Agro – Pastoralism can be defined as farming alongside livestock keeping. Could this be the answer to the decades of malnutrition, hunger, loss of livestock and human suffering among the pastoralist communities living in the arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya, due to prolonged seasons of famine?
A case in point is Lenkism, a remote area in Kajiado County, Kenya. Here poverty levels are high due to the community’s sole reliance on livestock keeping. This has an adverse effect on livelihood development and especially child development.
Due to climate change occasioned by drought and flooding, Lenkism area has been on the receiving end. Climate change is affecting pasture quality and water resources. Most of the children have been forced to drop out of school as the parents migrate to other areas in search of pastures and water for their livestock. In other instances, women have taken the lead role in the families while their husbands are away for months in such of pasture and water for their livestock. This has resulted to a negative effect on family setup and child development.
Hence there is a need to create alternative economic activities, such as agro-pastoralism. This includes irrigation agriculture and water harvesting, poultry and bee keeping, and small-scale businesses.
It is against this backdrop that Community Initiatives Agenda Kenya, is working with the communities from Olooilalei and Oloolakir Village in Lenkism to create alternative economic activities. To this effect, CIA has identified agro – pastoralism as a viable project.
The agro – pastoralism project, seeks to help the community to engage in fodder farming which will enable them to meet their livestock nutritional needs and sell the surplus. Hence enabling them to pay school fees, hospital bills, buy other foodstuff and clothing. The project will also go a long way to help the families settle in the villages due to the availability of fodder and water.
This will have a ripple effect in the children’s education, in that they will not be disrupted due to the migration in search of pasture and water. School enrollment will increase and, and cases of malnutrition will reduce. The locals will also get a chance to visit the local health Centers.
In order for this project to work, Community Initiatives Agenda is seeking for partners to assist in sinking boreholes in the area, as there are no rivers around.
We note that, land as a resource is readily available in the area.