Evaluation of the Wajir relief programme: 1996 - 1998

Evaluation of the Wajir relief programme: 1996 - 1998

Was OXFAM (Kenya)'s relief work in Wajir successful?

OXFAM (UK & I) Kenya was engaged in relief work in Wajir District from September 1996 until October 1998. These interventions were undertaken in response to a series of natural disasters including both the drought of 1996/97 and the El Nino flood of 1998. This report represents an evaluation of the entire disaster relief and recovery effort drawing on the experience of OXFAM staff, other agency and government staff and on the views of the beneficiaries of the food relief and recovery measures.

This report concludes that:

  • there was a high quality of relief response delivered by OXFAM to the rural population of Wajir during the droughts and floods of 1996-98
  • the planning and design of the emergency programme was generally sound
  • the 'entitlement system' to relief food distribution, is entirely appropriate to a pastoralist society such as Wajir's
  • the biggest problem was the erratic delivery of Wajir's relief allocation from WFP
  • the flood relief operation met its objective of preventing starvation and provided life-saving resources
  • the recovery programme, which followed the emergency programme, was well timed and an entirely appropriate response to assist the most vulnerable households begin the livelihood recovery process
  • sheep and goats provided to vulnerable household did not achieve the levels of production anticipated. This therefore became an expensive means of transferring assets to poor households
  • food relief is often preferable to recovery-type interventions
  • overall institutional response to the drought and floods benefited from a greater political willingness to respond

The report recommends that:

  • longer term funding is required for protracted emergencies
  • extra contingency figures should be added to Oxfam's initial registration of beneficiaries
  • the period of registration of pastoralists should not be extended, when implementing the 'entitlement system'
  • under-five children and elderly people should be targeted in future
  • cash for work would help vulnerable households in the recovery process
  • the livelihood zoning exercise provides useful information and should be continued
  • OXFAM should assist in strengthening institutional structures at a national level
  • OXFAM should encourage the government to play a role in emergency response

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