Critical Support in Drought Mitigation for Turkana and West Pokot Counties, Kenya

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - Kenya) has played an instrumental role as a partner and donor to VSF Germany in supporting the most vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Turkana and West Pokot Counties in Kenya over the last five years. The most recent partnership was through the project "Livelihoods Support to Mitigate the Impact of Drought for the Most Vulnerable Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Communities of Turkana and West Pokot Counties". The project was implemented for a period of five (5) months between September 1, 2023 and January 31, 2024. It aimed to enhance the resilience of these communities against the severe impacts of drought.

  • Livelihoods Support to Mitigate the Impact of Drought for the Most Vulnerable Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Communities of Turkana and West Pokot Counties

    Official Title

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)


  • 11,428,645 KES


  • September 2023 – January 2024

The project was highly relevant to the pressing needs of the communities in Turkana and West Pokot, two areas identified as most affected by drought, according to  the NDMA’s drought early warning and monitoring system. For instance, Turkana Central Sub- County was chosen due to its critical conditions reported by the NDMA, such as low rainfall, high Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 25.4%, poor forage conditions, long distances to water points for livestock, significantly reduced crop production, and the widespread presence of Prosopis Juliflora, which hinders agricultural activities. These factors made this sub-county especially vulnerable, highlighting the urgent need for support to safeguard lives and livelihoods.

The project funds were utilized efficiently to significantly contribute towards improving nutrition and protecting the livelihoods of the drought-impacted pastoral and agro-pastoral communities within the targeted counties.

Key Achievements:

Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT+): The project successfully disbursed cash transfers to 1,300 households (800 in Turkana and 500 in West Pokot), benefiting a total of 14,443 household members. This support met the immediate dietary needs of children under two years and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Livestock Feed Distribution: A total of 1,300 households received livestock feeds, improving the nutrition and productivity of their animals. The people affected by drought were also trained on effective feed utilization and animal husbandry practices, leading to enhanced livestock health management and milk production.

Animal Health Services: 380,000 livestock were dewormed and vaccinated, protecting them from diseases and ensuring the sustainability of pastoral livelihoods. This intervention supported 20,431 households with a population of 61,293 people (24,517 males and 36,776 females)

Enhanced Access to Water: In Turkana, 17 collapsible tanks and 25 plastic tanks, each with a capacity of 10,000 litres, were distributed. The collapsible tanks, filled with water by the Ministry of Water, benefited 3,400 pastoralists who migrate in search of water. The fixed plastic tanks, also filled by the Ministry of Water, provided water to 5,000 pastoralists in sedentary villages, who remain behind when others migrate in search of food and pasture.

Synergies and Complementarities

The project targeted the most vulnerable households for cash transfers. In order to ensure that the animal health interventions complemented existing government programs, the project worked closely with the Department of Veterinary Services and the Department of Livestock Production. Additionally, the Department of Water provided water to the communities through the distributed tanks. The involvement of local chiefs and village committees in mobilization and beneficiary selection fostered community ownership and transparency, enhancing the overall effectiveness and acceptance of the project.

Stakeholders and Implementation:

Under the project, VSF Germany was the implementing partner but worked in close collaboration with key stakeholders including the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the County Governments of Turkana and West Pokot, local leaders (such as chiefs and ward administrators), and community-based organizations. The County Steering Groups (CSG) in Turkana and West Pokot provided essential oversight and approval of project activities, ensuring alignment with local needs and priorities.

The success of this project lays a solid foundation for continued partnership between FAO, VSF Germany, and local stakeholders. Plans are underway to extend support for cash transfers, livestock feeds, and treatment services in the coming months. Additionally, the distribution of water tanks will be prioritized to mitigate future drought impacts. Through these collaborative efforts and a  community-driven approach, the resilience of the targeted communities has been significantly strengthened, preparing them to better withstand future climatic shocks.