Photo Credit/Oxfam

Cash assistance saving livestock in the face of drought

It was late in the evening when we met the El Gade community. As we were concluding our discussion, 45-year Abdub Kalla raised his hand as if to ask a question and through the interpreter asked why he hadn’t been interviewed on how he had benefitted from the e-wallet cash transfer. One more interview wouldn’t hurt us, so we set off to a quiet place in a nearby manyatta to talk to him. I requested to take his photo before the interview because the sun was setting; he asked for a minute to adjust his head gear before I could take his photo and this is his story.

Tell me about yourself

My name is Abdub Kalla. I am 45 years, a husband and a father of four children. I have 10 camels and 30 goats which two of my children help to graze in the mountains. The other two children live with me and my wife and are in school. I engage in casual labour like digging of pit latrines within El Gade to be able to provide for my family.

How has drought affected you?

I lost 125 goats when the drought intensified. We survive on the little milk from the remaining 30 goats, and now I have to engage in casual labour to get some money to buy food for my family. This centre is very small, and there aren’t many constructions going on, so I don’t get jobs often.

Why didn’t you sell your animals before the drought?

Do you sell your land when there is drought? Livestock for us is like land. You can’t sell just because there is drought. I wanted to sell a few at some point but the market price was really low, and I would have run at a loss. The animals were also very weak and would not fetch a good market price.

Tell me about the support you received

We received KES 3,000 (24 Euros) through our Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) cards for buying drugs and food for our livestock.  This will helped our livestock cope better with the drought and also preventing more deaths. At that time all my animals were sick; they were infested with ticks and worms. After withdrawing the money, I immediately rushed to Sidai store to buy animal drugs and feed for my livestock.  I bought drugs to de-worm my animals and also control the ticks. I also bought two 50kgs bags of pellets that lasted for two and a half months.

Was the money beneficial?

“It was very beneficial; all my animals were sick before we got the money. The drugs and food really helped, I haven’t lost any since then. However, I hope in future they will allow us to spend some money on food. We went to town excited when the agent told us the money had been sent to our cards, but we were not allowed to buy anything apart from the drugs and livestock feed. When we came back in the evening, our children were running to us asking for biscuits and sweets, but we couldn’t give them anything. My wife was angry at me, she was waiting for me to bring her sugar but when she saw the drugs she asked, “Did you go all the way to town just to buy drugs?” But we are very thankful for the drugs and food for livestock.

The intervention

Through EU humanitarian support, Oxfam in Kenya and Concern worldwide have supported 1600 households in Marsabit County with the much-needed cash assistance to buy medicines and food for their livestock. In coming months, Oxfam aims to reach 600,000 people in Wajir and Turkana with clean water and sanitation through supporting county governments to maintain and repair water points as well as 36,000 people with cash assistance to buy food and water for household use.