Thursday, 17 November 2011

Caravan Chat - When the Marginalized Maginalize the Marginalized - Part 2

Of bad roads, illiteracy and conflict

In Isiol,o you have only one tarmac road that is the Nairobi-Isiolo road which is deteriorating fast. Infrastructure development is at a minimal. Minimal infrastructure development translates to lack of access to education. 92% of women in upper and North Eastern are not educated according to the United Nations. A combination of illiteracy, leaders who capitalize on people’s ignorance, dwindling resources are all a cocktail that makes for conflict that flares up with murderous consequences. Not just human to human conflict but also human to animal. When a clan is attacked they tend to move away and not as neighbors to human beings because there is no trust. They move away encroach on conservancies or the other way round. So they move away and burn charcoal for energy. What they don’t burn, they sell. Then hits the migration season where elephants move in search for food and water. In the process of encroachment the humans tend to plant a certain type of acacia tree that is locally known as ‘chagara.’ Elephants like this acacia tree. We have had a farmer who found 90 elephants on his farm one morning. The herd was following the acacia tree.

Any significant changes since Friends of Nomads started operations?

Yes, there have been significant changes. With the passage of the constitution  the community here demands knowledge. When l have talks with people they come from as far as Merti to Isiolo which is over 250 kilometers. They come to ask about good governance. People in this area have been voting without knowing why they are voting but the constitution has changed all that. 

A Program that Changed Communities Mind Set
We have also done a program under the UN program on gender and governance where we looked at devolved funds together with the community.  When we went through the process the community stopped a Community Development Fund, CDF, funded project.  The kitty had been used to construct a Kshs5 million hospital which ended up with no medicine or medical staff. The community now knows that the CDF money belongs to the people and not the government. That is what people’s participation does.

Compiled by Maria Wanza


  1. Maria and your teams are going a great deed for Africa. I really feel for the marginalized communities. In Zimbabwe we had planned to involve the San (AbaKwa) to take part in the Climate Change activities from Vic Falls but were dropped out of the programme due to lack of funding. When I told them that they have been dropped out of the programme, I could see the hate in their faces. The San have been marginalized for decades and they had hoped that this was going tom change and they were wrong.
    Hope to see you in Zim, if We make it.