19 August is World Humanitarian Day, a time to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. This year we provide a snapshot into our work with partners during a response to flooding in Kenya.
Flooding causes mass internal displacement
The March/May long rains this year in Kenya began unusually early and were significantly heavy. In the beginning, the rains were welcomed after months of extreme dryness, but they quickly led to serious flooding. Entire villages were under water and a quarter of a million people had to leave their villages.
In such situations, persons with disabilities are always among those most affected and most excluded from aid. For this reason, CBM humanitarian work aims to implement a response that will reach everyone, including people with disabilities, their families and other often marginalised communities.
Restoring autonomy of people, including persons with disabilities
In this situation we have been working with local partners Association For The Physically Disabled Of Kenya (APDK) and Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS), whose staff in the field ensure our response is effective and inclusive. One such person is KRCS Project Manager Caleb Mursoi Kibet. The 24-year-old, based in Baringo County, has a challenging job, working in close cooperation with government authorities, Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), community leaders, partner organisations and other providers of emergency relief to ensure appropriate synergies and avoidance of duplication. Practically speaking, this means conducting needs assessments and training sessions, monitoring the project results and compiling reports verifying progress against performance indicators. For people affected by the flooding, the end result is the provision of food, clean drinking water and medical assistance, plus availability of assistive devices (such as wheelchairs) meaning that people can access information and distribution points.
Caleb says that being a humanitarian worker is a ‘lifestyle’ (a calling, if you will), not just a job. His driving force is the feeling that he is actually creating a positive impact on the lives of others. He says that through this work he had seen persons with disabilities recover from the situation: "Many can now take care of themselves and their families again, participate in social life and go to school or pursue a livelihood.”
This catastrophic flooding was only briefly in the headlines but for many people the struggle continues. Several hospitals and schools are still closed and there is a prevalent risk of waterborne diseases. CBM thanks our partners and their staff for their continued work with us in our inclusive humanitarian response.