Development partners implementing cross-border projects have been advised to tailor their programmes to meet the needs of communities.

Speaking during the first day of Kenya-Uganda cross-border consultative meeting to promote integrated development including animal health and other resilience investments in the Karamoja cluster, Governor Josphat Nanok said the priority for communities living along the border was the establishment of water infrastructure which will contribute to the realization of the objective to commercialize livestock keeping.

“I am asking partners, let’s read the priorities of the people correctly when implementing projects. If you want to address 60 percent of problems facing the pastoralists it’s water, it used to be insecurity which forms 30 percent of the problem but the biggest is water.”

“You solve this problem then you have solved the problem of the livestock industry, and can begin thinking how we can bring livestock industries and other aspects of value addition,” he said.

He revealed that technical teams have visited the site where the government plans to set up the dam in Namoniangikaala in Loima Sub-County, while the West Pokot County had picked a site where both Pokot and Turkana communities graze. During last month’s signing of the Kenya-Uganda MOU for cross-border peace and development, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the Government will set up three dams in Turkana, West Pokot and Marsabit to benefit pastoralists.

Governor Nanok urged IGAD to replicate in Kenya dams it plans to develop in Uganda to meet the big need for water. The county boss insisted that part of efforts to implement the MoU was to strengthen cross-border trade and build on existing good flow of goods and people across the border with Uganda.

State Department of ASALs Principal Secretary Micah Powon informed stakeholders that part of deliberations in the three days of the meeting will be developing mechanism for resource sharing along the border, infrastructure improvement for better market access, strengthening surveillance to livestock and human diseases, developing coordination mechanism and sharing of information. He revealed that a joint technical team will soon meet to develop an action plan for the implementation of the MoU signed in Moroto.

The Ugandan delegation attending the meeting is led by Assistant Commissioner for Karamoja Affairs Francis Okori.

Director for IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) Dr. Solomon Munyua and representatives of partner organisations USAID Kenya and FAO were in attendance.

Senior County Government officials in attendance include County Executives Chris Aletia (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) Chief Officers Dr. Michael Eregae (Fisheries Livestock and Veterinary Services), Ariko Namoit (Roads and Transport), Senior Advisor on Security, Peace and Borderlands Initiatives Augustine Lokwang, Directors Dr. Benson Longor (Veterinary Services) James Lokwale (Trade) and Stella Opakas (Minerals Reso) among others.