KENYA – On the 4th of July, the Camillians in Wajir, Northeast Kenya packed their bags and came home to Nairobi after they have accomplished their humanitarian mission of bringing relief and initiating recovery to the Somalian populace of the said region. They were there since August 2011 as the core team of the Camillian Task Force (CTF) – Kenya, a humanitarian mission office of the Order, headed by Bro. Joseph Khiyaniri, MI together with the Camillian Sisters and five other volunteers under the guidance of CTF – Rome.
In 2011, the Horn of Africa particularly Kenya had faced a severe food crisis due to long dry spell and mass evacuations of Somalians to Kenya due to civil war. A combination of drought-induced crop failure, poor livestock conditions, rising food and non-food prices and eroded coping capacities were some of the key factors contributing to the food crisis, which has made 3.75 million people in Kenya food insecure. An estimated of 385,000 children under 5 years old and 90,000 pregnant and lactating women were suffering from acute malnutrition.
Responding to the call of the Church to bring relief to the victims, the Camillian Task Force (CTF), Rome sent a team to the diocese of Garissa on August 2011, to conduct assessment and implement programs of intervention. Programs were implemented immediately until June 2013 in Wajir. The project was funded by CEI – Comitato per gli Interventi Caritativi a favore del Terzo Mondo, Caritas Italiana, PROSA, ISOLANA, SOS DRS, and the Camillians (men and women communities).
The project was divided into two phases: relief (6 months) and rehabilitation (1 year). The first phase had focused on health and nutrition program through mobile clinics and food distribution, and water access provision. The second phase had focused on building capacities of people and community resilience through food security (greenhouse farming), community-based health care (training of health care workers and mobile clinics), and public sanitation programs (building of ecological sanitary – ECOSAN toilets). All these programs have benefited 9 villages and thousands of muslim families (Somalian refugees) in Wajir.
The said project has terminated on June 30. It was able to achieve its primary objective which is bridging muslim and Christian communities in Wajir to achieve peace, self-reliance and resiliency. Most of the village chiefs and local government representatives had given high regard and recommendation to the project. A village chief of Hodan, Wajir said: “I have never seen a group like the CTF in Wajir who really helped us so much not simply by giving more dole outs but really working, caring and listening to us. CTF, we are with you and don’t leave us.” CTF has applied pastoral care in emergency approach and worked closely with the diocese. It uses the strategy of grassroot participation in planning, decision-making and implementation of programs. This method has made a deep impact on the Somalian beneficiaries and communities, and it also challenges other humanitarian organizations to engage in programs that overcome and transform the culture of dependency to a culture of self-reliance and resiliency. These communities have been depending on food aid for the past ten years, and now they were able to prove that they can produce food in the desert as an alternative source to pasturing.
Mons. Paul Darmanin had expressed his deep gratitude and commendation of what the CTF has done to his diocese and at the same time has pleaded the CTF to continue its efforts. The CTF has promised to follow up what has been started in Wajir in order to assure sustainability of the programs in the next two years.