Households in Katilu and Turkwel Wards are set to benefit from a five year programme aimed at addressing causes of malnutrition through improved access to quality health services and better food security.

Governor Josphat Nanok launched the Improved Approach to Community-based Nutrition (IMPACT) Programme, a partnership project by Africare, funded by Bayer Fund the philanthropic arm of German multinational life science company, Bayer.

IMPACT is a five-year programme which will invest Sh500m to “increase access to capacity of health facilities to screen and treat children diagnosed with acute malnutrition, educate mothers and community leaders on nutrition, establish household and communal gardens and ensure access to quality water through construction and restoration of boreholes”.

Speaking at the launch, Governor Nanok said food security and nutrition programmes such as IMPACT were investments into changing the face of Turkana from a region commonly associated with acute hunger to better food security. He said great strides had been made through devolution but the region still had to grapple with effects of global change.

He added that the implementation of the Turkana development goals as contained in the CIDP required more resources than what is available through budgetary allocations, a gap that had to be filled through strategic partnerships with both development partner organisations and the private sector.

“Over the last seven years, 70 percent of our development resources have gone to Water, Agriculture and Health sectors, the need remains big. Both the national and County Government we cannot meet these needs at once and that’s why we value the partnership to fill these gaps,” he said.

He commended Africare focus on households and cited statistics by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) that 52.1 percent of households in Turkana are headed by women, as reason for additional support for households.

The Governor insisted that the County Government’s food security effort included investment into commercial food production in partnership with the private sector as well as support to increase livestock production with residents of the county predominantly pastoralists.

On his part, Bayer Fund East Africa CEO Mitchell said: “The Bayer Fund began strategically to address global impact of malnutrition and food security among children in 2016. Through our partnership with Africare, we are hoping to improve nutrition outcomes for more than 25,000 Turkana children under the age of five and their mothers.”

Africare Chief of International Program Evelyn Simmons said the organisation had a long history of working in Africa and had come back to Kenya with an aim to support government in fighting food scarcity, malnutrition and hunger. She appreciated the support from Bayer Fund and urged for close coordination with the County Government.

The programme has adopted a multisectoral approach through involvement of the Agriculture, Health and Water departments with County Executives Chris Aletia, Emathe Namuar and Jane Ajele assuring of strengthening collaboration for the success of the project.

Members of County Assembly James Abei (Katilu) and Stephen Edukon (Turkwel) too expressed their commitment to support the implementation of the project which would change the livelihoods of their constituents.

Senior County Government officials in attendance included County Attorney Erastus Ethekon, Chief Officers Abraham Losinyen (Agriculture and Land Reclamation) and Moses Natome (Water Services), Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo, Director Medical Services Gilchrist Lokoel, Acting Director Resource Mobilisation Charles Ekai among others.