A Vaccine at a time: Strengthening the resilience and livelihoods of the people of Marsabit County

Racho Dulacha, 37 year old – Mudhe. Photo Credit/Melva Consulting
Our animals were saved from death and even those that looked weakly became healthy after some time.
Racho Dulacha

I started tending to my father’s herd of cattle when I was only 10 years old. I would be sent out to look for pasture in the fields and then come back in the evening when the animals had enough to eat and drink.         

Back then, we would move from one area to another with our livestock in search of pasture which is a stark contrast from what we do presently. We have discarded our nomadic Culture and embraced a sedentary way of living where we build manyattas (huts) in one place. When we experience drought spells reminiscent of that one in 2015, we are forced to go very far in search for pasture for weeks on end.

In 2015, I was forced to move my herd of about 300 animals (Camels, Cattle and goats) to Hurri Hills. When we arrived, we found other herders complaining about the health of their cattle. Most animals were drooling and walking with a limp. I asked one of the herders if he had called Daktari or any of the health officers since he had a mobile phone and he intimated he had not.

I got so worried for my animals and decided to walk to Marsabit Town, close to 40 kilometres away, to buy medicine in an effort to protect my herd from becoming as sick. On my arrival at the Veterinary shop in Marsabit, the seller told me of a planned vaccination campaign by The County Government and Concern Worldwide and I made my journey back as the vaccination exercise would be taking place in Hurri Hills the next day.

I was happy that I saved money that I would otherwise have spent on the drugs but even happier that my friends and relatives would benefit from the vaccination. Our animals were saved from death and even those that looked weakly became healthy after some time.

Narrated by Racho Dulacha, 37 year old – Mudhe, a pastoralist from Marsabit County and beneficiary of the ECHO funded Strengthening Resilience and Livelihoods of the People living in Arid and Semi Arid LAnds ofKenya. 

The La Nina Consortium,established in February 2011 by 5 INGOs with a collective purpose of strengthening the resilience of people living in the ASALs with longer-term support, includes a flexible funding mechanism dubbed the emergency response envelope/fund which is aimed at reducing the amount of time taken to respond to local humanitarian crises down from a month to between 48-72 hours at most. In 2015-2016, the Consortium responded to a Foot and Mouth Disease Emergency in Marsabit County using the Emergency Envelope Fund, where 152,160 pastoralists benefitted from a vaccination exercise, saving their animal salives. 

[1] VSF Germany, VSF Suisse, VSF Belgium,  ACTED and Oxfam (consortium lead)