The goal of the disaster management work of the church is to have: An effective, innovative programme which will deliver real, measurable benefits to the people we serve, at the same time, insist on wider change so that we can meet immediate needs but address the reasons why people are so vulnerable to disasters. We will build a shared understanding of climate change, implications, and adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate-related disasters.
Strengthening the capacity of ACK to prepare and respond to disasters
Climate change has been one of the major concerns in development initiatives with its reality affecting food security, health, and the environment. The reality of climate change has been evident in day to day lives through erratic weather patterns, frequent droughts or floods with devastating effects on livelihoods. Climate change advocacy and programming for environmental stewardship and food security is thus a priority of focus urging the populace to embrace green technology and ensure comprehensive water harvesting to mitigate emerging and future effects.
Supported by Christian Aid, the DMP programme has been strengthening the capacity of the church to respond to climate change.
Two workshops were held on linking climate change to sustainable development planning and emergency needs assessment. The project informed and equipped the staff with knowledge and skills that will enable them to be prepared and respond to disasters when they occur. The training targeted ADS Regions’ Program Managers and Disaster Response Team members. The project was funded by Christian Aid – UK.
Organizational capacity assessment
Two Organizational capacity assessments were conducted and capacity building plans developed. One of the outcomes of the plans is the development of the ACK Disaster Management framework. ACK stakeholders came together and assessed the capacity of the Disaster Management desk to prepare and respond to disasters. The capacity gaps identified led to the development of the policy which describes how ACK DM work is to be done. The activities were funded by Tear Fund UK and ACT Alliance.
The desk also works closely with the Archbishop’s office by representing ACK in national and regional disaster and climate-related meetings. The Archbishop’s office released a pastoral letter on World Environment Day; “Caring for the environment and forests: nature at your service,” to all dioceses who in turn discussed with the congregations on possible activities they could be involved in to care for the creation.
Current famine situation
According to the UNOCHA report, on September 15th, 2011 approximately 3.75 million Kenyans are affected by drought. 300,000 children, expectant and lactating mothers were also affected. The current drought situation has been attributed to a failure of 3 to 4 consecutive rainy seasons. The most affected populations are pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa.
ACK’s famine relief response
ACK has proactively worked with local and international partners to intervene in the current emergency. Most of the funding comes from ACT Alliance members who fund ADS Regions directly or through ADS – Kenya. The Joint appeal for ACK was prepared by ADS Regions and coordinated by the DMP desk. This desk retains the coordination, monitoring and reporting role in the appeal. ADS – Kenya is also currently chairing the ACT Kenya forum.
Areas of concern
Not all parts of Kenya are experiencing the drought; some parts have bumper harvest especially the breadbasket of Rift valley and Western parts. Cereals rotted in the farms as milk was poured out in 2010 due to a lack of storage and processing capacity. The action would be to lobby the Government to invest in agricultural and pastoral projects that encourage post-harvest handling, preservation, and storage. ACK should also lobby the government to strengthen the pastoral economy through establishing market chains for livestock and livestock products.
Charting way forward
DM work will be coordinated and guided by the draft policy developed on its work. The framework was done in 2011 and then reviewed after 3 years. The frequency and magnitude of disasters have increased, hence the need to strengthen the capacity of the desk. Plans are underway to recruit interns.