The development paradigm is increasingly informed by a narrative that favours trade rather than aid. Whereas social protection in agriculture has remained a viable option to mainstream hunger vulnerable households in value chains enabling broader redress to poverty, some donors and development partners think the poor are irredeemable. The belief that relief type social protection to the poor is the way to go, as governments and donors skew support towards multinationals and well off farmers is still a competing narrative. Overall, the aspiration by embassies to make for their nationals to venture in agriculture business in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa with ease is well supported.
ActionAid’s interventions in the realm of food security demonstrate the great latitude that exists to promote inclusion beyond subsistence. For this to happen, coherent long term programs are desirable and this is a lesson that can be drawn from ActionAid Kenya’s work with poor and chronic hungry communities. In this newsletter we feature efforts to graduate hunger vulnerable and relief dependant households from this trap of poverty in arid and semi-arid areas of Mwingi, Isiolo and Mbeere. Evidence drawn from these sites show that long term, sustained programming on food security is the way to go, with interventions that tap on as well as grow the water resources potential for these areas. Women are increasingly able to meet their food requirements as well as invest their surplus in small trade activities with phenomenal transformation.
Indeed the experience from ActionAid’s work provides a useful framework of achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2— End poverty in all its forms everywhere; and End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture respectively. In deed the mantra "Leave no one behind" as exposed by Sustainable Development Goals is the way to go and ActionAid has modelled how this can be achieved.
Progress made in providing hooks for social and economic inclusion in sustainability of development goals ought to be safeguarded against the broad shift towards trade. Citizens organizing on inclusion elements is the way to go in ensuring the county governments realize their core objective of bringing services closer to people. It is high time county governments designed and approved more comprehensive multi- year programs and tracked their implementation. A gender responsive planning and budgeting framework in agriculture that captures not only women priorities but rather entrenches their participation across the programmes is the way to go. Counties should facilitate an enabling environment for women to control their food security situation and to be players in national and regional value chains.
The buck has shifted previously. It cannot shift any further, beyond the counties!