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Shelter from the storm (literally): As remote herders get drought-related insurance payments, the heaven’s open

Livestock market in Wajir

Livestock market in Wajir, where Kenya’s remote, never-before-insured livestock herders are getting their first protection from drought (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘It was almost inevitable that the day chosen to make the first drought insurance payments in Wajir, in the arid north-east of Kenya, would be the same day the rains came.

‘Herders who lost sheep, cattle and camels in the scorching first quarter of the year sheltered from the storm in an airless hall waiting for the cheques from an innovative new scheme that seeks to break the drought-and-bust cycle blighting pastoralists across the Horn of Africa.

‘No one among the weathered ranks of Somali herders thought a day of rain was a sign of easier seasons to come. “Drought is always going to come,” said the county governor, Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad. “If you have rains for two years you know that in the third year they will fail. The question is how we build the systems to deal with drought.”

This is a question that has hung over Andrew Mude, a Kenyan economist, for the past six years. Working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the capital, Nairobi, he has brought to bear satellite technology and 30 years of data on drought and herd losses in quest of a solution. . . .

‘This kind of ambition has attracted donors such as the UK and Australia, which have been willing to commit funds to educating herders about the benefits of insurance. Lisa Phillips, head of the UK Department for International Development in Kenya, who attended the payout ceremony, believes it is worth taking a punt on schemes that have the potential to break through ingrained poverty. “It’s cheaper than providing humanitarian assistance (after a drought),” she said. “We’re building resilience now to avoid spending loads of money later.”‘

Read the whole article by Daniel Howden in the Guardian‘s Global Development Blog: Kenya’s drought insurance scheme shelters herders from financial storm, 4 Apr 2014.

Read more about this insurance scheme and recent payout below.

ILRI Clippings Blog
Times Live (South Africa): Space tech provides Africa’s first Islamic insurance for herders, 1 Apr 2014

Business Daily (Kenya): Takaful, ILRI payout ‘sharia-compliant’ insurance to drought-suffering livestock herders in Wajir, 28 Mar 2014

Business Daily (Kenya): Pastoralists bank on index insurance to reduce losses, 26 Mar 2014

Watch a 2-minute video clip from Al Jazeera about the Wajir payout
New insurance scheme protects Kenyan farmers, 26 Mar 2014

Watch a 5-minute filmed interview by Roger Thurow on IBLI
Roger Thurow of the Chicago Council, interviews ILRI’s Andrew Mude, of IBLI, at the World Food Prize ceremonies in Iowa in Oct 2012, a Feed the Future Greenroom Interview, posted 28 Dec 2012.

Read ILRI’s press release about this on the ILRI News Blog
Africa’s first ‘Islamic-compliant’ livestock insurance pays 100 herders in Kenya’s remote drylands of Wajir for drought-related livestock losses, 25 Mar 2014

Visit related sites

ILRI website

IBLI Blog

BASIS: Assets and Market Assets

Index Insurance Innovation Initiative (I4)

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