In Kenya, the Acacia Operation Project (AOP) is working with the communities at the project sites through Project Management Committees (PMCs). The original idea of AOP was to have the communities contribute to the project in the form of land and labor. However, majority of the community members working in the project are food insecure and require assistance.
The project was therefore forced to provide some token cash for work and later collaborated with the Food for the Hungry International (FHI) through Food for Work (FFW) in fencing two sites (at Merille and Logo-logo). This collaboration was found to be quite useful and more viable in implementing activities in these areas. Another initiative called Food for Asset (FFA) programme in collaboration with World Food Program (WFP) seems even more viable as it is pegged to assets that can assist communities mitigate future droughts. WFP has come up with a wide range of assets. Through FFA, the communities can be supported to effectively develop assets that can be used to mitigate future droughts.
Food for Asset (FFA) emphasizes the creation of an asset and its quality, relevance and benefits of the actual ‘work’ to a given community. The idea is to leave a useful asset behind for the community, a more long-term approach as compared to Food For Work (FFW).
A concept note on this initiative was submitted to World Food Programme in May 2007 and was approved. It was agreed that food for Emergency Operations (EMOP) will be used in phase 1 (July to September 2007) and that the activities be supported through a three year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) in phase two (from October 2007).
A mission was organized in June 2007 to start off the initiative by visiting the project sites to mobilize the communities on FFA and also to present the proposal to the District Commissioner and seek the approval of the District Steering Group (DSG). The mission was successful and the project was approved.
The key stakeholders (WFP, KEFRI/AOP/ NGARA, KARI, KFS and KRC) met in August 2007 at the WFP office in Marsabit and discussed the proposed activities and proposed a way forward before the food distribution could start. The following activities were agreed upon to be carried out on a pilot basis during the month of September in the three sites (Merille, Laisamis and Log-logo):
1. Collection of seeds of A. senegal, A. tortilis and A. seyal
2. Fencing of project sites
3. Repairing of the micro-catchments
4. Collection of gums and resins
WFP released the first batch of the food for FFA activities in support AOP activities in Merille and Laisamis sites in September 2007. The next batch of food was released in December 2007. The activities supported so far are fencing of project sites.
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