U.S. and Kenya Launch Water Projects in Arid Lands and Economic Growth Activities Supporting 23 Counties

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Nadine L. Sunderland

Today in Turkana County, U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec joined representatives of the Government of Kenya (GoK) and of Turkana and Marsabit Counties, and private sector partners to launch three activities to improve access to water services in Kenya’s arid lands and support economic growth through increasing agricultural productivity in 23 counties. The projects represent a U.S. investment of over $38 million (Ksh 3.8 billion) and are consistent with the Government’s recent request for assistance in responding to the current drought emergency

To provide drinking water for households and livestock as well as sanitation and hygiene services that will benefit 450,000 people in arid counties in northern Kenya, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development activity (Kenya RAPID), is investing $12.5 million in the water sector in Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa Counties. The activity is a partnership with the Millennium Water Alliance, Catholic Relief Services and the private sector. Additional funding support includes $7.5 million from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and $15.5 million from the private sector, represented at the launch by Kenya Commercial Bank and IBM.

Kenya RAPID is also working closely with county governments to provide water for irrigation to improve food security at household and community levels. A hundred thousand people will benefit from multiple-use services and targeted nutrition education.

USAID and the U.S. Geological Survey are also partnering with the GoK on a $1.5 million activity to map water resources in Turkana and Marsabit Counties. The water mapping program will enable the national and county governments of Kenya, as well as local communities, to plan and manage water resources more efficiently.

The third project launched, a $25 million dollar U.S. Feed the Future activity, focuses on stimulating economic development through competitively and sustainably increasing agricultural productivity with a focus on livestock, horticulture and drought-tolerant crops.  The Accelerated Value Chain Development activity, implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute in close collaboration with the GoK in 23 counties, is targeted to reach 258,000 households.

Discussing U.S. commitment to support the people in arid lands and other counties affected by the current drought, Ambassador Godec said, “Our initiatives take action on drought management as we seek to strengthen communities before a crisis hits.   We are committed to helping the Government of Kenya and communities prepare for, adapt to, and ultimately thrive amid these challenging circumstances.”