References | Africa, south of Sahara

International Team Leader (TA-TL) for the start up of the Medium Term Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Programme in Kenya (MTAP)


Natural Resource Management, Forestry, Environment and Climate Change, Natural Resource Management

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The arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL), home to over 14 million people, cover about 89% of Kenya. Over 70% of the population in these areas lives under the poverty line. Despite the high incidence of poverty, there is a vast base of natural resources in the ASALs, much of which remains underutilised, but which also see an increasingly unsustainable utilisation of the resources in the areas with relatively good dry season potential. Ministry of State for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands (MDNKOAL) was created in 2008 based on the recognition that development in northern Kenya and other arid lands was lagging behind the rest of the country and with the mission to provide policy direction and leadership in planning, implementation and coordination of development in northern Kenya and other arid lands.

The ASALs areas support 60% of the livestock and 65% of the wildlife. Despite the huge potential the people living in the Arid and Semi-arid areas have remained outside the mainstream economy of the country. Subsistence is the way of life for most of these farmers who are agro-pastoralists and pastoralists. Poverty rates are between 60% and 80%, and are highest amongst female-headed households, and thousands are dependent on famine relief. The Medium term ASAL programme (MTAP) is one the three components of the Danida supported ‘Natural Resource Management Programme 2010-14’. With a high degree of local ownership, this 2-year component will be implemented August 11 – July 13. The ASAL Secretariat that oversees MTAP is an institution that is meant to eventually become part of the Joint Arid Lands Programme (JALP). MTAP will have its own set of ‘stand alone’ activities while at the same time prepare for integration into this greater programme.
ORGUT was contracted to provide Technical Assistance through an International Team Leader (TA-TL) for the start up of the Medium Term Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Programme in Kenya. MTAP was primarily a systems establishment and capacity building project rather than a ‘traditional’ implementation assignment. MTAP was also expected to handle substantial funds and account for them, which required considerable capacity. The limited time available further suggested that the TA-TL must maintain a quick and steady pace for a) setting up robust structures, systems and routines and for b) help build sufficient capacity amongst those that are meant to apply them in their daily work beyond the programme itself.

The TA-TL was instrumental for producing a limited number of straight forward deliverables, but other results and impact of his 6-month deployment only became visible over time through the actual performances of MTAP and the ASAL Secretariat. The main ‘tangible’ outputs were a fully functioning MTAP Unit within the ASAL Secretariat and county level offices that can carry out their mandate – and a Secretariat that is basically ‘prepared’ for integrating into JALP.