By Clifford AkumuAs drought continues to hit many parts of the country hundreds of livestock have died while many families have fled their home in search of food. A group of young professionals under the banner ‘The Grand Team’ have launched an initiative to sensitize the communities on how to combat the effects of drought through participatory fora.
The initiative whose main aim is to preach message of solutions and opportunities will be disseminated throughout the 47 counties starting next week to assist the worst hit areas improve their living standards.
The caravan of hope, said Mr. Edward Thairu has prioritised the Coastal region, especially Kilifi County as its first stop over since its one of the hardest hit areas.
“We want to sensitize communities living in the drought stricken areas on use of technology such as water harvesting techniques, use of sand dams that will enable them be food secure” said Mr. Edward Thairu, executive director The Grand Team during the launch in Nairobi.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), drought situation is threatening 1.3 million lives in Kenya. Kilifi County has been identified as having the severest vegetation deficit. Kinango in Kwale and Lamu West sub-counties are also in the severe vegetation deficit band.
“One county (Kilifi) is in the alarm drought phase, while all others are in alert or normal, with a generally worsening trend,” the authority says in its October national drought early warning bulletin.
Lack of awareness on how to convert resources into life-changing opportunities has been cited as one of the challenges fuelling the runaway food insecurity in most regions of the country a situation that has left the professionals worried.
According to Mr. Eliud, the initiative will also mobilise food donations for the most affected counties, noting that all Kenyans must enjoy the fruits of had fought independence.
“We are mobilising food trucks from well-wishers e.g. red cross, businessmen and young professionals from our team to take and distribute to these families” he said.
The team will hold county town hall meetings, host interactive forums and establish a budgetary advisory council made of community members and other county members as a roadmap in passing the right information.
According to the team, the information will be collected from all the 47 counties and presented to the government for implementation purposes.
“As a team we are on a fact finding mission as professionals to look at long lasting solutions to these problems of food insecurity, health, infrastructure among others”
“Information gathered through interactions with people at the grassroot level is going to be beneficial to the government and the common man in the village” he added.
The meetings are to engage the ordinary mwananchi at the grassroot level; the village elders where we can come together and look at ways of improving their life.
“We have various activities lined for the counties during this initiative. This program will rope in governors, youth, the women and disadvantaged group at the community level” said Thairu.
The government has come under heavy criticism on its fight against corruption, when asked on their role in fighting corruption at the county level, the team remained tight-lipped adding that most of the alleged scandals where under investigations.
“Various bodies are already investigating this scandal. We will give a comprehensive statement after these investigations as young professionals” Thairu noted.
Introduction of e-systems, access to free maternity and business investment opportunities in the country, the team stated, are some of the achievement that needs to be explained for the communities.
“We need to educate our people to ensure that resources available in the county governments are fully utilized” he concluded.