Integrated food security programme eastern province IFSP - E.
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The IFSP-E PRA exercise took place in July through to August and ended with a one week ZOPP Planning workshop in September. The PRA exercise served as an end to a long process of having a community based programme in Eastern Province (Mwingi and Makueni Districts) which began with a Baseline Survey on Nutrition and Health earlier in the year (May). The PRA exercise was to help give qualitative data to the quantitative results of the survey. The PRA process began with a theory training session for the partners who were to get involved in the programme in one way or another. This was followed by ten days of field work where village workshops were held. The village workshops formed the basis for the PRA exercise. These were facilitated by the team members with team leaders drawn from ACTIONAID Kenya and PREMESE. Results of the village workshops indicate that there is a high degree of food insecurity in the area and this has mainly been caused, by various factors e.g. reccurent crop failure due to drought or inadequate rain and poor or depleted soils. The historical profiles show these recurrences and the trends too 'strengthen this fact. The area has several institutions working there, both local and external. However, these institutions do not seem to have a positive impact on the lives of the people otherwise their standard of living would have improved. The approaches they are using for development do not seem to,be appropriate for empowerment. Most of them have created dependency in the people. The local institutions however keep the people together as they try to solve their own problems. The Gender framework of analysis shows that women are overburdened by reproductive work while men are the stakeholders in productive work. However the men are involved in the community activities by proxy through their wives. It would be important to note that the men should be involved in the decision making process for the community based activities. The seasonalities have shown that. .01ere is a relatively high level of diseases in the communities especially during the rainy season, a time when people need to work in their farms and, yet they are also compounded with food shortages. Animal diseases seem to be prevalent too and this makes livestock production and management difficult due to inadequate 'resources - money, knowledge and resources People in the areas visited work very hard in their farm• yet the output of their labour is not commensurate to their income. This is attributed to the fact that crops are sold immediately after harvest. Reasons given for this were need for money and also to get rid of the grains due to high pest food destruction. This suggests that there is a problem with post-harvest handling and storage. Most village groups suggested that they should begin community food stores /to counter the problem of post-harvest sale which causes food defficiency. It was found that almost all the people in the area live below the poverty datum line. Very few can be said to be self sufficient in food. Even those who are said to be self sufficient are still affected by the other problems e.g. inadequate water for domestic and livestock use, diseases and general lack of social amenities. Farming practices in most of these areas are still traditional. The people still practice shift cultivation - they move to new farms after every three seasons and this has affected the environment adversely. Most of them, though they have domestic animals, do not use manure in their farms and this has affected yields. Shifting has also contributed to deforestation and a general lack of fruit trees since these need constant care. Education in better farming methods is imperative. Poor health status of the people seems to be a problem due to inadequate health facilities in the area. Few or no such facilities exist and where they do (Miyukoni), they have no drugs. Thus peoples health status is poor. This could also be attributed to poor nutrition and lack of access to food and the use of it, hence the need for pre-nutrition education is felt. Water problem seemed to be a key problem in all the four villages visited. This is due to lack of big enough dams which could retain the water during dry spells. Various modes of providing water were discussed and each community came up 'with its priority mode. It is important to follow up what the communities suggested in 'the CAPs to help solve their problems each according to their priorities, needs and capacity with assistance from IFSP-E and other partners in the region. As IFSP-E continues with the work the communities need serious awareness raising programmes and training for empowerment. These trainings would be for group leaders in animation, mobilization and leadership skills as well as' conflict management in groups. This would help build the internal capacity of the communities for sustainability.