Bureau régional de la FAO pour l'Afrique

Strengthening self-reliance among drought-affected communities in Eastern Africa

FAO, Japan launched a project to support herders and pastoralists

H.E. Amb of Japan, Toshihiko Horiuchi & FAO's Chimimba David Phiri delivering remarks at the program launching event. ©FAO

19 April 2023, Addis Ababa:- Targeting drought-affected herders and agro-pastoralists in Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, a new project is poised to provide access to food, cash and other basic goods and services to vulnerable communities while protecting and restoring their productive assets.

The project, “Mitigating the impact of drought for the most vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda,” is a joint initiative of the Government of Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), setting off to offer households with cash and other valuable inputs to meet their immediate food, nutrition and health needs, as well as rebuild their productive assets, including animals and fodders.

The joint programme is implemented at the time when the Horn of Africa is experiencing severe drought, as a result of five consecutive poor rainy seasons – the worst in 40 years. The food insecurity situation in drought-affected areas is expected to persist, driving high humanitarian needs well through 2023, with forecasts predicting a sixth failed rainy season in March-May 2023. Many of the areas that have been worst-affected by the drought are pastoral in nature, with below-average rains and poor pasture - the condition which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in search of life-saving aid.

Recognizing this dire situation, the Government of Japan and FAO launched the project to alleviate the vulnerability of a total of 69 120 beneficiaries in the three countries: 45 000 people in districts of Karamoja in Uganda; 12 000 people in Baringo and Samburu regions in Kenya; and 12 120 people in Arta, Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Tadjourah and Obock regions of Djibouti.

During the launch, H.E. Mr Toshihiko Horiuchi, Ambassador of Japan to the African Union, noted that millions of vulnerable people in the three countries are facing acute food insecurity as the subregion encounters one of the worst droughts in recent decades, compounded by years of drought, conflict and instability, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising food prices.

“The project launch comes at a critical time when drought affects the livelihoods of many communities in Africa, especially in the Eastern Africa subregion. With the effective implementation of this project, we will be able to mitigate drought-induced crises faced by vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the three targeted countries,” noted H.E. Ambassador Horiuchi.

Appreciating the contribution of the Government of Japan to alleviate the plight of vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa, David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, reaffirmed that, with this contribution, FAO would be in a better position to keep herders and pastoral communities on their feet by reducing their exposure to shocks and building their livelihoods bases.

“FAO will continue working towards increasing pastoralists’ resilience by promoting disaster risk reduction management, early warning systems and enhanced knowledge and education to help communities cope with climate change implications such as droughts and floods,” stressed Phiri.

About the project

The Government of Japan availed FAO with USD 2 million to implement a subregional project, “Mitigating the impact of drought for the most vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda” with a duration of twelve months. The project will primarily target drought-affected herders and agro-pastoralists, who are experiencing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. The interventions will combine cash and livelihoods packages (CASH+) to provide immediate relief, allowing poor households to meet their basic needs (food and nutritional needs, water, health, etc.). They will also protect livelihoods’ assets (productive animals) with the provision of animal feed, mineral blocks and range cubes.