I Am Not Ready To Make Any Donations Next Year


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.

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12 thoughts on “I Am Not Ready To Make Any Donations Next Year

  1. It is high time we stopped this menace of famine in this country once and for all. Let there be enough dams and even enough water tanks to harvest any rain water water. Let rivers be used so that every home CAN HAVE WATER. sECONDLY ALL THOSE PLACES WITH EXCESS FOOD: FACTORIES CAN PUT UP WHERE BANANAS, YAMS, VEGETABLES SWEET POTATOES, ENGLISH POTATOES, CASSAVA, ALL KINDS OF FRUITS CAN BE PRESERVED FOR USE IN A TIME LIKE THIS. WHAT IAM SAYING BETTER MTHODS OF PRESERVING THE ABOVE PRODUCTS WHICH ARE GROWN LOCALLY WILL MEAN KENYA WILL USE FOOD WITH THE COUNTRY AND THUS ENCOURAGE FARMERS WITH PLENTY TO GROW MORE. OTHER KENYA MEAT FACTORIES BE BUILT IN AREAS LIKE NORTH EASTERN, RIFT VALLEY (TURKANA) EASTERN (ISIOLO) TO ASSIST LIVESTOCK FARMERS IN CASE OF DRY SPELL BUT THIS WILL BE THE LAST RESORT SINCE I BELIEVE THE MONEY GIVEN BY GOVT IS ENOUGH TO DRILL ENOUGH BORE HOLES, DAMS, WATER TANKS AND PIPED WATER TO DOOR STEEP OF EVERY HOME. NEVER AGAIN SHOULD THIS HAPPEN IN THE LAND WITH PLENTY.

    ROSE M

  2. This was an interesting but sad read.The answers to Africa’s problems lie in a variety of things one of them being that it’s about time we got true leaders standing up and taking charge of this country and not letting the hooligans we have as leaders have a field day with our people.Of course the other thing is the rampart ignorance and dare i say lack of technocrats.For us to have sustainable development we not only need good governance but good brains too with skill.It’s about time the education system began emphasizing on relevant and up to date training on issues such as innovation,technology and sustainable development.It’s about time to encourage the sons and daughters of Africa to focus on building the economy of their country instead of their own personal bank accounts and it’s about time we stopped focusing on the traditional careers such as accounting.banking and law and turn to careers with an inclination on leadership & governance,entrepreneurship,development,innovation,Agriculture with technology and so on.

  3. Did you know that the last time Budalangi suffered damaging floods?2007. you know why?they got a permanent solution. Dykes. Oliver,i fear that maybe our donations are harmful as they give a temp solution that helps ‘blind’ us until the next traumatic picture appears in the media.I dont know the best solution or mix of solutions,whether its building reserves,proxy farming…but i know sustainability should be our mantra…. otherwise we’ll soon run out of catchy names to give these fund drives.

  4. My thoughts exactly, its sad,so sad that ignorance is one of the contributing root of all our problems as Kenyans. We have seen this scenario before in the earlier years..we all know that our Northern part of our beloved country is semi-arid hence drought is not a myth, we all know that Bundalangi has an issue with floods, we all know that Kisii has a history of lightening..but really is there anybody(government) who does anything about it??..NO not really…in my own understanding its a situation of “Am not affected, not my problem” but from the words of Alaine the musician “You are me!” its all full circle, it bound to come around and haunt us all one day.!..it all has to start somewhere..and honestly we need to start from getting rid of the problem (we are aware what this is!) at hand and stop pointing fingers!…as Rose Cugu Maina has said OPEN YOUR EYES 254….only you can make the change..not your neighbour or the person next to you..YOU AS A PERSON HOLD THE KEY TO CHANGE!

  5. How about we do not have a president who prays for rain? How about we have MPs who implement the strategies that they spend time creating (often in a far-off high end get-away)? Drought is natural but there are countless ways of mitigating its effects, which am sure government knows. Its a question of accountability, we must ensure we do not have them back in 2012!

    • In my humble opinion, there is no point praying for rain.
      I had set an proposition some time back and suggested that even for God, rain was an after thought.

      Look at it this way, a seed once buried in fertile soil, only requires moisture and some bit of temperature to start behaving.
      If we put the factors together (say in a greenhouse which practically locks out the rain factor), we shall surely have a harvest.
      So the primary question should be “How do we get the water or moisture that is already available on earth?” Where do we get the soil or land….
      There are some things like mushrooms which could yield great returns…

      Why are we thinking away from the solutions? The fact that agriculture along River Nile once supported the entire global economy at some point in history still amazes me.

      But the tragedy is that man has refused to think and act! So poverty and misery besets us to the left and right #Tafakari

  6. What if we had a sort of monetary fund owned by the pastoralists to purchase land in places like Kitale?
    They would then invest in farming by proxy in Kitale and take responsibility for storing the Bumper Harvest.
    When drought shows up, (as surely it will), let us be worried about how to transport the humans from the Arid/Semi Arid region to go party on the bumper harvest in Kitale.

    That sounds way better than any begging will do.
    Let us not build a nation of perpetual beggars….

    Oliver I agree with your Questions….

  7. Good read Oliver. Great questions, but as our government is so lackluster about strategies and looking at the long term (case in point PM stating that we are overreacting and President asking God for rain) we shall have to continue these initiatives for the years to come until our government gets serious. Only now are they looking into technology to help with famine in the long run hence talks on GMO getting a lot of coverage in the media. To be quiet frank, the government was informed in 2010 of this impending drought that will hit the country and instead of using the NDPM & NDRP to strategies on how we can contain this famine they were busy politicking (fact). The underlying problem i think lack of educating of the farmers/millers and lack of creating awareness. Possible solutions educating farmers/crop producers what is Arid/Semi arid areas and what to grow/how to harvest the crop. GMO discussions is a stepping stone.

  8. I totally agree 100% we’ve done the contributions over and above paying our taxes for far too long. If it means we bring in GMOs then so be it… if it means we ban pastrolalism and teach them how to farm through irrigation am down, if it means we build dams specifically for water storage am game, but we need to start NOW! While we contribute for this year’s famine what can we do now to mitigate next year’s own because for sure it’ll happen and for sure Govt won’t be ready!

  9. Oliver, I support you fully.
    Remember back in the day when we had “…by 2000?”
    We can’t just wait for this kind of an “opportunity” to strike then we say we are helping our kin.
    A final, long term solution should be found.

  10. That’s true Oliver-an undernourished child doesn’t get to that state overnight- and if this is the only indicator we need for us to take action we are not moving forward.i hope Voters have their eyes open…MPs are busy raising their salary/ refusing or have to be reminded to pay taxes…OPEN YOUR EYES 254

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