Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Kenya: Innovative Cash Transfers Restore Hope, Dignity.
Cash-based program empowers communities displaced by conflict in Nakuru, Kenya
There is no “one size fits all” strategy for helping families and communities rebuild after a devastating crisis. Action Against Hunger’s Food Security & Livelihoods Programs uphold this principle when working to restore self-sufficiency by respecting a community’s economic and cultural character. Each community has its own unique assets, and it’s our job to work with local leaders to identify these assets and integrate them into a project’s overall design. While this painstaking commitment to community participation is essential, contexts are different, requiring new models and novel approaches.
The political instability that unfolded in Kenya in January of 2008 presented Action Against Hunger with one such set of unique challenges. Nakuru, the regional capital of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, had been particularly affected by the post-election violence that tore through Kenya last year. With populations displaced along ethnic lines, livelihoods disrupted, and homes destroyed, communities were left adrift to fend for themselves in makeshift camps.
While most humanitarian assistance centered on the needs in the camps, a significant number of the displaced had gone undetected, having sought shelter with friends and relatives in Nakuru instead of the camps. After establishing a presence in the camps, Action Against Hunger discovered that there were unmet needs in town, where residents struggled to rebuild their homes and support their families without any access to income. Action Against Hunger saw a clear opportunity to introduce a cash-based program to meet these overlooked needs.
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