The Salvation Army’s Kenya Territories Continue Drought Response

Young people from Turkana, Kenya, collect water from a Salvation Army bowser.

Kenya (September 30, 2011) – The Salvation Army’s two Kenya territories are pushing on with their drought relief activities. Both territories continue to monitor the situation, constantly looking for relevant, innovative ways of responding to the drought crisis.

The Kenya West Territory is concentrating its efforts on Turkana, a desert area in the north, where access to water is the biggest problem. In the previous major drought during 2006 The Salvation Army bought tractors and bowsers (mobile water containers). These are being fully utilized during the current drought transporting water to more than 20 remote areas. Around 2,500 families and nine schools are benefitting from weekly water deliveries.

This is obviously not a permanent solution but there are plans to drill boreholes, ideally linked to solar-powered pumps – there is definitely no lack of sun in Turkana! The first borehole project is under way and the hydrological survey has started. The borehole will be located in a school and benefit the surrounding community as well as the 500 schoolchildren.

A ‘food for fees’ program is being put in place. In Kenya parents usually have to pay school fees in order for their children to attend secondary schools. The fees cover food, water, materials, and transport. In Turkana many families – often pastoralists whose small flocks of sheep or goats have died because of the drought – have no money for food, let alone school fees.

The Salvation Army’s project will provide all 17 secondary and high schools in Turkana with food, benefitting a total of 5,886 children. There is an agreement with the schools that in exchange for food, school fees will be waived for the coming term. This will benefit the school, which can concentrate its resources on teaching materials, as well as the children, who will be able to continue their schooling and know they will get at least one good meal a day.

Meetings have taken place with the Ministry of Water, the Ministry of Education, Oxfam, World Vision, the Kenyan Red Cross, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other helping groups. Elizabeth Nabutola, the Head of WFP’s Turkana Office says “No one is targeting secondary schools. The Salvation Army would really fill a gap.”

An international Salvation Army emergency response team is now in Turkana and others will be sent in support of the territory during the coming months.

In The Salvation Army’s Kenya East Territory, following a thorough assessment, the initial response will be to help drought-affected people around the town of Isiolo. One of the projects being undertaken is emergency food provision to 5,000 people for the next three months. Funding is being provided by The Salvation Army’s Hong Kong and Macau Command.

The second major project now under way concerns the alleviation of hunger among primary school children in and around Machakos. More than 3,500 children in 16 primary schools will be provided with a lunchtime meal during the next two school terms to ensure they survive this very difficult time.

Funding is in place for the current projects but the drought is likely to get worse over the coming months, with the amount of money available directly limiting the number of people who can be helped.

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