KENYA / FIGHT AGAINST DESERT LOCUST

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13-Oct-2021 00:03:14
In 2019 Kenya saw the worst Desert Locust invasion of the last 70 years. Crops and pastures were hit by the ravenous pest putting at risk food security and nutrition of thousands of people in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) quickly intervened to support the Government of Kenya’s response on survey and control measures. FAO

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STORY: KENYA / FIGHT AGAINST DESERT LOCUST
TRT: 3:14
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 02 SEPTEMBER 2021, GILGIL, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA / FILE

SHOTLIST:

JANUARY 2020, SAMBURU COUNTY, KENYA

1. Wide shot, lady walking in a field infested by Desert Locust

JUNE 2020, TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

2. Close up, Desert Locust eating a leaf
3. Tracking, Desert Locust hoppers moving
4. Tilt up, from hoppers on the ground to a farmer trying to disperse hoppers
5. Close up, worried farmer face
6. Wide shot, helicopter taking off

08 SEPTEMBER 2020, SAMBURU COUNTY, KENYA

7. Med shot, inside surveillance helicopter flying over a Desert Locust swarm
8. Close up, mobile phone with eLocust3m on mobile, marking coordinates of sighted and measured swarm

JUNE 2020, TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

9. Tracking, National Youth Servicemen in protective suits, masks and gloves spraying locust hopper bands

02 SEPTEMBER 2021, GILGIL, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“I had a motivational factor. When the locust invasion came to this country, it was a menace. You would hear it all over the news on the televisions.”

JUNE 2020, TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

11. Tilt up, from hoppers on a leaf to a farmer assessing damages to his crop
12. Med shot, farmer assessing damages

02 SEPTEMBER 2021, GILGIL, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

13. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“When a family goes to the farm and what they had farmed has been eaten up by the Desert Locusts, this means there is going to be hunger. Our children cannot go to school hungry.”

JUNE 2020, TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

14. Wide shot, goat grazing, hoppers moving on the ground in the foreground
15. Close up, face of a boy from a pastoralist community

02 SEPTEMBER 2021, GILGIL, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

16. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“The FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, they came to our college. They were given permission to train our Servicemen and Servicewomen to go and do the control team.”
17. Med shot, Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa helping a Serviceman to wear a protective suit
18. Wide shot, Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa illustrating how to spray to a Serviceman
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“We were trained on how to gather information on their behavior, on their movements and how to even fight them.”
20. Wide shot, servicemen carrying on a spraying exercise
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“This was a very good experience. Since this Desert Locust menace came into our country, the National Youth Service has been in the forefront and the delivery has been so well, because if the National Youth Service didn't go outside there, the kind of destruction that we would have experienced would have been vast. Now, it was timely that we went outside there, and the delivery was, I can say, 100 percent.”
22. Med shot, Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa illustrating how to spray to a Serviceman
23. Tracking, serviceman carrying on a spraying exercise
24. SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“Undergoing such kind of programmes in partnership with different organizations, this gives us pleasure of the service that we deliver to Kenyans. This gives us the strength to understand that giving back to the society should be part of our core mandate.”
25. Tracking, serviceman carrying on a spraying exercise
26. Wide shot, servicemen carrying on a spraying exercise

STORYLINE:

In 2019 Kenya saw the worst Desert Locust invasion of the last 70 years. Crops and pastures were hit by the ravenous pest putting at risk food security and nutrition of thousands of people in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) quickly intervened to support the Government of Kenya’s response on survey and control measures.

With support of FAO, the Kenyan government trained 696 community scouts, 140 county extension officers, 25 environment, health and safety experts and 60 county agricultural officers on control operations.

Twenty-two young professionals in the Ministry of Agriculture were trained by FAO on various aspects of desert locust management and worked with the government to ensure that only well-trained and properly equipped teams undertook part in the desert locust control operations.

