Thousands of livestock farmers in five counties in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid region are set to benefit from improved water and sanitation facilities, in a new programme that will also give them access to training and credit facilities.
This follows the signing of a partnership between the KCB Foundation and Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) under the Kenya Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development Program (Kenya RAPID), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC).
The partnership signed in Nairobi will see the KCB Foundation—the KCB Group social investment arm—through its Mifugo Ni Mali programme work with MWA to stimulate enterprises that will support livestock value chain improvement in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs).
This is part of Kenya RAPID’s work to improve access to safely-managed drinking water, sanitation and hygiene over the next four years.
The partners said the programme, billed as one of the most transformative partnerships, is expected to transform the lives of citizens in the five counties of Isiolo, Turkana, Garissa, Wajir and Marsabit.
KCB Foundation executive director Jane Mwangi said: “Through this strategic partnership, we foresee productive and sustainable commercialised livestock and water sectors in the targeted counties. There is a great untapped potential in the counties. We believe this will contribute to an enhanced economic status for the households and the counties as a whole”.
MWA executive director Rafael Callejas echoed the importance of the partnership that is anchored on private sector involvement in driving sustainable economic activity.
“We are looking at changing livelihoods through innovative business models. The small scale entrepreneurs will also have more opportunity for training on getting and managing credit,” Callejas said.
Through the partnership, the KCB Foundation will conduct financial literacy training of 100 SMEs in the livestock and water value chains, support pasture production, prepare water service providers and livestock keepers for commercial loans of up to $ 1 million (about Ksh 103.3 million).
This is in addition to sharing technologies and approaches in sustainable service delivery.
Other private-sector partners include Aqua for All, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, SweetSense, Acacia Water, IBM, Davis & Shirtliff, and Vitol Foundation.
Kenya RAPID which targets to reach over 450,000 Kenyans begun in 2015.
It aims at increasing the average water coverage in the ASALs, which includes rebuilding of healthy rangeland-management and providing water access to livestok.
Kenya RAPID is a $ 35.5 million (Ksh3.7billion)joint investment of $12.5 million (Ksh1.29 billion from USAID, $ 7.5 million(Ksh774.4 million ) from SDC, $ 12.5 million (Ksh 1.29 billion ) from private-sector partners, and $ 3 million (Ksh309.8 billion ) from MWA, a US-based consortium of 15 non-government organisations.
The KCB Foundation’s Mifugo Ni Mali programme has been in the forefront of driving economic expansion in the ASALs.
Launched in 2014, Mifugo Ni Mali (Livestock is Wealth) collaborates with livestock producers in the ASALs to accelerate commercialisation of the livestock sector, ensuring livestock keepers retain a higher proportion of the final sale price of the livestock.
Using market organisations through cooperatives, group ranches, livestock value chain enterprises are helped to address productivity, nutrition and husbandry challenges, and also gain access to discounted loans.
To date, the programme has invested more than $ 3 million (Ksh 309.8 billion), of which about $1 million (Ksh 103.3 million) has been loaned out to livestock producer organisations at discounted rate of zero (0%) interest.
More than 1,000 livestock keepers from the five counties have been trained on how to grow and feed livestock on hydroponic fodder.
This innovative technology will help address the drought situation in ASAL counties since the fodder requires little water to grow and is ready as livestock feed within seven days.
The KCB Foundation has invested an estimated Ksh1 billion in community programmes in Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.
By Martin Mwita