Emergency relief, household food security and community response among pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Baringo district, Kenya
Nandili, Mary C. Ishepe
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Currently, available reports indicate that natural disasters constitute a major contributing factor to global food insecurity and human ill health, particularly in areas prone to drought, floods or agricultural pest out-breaks. The most vulnerable groups during such disasters are the poor, mothers and children. It is, therefore the responsibility of national governments and their development partners to put in place certain disaster mitigation activities in such disaster prone areas to buffer the impacts of such crises on the vulnerable groups and reinforce their capacity to cope. Baringo District within the arid areas of Kenya suffers greatly from climatic instability calls for emergency food relief whenever sever droughts occur. This study was designed to examine emergency food relief requirements, household food security among the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Baringo District with the aim of looking at ways to formulate new paradigms to disaster response. A total of 357 male and female adult respondents were recruited into the study. These respondents were drawn from Nginyang Division (pastoralists) and Bartabwa Division (Agro-pastoralists) of Baringo District. Data was collected using pre-tested questionnaires and focus group discussions. Quantitative data was analyzed using the SPSS while the t-test, Chi-square test and Fisher's Exact test were used to determine the significance of differences between means of various variables, compare proportions of nominal variables and when expected values were less than five respectively. The results of this study showed that 98% and 63% of respondents in Nginyang and Bartabwa Divisions of Baringo District were pastoralists and agro-pastoralists respectively. Approximately 99% of these respondents received food ratio from GOK and NGOs. Drought, disease and cattle rustling were the most common factors that impacted negatively on food security. Some 83% of the respondents owned animals as a food security measure and about 50% of these died from disease and drought-related causes. Despite rampant food insecurity and poor feeding patterns, morbidity and mortality rates were relatively low compared to other ASA areas with about 50% of the respondents having suffered some form of ailments during the duration of the study. Traditional herbs were used to treat various illnesses since modern health facilities were inaccessible and unaffordable. The two communities harboured certain attitudes and practices such as cattle rustling, strong belief in traditional foods and rigidity towards starting income generating activities that did not enhance food security. The results of this study indicated further that the assisting agencies should institute more effective strategies aimed at improving lifestyles of these communities by introducing long term development programs that would make them responsible and self reliant. These findings may have the potential to influence development policies in Baringo District and map out effective strategies with regard to enhanced food security and improvement of environmental management.
- MST-Zoological Sciences