The cross-border area of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia is one of chronic vulnerability to drought. Droughts are occurring with increasing intensity and frequency in this part of the region, and these are contributing to a gradual erosion of people’s livelihoods and capacity to cope when such shocks occur. The droughts are one factor among several that are putting increasing pressure on vulnerable livelihoods along with increasing frequency of flooding events. Conflict is another major contributing factor. Historical tensions between different ethnic group and clans are exacerbated by increasing pressure on a depleting natural resource base, in particular water and pasture. Tension between groups can significantly reduce the opportunities for trade within and between countries and also restricts the movement of herders, with certain corridors becoming closed off, limiting access to pasture and water which further undermines livelihoods and resilience to crisis of various forms.
The occurrence of droughts in the region and the resultant impact on people whose livelihoods are already fragile is largely predictable. However, despite the wealth of research and analysis into the issue of drought management and response, there is still a disproportionate focus on emergency initiatives, responses to drought-related vulnerability in this region are often inadequate, and opportunities to design and scale up livelihoods interventions that could either mitigate or help cope with the effects of drought are often missed.
CARE International (CARE) has received support from DG ECHO to fund a regional initiative, the Regional Resilience Enhancement Against Drought (RREAD) Programme, in the Horn of Africa area under ECHO’s Regional Drought Decision (formerly Drought Preparedness Programme or DP2). The RREAD Programme recognizes the multi-faceted nature of livelihoods vulnerability and proposes a holistic multi-sectoral, and where possible a cross-border approach. The overall aim of the Programme is to enable disaster risk reduction and resilience models relevant to the livelihoods of pastoralists in drought prone areas to be used and understood by local, national and international actors working in and beyond axes between Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. In particular, the RREAD Programme aims to enhance the capacities of local actors operating in pastoral environment to improve resilience to drought and other crises and thereby provide an evidence base to inform regional policy and practice.
The RREAD programme has been implemented in two phases of 12 months each, with the second phase (RREAD II) beginning July 2009.