Samburu Community Assistance Project – Kenya Drought Relief Update

Our first distribution was on October 13, 2011, in Swari, a community in the Nariminimo location in Samburu East District. The village relief committee had selected the neediest of various vulnerable groups such as but not limited to pregnant and lactating mothers, orphans, the very sick, the disabled, the elderly and economically impoverished. In all the beneficiaries were 90 households selected from a total of 694 people living in the village.

Our community mobilizers and local volunteers together with our core program staff handled the distribution fairly, courteously and efficiently. In fact we received many positive comments about our entire process as compared with other NGOs and the government.

We distributed in total 950 kg of beans, 875 kg of Unimix, 90 liters of oil and 45 kg of salt for an average of ~21 kgs for each of the beneficiary households. As supplementary food this can have a substantial positive impact on these families over the course of a month.

At the same time a free medical camp was conducted with the local government nurse and one of our clinical officers. They saw in total 76 patients. Common ailments were eye infections, arthritis, skin rashes and respiratory illnesses, but they also saw 3 cases of malnutrition and one case of suspected cancer. In fact even with the government clinic in the village the medical need was great. We can only imagine what we will encounter once going deeper in to the hinterland.

Amongst the patients was a mother with her 4 weeks old baby. When asked what the name of the baby was the mother replied that they had not given it a name yet. The mother then asked the name of one of our program officers that was assisting in the mobile clinic. Her name is Susan. The mother then declared the baby’s name as Susan! The incident illustrates the excitement and gratitude the community felt for the food and medicine they received, which was more than they had ever received during the drought at any one time.

We found the village relief committee to be responsible and helpful, the community patient and disciplined. It was a joy to serve them and we look forward to be part of making a difference in their lives in the months to come.

We have another 6 villages lined up for distribution next week. The second batch of community mobilizers are starting their work this week and even more will be added to the distribution schedule in the following weeks. In total our goal is to distribute 25 tons of supplementary food in 20 villages over the next month. We will also host medical clinics in those villages and plan to screen over 1,000 patients. Additionally we plan to disinfect and treat more than 30 water tanks and water points throughout the district.

Our principle partners in this intervention are the village relief committees, the Government of Kenya, The Samburu East Women’s Empowerment Forum and Kindernothilfe (Germany).