Working through local partners in Kenya

Wednesday, August 16, 2023
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The theme behind the current drought emergency response in the Horn of Africa is ‘leave no one behind.’

Mary Obiero, CWS director of relief development and protection


PARTNER: Church World Service (CWS)

Around the world, we are seeing the impacts of severe climate on hunger – and Marsabit county in the northern region of Kenya is no exception.

In this region, people affected by hunger are almost completely reliant on humanitarian food assistance as they live through the worst drought in 40 years. The historic drought has affected close to 90 per cent of the population in Marsabit county. Livelihoods have been ravaged, including massive numbers of camel deaths which are typically very resilient to drought.

For the pastoralist communities living in this county, the loss of livestock is devastating. Some individuals who once owned more than 1,000 goats now own less than 50 and are losing more by the day due to the drought. For others, they have travelled hundreds of kilometers on foot away from home to find food for their herd.

And for the families who remain, it’s a thirteen kilometer walk just to access drinking water.

That’s where Church World Service (CWS) steps in. Supported by our member Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and the Government of Canada, CWS is supporting about 14,000 people with monthly food baskets composed of maize, beans, iodized salt and cooking oil in Laisamis and North Horr sub-counties. Additionally, households with pregnant and nursing mothers with young children and/or elderly family members also receive a monthly ration of corn-soya blend.

Church World Service (CWS) emergency food distribution

At this food distribution site, food parcels are set up in rows categorized by the size of the family and whether an additional supplement is required. (Photo: Newton Waweru)

CWS director of relief development and protection Mary Obiero was recently in Canada, where she visited Manitoba and Ontario to share her stories of impact with Foodgrains Bank supporters – stories of hope, as well as difficulty, and resilience in the face of it all.

“The theme behind the current drought emergency response in the Horn of Africa is ‘leave no one behind’,” says Obiero, “and true to this theme, Marsabit communities have been the best at it. The communities care for each other, sharing food with neighbors and relatives to ensure nobody dies from hunger. This is the most caring community I have met in my life and is true to the word in the Bible in 2 Kings 4:7, when the widow shared the only oil she had in faith and hope that someone will provide for tomorrow.”

Foodgrains Bank has been working with CWS Kenya through PWRDF since December 2021.

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