best placed to articulate their needs.
It is on this basis that the Authority has conducted inter-community/cross-border participatory disaster risk assessments (PDRAs) to allow for identification of priority interventions.