Ambassador of Japan to African Union Toshihiko Horiuchi (L) and FAO coordinator for East Africa David Phiri (Center) launched the project in Addis Ababa today. (Photo FAO Africa)

Over 70,000 Drought-hit Pastoralists to Build Back Self-Reliance with help of Japan & FAO

ADDIS ABABA – Japan and FAO on Wednesday launched a joint project to help “most affected” drought-hit pastoralist communities in East Africa build back self-reliance with cash and emergency livestock support.

The $2 million project will primarily target 700,00 pastoralist households facing high level food insecurity and malnutrition in Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda.

The region has been experiencing droughts with four consecutive poor rainy seasons – an event not seen in 40 years.

Many of the areas that have been worst-affected by the drought are pastoral in nature.

Given the consecutive seasons of below-average rains, pastoral conditions across the region remain poor.

With the support of the government of Japan, the UN Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO) has launched a new project with a view to mitigate the impact of drought for the most vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoralists in the region.

The interventions will combine cash and livelihoods packages or CASH+ to provide immediate relief allowing poor households to meet their basic needs.

They will also protect livelihoods’ assets such as livestocks with the provision of animal feed, mineral blocks and range cubes, as per FAO.

The project will “respond to immediate needs of households so that they can build their resilience,” said David Phiri, FAO Representative to AU and UNECA, speaking to reporters.

The government of Japan gave the 2 million US Dollars support for the implementation of the project which was launched in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

Japan Ambassador to the African Union Toshihiko Horiuchi said the project will help “tackle the immediate crisis” and “care for the people suffering from the drought.”

It can also help “tackle the root cause of agricultural productivity or nutrition,” the ambassador added.

The project, apart from helping communities to meet their basic needs with cash transfer, seeks to restore productive livelihoods in drought-affected households through emergency livestock support packages, according to FAO.