Fida Development

Food Distribution in Natoot Village in Northern Kenya


The food security of 3.75 million Kenyans is threatened. Nearly two million of them are involved in various food security programs. I had the opportunity to visit a village called Natoot in the Turkana region in northern Kenya and to participate in food distribution of Fida International and itís Kenyan partner, Full Gospel Churches of Kenya.

In a disaster situation, it is important to buy food supplies from as close as possible to the area being affected, if they are available there, so that the local economy can be supported as well as keeping the transportation costs at a minimum. It also ensures that the food that is distributed is similar to what these people are accustomed to receiving. It is also important to ensure that the distributed food is of good nutritional value and sufficient in quantities. Fida International fulfill the Sphere guidelines in its food security programs in addition to local guidelines and regulations that have to be taken into account in the distribution.

People in Natoot village were divided into groups, so that the food distribution could take place without further difficulties. When people have been starving for a long time, there is likely to be a struggle for the food supplies being distributed. Natoot village hasn't had a decent rainfall since December 2007, so hunger has been a daily visitor for a long time. The local partner-church of Fida International together with the elders of the village chose the trustworthy individuals to make the arrangements for the distribution. Despite the extremely hot weather, the distribution took place peacefully, and all received their rations of food.

The food was purchased in big bags, so that the unit cost was lower and the food was distributed to the widest possible audience. The distributed food was corn flour, beans, and cooking fat. Some of the food was imported to Kenya from abroad, because the current food security situation throughout Kenya is very poor. Some grain may be obtained locally after the November harvest, if the conditions remain good. The population of the Turkana region is just over half a million and  60 % of these people need food assistance.  Turkana is one of the worst drought affected areas in Kenya.

It is very important to ensure that everyone receives the same amount of assistance, so that there will be no inequality in the community. And at the same time, it is important to ensure that the delivery of aid goes where it is supposed to go by recording the names of each recipient of aid. The families with greatest needs were pinpointed in the community and they were given a priority in receiving assistance. For this, the information and lists of local authorities were used, as well as the cooperation of other organizations also doing the food distribution, such as Oxfam and World Vision.

Published: 17.10.2011
By: Mika Jokivuori