While working at Lodwar District Hospital (renamed Lodwar County & Referral Hospital), RMF Project Coordinator Emma Fredah Kiriungi observed the effects of food insecurity and undernourishment on HIV-positive individuals, especially mothers and their children. Inadequate nutrition has been identified as the main health concern for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Kenya, as it compromises the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and further weakens the immune system. The problem is significant in Turkana, where 80% of households remain food insecure. According to the 2014 Kenya HIV county profile, the national average for HIV prevalence is 6.04%, while in Turkana County, the prevalence is 7.6%. HIV prevalence among women is also higher than among men in Turkana, at approximately 10.8% vs. 6.5%. Initiated by our Kenya Project Coordinator, RMF is pleased to begin our new livelihood project, offering a long-term, sustainable solution to food insecurity for vulnerable families in Turkana County.
The project will continually listen to beneficiaries’ concerns and needs, and aid beneficiaries in developing their own action plan and prioritizing projects.
A rapid valuation of mediations needed by PLHIV will be carried out with the Ministry of Health and the Turkana County Department of Disaster Management, and the project will be implemented in close alliance with government ministries:
RMF will also consult other NGOs working in the area to share best practices, avoid duplication of services, and identify service gaps.
Our team will practice transparent discourse and consultation with beneficiaries to agree on participatory tools for project monitoring. M&E staff will regularly review data, undertake field visits, and meet with partners and beneficiaries. Regular meetings will also be held (at least bimonthly) with local partners and county officials to ensure project efficiency.
RMF has been active in the drought region of Turkana County, Kenya since 2009, initially providing emergency relief, and continuing to improve the quality and accessibility of health care in the region. Despite our efforts and those of the Kenyan government and other organizations, 80% of households in Turkana remained food insecure in 2015, and undernourishment continued to negatively affect the health and livelihoods of HIV-positive community members (6.5% HIV prevalence in men and 10.8% HIV prevalence in women as of 2014).
In January 2017, RMF initiated our greenhouse farming project, which targets 150 households, primarily those of HIV-positive women and mothers of childbearing age who seek treatment at Lodwar County & Referral Hospital. Through this livelihood pilot program, RMF aims to provide a long-term, sustainable solution to undernourishment, food insecurity, and limited livelihood skills among HIV-positive women and mothers, as well as their families, in Turkana County, Kenya.
150 farming households supported with climate adaptive livelihood interventions: greenhouse technology. It is believed that the interventions will extend to the broader population as well, benefiting the prosperity and stability of the community as a whole.