Resilience in Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

Author: Belinda Korir

The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya are vulnerable to frequent drought and climate variability. This coupled with widespread poverty, water shortages, weak agricultural and livestock productivities, a low technological base, underdeveloped human capital and skills, weak institutions and poor governance has exacerbated the potential impact of climate change threatening to undo decades of development interventions.

Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has implemented 24 integrated livelihood projects that seek to enhance the resilience of communities and strengthen community adaptation to climate change. KRCS has adopted a programming framework informed by an approach that focuses on assisting communities to enhance their ability to anticipate, prepare for and recover from shocks such as droughts.

This Research seeks to increase understanding of what works and doesn’t work within the context of KRCS’s resilience programming by studying a subset of the livelihood projects with the aim of answering questions about household and community resilience and understanding the framework of the systems within which people live. 

The research has the following main objectives and associated work streams:

a.  Building evidence and capturing learning The primary objective of the research is to find out what works in order to harness investment in more effective approaches to disaster risk management and resilience in the ASALs. This will be achieved by studying the processes and products of resilience projects as implemented by KRCS using a comparative approach (inter-project comparison).

b.  Shaping programme practice The objective is to improve the evidence base so as to inform the quality of programming and to identify key gaps in resilience programming and develop theory of change to address the gaps. The research therefore intends to provide better evidence with the aim of informing future programming and defining optimal models for resilience programming.

c.  Influencing policy A key objective of this project is to provide the right data, in the right format to the right decision makers in order to influence legislative and policy frameworks.