In August 2006, the government reallocated much of the land, sparking widespread unrest and violence. Thousands of farming households have fled their homes and are living in neighbouring communities or camps for Internally Displace Persons (IDPs). These families are now unable to tend to their crops which led to both a food security crisis and a strain on the local economy.
In March 2007, World Renew began assessing the feasibility of a project in response to the escalating conflict. A plan was drafted to supply 4,000 households with food (maize and beans) for four months. Food distributions started in June. Nine communities in the Mount Elgon district and three communities directly south of the district received food. All twelve communities had high numbers of IDPs.
While implementing this project World Renew partnered with the Reformed Church of East Africa (RCEA), and the Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRC). Funds for food aid and project expenses were provided by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Through this project World Renew learned of the presence of many more families in need: by August the number of displaced persons had reached 116,220–almost a 200 percent increase since March. CRWRC Field Staff recommended a broader and prolonged food distribution to sustain IDPs through February, 2008. The proposal was approved, increasing the list of beneficiaries to 6, 000 households–an estimated 48, 000 individuals.
In November of 2007 families began to evacuate Mount Elgon. The evacuation was an indication of the level of their fear. Parliament had recently dissolved and violence was destroying lives, homes, stores, and infrastructure. Those with the economic means to leave were doing so. This left the poorer families in an even more unstable situation.
In order to prevent health from deteriorating as a result of poor nutrition, World Renew added another 3, 000 households to the food aid project. By widening their scope to 9,000 households World Renew hopes to help communities avoid an increase in levels of malnutrition and disease.