LWR opened its regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1983 to respond to the frequent food crises facing East Africa. LWR’s Kenya program office is also located in Nairobi. Today, LWR collaborates with local community-based organizations, church partners, and national and county government departments on programs to improve food security, livelihoods of communities, climate change adaptation and to respond to emergencies. LWR also maintains a long-standing partnership with Lutheran World Federation/Department for World Service (LWF/WS) to respond to the ongoing needs of refugees in the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps. LWR is active in the ACT Alliance, a global alliance of churches and related organizations focusing on long-term development and humanitarian assistance.
Cash and Food Crop Value Chains
Small-holder farmers play an important role in agricultural value chains. By investing resources into improved practices for growing, processing and storing their harvests, farmers can increase the quantity and quality of their crops, allowing them to maximize the benefits from their production. These benefits are multiplied when farmers work together through farmer organizations. LWR supports farmer organizations to provide services to their members, including advice on improved agronomic practices (timely land preparation, planting, weeding, pest control and harvesting), promotion of drought-resistant crops and application of sound post-harvesting techniques. Farmer organizations help their members to access financial services so farmers can make needed investments, buy inputs in bulk and market members’ products as a group to get the best prices. LWR’s partners work in the value chains of coffee, horticulture, poultry and food staples (e.g. sorghum, green grams, soy beans and beans).
Climate Smart Agriculture
Changing climate conditions can threaten crop production. LWR complements its efforts to improve agronomic practices by promoting climate smart agriculture techniques, such as agroforestry, ripping, soil conservation and nutrient management, sustainable water access and use, integrated pest management, crop diversification, and the promotion of drought-resistant crop varieties.
LWR works with farmer organizations to strengthen their technical and organizational capacities so that they can provide sustainable, equitable and quality services to their members. Working together with partners, LWR develops action plans adapted to the specific capacity strengthening needs of each organization. Plans are often focused on transparency and governance, policies and procedures, and the provision of services such as agricultural extension, access to credit, discounted inputs and sales to a higher value market. Such services increase farmer crop productivity and income, demonstrating the value of collective action and increasing the willingness of farmers to pay for such services. This in turn supports the operational sustainability of farmer organizations.
Emergency Response: From Relief to Recovery
With the initial generous funding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Lutherans and WFP, LWR has been supporting smallholder farmers in Makueni County since 2008 to help them cope with drought conditions. Interventions include cash-for-work initiatives to help rehabilitate local irrigation systems and to help restore land assets. LWR has continued to invest in longer-term livelihood recovery activities to help local communities avert further crisis by increasing food production through improved irrigation, soil and water conservation practices, and stronger local management and technical skills. LWR also partners with LWF/DWS in the long-operating Dadaab and Kakuma camps to assist refugees from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and other neighboring countries. The work to provide essential services to camp residents has been supported with many years of funding from the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
LWR’s Quilt & Kit Ministry is another vital part of LWR’s emergency response in Kenya. LWR has worked with the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church to distribute Quilts, School Kits, Personal Care Kits and Baby Care Kits assembled by U.S. Lutherans to communities in the Tana River area who have been displaced by clashes between pastoralists, and to farmers and affected by severe flooding. LWR’s emergency response initiatives adhere to international humanitarian standards and best practices.