Isiolo and Marsabit, Kenya (19-23 March 2018)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnership for Resilience and Growth (PREG) conducted a bi-annual learning event from 19-23 March 2018 in the counties of Isiolo and Marsabit. The five-day event brought together over 100 participants from PREG partners, international NGOs (selected from the ASAL Donor Group), USAID, and representation from the two county governments, including Josephine Kirion from the County Executive Committee of Education of Isiolo and Tori Doti, Deputy County Secretary for Marsabit County.
The objective of the learning event was to provide an opportunity for PREG and other partners to engage in a participatory process of critical reflection, analysis, and collective action for improving resilience programming and impact in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The event, grounded in the PREG model of sequencing, layering, and integration, included site visits in various sub-counties in Isiolo and Marsabit, and reflection sessions that were guided by the following sub-thematic areas: community drought risk reduction in practice, market systems, and communications. The selection of sites was guided by the learning event objectives and an attempt to identify learning opportunities for program implementation on the three learning sub-themes.
After two days of site visits in Isiolo and Marsabit, participants held a reflection and learning session in Marsabit Town. The session focused on highlighting lessons and areas of improvement from each of the learning sub-themes. Participants noted that the impact of layering and integration at the different sites visited was evident and getting more efficient and effective. This was especially highlighted at the Merille Health Center in Marsabit County. When asked how community members had fared in the 2017 drought compared to the 2011 drought, a member of a community-based mothers’ support group responded, “ We were able to respond to the current drought better because we accessed holistic services at the clinic”. Participants, however, noted that measurement and communication of impact, and sustainability were areas that needed improvement. With regard to improving sustainability of PREG programs, an example of ensuring the sustainability of the community health volunteer (CHV) model was cited. This is because CHVs are a crucial link between communities and health facilities. Participants also agreed on the need to address root causes of disempowerment, such as illiteracy, in the communities visited.