Fodder – The Hidden Gem of the Kenyan ASAL Regions

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A case study of Gafarsa and Muchuro communities in Galbatulla

Isiolo is among the largest livestock producing and marketing hubs with livestock population of 2,410,114. The inhabitants are mainly Waso Boran who are pastoralists. Since time immemorial, the area has been faced with diverse challenges that range from recurrent drought, encroachments and frequent attacks from neighbouring Somalia herders. Although this violence increasingly involves brutal and reckless murder acts, ethnic cleansing, criminal marketing chains and highway banditry, it is commonly lumped together and labelled as ‘cattle rustling’.

‘Buyo’ as they call it in their mother tongue is naturally grown grass or fodder that has been a great source of conflict in the ASAL’s.  Fodder market in Isiolo County is still at the infancy stage and is mainly concentrated around the town centre. There is unwillingness by the livestock owners to purchase fodder because of their long held cultural beliefs of only using naturally grown grass / fodder. Every time there is drought in the area, the County government purchases bulk fodder from Meru and Laikipia and distributes it to the pastoralists in Galbatulla community.

It was between the 21st– 24th September that E4Impact field staff visited Gafarsa and Muchuro villages to train the fodder groups on group dynamics.

As early as 7:30 am, the  beneficiaries arrived at the training venue eager to learn. Once the training begins, it does not take us long to realize that there is a great need for group dynamics training. When you ask a question that touches on them, they turn against each other in hot exchange of words. Once you dig deeper to know the root cause of conflict, they retort back, ‘tumesikizana’ meaning they had agreed amongst themselves. For these particular groups, one does not need to excuse themselves to pick a phone call. They either pick it inside the class or near the window disrupting the training session.

Community training for Gafarsa community

The composition of our beneficiary group was 25 members which includes women, men and youth. We intervened a lot on group communication, conflict management, group management and leadership. By the second day, one could openly notice some order in the group.

A session on group dynamics in Muchuro

Adan is one of our group beneficiary from Boran community. He narrates his gun injury on his right leg during a fight humorously. The Somalia community had encroached their fodder preserved area one week back, torched it and carried away their animals. This is what he said. We couldn’t keep calm! All men have to go for war. Even our women cannot allow it. They come insulting us, ‘hatuna wanaume kwa hii  manyatta’ meaning “We no longer have men in this village”. This statement quickly erodes the man ego and they go to war zones.

‘The only thing I can say was really interesting was that I did not die but escaped with a wound. I hid behind a small transparent acacia bush when I suddenly heard a big burst. That is the only thing I can remember’.

A session on group dynamics in Muchuro

I paid Ksh. 150,000 to go to Baringo for exactly the same training on fodder for one month. Nobody should take this training for granted’. – Hassan Galgallo Luma the area chief from Kinna

Now that E4Impact is on the ground implementing entrepreneurship program, we hope that that fodder will graduate from being a blood commodity to an Income Generating Commodity.

Elishiba Maitho

Project Trainer – EU Isiolo DRIC project

Partnership Request? Write to us at and let’s collaborate!

The DRIC project is funded by the European Union and Implemented by  Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF), E4Impact Foundation, Comitato Collaborazione Medica (CCM), SOMIRENEC and WeWorld

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