Saving livestock, not people, in disasters

Kenya is currently experiencing one of the worst hunger crisis in recent times due to a prolonged drought. Recurrent droughts have ravaged livelihoods, triggered local conflicts over scarce resources and eroded the ability of communities to cope.

On behalf of Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS), Reelmedia Film’s advocacy video explains how disasters, such as severe drought, impact the livelihoods and livestock of those affected.

In Kenya, more than 2.6 million people are experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity – a number that is hurriedly increasing. As Kenya’s situation exacerbated and water sources in half of the country’s 47 counties dried up, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought in the country a national disaster in February 2017.

The rainfall deficit has led to livestock becoming progressively at risk, with particularly sheep and cattle weakening at alarming rates. Significant livestock deaths have catastrophic consequences for pastoral communities in drought-affected areas; even if a herd overall survives. It can take a minimum of two to four years for pastoralist and agro pastoralist households to recover after disasters such as droughts.

Humanitarian responses to these disasters are frequently inadequate. They can be poor quality, arrive too late, or not taking livestock and livelihoods into account.

Concerned about the quality of livestock responses, the LEGS project was established in 2005. LEGS provides a set of standards and guidelines to help decision-makers and implementers improve their support to livestock keepers affected by crisis.

The standards have become key reference for international organisations, NGOs and governments. LEGS reflects the growing recognition that timely and appropriate livestock-based responses in crisis can help to save both lives and livelihoods.

 The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) advocacy video was shot on the Sony FS7 over the course of one week, and was directed by Tim Webster.

All photography is copyright Reelmedia Film 2017.

About Reelmedia Film

Reelmedia Film is creative documentary film studio, based in Brighton. We specialise in communicating the stories of development and humanitarian organisations, as well as values-based clients and working on our own productions.

We use visual storytelling for positive change and are passionate about the power of documentary film and multimedia to enhance understandings about our world and the people that live here.

We look to character-led stories and compelling narratives to tell stories that affect change in audiences. and we pride ourselves on sensitive, ethical and collaborative ways of working. We believe this creates honest and compelling narratives that are engaging and empowering, rather than instructional. 

Working with a broad spectrum of organisations across the globe, we have successfully communicated the stories of development and humanitarian initiatives across a broad range of contexts and programmes.

1 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (2017). Kenya: Humanitarian Dashboard (as of 26 May 2017). OCHA.

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