#10Morans: How Kevin Found Opportunity in Drought
“I want other young men to know that there is another way of earning a living apart from livestock — raiding and killing each other while herding is no way to live.” Kevin Lesita is a young moran (warrior) from Ruko Community Conservancy, on the shores of Lake Baringo. In 2009, Kevin lost 16 of his 36 cattle in a drought. His herd was his family’s sole income stream, and a huge part of his identity as a young man. He was faced with the prospect of losing more livestock, and even his own life, if he took his herd farther afield in search of what little pasture there was left, as competition for grazing in dry times is fierce.
“I decided to try farming,” says Kevin, “a decision I have never regretted.” He planted maize, and harvested 20 sacks in his first season. Kevin also applied for a job as a ranger at Ruko, which he got. He now farms and tends a small herd of livestock in his spare time. With a diversity of revenue streams, including a full-time job, Kevin says the reliable income is a great relief.
“I can sustain my family and send my children to better schools. Before when I used to purely rely on livestock as a source of income, I wasn’t sure if I could return with the animals in the evening since cattle theft was so common,” he says.
Kevin is now passionate about encouraging other young men to diversify their income streams, both as a way of promoting a more sustainable economy and as a way of building peace. Livestock raids between pastoralists, especially during times of scarce grazing, has a devastating impact on his community. On his patrols, Kevin takes the time to talk to his age-mates and share his story, in the hopes that he can inspire more pastoralists to explore other businesses.