On Kenyatta Day this past October 20, NECOFA staff and its collaborators boarded matatus, rafters, and then pick-up trucks to supply Kokwa Island refugees with maize, vegetables, rice, sugar, clothes, soap, and other items collected during the recent Poverty Requiem event.
NECOFA invites other well-wishers to support the community with food, cash donations, and other essentials. Simply email NECOFA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Realizing the hardships of the Kokwa community, NECOFA and its US-based partner, Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife (FSW), are assisting the community with poverty eradication projects. FSW has continuously supported the refugees by establishing pre-primary and primary schools, including meals for the kids.
Within the Baringo District in Salabani, the rocky island is considered unsuitable for agricultural practices, said NECOFA community development officer John Washira, adding that the communities live in “pathetic conditions.” The refugees moved to Kokwa from Longicharo because of ethnic violence; most of their livestock was stolen and their properties destroyed, leaving them poorer and hungrier than ever before.
For instance, some people are still living under trees because of a lack of resources for shelter. The community—especially small children—are exposed to all sorts of environmental risks due to poor sanitation and improper feeding.
In fact, the only staple food for the community is fish, which young boys catch from rafters; however, there is no centralized market for fish sales.
They depend on fish because the island’s cattle cannot thrive due to a lack of fodder to sustain them. (The only livestock that can possibly thrive on the island are goats, due to their natural characteristics of browsing on shrubs and acacia trees. These animals are sustainable only if enough rains spread throughout the year).
NECOFA’s projects on Kokwa island include:
—Establishing a centralized market for fish sales.
—Researching the establishment of a kerosene-based hatchery for the Kailer women’s group. They can later sell the chicks through NECOFA.
—Establishing 4 –K clubs. The project will involve three primary schools: Eldume, Kokwa, and and Kailer.
NECOFA will train the community on establishing kitchen gardens and story gardens, not only providing subsistence to the families but also income through sales of surplus vegetables to other communities. The project will be extended to various community groups, such as the Kailer women’s group, who has already gone through some training on composting and setting up story gardens.