The government also recruited members of the National Youth Service (NYS), the country's voluntary work and educational programme for young citizens. 500 National Youth Service (NYS) people and 20 NYS supervisors were trained by FAO and engaged in Desert Locusts’ control operations to curb the breeding of Desert Locusts. Their involvement in the campaign was crucial to stop the invasion.

As of late summer 2021, Kenya was considered locust free.

Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, sergeant and instructor in the Kenya NYS was aware of the danger and wanted to give his contribution to bring the locust under control. For this reason, he took part to the trainings and later oversaw a group of 200 service people deployed on desert locust control operations.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“I had a motivational factor. When the locust invasion came to this country. It was a menace. You would hear it all over the news on the televisions.”

Sgt. Brian knew that, with the ability to multiply 20 times with each generation, travel as far as 150 km per day and devour vast swathes of crops and pastureland on their way, Desert Locust was a great threat to food security and livelihoods of the communities of farmers and pastoralists in the country.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“When a family goes to the farm and what they had farmed has been eaten up by the Desert Locusts, this means there is going to be hunger. Our children cannot go to school hungry.”

FAO intervened in Kenya by providing expertise, support, resources and equipment to bring the locusts’ invasion under control. Sgt. Brian and the National Youth Servicemen and Servicewomen received training on how to conduct monitoring and control operations.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“The FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, they came to our college. They were given permission to train our Servicemen and Servicewomen to go and do the control team.”

Every morning the Servicemen and Servicewomen left at 5:30 so to reach the field before that the sun had heated up. On the ground they collected information on Desert Locust swarms’ location and dimension and sent them to the Desert Locust Information Service through the eLocust3g, the FAO’s handheld GPS-based data recording and transmission device designed for use in difficult and remote locations where monitoring is a challenge and there is no network.

The device consists of a robust GPS and custom designed software, which enables those on the ground to gather standard data and transfer it via satellite from the field to the regional locust command centre in Lewa. The coordinates of sighted locusts are mapped and shared in real-time with air and ground-based locust control teams for targeting.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“We were trained on how to gather information on their behavior, on their movements and how to even fight them”.

The involvement of the National Youth Service in the control operation was successful, and now Kenya has the expertise and capacity to face new threats. Sgt. Brian is actually training Servicemen and Servicewomen to be prepared to manage any resurgence of the pest.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“This was a very good experience. Since this Desert Locust menace came into our country, the National Youth Service has been in the forefront and the delivery has been so well, because if the National Youth Service didn't go outside there, the kind of destruction that we would have experienced would have been vast. Now, it was timely that we went outside there and the delivery was, I can say, 100 percent.”

FAO in partnership with the National Youth Service has trained many boys and girls, giving them new skills and knowledge to build their future. And this experience has given new strength to the work that National Youth Service does.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa, Kenya National Youth Service Instructor:
“Undergoing such kind of programs in partnership with different organizations, this gives us pleasure of the service that we deliver to Kenyans. This gives us the strength to understand that giving back to the society should be part of our core mandate.”

It was Sgt. Brian, and many of the heroes like him, that made it possible for Kenya to contain the historic 2020–2021 desert locust upsurge. As other countries across Africa and the globe continue to fight against desert locusts, many other food heroes are rising to the challenge, working closely with FAO and their governments to protect communities, livelihoods and food security.

FAO operates a global system that monitors Desert Locust and provides early warning to locust-affected countries. In addition, FAO supports governments to monitor and respond to desert locust emergencies by strengthening national capacities and providing technical guidance in the planning and execution of control campaigns. With the generous support of resource partners, FAO and national governments affected by the 2020–2021 upsurge in Eastern Africa have worked together to save 4.4 million metric tonnes of cereals from destruction and avoid USD 1.7 billion in potential economic losses.

Progress toward ending the Desert Locust upsurge is currently being hampered due to the developments in northern Ethiopia, where rains favorable to breeding have taken place while access for surveillance and control operations have been limited due to conflict. It is paramount to maintain a high level of surveillance. Sgt. Brian Odhiambo Wajewa and the Kenya National Youth Service are ready for future challenges.
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