Marsabit Conservancies Choose Education and Microfinance for Priority Spending

 
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 Four NRT-member community conservancies in Marsabit County have received Ksh. 28 million (USD 280,000) from the NRT Conservancy Livelihood Funds (CLF), after each submitting successful applications for livelihoods and development projects. The communities, through their boards and management team, have earmarked the funds for supporting education, micro-finance and tourism.

Songa, Jaldesa, Melako and Shurr conservancies celebrated the fund transfer in early June, at a programme launch event attended by Saku MP Hon. Ali Rasso Dido, who hailed the initiative as one that ‘strengthened conservancies for economic growth and boosting peaceful coexistence.’

The CLF, which aims to empower communities to identify, implement and lead their own development projects, is jointly funded by USAID, DANIDA, UK AID, Illegal Wildlife Trade-IWT and Expertise France. By the end of 2018, the CLF had provided more than Ksh. 220 million (US$ 2.2 million) for 83 projects across 30 conservancies - benefitting around 71,000 conservancy members.

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“Most youth are jobless, the majority were not lucky to have formal education due to lack of school fees and poverty,” said the legislator at the launch, “but today, we are happy that NRT is providing an opportunity for hundreds of students whose families are not in a position to cater for their fees, by providing bursaries to retain them in schools.”

25 youth from Jaldesa Community Conservancy have received funding to buy motorbikes in order to establish boda boda (motorbike taxi) businesses. Mr Duba Galgalo, one of the beneficiaries, said the group will form a Savings and Credit Cooperative to enable each other to access loans and savings mechanisms.  

Jaldesa will also use Ksh 2 million (USD 20,000) of their allocated funding to construct a classroom at Lagdima Primary School, as well as issue bursaries to 200 students from the community.

Education was also a high priority for Songa Conservancy, who have allocated Ksh. 2.2 million (USD 22,000) to supporting full scholarships for 10 students. They will also use Ksh. 4.5 million (USD 45,000) on water piping to the headquarters and Ksh 2 million (USD 20,000) to construct classrooms at Lpus Primary School.

Similarly, Melako proposes to use Ksh. 2 million (USD 20,000) to construct a classroom at Tirgamo Primary School. The conservancy will use Ksh. 6 million (USD 60,000) to establish self catering huts as they seek to open up the area for tourism.

Shurr Conservancy will use Ksh. 2 million (USD 20,000) to build a classroom for Shurr Primary school.

The projects will be implemented by the community with close oversight by the four community conservancies and NRT playing an advisory role. 

 
Sophie Harrison