Protecting and Restoring Economic Sustainability to Ensure Reduced Vulnerability (PRESERV+)

Global Communities emergency response program, Protecting and Restoring Economic Sustainability to Ensure Reduced Vulnerability Plus (PRESERV+), funded by USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the program worked to mitigate continuing vulnerability and livelihoods loss among vulnerable households in Kitui and Tharaka Counties in eastern Kenya, two of the strategic Feed the Future areas for Kenya. The overarching goal of PRESERV+ was to increase resilience and strengthen coping mechanisms for 26,216 total individual beneficiaries affected by cyclical drought and subsequent shortages in household food supply.

In Kenya, FEWSNET has reported that an estimated 3.75 million food insecure people continue to face short and long term food deficits. Although the vital October 2011 short rains were successful in most areas, serious food security risks persist across much of the drought-affected areas in Kenya, and particularly in the mixed marginal farming livelihood zone such as Kitui and Tharaka Counties. Marginal farming communities in the eastern region of Kenya depend almost entirely on the short-rains agricultural season to meet their household food requirements, and a successful harvest is critical if households are to produce adequate food and income reserves to carry the family through the year. However the residual effects of endemic and acute drought conditions throughout the Horn of Africa have led to the loss of assets and tested the current farming practices used in this area.

The PRESERV+ program prioritized livelihoods protection to arrest the continuing and otherwise inevitable deterioration of household resilience and dependency that would accelerate emergency level conditions. Specifically it focused on resilience-oriented agriculture practices and improving asset management. Through these efforts Global Communities is improved food security for marginal farming households in eastern Kenya by building their resilience and maximizing the value of their productive assets. PRESERV+ built on the work Global Communities’ PRESERV, which operated from September 2011 to February 2012. PRESERV provided critical support to household food security through agricultural inputs and support activities and access to cash to help overcome the impact of the harshest droughts in several decades.

PRESERV+ continued upon Global Communities work in potentially productive but vulnerable farming zones in Kitui and Tharaka Counties. Specifically, Global Communities built current agricultural productivity, increased economic resilience, and diversification of foods for improved nutritional status. Through PRESERV+, Global Communities contributed to the following FtF focus areas that accelerate progress toward the poverty and hunger Millennium Development Goal, and support reduced poverty in East Africa:

Accelerating inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade and increased economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities. The PRESERV+ program supported this objective by:

Promoting drought resistant crops and building capacity to manage seed assets effectively;
Increasing production of staple crops for consumption and sale, and
Connecting farmers to sustainable income sources, such as Purchase for Progress (P4P), through capacity building, training, technical assistance, and mentoring.

Improved nutritional status by increasing access to diverse and quality foods and by strengthening the prevention, identification and treatment of under-nutrition. The PRESERV+ program supported this objective by:

Year-long household production of vegetables at the household and community level;
Educating women in basic nutrition, health management and healthy food choices for maximum nutrition; and
Public awareness of healthy food preparation, handling, and nutrition themes.