In Kenya, approximately 3.5 million people (24% of the ASAL population) are facing high level of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 31 or above). This is a 10% increase from the same period a year ago. The 2021-2022 drought has been the longest in recorded history and the most severe with massive livelihood losses and widespread displacement of people. As at September 2022, Wajir county was listed as one of the adversely affected regions in Kenya, with more than 45% of its population acutely affected by the drought. This situation put at great risk the livelihoods of the populations who greatly depend on pastoralism for their livelihoods.
Asli Dugow Qaaris, 50, is a mother of ten and a resident of Kursi village in the outskirts of Wajir town. Asli, like many other community members has felt the dire effects of the drought that has claimed their valued livestock leaving pastoralists far poorer.
The Kenya Drought Response in the Arid and Semiarid Lands (ASAL) has implemented the Multipurpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) as an emergency response to the drought situation. The cash transfer program targets vulnerable members of the community adversely affected by emergency situations and aims at giving people the dignity to make their own choices during a crisis3. Asli is among the households that benefitted from this program.
The WASDA team caught up with her to hear her compelling story on what she calls “a blessing that came in the nick of time”.
This is what Asli has to say;
WASDA: What has been your experience during this drought season?
ASLI: The drought made us desperate. We were unable to get sufficient food for our families and our livestock which is our means of livelihood. Life was just a struggle; we could not afford three meals a day like we had been used to. Watching your children desperate for a meal is not a good experience. We were in a desperate situation before the cash intervention came.
WASDA: What is your experience with the cash intervention?
ASLI: I was not expecting any cash, but it all happened with the wish of Almighty God.
WASDA: How was the cash transfer useful to you?
ASLI: In the first cycle when I received Sh. 9255, I said to myself even before this cash, we are at least eating something small, so it’s better I save it to invest by adding stock to my small shop. I saved part of the cash received.
WASDA: How else was the cash beneficial to you and your household?
ASLI: For the second and third cycle which I also received KS 9255 (USD 75) each, I was able to save a total of KS 16000 (USD 130). I decided to buy a weighing scale for KS 5,000 (USD 40) to use in my small shop in which I sell maize, sugar and few other items.
WASDA: How did the purchase of the weighing scale help your business?
ASLI: Sales are getting better now that my customers are happy and satisfied with the measurements of the goods they buy. In addition, I also bought more shelves for my shop.
WASDA: Was the cash transfer useful in other way?
ASLI: Yes, it was! From part of the money, I was also able to pay for my child’s school fees and enable him to stay in school and receive a good education.
WASDA: Any parting words?
ASLI: My son’s school fee is my biggest worry as he is still in school. I pray that the cash assistance continues for a while to enable us to save and become self-sufficient. However, I am very grateful for this intervention. It is a blessing that came in the nick of time. I have been able to save and invest in my business and also keep my son in school. For that I am very happy.
WASDA: Thank you for your time.
Story compiled by WASDA Team.
Story edited by ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN)
“''This cash support is a blessing that came in the nick of time''”