Evaluation of RIPAT for Peace
‘RIPAT for Peace’ is a food security and peace-building project aimed at improving human and community security (standard of living, freedom from fear) among agro-pastoralists in Northern Kenya. The project builds on the RIPAT model, but whereas the RIPAT model in Tanzania was developed with settled farming communities in mind and in regions where political conditions are relatively stable, the ‘RIPAT for Peace’ will be applied among agro-pastoralist communities in Samburu County in Northern Kenya, which is a semi-arid area characterised by recurrent conflicts. Furthermore, the model will be tested in partnership with a set of peace-building activities.
In order to assess the effects of the intervention in terms of the stated project objectives, an evaluation process was initiated simultaneously with the launch of the project. The evaluation is divided into two parts: one focusing on the general livelihood situation, including food security, and one focusing specifically on peace. In the autumn of 2014 a baseline study was carried out in the area. The objective was to generate, analyse and present information about selected key aspects of the livelihood and peace situation in the project area at the commencement of the implementation process, in order to enable comparisons at later stages and thus to assess the effects of the project. The baseline should also help to validate indicators described in the log frame and, where appropriate, to suggest additional indicators to ensure that the programme goals are relevant and transparent.
The data collection was carried out using appropriate qualitative methods such as analysis of relevant documents, focus-group discussions, village mappings, informal conversations, observations, workshops and individual interviews with various stakeholders. The baseline study was performed by two evaluation teams; one team focused on peace, and the other on livelihood and food security.
The baseline suggests, that the northern Kenyan context of implementation offers both opportunities and challenges to the RIPAT model. The project may be able to build on ongoing livelihood and social transitions, and open attitudes towards learning new livelihood skills caused by challenging conditions for pastoral livelihoods. On the other hand, the unstable security situation, the strongly challenging environmental and climatic conditions in the area, the difficult market conditions, the interplay between cultivation activities and animal migration, and cultural habits related to goat and chicken rearing might constitute challenges. Further, the contextual differences between the project villages will mean that the project process will have to unfold in different ways in the different villages. This offers potential for exploring and understanding how new livelihood skills are learned and integrated in daily life practices (or not) in different settings.