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Kenya Elections Aftermath (Updated)

Kenya Election Emergency 2008


 Image of a Kenyan child standing amid the rubble of recently destroyed shops


April 24, 2008

In January and February, approximately 1,500 people were killed in Kenya and 500,000 displaced as a result of post-election violence. The swearing in of a new cabinet last week is supposed to be the political solution, but is predicted to be a long process. In the mean time, tensions and uncertainty continue.

Despite the situation, CCF has been able to stabilize most of its operations and has opened two centers for children affected by the violence in the Nairobi-based communities of Dandora and Korogocho. Community members have welcomed the opening of the Child Centered Spaces, which have averaged more than 150 children per day. CCF Kenya has also worked with local communities, government and youth organizations to establish two Child Well-Being Committees, each comprised of 10 youth and adults, who help guide child protection and other child-centered activities in their neighborhoods.

March 20, 2008

While the security situation in Kenya has improved as a result of the Feb. 29 power-sharing agreement between Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader, Raila Odinga, international media continues to report incidences of sporadic violence, including several deaths and burning of homes in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. 

A CCF Kenya emergency core team is in place to institute and run child protection activities in three informal urban settlements where Child Centered Spaces will be located.  During the past three weeks, the team has worked to coordinate with local government, and local and international agencies.

CCF Kenya is set to implement two Child Centered Spaces which will foster a protective environment for children, establish community-based monitoring, and psychosocial support which are critical steps for children during the healing phase.

CCF’s Gender-Based Violence Consultant, Mendy Marsh, is currently leading an assessment to determine the extent and impact of Gender-Based Violence in five targeted areas. The assessment exercise is being conducted in collaboration with trained volunteer youths from CCF program areas.

The Emergency program team is benefiting from three-day training on Gender-Based Violence currently being facilitated by Marsh as part of a capacity-building effort.

The program team will nominate representatives for the 10-member Child Well-Being Committee.  This committee will mobilize community activities including, reaching out to parents to send their children to the Child Centered Spaces, and also follow up on Gender-Based Violence reports.

February 4, 2008

In light of the violence that has broken out in post-election Kenya, CCF-Kenya National Director, Dennis O’Brien, met to debrief staff at the Richmond office on Jan. 29.  O’Brien discussed the volatile state of Kenya and the current status of staff and CCF-assisted families. “The level of security is such that CCF has to be careful, it is not yet safe to establish new programs for children,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien says CCF has been assisting communities.  “We are helping communities cope with the crisis to the best of our abilities.” O'Brien noted that one of the basic needs that is not currently being met is education.  Schools all over Kenya have been forced to shut down, teachers have abandoned their classes-- parents and children are afraid to leave the safety of their homes.

Long-term programs are in the works but have not been implemented as of yet. “We are monitoring the situation closely but not moving headlong yet because the situation is still dynamic,” O’Brien said.  “We have plans to establish child centered spaces so children can have a safe and secure area to be children and play.  We are also working on a gender-based violence component to raise awareness and identify the means of referral so victims can get help.”

January 23, 2008

Security continues to be a top concern in Kenya as violence stemming from the Dec. 27 presidential election continues.

CCF staff in Nairobi report that ethnic tension is high which severely restricts movement within the slum areas. Informal road blocks slow the movement of minority ethnic groups to other slums. The lack of easy and safe mobility throughout the city has resulted in increased food security issues.

“Virtually everyone we spoke with said that lack of food was the single greatest problem faced by families right now,” a CCF staff member in Kenya said.

CCF staff also report that access to education is poor. In the few schools that are open, enrollment is low as parents are afraid to send their children to school. The risk of attacks as children make their way to school and isolation because of ethnic origin are top concerns for parents.

CCF remains committed to child protection and is poised to open five Child Centered Spaces in Nairobi.

Many families, including those working with CCF, have been displaced. Thousands of families have fled to neighboring Uganda, where CCF is responding.
CCF also boasts a strong presence in western Kenya, where violence continues to erupt.

“We’re really well-positioned as an organization to respond to this crisis,” a CCF staff member said after an early assessment of the situation. “We have local partners who go to the slums everyday.”

CCF has worked in Kenya since 1960 and currently assists approximately 1.3 million children and family members. CCF-Kenya initiatives are community-based and are designed to encourage active community participation and involvement. Core initiatives include nutrition, sanitation, micro-enterprise development, education and early childhood development programs. 

