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Tuesday, 03 Oct 2017 18:12 EATyarriska90som@live.com
"To save lives, build resilience and promote the dignity of pastoralist and urban poor". This is the mission of the Arid Lands Development Focus Kenya (ALDEF-K), a 24-year-old nongovernmental organization in North Eastern which helps people in times of hardship.
ALDEF K started as a small Community Based Organisation before becoming a fully fledged NGO. Acting as both initiator and implementer, ALDEF K has overseen several successful projects in partnership with international institutions and funders. These include ensuring timely and adequate response to humanitarian crises in Northern Kenya and Somalia.
Animals for the poor under the SIF and ALDEF K programme.
Through the Wajir Program Office over the last half a decade, ALDEF K has implemented life-saving programmes such as the resilience building programmes, cash programmes, water tracking, and distribution of relief foods in the most vulnerable places in Wajir County.
Many state and non-state organizations found it the most suitable partner in providing humanitarian services, and the organization has striven to work to its best in responding to the most critical drought that has hit hard the pastoral lives of Wajir County, which is the most affected by the recent drought.
A beneficiary using the ALDEF K voucher to buy food from the vendors.
The Aldef K Wajir programme's manager Mohamed Kuresh told the Kenya Free Press that the organization is in its 2017 programmes considered pure emergency response programmes, some of which are described below.
Under the Cash Programme, Aldef K is an implementing partner for projects funded by Echo and Dec. This is a support program to the Kenyan Government in its Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP). ALDEF K ensures that Group Two support funds of the Arid and Semi-Arid Area cluster go to the right individuals in the communities who are the poorest and most needy.
The food items the beneficiaries will be distributed for.
They undertake this with a target of 35 villages in the larger Wajir County covering 3001 beneficiaries that receive Sh2,700 a month per household. A cash aid program that was continuing for the last eight months.
"The results of this programme is that it has really changed the lives of many people to strengthen their purchasing power. Pastoral communities within the selected areas have got increased credit facilities referred to this households on the basis that they can pay using this cash. It also reduced the sale of the milking herds and core assets of the pastoral communities," said Kuresh, explaining the benefits of this cash program, the Program Manager-Wajir Office explains.
Another programme is the Water Tracking - a voucher for water program whereby the group buys water for the poor from water vendors, thereby ensuring a steady supply of water to the most vulnerable areas in the outskirts of Wajir Town. ALDEF does this in order to empower the communities to source and procure water from water vendors that will supply water to each of the selected households in exchange for water supply voucher.
This program is funded by OXFAM GB, and it runs up to the onset of rain that will allow water harvest. ALDEF K implements this program in Tarbaj, Eldas, Wajir West, Wajir East constituencies out of the 6 constituencies, quite a bigger undertakings.
The organization also runs the Food and Meat Supply on Ramadhan and Idd-ul-Adha programme, through which it implements grants from the Secours Islamic France (SIF) that go to alleviating the suffering of the poorest people in Wajir. Through ALDEF K, SIF helps the poor in peri-urban villages of Wajir County CBD in a bid to ensure that they too perform the Ramadhan (the holiest month in the Islamic calendar) and celebrate Idd-Adha with the rest of the people despite their economic constraints. ALDEF K used to give Food/Meat Vouchers given to 1,070 households, but it has upscaled this to 2,792 households.
Wajir residents holding and diplaying food Vouchers given to them.
The last programme under the ALDEF K banner is Shifting The Power Project (STP). This project aims to strengthen the capacity of local and national organizations so they can play a leading role in decision-making during humanitarian crises. Funded by ActionAid and the Catholic relief agency CAFOD, the project supports around 50 local and NGO partners across five countries, Kenya one of them and ALDEF is one of the implementing local NGOs.
ALDEF K is trusted by various major international donors in the world. This acclaim is as a result of the fact that the agency has prudently and honestly implemented projects and used donor funding for the rightly targeted goals. Not only are its projects impacting on the targeted recipients, the agency has also been audited by the reputable audit firm Delloite which vouched for its high management standards.
The local residents have fully hailed ALDEF K for a continued and long-term assistance in pressing times. "At a time when livestock are hit hard by a long-term dry spell and agriculture and other means of livelihoods are challenging, we always receive a helping hand from our friends the ALDEF K," said Mrs Habiba Ali, a local beneficiary of the NGO's assistance, speaking in the Somali language.
Mrs Ali, who is part of the thousands of beneficiaries of the core programs such like the cash program, was all praise for the NGO as she gave her feelings about the performance of ALDEF K at an interview with this newspaper.
By and large, according to the beliefs of many here in Wajir Couty, in as much as the national and county governments are struggling to suffice the demands and situations of the pastoral person in a season of extreme drought and economic crises, NGOs like ALDEF K which has played a pivotal role in helping to normalize lives of many elderly, sickly and poor members of the society, will continue to be instrumental in development assistance.
Mohamed is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County