Inside this issue; Program Induction, Post Distribution Monitoring, Story of Change
Child Protection in Drought Emergencies program is focused on increased challenges and risks towards children in pastoral communities effectuated by prevalent droughts in Marsabit County.
Identified risks and threats are but not limited to dropping out of school and child abuse.
With Support from Terre des Hommes, SND carried out an integrated cash transfer program to impede these risks in five locations Watiti, Antut, Maeyi, Kukub and Moyale town within Moyale and Sololo Sub-Counties for three consecutive months starting 17TH Jan 2022.
The Borana and Garre communities residing in Watiti, Antut, Maeyi and Kukub are heavily reliant on nomadic pastoralism as a way of life; This centers their daily lives upon herding livestock by rotating through traditional grazing lands essential to support their herding needs. Due to the ongoing drought, households are in dire need and are increasing their reliance on humanitarian assis-tance from national, the county government, and humanitarian agencies.
SND identified these disaster stricken locations where children might fall victims to child abuse and possibly dropping out of school to assist in efforts to find grazing lands for their succumbing livestock. In efforts to prevent this from happening, we set out to have a discussion with the local communities residing in these areas to advocate for child protection and intervene to rescue children at risk.
Our first Stop – Watiti. A small village about 40 km from Moyale. Amiable faces and genuine smiles receive us, perhaps comforted by the familiar SND officers that represent a brief sign of relief. We convened in a nearby homestead under a neem tree that shielded us from the unforgiving sun as village elders, women, and the youth assembled momentarily.
Mr. Jillo Bonaya, the program officer familiarizes the community on the selection criteria and coordinates with the Project Implementation Committee (PIC), which makes up the community, to understand and identify which households are extremely vulnerable.
The selection criteria targets the following:
- Caregiver of orphans and vulnerable children.
- Households with dropped children from school because of drought.
- House holds with children at risk of drought and child abuse.
- Households headed by single mothers.
- Victims of abuse.
Post Distribution Monitoring After effect
Through the entirety of the cash transfer program, SND carried out focus group discussions and post distribution monitor-ing after every monthly disbursement. Monitoring is an essential activity that helps us obtain feedback from the beneficiaries in order to improve on our services and level of satisfaction.
The exercise was carried out in all the project implementation sites. The key finding revolves around the following:
- Whether the beneficiaries have received their entitled sum.
- The mode of cash utilization.
- Spending habits.
- The involvement of children.
- The beneficiaries coping mechanisms and their socio economic bracket.
- Ways in which the program has impacted the lives of the beneficiaries.
On the first monitoring, we meet Fatuma Agolle, a grandmother and caregiver of four children; she lives in Antut, a community concentrated in one area, surrounded by a vast landscape. I used to own a lot of cows, a lot.” She recalls. “Before the drought, I sold milk from my livestock—the money I would receive from that I would utilize to take care of my children. We do not have the luxury of living beyond our means; our elemental need is only food and water. Everything else comes second; clothing and other items are of no priority.”
With the prevalent drought, livestock deaths, lack of water, and fertile farming land, you would wonder how the communities in this area survive. So, I ask her.
“Sometimes, we slaughter one of the feeblest animals and feed on koche for days as a last resort.”
Koche is a Borana word that translates to dried tradition-al meat products. Meat undergoes various stages of processing for preservation. Women in the Borana community cut meat into thin strips and deep fry it to get rid of moisture.
“We come together as a community and raise funds to buy water. We have a water boozer of 10000 liters from Moyale on speed dial, and it costs us 9000 Ksh. Some of us do not have the money, so we trade our livestock to cover the cost.” Fatuma goes further to explain that they source water once every week. Some of it is poured into the local mosque’s storage tank, and the rest is distributed to community storage tanks. They use this water for consumption, cooking, and feeding it to their livestock.
“I sat by myself thinking, my animals are dying, I have no food for these children, the shops that loaned me foodstuffs have shut their door on me. I have no money to pay them what I owe. What am I to do? I would rather starve but not my children.” She narrates as we sit outside her round hut under a shade provided by the thatched roof.
You have just received your first cash aid as a pastoralist after enduring the consequences and harshness of a prolonged drought. What do you do now?
“When I received the 5,067 Ksh from SND, I took the time to think and prioritize my children’s needs. I was able to buy food and shoes for my youngest child. I also shared 1000Ksh to my neighbor who did not match the beneficiary selection criteria to cater for herself and her children.”
“Has the money helped you?” I ask.
“Immensely!” She remarks. “If SND had not intervened, many people would have perished from hunger. In my case, I bought food for my children, bought them new school uniforms and livestock feed for my animals in hopes that they may survive long enough for the rainy season to commence. I have accumulated debts, but I cannot afford to pay them right now; For these three months, I will have food on the table for my children; they will be well, everything will be better; I’m confident!”
A few months ago, Fatuma, a grandmother, and caregiver to 4 orphaned children who falls in the 13% of caregivers category lived a life that is hard to endure for a 60-year-old. Her children and her were matched as a beneficiary of CPDE through a selection criteria that targets the most vulnerable families. Although she is the formal beneficiary, the funds are to be used appropriately to cater to the welfare of the children she takes care of.
Recently, the psychological burden overweighing her has been briefly lifted off her shoulders through this unanticipated intervention. She states that she is much happier and relieved having the surety of securing a meal for her children. Fatuma still finds it in her heart to help those around her regardless of their differences. “We are one people; what’s mine is ours; I receive as much as I give when I am in need, so why would I not care for others?” she asks rhetorically.
Story of Change
During the last monitoring, we come across Darmi Dabasso, a widow and mother to 8 children at Kukub. We find her rinsing beans in preparation for lunch. Darmi migrated from southern Ethiopia to Kenya due to socioeconomic hardships and registered for citizenship. Darmi was unable to attend school when she was young. She explains that she had a passion for learning but had been engaged in other responsibilities assigned to her by her parents. As a girl child, formal education was not prioritized. She however hopes for a better and different life for her children who she enrolled in Kukub primary school. “It is among the main reasons I moved here; I want my children to go to learn. I come from a very remote village in Ethiopia, and the closest education center is miles away.” She explains.
Darmi is SND’s targeted CPDE beneficiary categorized into criteria 4 (Households headed by single mothers). For two months, Darmi set aside 2500 Ksh from the 5067Ksh. she received in savings to start a small business that she now runs with a bit of help from her oldest son, who helps her with bookkeeping. Darmi realized that there was a market gap in Kukub. Locals would travel 60km to Moyale town to buy foodstuffs and essential items. She then thought of a business plan. “If I save up 2,500 Ksh for two months consecutively, I can start a small business and grow over time”. She reminisces.
After two months with 5000Ksh, in hand, Darmi traveled to Moyale and bought groceries and essential items like detergents to kick start her small business. She has since been selling these items from her house. Her business lifts the burden of the need to pay a hefty transportation fee to buy these goods from Moyale. She says that after realizing profits, she has purchased stationery and essential items for her children with much ease.
However, she is faced with a challenge, as all businesses do: debts. The community has low purchasing power because the locals are not formally or casually employed. The residents solely depended on pastoralism and sales of livestock produce. The drought wiped away about 90% of the livestock per household. The remaining few were sold at meager prices after value depreciation. However, Darmi reports that some buyers pay in cash and business is good.
What can you do?
With your donation of 5,150.00 Ksh. you can feed a house of vulnerable children for one month. Your gift will be put towards the CPDE program to help more families like Fatuma’s and Darmi’s.