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Brussels, 30 April 2012

EU development cooperation with Kenya

EU development cooperation with Kenya focuses on two main sectors: transport infrastructure and agriculture & rural development. Other areas in which EU funds are used are macroeconomic support, trade and private sector development as well as good governance and support for non-state actors. The overall amount of EU funding over the period of 2008-2013 is €389.9 million.

Examples of EU funded projects in arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya

EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will visit EU funded projects and activities in the north-west of Kenya where the EU and its Member States have been active in arid and semi-arid areas to promote long term development and increased resilience. The visited projects include:

"Community engagement in Good Governance"

Poor governance contributes to the marginalisation and continued poverty of communities living in Turkana County. People in this region suffer an unequal allocation of government resources, poor service delivery, violent conflict and insecurity, as well as weak representation in the legislature and lack of community engagement in planning and decision making processes.

In 2009, the European Commission in partnership with Oxfam and the Turkana Women Advocacy and Development Organization (TWADO) started a governance programme to empower communities to demand for more participatory, inclusive and effective governance. The Commission contribution amounts to €190,000.The overall goal of this programme is to assure the rights of poor and marginalised men and women in Turkana by integrating them into political, social and economic systems at all levels. Oxfam and TWADO have undertaken a series of training workshops for local people, who chose social auditors from among themselves. These were then trained and charged to monitor how local projects were being managed and how they could be improved. The programme also organized trainings on good governance for district departmental officials, political leaders and the local authorities.

The programme has seen very good results: A number of projects have been monitored by community social auditors, such as water facilities, schools, health facilities and bursary awards to needy students. Various public fund managers and contractors have been forced by communities to either refund misappropriated money or reconstruct projects that were not done according to the required standards. Following community pressure some fund managers were relieved of their duties due to mismanagement. Overall, there has been an improvement in the sharing of information by government departments in Turkana County.

"Safe Motherhood Project"

The EU finances six on-going projects related to mother and child health with a total of €6 million in arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya, reaching around one million final beneficiaries. Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Lodwar District Hospital which is supported by the project "Strengthening of Civil Society Organizations to Deliver Quality Maternal, Child and Neonatal Health Care Services in Turkana" that receives €800,000 from the European Commission. The project targets some 200,000 people in Turkana. It provides access to health care services for mothers and newborn children, in cooperation with civil society organisations. It also increases the awareness of health issues in communities and works on improving the capacity of the District Health Management Team to plan, monitor and coordinate the delivery of health care services in the district and to deliver enhanced obstetric services

Lodwar District Hospital is the only referral hospital in Turkana County, covering an area of 70 thousand square kilometres. The safe motherhood project implemented by the NGO Merlin supports the hospital’s reproductive health activities, especially as a referral centre for complicated deliveries.

EU work on agriculture and food security

Kenya suffers from cyclical recurrent droughts. This situation has increasingly worsened over recent years leading to a serious crisis from 2008 onwards. During the drought of 2008-2011 damages and losses in livestock were 72% and 13% in agriculture. The European Union has provided substantial emergency aid during these droughts through ECHO and its local partners. Under its financing through the European Development Fund 2008-2013, the EU supports agriculture and rural development in Kenya with €119.7 million. For example, it helps Kenya in reducing poverty, and creating employment in the rural areas through community development projects, assistance to local government structures and projects in the sectors of water and energy. The EU also continues to provide emergency assistance with the aim of increasing food and nutritional security.

EU support to the Kenya Rural Development Programme

This programme, with EU financing of €66.4 million, aims at improving food security by increasing crop productivity, improving food marketing and increasing drought resilience of local communities in arid and semi-arid lands. It covers agricultural research, spreading knowledge on high-yielding and drought-resistant crops and technologies as well as better access to seeds, fertiliser, and markets for small-scale farmers. Special attention is given to improving livelihoods in the arid and semi-arid areas of the country. Concrete activities include the development and marketing of crops and fodder that can resist drought as well as the improvement of post-harvest storage. The programme also helps the government in developing better policies for drought management.

Drought Management Initiative: Funded by the EU with €18 million so far (further support is planned under the Kenya Rural Development Programme), this programme has helped the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands set up an early warning system for drought. It has also supported the Ministry in creating planning capacity to reduce the impact of drought. The creation of the Drought Management Authority has been supported and funds will be provided for drought preparedness and drought mitigation activities of particularly affected counties.

Promoting the use of the Aloe plant in Kenya, District of Baringo: Despite its rich biodiversity Baringo District is one of the poorest districts in Kenya. In this arid and semi-arid region, livestock production is the only significant source of livelihood. The rural population relies on the scarce natural resources; poverty is on the rise as a result of rapid population growth and the impact of climate variability on agriculture.

Commercial and sustainable exploitation of the naturally growing and on-farm grown aloe is a viable alternative source of livelihood. The two aloe species - Aloe secundiflora and Aloe turkanensis – which grow abundantly in the district, were previously seen as a waste plant. Aloe is important for biodiversity and today can be exploited commercially. The objective of this project (supported with an EU contribution of €160,000) has been to empower communities to exploit the naturally existing aloe and to produce it on-farm on a commercial scale. It also aimed at developing high value marketable products and enhance communities' entrepreneurship skills. Communities were therefore trained in propagation of the plant for on-farm multiplication and for subsequent marketing to the local factory for processing.

As a result, more than 2 000 farmers have adopted commercial growing of aloe with about 850 households benefiting from the sale of aloe products. The project has also led to an increased awareness amongst the community on the need to conserve the environment.

For more information

IP/12/440Commissioner Piebalgs in Kenya to boost EU response to food insecurity in the region

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