In May 2023, the National Drought Early Warning Bulletin revealed that 17 counties in the ASALs had returned to the normal phase. However, the specter of malnutrition still loomed large due to the prolonged period between drought recovery and food availability.
We met Maryama Ibrahim Alinur, a resilient 30-year-old mother of five living in Funan Teso village, nestled within the Kiliwehiri sub-county of Mandera County. Like many families in the region, her life had been fraught with hardships caused by the relentless droughts that plagued the area between 2020 and 2023.
“The drought has been extremely severe and significantly impacted our daily lives. Before receiving the cash assistance, making ends meet was an uphill battle, especially with the constant care required for my young children and the absence of a stable source of income,” Maryama recalled.
But Maryama’s story took a hopeful turn when she became part of a transformative initiative led by NAPAD, with financial support from ECHO and the Kenya Cash Consortium. This consortium, spearheaded by ACTED and the ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN) in partnership with Oxfam and IMPACT, is on a mission to change lives.
The goal is to provide multi-purpose cash assistance to crisis-affected households grappling with food insecurity in the ASALs. Maryama’s village, Funan Teso, and five other locations, namely, Ardaidi, Basdugdera, Qababuto, Eymole, and Khot Khot, situated in Kiliwehiri sub-county, Mandera County, became a focal point for change witnessing the remarkable impact of this initiative.
This initiative is a lifeline for Maryama and 785 other vulnerable households. Each family is entitled to three monthly cash transfers, each receiving KES. 10,472 per cycle. This intervention has complemented the ongoing drought response efforts by KCC partners and represented anticipatory early action to respond to crises affecting local communities.
With gratitude, Maryama shared her newfound hope and optimism, “I feel grateful to Allah for being part of this program, where I have received cash for the past two months. This has made a significant difference in our lives. With the money, I have been able to buy food for my children and ensure they are well-fed. I have also met several other basic needs for my household.”
But Maryama’s aspirations didn’t stop there. She has showcased her determination and resourcefulness by saving some money. With it, she purchased two goats, aiming to secure a sustainable source of milk for her children.
Maryama’s story is a testament to the resilience and potential of the communities in the ASALs. With the support of NAPAD and its dedicated partners, families like Maryama’s are surviving and thriving, even in the face of adversity. Maryama’s dream of providing for her family independently is within reach, thanks to the power of community, resilience, and a helping hand in times of need.