Marsabit Kenya (UK Aid)

Country Background

Kenya is a country of many contrasts, from its landscape to demographics, and more so its social and economic inequalities. Kenya is one of the most unequal countries in the sub-region. A large percentage of its population of 45 million outside the affluent urban minority, are poor. Access to basic quality services such as health care, education, clean water and sanitation, is a luxury for many people. The project takes place in northern Kenya in Marsabit county, a mostly arid and semi-arid area where nomadic pastoralists make up most of the population. Within Marsabit county, 92% of the population live below the poverty line.

Project Objectives

This project seeks to reduce poverty for rural pastoralists and traders by improving income-generating opportunities in three livestock markets in Marsabit county. If pastoralists are able and willing to sell their livestock at fair prices, the income benefits families directly. Child malnutrition and opportunities to access education are increased. This is particularly the case if women traders are encouraged to participate in the markets given their role in providing for their families.

Between 2014 and 2016, the UK Department of International Development financed an outstandingly successful project in this area. Food for the Hungry developed a livestock market project that aimed to tackle the issues that kept communities in poverty. With donations from UK supporters and UK Aid government funding, the project has seen outstanding results - with the average income of a pastoral farmer increasing by 260% over the last two years, 10,879 people have been lifted out of poverty. Watch our video below.

We are now following on from this initiative, seeking to apply the lessons learnt and replicate the results.


The project follows a community based approach focused on

  • Training community members in running livestock markets,
  • Facilitating partnerships between livestock market committee members, the government and the community,
  • Promoting the markets among pastoralists
  • Encouraging and empowering women traders
  • Introducing external livestock traders to the market
  • Linking traders to financial institutions to lend money to finance increased trade
Success is measured by building thriving sustainable markets with increased sales, increasing the number and capability of women traders and most importantly increasing the income of pastoralists such that they can provide for their families more effectively.