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Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge MOST/CIRAN
KENYA BP.06

TITLE

Development Programme: Arid or Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL)

DESCRIPTION

The present project is the second phase of the Rural Agriculture and Pastoralist Programme. A variety of institutional partners are taking part in the project, which uses participatory methods to foster the development of sustainable and affordable decentralized animal health services, and improved and environmentally sound livestock production. The community is also being encouraged to increase its own capacity to access resources for its own development. The project is expanding on expertise acquired through similar projects involving decentralised animal health and institutional capacity-building. The aim is to increase the security of pastoralists and marginal farmers in Kenya by improving their ability to control the decision-making processes that affect them, and by increasing their technology options for food production.

THEMES:
PASTORALISM, TRAINING, LIVESTOCK, FARMERS, TRADITIONAL MEDICINE, VETERINARY MEDICINE

COUNTRY: KENYA
Regions: Turkana, Marsabit, and Samburu Districts, and two areas of the Eastern Province

INDIGENOUS ASPECTS

  • Pastoralists and marginal farmers without access to external information and services survive on the basis of their own knowledge of the environment and how to manage it. Any attempts to improve their situation through participatory activities must begin with an understanding of this knowledge. Local knowledge is therefore the starting point for work directed towards animal health, livestock production, and environmental conservation, and the basis of the more socially oriented strategies for coping with drought, resolving conflicts, and sharing common property.
  • IT Kenya has published a training module based on a combination of local veterinary knowledge and modern techniques, which is now being used in various projects.
SUSTAINABILITY
  • The project improves production.
  • Recognition for the value of traditional medical and veterinary practices is resulting in their revival. This creates further incentive for conserving plant resources and their environment.
STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES

The project was initiated by IT Kenya (Intermediate Technology Group, Kenya). There are two target groups:

  • pastoralists in the Turkana, Samburu, and Marsabit districts;
  • marginalized farmers in Tharaka Nith and Kathekani, two semi-arid areas of the Eastern Province.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS

The population is highly involved in the project.

WEAKNESSES

  • Indigenous institutions assign specific roles to women and men and are often patriarchal. Attempts to strengthen these institutions can conflict with attempts to foster greater equality.
  • Drought is common in ASAL areas. The insecurity it creates is a constraint on all development activities. (Activities directed towards coping with drought are therefore incorporated into the programme.)
  • Conflicts between pastoral groups sometimes erupt into armed raids on livestock. To minimize this danger, pastoralists concentrate their livestock in small areas around a few bore holes and centres. If these massive concentrations are to be avoided, food security strategies must include ways to resolve conflict.
IT IS CONSIDERED SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE:

Recognition from the outside increases the appreciation which marginalized groups feel for their own traditional methods. This raises their self-esteem, and they gain confidence in their own ability to innovate, experiment and adapt known and new technologies.

SUCCESS EXPRESSED IN QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE TERMS:

Achievements of the first phase (1997-1998):

  • Because the capacity of local NGOs was increased, nomadic herders are now accessing other resources. Underground water tanks have been built, for example, so that women no longer have to walk with camels for days to get drinking water and water for their small livestock.
  • The adoption of improved technologies has brought benefits, making it possible for people to replenish their goat stock, buy household goods, and pay school fees.
  • Crop yields have increased as the management and transport of manure have improved.
  • The people themselves disseminate the news of successful results, thus providing for their own farmer-to-farmer extension.
  • The Wasaidizi have registered as a self-help group and are thus able to buy drugs directly from the manufacturers at wholesale prices.
  • Following the identification of tsetse flies as a major problem, each village has begun a community-based programme for trapping them.
  • Through work with traditional healers in the Samburu district, the project documented local remedies and disseminated this knowledge to the local secondary school. This ethnoveterinary knowledge has also been incorporated into the training modules for decentralised animal health.
  • A workshop held in collaboration with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) resulted in healers and veterinarians from around the country learning from each other and learning to accept each otherís professions as valid. The workshop also resulted in a book entitled Ethnoveterinary Medicine in Kenya, which has helped to gain recognition for the value of ethnoveterinary knowledge, and has increased interest in veterinary practice.
  • A number of new approaches and training methods for decentralized animal health have been developed.
POTENTIAL FOR REPLICATION

The approach would be fairly easy to replicate elsewhere.

The basic publication is in English. Intermediate Technology (IT) Kenya is now disseminating the book through its worldwide IT network, and starting to prepare modules in local languages.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

There will be a mid-term evaluation of the project in late 1999 and an independent evaluation in late 2001. Indicators will be: food security; peace; water; environment; and livestock health.

The project will be reviewed at four levels (LEGS):

  • Livelihoods, to determine the projectís impact on the livelihoods of the beneficiaries;
  • Environment, to determine the impact on the environment;
  • Gender, to assess the degree to which the gender issue has been integrated into all aspects of project implementation so that all groups in a community benefit from the project on a more equal basis;
  • Sustainability, to determine whether the people will continue to benefit from the new technologies and techniques after external support has been withdrawn and the project is finished.
Lessons learnt from the annual reviews are incorporated into the project activities.

PERIOD:
From 1997 to 1999

BUDGET:
USD 697,310.00 (= 348,655.00 p/year)

SOURCES OF FUNDING:

  • Bilance
  • CAFOD
  • ODA
CONTACT PERSON:

Ms. Ascnath Omwega
Intermediate Technology Kenya

ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED:

Organization that provided this information:

Bilance
P.O. Box 77
2340 AB Oegstgeest
The Netherlands
Url: http://www.antenna.nl/bilance/en-index.html

Primary organization:

Intermediate Technology Kenya
P.O. Box 39493
Nairobi
Kenya
Telephone: +254-2-442108 / 444887 or /446243
Fax: +254-2-445166 or 254-2-446002
E-mail: itkenya@itdg.or.ke
Url: http://www.itdg.org.pe/h_kenya/


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