Is there possibility of development without security?
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0n 30th October 2013, a student leader of Laikipia University Maralal campus was shot following a peaceful demonstration against the deteriorating security situation in Samburu. In November, two students lost their lives in Loikas the outskirts of the Samburu County headquarters- Maralal after being shot, a Samburu woman was shot in Barsaloi Samburu North. Two Turkana boys also lost their lives after being shot in Baragoi Samburu North. On 9th December a young boy in Nkabai, was attacked by bandits and lost his life. Evidently, Samburu is at a boiling point with lives being lost to inter-ethnic clashes between the Samburus and Turkanas.
Samburu County in North West Kenya is remote, marginalized from mainstream development and lacks basic infrastructure and water facilities. It is classified as arid and semi-arid, and is affected by frequent droughts which have become severe in the recent years due to climate change. It is also affected by inter-community conflicts mainly resulting from cattle raids and struggles over access to natural resources like pasture and water for livestock during droughts.
Caritas Maralal is the social development arm of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal. The Diocese Implements donor-funded projects in the entire Samburu County. One of the projects is Samburu early recovery water management project in Samburu North. This project is supported by Catholic Relief Services. The goal is to address the short and medium term needs of drought that has affected communities by creating community structures to manage and operate their water systems while promoting efficient water management to mitigate conflict. The project has so far promoted the construction and rehabilitation of 3 community water facilities. These facilities have immensely improved the communities’ access to clean drinking water and water for livestock. A borehole has been drilled in Lomirok which is projected to yield 2000 litres per hour. This has saved women and young girls the hustle of having to walk for over 15 Kilometres in search of water for domestic use. A gravity system has been rehabilitated in Waso Rongai. The same has been done to a water pan in logetei.
The day to day management of the water facilities is under the responsibility of an elected water management committee. It is comprised of 10 members, with women representing 40%. This recognition is important because of the role women play in addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs at the household level. This has been done in line with the sensitivity to cultural beliefs and traditions related to female participation in decision making.
Insecurity is the hindrance of development in the Northern Kenyan frontier. Media reporting on these cases is biased because they lack permanent journalists in Samburu to cover these issues. The media also publishes unconfirmed stories. They sometimes contribute to ethnic profiling and don’t authenticate their information which leads to increased tension. Therefore, relevant authorities do not have a clear representation of what is happening on the ground. Residents of Samburu County are the victims of this worrying trend. The media can play a big role in reducing cases of insecurity if they give the Northern frontier the attention it deserves. The Catholic Church through Integration of activities works on building positive relationships among the communities who are direct and in direct beneficiaries of projects Implemented in the entire Samburu County.