Over the last decade, my heart has wept as Kenyans are called to make donations to help those affected by famine. We have had the “Okoa Maisha”, “Save A Life Fund” “Kenyans Against Hunger” and now we have “Kenyans4Kenya” and I am sure next year we will have another one, if we don’t act.
But I am now tired of donating and think its time we collectively as Kenyans came up with permanent solutions that will ensure that we don’t start another initiative. I am hesitant to blame our politicians but rather every Kenyan though I agree with many that we lack a proper leadership.
On May 26, 2009, I went to Lodwar and for the first time in my life had a first hand experience of the famine in the northern region of Kenya. I would later document it in a news feature (read it here).
Two years down the line, the same things are happening, babies are watching even their mothers die and the opposite and the situation appears to be getting worse. And the only question that I continue to ask is for how long shall we wait until people start dying to act?
Its clear that all initiative, however noble, have been temporary and we are likely to be in the same cycle for another couple of years.
Since 2009, Kenya has had a National Policy for Disaster Management and National Disaster Response Plan to guide in the disaster risk reduction. There is also a National drought disaster fund but the question still begs where is the problem and where do the solutions lie?
Why are we as a country unable to store the bumper harvest that will ably produce each year in the main agricultural areas of the country? Why are we unable to tap the rain water that at times flood some parts of the country to the extent of causing deaths?
With 70 per cent of the Kenyan land being Arid and Semi-Arid, what mechanism have we put in place to ensure that we make these areas more productive? Why are meat processing factories far from the source – mostly from pastoralists in the ASAL regions?
What policies has the government put in place in the last 2 decades to improve food security in the country? What is the role of the ordinary Kenya in contributing to food security in the country?
Unless we answer these critical questions, next year we will be running around pushing another initiative seeking donations to help feed Kenyans. So as we continue to make our contribution to the MPesa Bill Number 11111, lets open debate on what must be done to avoid the same thing later.