January 14, 2008

The post-election unrest in Kenya is slowly settling, violence remains sporadic, and the threat of new uprisings still lingers. In addition to damaged homes, businesses and public buildings, looting is taking place and there are basic commodity shortages as well as price hikes.

CCF is meeting the most pressing needs of children and their families in Nairobi, the country’s capital city.  CCF is providing critical supplies to meet basic needs and creating programs to address the needs of women and children affected by violence.  CCF is poised to open five Child Centered Spaces in Nairobi which will provide a safe and structured environment for children.

These Child Centered Spaces give children a safe place where they can play with others and begin to heal.  The centers also provide a place for parents and caregivers to discuss how to best meet the basic needs of their families. CCF boasts a strong history of successfully providing centers which focus on the psychosocial needs of children during emergencies.

“We all know children need to feel safe,” said CCF President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard. “Children also need normalcy restored as much as possible including the ability to play and just be a kid. It is our priority in Kenya to meet these needs of children as they try to cope with the unstable situation surrounding them.”

In times of unrest, women and children are especially vulnerable to rape and other forms of violence. CCF remains committed to changing this cycle of violence and is responding in Kenya by creating programs to address the psychosocial impacts to affected children.

CCF is also supplying basics such as food, blankets, mosquito nets, soap and jerry cans for water to families in Nairobi.  Currently, CCF is implementing a six-month program designed not only to meet immediate needs of affected families, but also to provide sustainable services in the aftermath of the violence.

January 11, 2008

CCF remains in close contact with staff in Kenya.  Their safety and security continues to be of highest concern.  The security situation remains volatile and continues to hamper the efforts of humanitarian organizations wanting to respond.

CCF is currently focusing efforts on the Kenyan refugees fleeing to Busia district in Uganda, where CCF has worked since 1983.  "We are glad we have been able to help," said Luther Anukur, the CCF-Uganda Program Director. 

January 9, 2008

The instability and violence stemming from the Dec. 27 presidential elections in Kenya is continuing to present security issues for many Kenyans. CCF’s national office in Nairobi is now open, although the security situation remains volatile. CCF staff have been hindered in traveling to the program areas.

“The security of our staff is of utmost importance,” CCF President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard said. “In order to properly support families and children, we must first ensure the safety of our staff. CCF is well-established in Kenya and is committed to the 51 programs we currently run in the country. We have worked in Kenya since 1960 and are preparing to assist the communities impacted by this crisis.”

Security issues have forced thousands of Kenyans to flee to neighboring Uganda. CCF-Uganda is responding to the needs of the Kenyan refugees by working with the Uganda Red Cross in the Busia area to provide blankets, soap, basins and jerry cans to carry water. Radio messages created by CCF-Uganda are aired every evening to encourage refugees of the benefits of registration.

January 7, 2008

Following the violent clashes in Kenya, 5,400 refugees are estimated to have entered Uganda, in an area where CCF works with local communities. Local Ugandan government authorities in Busia District asked CCF-Uganda to assist the Ugandan Red Cross with initial registration and assistance to the refugees, as CCF is well-placed due to the community networks (such as Child Well-Being Committees) that CCF has set up to protect vulnerable children.

CCF is working with local authorities, UNICEF, the Ugandan Red Cross and the World Food Program to discuss the needs and assess the response to these refugees. CCF-Uganda staff reported today that CCF has procured jerry cans, blankets and basins which are being distributed in the Busia area.

“Because CCF has been working in Busia, local authorities have asked us to help and inform refugees of their rights and of the availability of assistance to them,” said Anne Edgerton, Director of Emergency Response at CCF headquarters in Richmond, Va. “We are using radio announcements and our Child Well-Being Committees to transmit the message, and we are assessing the condition and numbers of refugees in the area.”

CCF-Uganda is a member of the Busia District Disaster Preparedness committee, which is coordinating response and general information.

January 3, 2008

Violence has broken out in Kenya following the country’s Dec. 27 presidential, parliamentary and civic elections. Most of the incidents have occurred in urban areas, particularly Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombassa and Kakamega.

As of Jan. 3, 2008 media reports estimate that 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes and more than 300 lives lost. Looting, arson and fighting have been reported since the election results were released on Dec. 30. Violence has also been targeted along ethnic lines.

“As an organization dedicated to the well-being of children for 70 years, it is heartbreaking to see the post-election violence in Kenya,” says Christian Children’s Fund President Anne Goddard. “We urge the leaders and people of Kenya to exercise restraint and pursue peace.”

At this time, we are not aware of any injury to children or family members who participate in our programs or to any CCF staff members.