Challenges and Prospects of 'Muslim Organizations and Institutions in Mitigating Food Insecurity in Isiolo County, Kenya
lsiolo County has for over three decades now suffered from food shortages with devastating impact on people's livelihoods. Food insecurity has been a major problem among farmers and nomadic pastoralists of the county with natural as well as human instigated factors responsible for this. The study aimed at examining the challenges and prospects of Muslim organizations and institutions in mitigating food insecurity in the county. In this regard, the study was guided by the wajibatun lillah conceptual framework. This is a concept that encourages hard work, independence in sustenance and discourages dependence in all its manifestations. This conceptual framework is reconstructed from the fundamental tenets of Islam which can assist address food insecurity: wajib (divine obligation), ihsan (piety) and shughlun (work). The study reviewed relevant literature on food insecurity under four main themes. These included the Islamic teachings on mitigation of food insecurity; factors underlying food insecurity and the influence of food insecurity on the livelihoods of the Muslims of Isiolo County. Finally are the prospects of the organizations and institutions in mitigating food insecurity in the said county through harmonious integration of programmes towards the same. The study gathered both primary as well as secondary data. The target population consisted of Muslims living in the county with informants being sampled from two divisions, Central and East. The sample size of the study was 147 informants drawn from amongst leaders of Muslim Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), members of the Muslim community, government officials, representatives of relevant Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). To sample these informants, random, purposive and stratified sampling methods were used. The study largely employed qualitative methods of data collection and analysis in line with the objectives of the study. Data presentation has been done in form of discussions, narratives as well as use of descriptive statistics such as pie charts, line graphs and frequency tables where applicable. The research found out among other things that Islam encourages hard work and independence in sustenance. Islamic teachings encourage the Muslim faithful to help the poor and needy among them to become self reliant. The study also revealed that causes of food insecurity in Isiolo County are both natural and human instigated. It was also found out that the Muslim organizations and institutions just as other stakeholders like the Government of Kenya (GoK) agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), have not been successful in mitigating food insecurity in the county on their individual bases. This formed the basis for the need to have harmonious integration of strategies aimed at mitigating food insecurity in Isiolo County by all stakeholders.