International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA) conducts the first-ever mapathon in Wajir County

The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA), through its Data & Preparedness Unit team, successfully conducted its first-ever mapathon in Wajir County from the 16th to 18th September 2022. 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 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.


Kenya Red Cross Society senior management, regional & county coordinators and Programmatic staff undergo a Public Policy Executive program training.

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

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.


Advocacy and Humanitarian Diplomacy Training

In its strive to strengthen inclusive policymaking that targets vulnerability,  The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA)’s, Policy and Advocacy team leverages on its relationship with different organizations to promote community-centered approaches to humanitarian action.

The team seeks to support dialogue on key humanitarian issues through various platforms for collaboration between the government, donors, the private sector and communities.  

Through this critical role, the policy team organized training in different regions ASAL areas. The purpose of the training was to empower not only the stakeholders directly involved in building the longer-term resilience of the marginalized regions but also the host and refugee communities of the areas.

The team conducted the advocacy and humanitarian diplomacy training in Garissa – Daadab area from 8th to 10th November 2022. The three-day training was designed to support camp leaders, refugees, volunteers and other stakeholders to enhance their skills in influencing and advocating for the protection of the rights of the refugees.

The team had another training in Kalobeyei –  Turkana from 15th  to 18th November 2022, involving refugees, leaders, and other key stakeholders.

They had several interactive sessions with practical ways of identifying partners in advocacy, coming up with key messages, developing strategies and lobbying with important decision-makers. The participants shared various experiences and had practical sessions on influencing and negotiations.

The training is facilitated under the Resilience Health and Rights (RHR) Project. The project seeks to build longer-term resilience in marginalized areas by providing access to services and primary health, including protection from sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and promoting the rights of those affected by displacement. The project seeks to provide sustainable solutions and support to vulnerable displaced and host communities in Wajir, Turkana, Garissa, Marsabit and Mandera counties.


KRCS Drone Mapping of Kakuma refugee camps & Kalobeyei settlement

Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) have partnered to conduct drone mapping in Turkana County, focusing on Kakuma refugee camps and Kalobeyei Integrated settlement and Center. The project activities kicked off on 1st November 2022 with a stakeholder awareness session, where the stakeholders were briefed on the project objectives and expected outputs. They were also engaged in an interactive session where they advised on community engagement and potential sites for drone takeoff/landing areas.

The three-week activity involves utilizing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to collect high-resolution aerial imagery in approximately 76 square kilometers, which will then be used to build a machine-learning model to help update maps of the Turkana region. This data has immense uses, from infrastructure planning to mapping high-risk areas and providing early intervention measures.

The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs(ICHA)’s Innovation Officer, Swabira Abdulrazak, notes, “The Wingtra Gen II is a powerful drone and a more definite and accurate way of getting this data. We also use certain software for packaging the data and making it available.” 


KRCS aims to work with HOT and other stakeholders to disseminate the planned drone missions, align objectives and ensure community engagement and sensitization before and during the drone missions.

All the data sets will be available on the Open Street Map platform to all stakeholders and community members.


Kenya Red Cross Society at the forefront of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) celebrations

This year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR), designated for 13th October by the United Nations General Assembly, to promote a global culture of disaster risk reduction was held in Kakamega county attracting several key stakeholders and humanitarian actors.
The celebrations were preceded by the 8th national symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction which focused on target G of the Sendai framework “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030”.
The Symposium brought together DRR practitioners, academia, local communities, UN representatives and others from across the country to share their achievements, challenges and innovations in implementing DRR measures on national and local levels, that support the growth of community resilience in Kenya.
In attendance were Kakamega Governor Hon Fernandes Barasa and other key government stakeholders who promised to support the efforts of various entities especially humanitarian organizations in advocating for disaster risk reduction.


During the symposium, the Kenya Red Cross (KRCS) Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Annette Msabeni, presented her opening remarks where she discussed; The importance of enhancing early action, “If communities are supported early, they can act early to mitigate losses from impacts of impending disasters”. Other Red Cross Society staff who gave keynote presentations include Dr. Michael Ayabei and Mr. Peter Murgor, CVA Manager who gave powerful remarks on Experiences and good practices in Early warning for Early Action.
Other representatives from Kenya Red Cross Society, UNDRR, NDOC, KMD, NDMU, IOM and other entities also gave their key highlight presentations.
In celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, a procession of delegates, key stakeholders and other community members marched to Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County where representatives from humanitarian organizations, government institutions and other Disaster Risk partners reiterated their commitment to Disaster Risk in support of community resilience in Kenya.



Sarah Nduku- Policy and Advocacy Manager and Peter Murgor- Cash and Voucher Assistance Manager from The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA) during the opening remarks, gave updates on the importance of the developed National Drought Early Action Protocols (EAP) during the ongoing Development of the Anticipatory Action Roadmap meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

 The three-day meeting (24th to 26th October 2022) brings together the key various stakeholders like Kenya Red Cross, World Food Programme, Welthungerhilfe, Save the Children, ICPAC, The National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) of Kenya, The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Kenya Meteorological Department for high-level collaborative discussions on Anticipatory Actions.

The purpose of the meeting is to map the stakeholders working on anticipatory action in Kenya and the areas of implementation, showcase the products and services that have been developed to support anticipatory action, and discuss how to enhance the linkage between the county and national level products, services and procedures that support anticipatory action and lastly to explore some of the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming anticipatory action in Kenya.

The anticipatory action approach is a practical way to minimize and avert the loss and damage caused by climate change.

Further Notes:

In Kenya, the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods have weakened communities’ coping capacities, resilience and increased their vulnerability, and account for over 70% of disaster impacts. Kenya is ranked 152 out of 181 countries globally of countries most vulnerable to climate change and readiness to improve resilience.



ICHA’s Climate Unit supported a four-day workshop at the ICPAC headquarters in Nairobi under the CONFER project with Norwegian Capacity (NORCAP) ‘s support. The workshop was themed: Synergy Building in Weather and Climate: ‘Partnership Between National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), Policy Makers, Humanitarian, Private Sector and Media.’ It was held from 5th to 8th December 2022.

CONFER is a multi-national collaboration to bolster resilience to climate impacts and reduce disaster risk in East Africa. The project’s main goal is to co-develop dedicated climate services for the water, energy, and food security sectors with stakeholders and end-users, to enhance their ability to plan for and adapt to seasonal climate fluctuations.

The invited stakeholders were key institutions in climate information from Tanzania and Kenya, i.e., Kenya Meteorological Department, Tanzania Meteorological Agency, and media stations from both Tanzania and Kenya.

It sought to bring together and harness the support of various stakeholders in weather and climate with a specific emphasis on those in climate-induced hazards and disaster risk reduction (droughts and other hazards). The participants examined how stakeholders can use tools such as East Africa Hazards Watch (EAHW) and East Africa Drought Watch (EADW) to make or support decision-making processes around weather and climate issues.

‘Impact-based forecast with a coproduction of climate services will solve Billions of monies used to respond to hazards only if actionable approaches are used’ -Mirriamlisa from Tanzania

Zachary Misiani, a climate scientist at ICHA, facilitated under the topic: ‘Disaster Preparedness and Response through Early warning for Early Actions & Anticipatory Action-AA.’