Baseline survey on interventions in upgrading animal health and production in through training and capacity building in the ASALs of Marsabit
Mutundu, Kennedy K.
Nderitu, John H.
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Instrumental to accelerating economic growth through livestock value chain is the upgrading of inputs markets. High quality market and market based solutions are key drivers to accelerating economic growth. Key to input markets and producer-market linkages is animal health services. In the ASAL context, the skilled human resource to provide the desired animal health service has been non-existent and hence the mushrooming of the training of Animal Health Workers(CAHWs) whose work in disease prevention, surveillance and treatment is invaluable. However, theGoK,recently passed a bill reaffirming that government does not recognize CAHWs and that they cannot operate unless they are under the supervision of district veterinary officer. In reality, there are small number of professionally trained CAHWs and a small number of Veterinary Officers to expand their outreach to pastoral communities. To exploit the above opportunities, a baseline survey was undertaken through the partnership and consultative project between Mount Kenya University and Resilience and Economic growth in the Arid Lands-Accelerated Growth (REGAL-AG) to devise a strategy that targets improving animal health as an input market that would enable pastoralist access to high quality services and inputs through animal health services providers outreach programs, upgrading the services providers and establishing both horizontal and vertical relationships. Therefore, the main objective of carrying out this study was to collect baseline information on opportunities and for interventions in upgrading animal health services and production in Marsabit County. The data collection exercise was managed by consulting team of Mount Kenya University (MKU) and REGAL-AG played a support role especially in areas of logistics and capacity development amongst partners in the areas of Animal Health production and value chain. On the basis of terms of references, a number of data collection tools were used. A data collection team was assembled from both local students of the region and staff from MKU. The instruments used were In-depth interviews, focus group discussions and transect surveys within the area. Workshop was also conducted among the stakeholders and data collection was undertaken from the September 1 to September 10, 2013 As part of data collection as well ascost-cutting measures, field work tasks were divided between MKU and REGAL-AG partners and staff. MKU teams were responsible for conducting Key informant interviews among the identified stakeholders at local area, focused group discussions and transect surveys. The main natural resources identified in Marsabit County are forests, rangelands, winds, and wildlife. Water is a key resource that is limiting and scarce in the area. The community livelihood activities include livestock, farming, fishing and business. The key challenges identified in livestock production include drought, inaccessible veterinary services, limited livestock extension services, emerging diseases and inadequate labor to take care of animals. The main issues surrounding education in the County are unavailability of education institutions, education infrastructure, enrolment and retention. Retention from standard one to form four is about 50%. The enrolment has been increasing in time as a result of campaign that has been going on for the last two years by UNICEF. The ratio of boys and girls who complete high school is about 1:2 (girls’ vs boys). The reason why enrolment for girls is low is because girls put less effort in academic work, early marriages and lack of role models for the girls. Challenges for school enrollment in the County were identified. The transition rate from secondary school to University or tertiary learning institutions is low due to the above mentioned issues. The percentage of students qualifying for University requirements in the County are 20% out of total group. The study identified measures to increase transition to University. The study established that the County has some training institutions operating within the region, which includeKenyatta University with satellite campus, University of Nairobi, Catholic church tertiary colleges among others but of interest was the fact that courses offered in this institutions do not meet the needs and requirements of the livelihoods and resources of the community. They offer courses such as Arts, carpentry and Education. This is a gap and opportunity for Intervention to offer tailor made courses which includes; Animal Husbandry, Veterinary medicine, Community Development and livestock field extension. This would upgrade Animal health production and service delivery. The County has vast opportunities for upgrading animal health and livestock and livelihoods of majority at large resulting from the challenges that the community has gone through over the past years. Identified in the study were various service providers in the Animal health industry and with each playing their roles towards upgrading the livestock industry. Financial institutions, Non- Governmental Organization, Training Institutions, Government and County Government when interlinked would mostly raise the living standard of the community. There is training needs for capacity building in the County for Animal health and production. The Study identified key topics desired for training and further empowerment. Lack of information was highlighted as one of the hindrance to information on training and capacity building opportunities. The participants therefore proposed the need to use more strategies to reach to the locals such as marketing in the community training opportunities, visit to locations and interactions with community opinion leaders, visit to schools for career talks and attending price giving ceremonies. To offer training, service providers would need to know the available infrastructural state and needs of the community. The study identified possible venues and spaces where training/classes can be carried out. The team also identified avenues through which the trainees will raise fees to enroll for training . The community in the event of trainings and scholarship will benefit in a number of ways that will improve their livelihoods. Participants also made proposals on how the training programmes can be made sustainable There exists some opportunities for job creation for the graduates in the region. Having attained the necessary training the graduates can benefit from county employment, NGO employment or get self-employment though opening of private agro vets and private practice.
- Animal Health