Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) senior management, regional & county coordinators and Programmatic staff were taken through a Public Policy Executive Program training at Strathmore Business School. The training was funded by USAID under the Enhancing Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness for Effective Response Project. The main aim of the training was to capacity build and prepare the KRCS staff for their interactions with key policymakers in light of the transition in the political cycle.
The five-day training involved twenty-four KRCS staff spread through different regional offices. In attendance also was Sarah Nduku, who heads the Policy and Advocacy Unit at the International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA) and supports Kenya Red Cross’ overall Policy needs. Aisha Mazrui, the Head of Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance, was also in attendance.
The trainees were taken through Public Policy Analysis, Comparative Public Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals, which expounded on the role and relationship between humanitarian work and the 17 SDGs. Mr. Paul Ouma, a life member of KRCS, took the team through Negotiations and its effectiveness in humanitarian work, especially in seeking mutual agreements between warring parties.
The group was also taken through Kenya’s planning process and cycle in a bid to establish the best time to advocate for policy inclusion in the various arms of the government. Dr. Beatrice Njeru also engaged the trainees in Stakeholder analysis, while Dr. Thomas Kibua facilitated several other sessions, including Lobbying and Advocacy for Public Policy. The last session was facilitated by Dr. Elizabeth Muthuma, who expounded on the role of the Private Sector in Public Policy Development. All the sessions involved real-life experiences and discussions on current affairs relating to the mandate of the Kenya Red Cross Society.
Mr. Ahmed Idris, the Deputy Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society and the Executive Director at the International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA) gave the closing remarks. He stated that the training serves as one of the many that aim at building the capacity of KRCS staff in their contribution toward meaningful public policy formulation.
Kenya Red Cross Society, through funding from the Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance is implementing a recovery project that seeks to enhance the resilience of communities in Taita Taveta County. This project aims to improve communities’ capacities, the county government and KRCS in preparing and responding to disaster risks on emergence response.
A key component of the project is to strengthen county and community disaster management systems through establishing policies and legislation that anticipate disasters to enhance preparedness and allocate resources for preparedness and response.
Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in collaboration with the County Government of Taita-Taveta through the department of Special Programmes and Service Delivery conducted a five-day workshop at Green Park Hotel in Taveta Sub-County and developed County Early Warning Early Action Protocols and Multi-Hazard contingency planning. The Early Action Protocols will feed into the Multi-Hazard Contingency plan meant to strengthen County preparedness, allocate resources and minimize humanitarian, economic and environmental consequences.
The workshop was officially opened by Voi Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Nduti, County Chief Officer Special Programmes, and SDU Eng. Mwakitele Mwalandi brought together different stakeholders from the county department of Health, Education, Finance, Water, Environment, Climate Change, Public Works, Livestock and Agriculture, National Drought Management Authority, and Kenya Meteorological Department, among others
The Stakeholders developed the Early Action sectoral, Early Action Protocols based on October, November and December 2022 rainfall forecast by the Kenya Meteorological Department KMD and the National Drought Management Authority NDMA bulletin. Building and promoting group discussions and presentations at the end resulted in understanding risk knowledge to better manage disaster risk in the county and national levels.
The participants also focused on developing scenario building, an essential component of the contingency plan involving mapping hotspots, indicating elements at risk and early warning triggers for five common hazards in Taita Taveta.
Lastly, the participants developed the implementation plans and budgets highlighting specific interventions pre, during and post common hazards in the county, namely drought, floods, human-wildlife conflicts, drugs and substance abuse, Livestock and human diseases. The Stakeholders in their respective sectors were mainly from the Health and Nutrition, Water, Agriculture, Livestock, and Peace, Coordination and Security-developed response strategies and interventions towards the county’s hazards.
“I appreciate the collaboration and all the work we have been able to do with various Disaster Risk Management DRM county stakeholders. With all the right interventions, we can increase our capacities to deal with various hazards,” said Ms. Teresa Wainaina (Disaster Risk Reduction officer)
Zachary Misiani, a Climate Research officer at International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA), echoed Teresa’s sentiments, adding that their presence in the county is part of the greater efforts in supporting disaster preparedness through implementing recovery projects that focus on embedding a culture of preparedness through early action. “County stakeholder engagement is important because it enables one to understand a multi-agency approach in handling different forms of hazards. To respond better, there is a need to have contingency plans and proper disaster communication structures, information sharing platforms and trained quick response of communities to early warning messages,” Misiani said.
Afterward, Sub-County Administrator Mwatate Ruel Mwawaswho stood in for County Chief officer Special Programmes and SDU, said that the simulation exercise and plans will steer the County one step ahead and he promised to lead in mobilizing the county government to implement the plan for better livelihood of the people.
The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA), through its Data & Preparedness Unit team, successfully conducted its first-ever mapathon in Wajir County. The two-day mapping event attracted 30 new mappers from the Wajir County government and the local community. The event focused on introducing the mappers to open data and platforms such as the OpenStreetMap (OSM) and enhancing their capacity to map buildings footprints and other features of interest using the HOT tasking manager – a tool designed for a collaborative mapping process on OpenStreetMap.
A mapathon is a coordinated mapping event whereby participants can join physically or remotely to add map data of a particular area through a web-based mapping platform. The idea is that a small contribution from many mappers who know the area will ultimately lead to improved maps and data that organizations can use for decision-making before and after a disaster.
The mapping area focused on two wards within the Wajir West sub-county: Ganyure Wagalla and Hadado Athbohol. By the end of the exercise, the mappers managed to add close to 2,500 building footprints to OSM, which are freely accessible. The project has added close to 43,600 building footprints and 360 km of road. The project intends to expand its mapping efforts to cover the entire county.
ICHA’s Data & Preparedness Unit, with funding from the HOTOSM ESA hub, is currently conducting a Community Participatory Mapping for Disaster Resilience project in Wajir County. This year-long project seeks to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate-related disasters through open map data. The project aims to collect comprehensive and up-to-date datasets on buildings, roads, water points, markets, health facilities, schools, social amenities, etc. These datasets are important because they form part of the capacities and vulnerabilities that are found within the communities.
Open access to such datasets is imperative since it helps humanitarian actors make informed and targeted efforts on where resources are most needed. The project also intends to build the local stakeholders’ capacity to use map data for decision-making and educate them on disaster risk management.