By Miriam Gathigah
“That is the sound I love the most in the whole world,” Hussein Ahmed says as the bells tied to his cattle begin clinking as they return home. Ahmed, a pastoralist in Marsabit district in arid and semi-arid northern Kenya, lost all his animals in 2011 during one of the worst droughts in the region for over 60 years.
At the time, Ahmed travelled to neighbouring Ethiopia in search of water and pasture for his cattle.
“I was running away from armed cattle rustlers who came to steal animals that were spared by the drought. During the 250 km journey from Marsabit to Ethiopia I lost all my animals due to the lack of pasture and water.
“Before that [I lost my animals\ to cattle rustlers trying to replace what they had lost to drought,” Ahmed tells IPS.
He returned to Marsabit one month later, dejected and empty-handed. But a clansman, who had signed up for a pilot livestock insurance product, gave Ahmed five goats and a cow and a chance to start over.
Life is different now. Ahmed has restored his herd and has security, even in the face of drought and continued cattle rustling.
A year ago he signed up for the same pilot livestock insurance product that his clansman has – the first ever cover for pastoralists in Kenya, which is being offered by NGO International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). More....