As a USAID learning partner, Africa Lead supports the Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) Learning Agenda. Since 2016, Africa Lead’s facilitative leadership in PREG has helped USAID Kenya coordinate efforts among 26 USAID implementing partners working in northern Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) to support collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) objectives towards streamlining USAID investments focused on improving and building more resilient and food-secure communities. To strengthen and improve PREG’s already impressive collaboration and learning efforts, Africa Lead facilitated a series of joint work planning workshops in Turkana, Marsabit, Garissa, Wajir, and Isiolo Counties in 2017. Joint work planning workshops were then held a year later in 2018 in the same counties, with additional training for the new PREG counties: Baringo and Samburu.
The workshops built on ongoing collaboration processes and efforts at the county level, as well as tracked progress against action items on county work plans developed during the 2017 joint work planning workshops. Starting in November 2018, Africa Lead organized follow-up and mentorship visits to each PREG county in order to support the progress of the partnership at the county-level following the joint work planning workshops. With the last visit held in February 2019, the main objectives of the visits was to mentor and support PREG County Leads in their leadership capacities, support PREG partners to maximize opportunities for partnership and collaboration, and identify good collaboration practices across the different counties.
“A major lesson learned as the PREG partnership continues to grow is that the County Leads play a very important role especially given that they’re tasked with coordinating partners’ implementation of layering activities, host monthly meetings in their respective counties, and handle logistical and administrative matters for the smooth running of PREG,” says Hellen Kariuki, Africa Lead’s Resilience Program Manager. “It is, therefore, important that the County Leads are supported in their work so they can be even more effective,” she adds. Each follow-up and mentoring visit was held over three days and was structured to include a meeting with the County Lead for mentorship and to discuss progress on implementation of joint work planning. On Day 2, field visits were organized to two layering sites and on Day 3, the monthly meeting with partners was held to review the joint work plan and build consensus on progress milestones for collaboration.
The visits revealed that PREG partners are now more deliberate about collaborating and layering their activities. In Samburu, while the partnership is still in its nascent stages at only six months old, partners are collaborating and leveraging each other’s strengths. For example, the health program Afya Timiza is working with Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) to disseminate social behavior change communications in communities in remote locations within NRT’s conservancies. In Marsabit, Nutrition and Health Program Plus (NHP+) and World Food Programme (WFP) jointly conducted agri-nutrition training for selected community groups in Sololo Sub-County. In Turkana, two projects—Kenya RAPID and Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD), jointly developed grazing plans for the villages of Kapua and Moruodo and as a result, Kenya RAPID provided water to Kapua dry season grazing areas for both human use and livestock production.