CIM’s recent visit to the area, specifically Korelach in Lokis, East Pokot, revelaed a desperate situation on the ground which warranted this invitation. Please find below the highlights and recommended strategies for information and partnership consideration.
1. Desperate food situation
The people of East Pokot are highly dependent on relief food. This is as a result of the severe drought in the area that
has affected most of their livestock in this pastoralist community. The situation on the ground revealed that the
community has not received the food rations from October 2014, owing to the security situation in the area. This has
been made worse by the animosity with their neighbouring and warring communities who have in turn blocked off the vehicles carrying the food rations from accessing the Pokot region.
The relief food, normally distributed for World Food programme by World Vision Kenya, is part of the Food for work
programme in the area and the lack of it has literally brought the community to a standstill.
During the visit, we literally had to buy food and distribute to the women who are most vulnerable, together with the
clothes we had taken with us from friends and well wishers. Among the beneficiaries was Jepteker Ng’uriawiang, the
woman who was reported by the Daily Nation in May 2014 to have stolen, slaughtered and eaten her neighbour’s cat
together with her mother early in 2014.
2. Poverty, insecurity and the need for alternatives
Although we went ahead with the Mission to Pokot, we had been advised from many quarters not to go due to the
insecurity situation. Our journey took two days since we had to get an alternative route through Eldoret due to the
tension and insecurity in the areas bordering Pokot and the Tugen. Once on the ground, we were also advised to stay in Tot in Marakwet, more than 50 kms from our mission station. The perception of the insecurity situation in Pokot was clearly worrying and had affected a lot of things.
During our engagement with the young Pokot warriors who are the main people involved in the cattle rustling, we
discovered that the desperate food and poverty situation were the main contributors to the insecurity in East Pokot. The young men confessed to not having an alternative since their cattle had died and they had no food and the only thing they knew was pastoralism. For them the raiding and rustling is a means of survival.
Due to the nomadic lifestyle of the people of East Pokot, the schools are both of low standards and low population.
During our stay, we had to live in tents in one of the schools which is supposed to serve the community yet it only had three classes, only one of which had a floor. . The Pokot do not value education as much as they do their cows and goats.
- As a result of the prevailing circumstances in East pokot, CIM has set up an action plan thus:-
1. Immediate raising of funds/ relief food to help the worsening situation in East Pokot.
This can be purchased from neighbouring markets in the more secure areas to mitigate the transport and insecurity
- Establishing a consistent “food as you work” strategy
This will involve CIM raising food for the people as we continue working with them towards producing their own food. This we perceive is more sustainable than just giving out food for roads and other community projects.
- Campaigning for uniforms for the school children. The target is to raise at least 200 sets of uniforms @ Kshs 500to begin with, the first batch to be delivered by mid January 2015.
This is to serve in two ways:-
a) Clothing the school children that attend school almost naked.
b) Serve as a motivation for more children to be taken to school.
- Acquiring more clothes for the community from partners and well wishers. We had the privilege of giving out clothes to the women and children and a few to the elders. The sight of the people walking almost naked and with tattered clothes was so disturbing. We are grateful to the partners and well wishers who gave towards notably Rev. Agnes Masika who literally cleared her wardrobe to give, CITAM Buruburu and Kingdom
- Roll out the 3 year integrated programme “Operation Tupe kle Out”
a. Mobilization of community
i. Food as they work (Jan- March) 2015
b. Conduct systematic approach on worldview change to reduce nomadism
i. Improvement of livestock
ii. Alternative livelihoods (Agriculture)
iii. Water harvesting
iv. Promotion of moist gardens as kitchen gardens for alternative foods and permanence
v. Promote education
c. Establishment of CIM Resource Centre in Korelach to include:-
i. Training Centre
ii. Accommodation facilities
iii. Chapel/ Church
d. Development of demonstration centres and developing model farmers
i. Training and exposure in Yatta (From January 2015)
ii. 30 acre farm in Kerio Valley growing maize, sorghum, beans and vegetables. This is a strategy for mindset change based on what they see, learn and do.
e. Mobilization of a support team to walk with in the Pokot transformation efforts beginning with a trip to
Korelach for an up close survey of the on the ground issues and a follow up Mission programme from
March 15th- 22nd 2015 Our initial target is 200 households and within 6 months we hope to move to neighbouring centres targeting 600 households by end of 2015.