Northern Kenya has been an arid region for thousands of years. The people who live there have adapted to the conditions, traditionally relying on migrating with their herds of cattle, camels, and goats, but the droughts are becoming more intense. For three years, the rains have been poor, leaving grazing areas parched and killing livestock — as much as 80 percent of herds in some places. Residents are desperate for water, both for their animals and for themselves.
This problem is greater than any one organization can address, so the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya RAPID) program is trying a new broad partnership approach to expand access to water and sustainable livestock and rangeland management practices in five northern counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir. The five-year, $35.5 million program, which began in September 2015, rejects the “business as usual” approach to development. All five counties and every one of the 21 partners in this public-private partnership is a co-investor — of human capital, financial capital, software, equipment, or other organizational resources — with the goal of increasing improved water supply availability from 37 percent to more than 50 percent of residents. USAID will contribute $12.5 million to the program.