Hard times ahead for Narok’s 2800 households as relief food bailout ends

A group of women at Nashulai conservancy after receiving food aid. Photo Bell Pere

By Bell Pere

More than 2.800 households living around the Maasai Mara game reserve who have been receiving relief food from Nashulai conservancies for the last 11 months will have to brace for hard moments after the relief food programme comes to an end.

Nashulai conservancy has been donating relief food twice a week to support vulnerable families since the coronavirus hit the region that heavily relies on the tourism sector for their livelihoods. Ninety-five percent of tourism activities at the Maasai Mara game reserve have been negatively affected due to the coronavirus pandemic with foreign tourists keeping away from visiting the Maasai Mara game reserve and conservancies.

According to Nelson Ole Reiya the CEO Nashulai Conservancy,  international tourism collapsed since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation  with livelihoods of communities living around the Maasai Mara being negatively affected. This forced Nashulai to start a life saving relief food programme.

Reiya said there was need to provide relief food to the 2800 households for the sake of ensuring that the community refrained from poaching wildlife for food. He expressed hope that even though the relief food programme has come to an end, the conservancy has moved on to sensitize the community to venture into developing small gardens as well as to keep poultry so that they can stop relying fully on tourism.

The CEO appealed to the Government to support communities living around game reserves by coming up with sustainable food programmes such as construction of fish ponds and small community gardens for sustainable livelihoods.

Joyce Moniko who has been benefiting from the food programme for the past 11 months narrated that since the pandemic struck the women were affected financially as they normally rely on selling bead-work products to foreign tourists. She stated that Nashulai conservancy has been donating foodstuffs to their families, adding that they were worried that the programme has come to an end.

Mary Kaaria who is a mother of five said they had been having a hard time to provide food for their families. She lauded Nashulai Conservancy for providing food for their families. She also noted that they have saved a lot as they could have been selling their livestock to fend for their children.

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