On 1 October 2011, IOM carried out the first ever de-stocking exercise for the host community in Kulan, Northern Kenya.
One thousand pastoralists, or 125 households, in the area benefited from this initiative, which is part of IOM’s livelihood support programme meant to help the host community in northern Kenya to survive the effects of the drought.
Pastoralist communities have been particularly affected by the drought and they face imminent threat of losing their livelihoods as their weakened herds struggle to survive disease, hunger and thirst in an increasingly desperate search for pasture and water.
The “de-stocking” exercise involves buying the weakest livestock from the pastoralists so the reduced numbers of animals match the available animal feed. This means families can sustain the livestock that are better able to weather the drought, enabling them to continue their livelihoods.
After the animals are slaughtered, the meat is given back to the community for consumption. Food supplements are also provided to the remaining animals that are identified to be able to better survive the drought.
During the event, 500 sheep and goats were identified for slaughter with supervision from Kenya’s District Livestock Officers. Twenty animals were slaughtered and the meat was given to vulnerable families. Each week, 20 animals will be slaughtered to ensure a sustained source of meat.
IOM bought the livestock at KES 8,000 for three goats/sheep per family. The money can be used to buy additional animals when conditions allow or to provide for other immediate domestic needs.
Both the seller and the consumer benefit in this programme. The seller gets the money from selling of his livestock, while the meat consumer does not necessarily have to sell any animal. The meat is meant to feed the entire community and most especially the vulnerable such as women and child headed households, the elderly, the sick and the disabled.
Before embarking on the programme, IOM had mobilized a relief management committee that was responsible for slaughtering the sheep and goats and ensuring equal and fair distribution of the meat. The committee also ensured that the remaining animals could be sustained.
The de-stocking exercise was done in accordance with FAO’s Livestock Emergency Guidelines (LEG) and the overall supervision by District Livestock Officers from the Ministry of Livestock.
The community livelihood support programme is funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, (CERF) to assist some 40,000 vulnerable pastoralists in the region, 60 per cent of them being women.
Apart from de-stocking, the programme will also embark on the rehabilitation of water retention structures and wells along livestock migratory routes, the provision and distribution of health kits and supplement feed for the livestock. Community training for herders on pasture storage, conservation and use will also take place.