September 29, 2020
Founded in 2011, Il'laramatak Community Concerns (ICC) works to address human rights and development concerns of Indigenous pastoralists, who are part of minority communities in Kenya. ICC has a special focus on women and girls by empowering women and girls to transform their lives through improved education, justice empowerment, and socio-economic development. “ICC believes and recognizes that pastoralist communities in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya have much to offer to the country, and ICC would like to look at these groups differently, recognizing their strengths and the resources they have, and understanding what makes them distinct.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an economic crisis and is rapidly exacerbating an on-going food insecurity and nutrition crisis in pastoral areas of Kenya. Since pastoralists rely on their local livestock and markets for subsistence and sustenance, they had been hit hard upon prevailing closure of markets and supplies to the local shops have dwindled with the restriction of movement. This is why ICC are taking action in communities in Kajiado and Samburu counties by carrying on a project funded by Keepers of the Earth Fund to provide food packages to elderly women and children. They are providing soap for people to be able to keep sanitation measures. As a complementary strategy, they are conducting radio talk shows to disseminate timely and accurate information on COVID-19 in Maa through local radio stations. Up to 600 Maasai people will benefit directly from this project.
“Our local food systems have been seating on a knife edge for decades. Children have suffered with school closure, meaning one-meal-a day has been withdrawn. In indigenous communities, families among the poorest have been ‘one-missed-day-wage’ away from food insecurity. The lock-down and disruption triggered by COVID-19 have shown the fragility of people’ access to essential goods and services. In health and food systems, critical weakness and inequalities/inequities have come to light. COVID-19 is a wake-up call for food systems that must be met. In this wake of the pandemic, we cannot sit back and watch the communities' lack of information and capacity plunge them into desperation and death, we have been in the forefront in helping them with food items, information, masks, and sanitation kits for prevention of the coronavirus,” said Agnes Leina, executive director of Il'laramatak Community Concerns.
Photo courtesy of Il'laramatak Community Concerns.