The role of NGOs in enhancing food security: a case study of Ukamba Christian Community Services in Mwingi district
Broadly, this research was aimed at examining the role of Nongovernmental Organization in enhancing food security. Specifically, the study explores the role played by Ukamba Christian Community Services in enhancing food security in Mwingi District. Owing to the expanse of Mwingi District, Nzauni Location was studied to represent the whole district. Nzauni Location has got three administrative sub-locations namely, Kikiini, Nzauni and Muviu. Nzauni was chosen because, it is ranked by UCCS to be an area which is more food insecure than the other Locations of Mwingi District. The study found out that UCCS does not directly work with households in enhancing food security but rather reaches people on the ground through CBOs. In the case of J. Nzauni Location, UCCS works hand in hand with Nzauni CBO. This CBO organises willing households into both registered and non-registered self-help-groups. Each self-help-group has a unique role to play in fighting famine. So far, the self-help- groups have established a green house, tree nursery, sand dams, earth dam and goat upgrading project. The tree nursery has enabled the households to sell the seedlings and use the money to purchasing food. At the individual level, households are trained in soil and water conservation techniques while individual farmers are advised to grow drought resistant crops. Although the projects may appear impressive, it was found out that some households are pulling down these efforts through selling the donated dairy goats, planting seeds and fertilizer to cater for their personal needs ranging from paying school fees, buying clothes, beer and electronics among other things. In other incidents, some households cook the donated seeds for planting. This then calls for a need to address poverty. It was also found that some people are still having the mentality of sitting and waiting for food relief. Based on the main findings, the researcher recommends that the members of the community should put into practise the learnt capacity building skills like soil and water conservation techniques; grow early maturing maize seeds; growing drought- resistant crops; participate in the construction of more earth dams to enable adequate irrigation and make use of an effective insecticide to get rid of 'osama' weevil which up to date is destroying harvested cereals. The researcher further recommends that Nzauni CBO and UCCS should provide funds for the construction of more household managed greenhouses and water projects as a way of combating challenges associated with rain-fed agriculture. The study as well recommends that both government and NGOsshould fund micro- entrepreneurship and skills development of the youth to enable them get jobs to rid poverty which often undermines strategies put in place to fight famine. Above all, UCCS should put in place follow-up mechanisms to ensure proper utilization of resources by both the delegated CBO and the self-help-groups.