24 July 2013
The Red Cross is working with impoverished communities in Kenya to prepare for annual drought and break the cycle of aid.
The Kenya Red Cross, with support from the British Red Cross, is directly helping 12,000 people in the arid region of Turkana south. High mortality rates, dire poverty and low levels of literacy leave communities vulnerable to drought and disasters.
By building a network of community volunteers trained in first aid, disaster response and emotional support techniques, the Kenya Red Cross hopes to develop long term solutions to recurrent problems.
Breaking a devastating cycle
Karen Peachey, British Red Cross east Africa representative, said: “The horn of Africa drought in 2011 affected 13 million people, making it the worst on record for 60 years.
“Turkana was one of the worst affected areas and the Red Cross responded with food distributions, emergency water supplies and a range of health and hygiene interventions.
“But drought will return again and again - this in itself is not a disaster. The crisis only occurs when communities are too weak to respond, so we are committed to making sure they are prepared for next time.”
Supporting women and the community
The Kenya Red Cross is actively encouraging women to join the staff and volunteer network in Turkana south to help build trust among the rural communities and hopefully encourage them to work with the Red Cross.
Karen said: “Women often bear the household burden during times of crisis and their involvement would have a greater impact on their families and communities as a whole.
“Ultimately we want input from all community members so that we can develop long-term solutions to stop drought having such a devastating impact on Turkana.”
Read about how the Red Cross is helping communities to prepare for disasters in Kenya.