“Sudi, you came back!” CBM’s Laura in Turkana County, Kenya

Stories | February 9, 2023 | Author: Laura Nicholson, International Programs, CBM Australia

We’ve just driven for hours through Turkana, a county in the northwest of Kenya, to a place called Kalokol to meet with the local organisation of people with disabilities (OPD) and some of the people who have benefited from CBM’s cash transfer program.

I jumped out of the car with Kevin Sudi, Kenya Program Manager, who was warmly greeted. The conversation switched to Swahili and a mix of other local languages (there are about 70 languages spoken across the country) before introductions were made. I then understood why Mike – the leader of the local OPD – was so happy and surprised to greet Kevin again.

Apparently, it is a common occurrence for government, NGOs, and other organisations to approach Mike and the members of his OPD for information on their members, the situation of people with disabilities and to get their ideas on how they should be involved in projects. But then, they never hear from them again.

“Even if you fail we want to know. We just want to know what happens with what we give you,” Mike said.

Homes in Turkana County, Kenya with a domed roof and raised from the sandy ground on stilts.
Image: Homes in Turkana County, Kenya.

Not this time and not CBM. CBM has worked with Mike and the group since December, using their local expertise to target the people most in-need for a cash transfer program, to mitigate the impacts of a prolonged drought in the region. But the OPD itself has been integral to the project’s implementation. This is something they talked about with pride. They are not just receivers of aid, but active participants in improving the lives of their community in one of the most devastating droughts of recent years.

When I asked about the situations of people in communities, I heard, “All of the livestock they had have died. No one eats. Wild animals die and so people eat them because they are so hungry. But then they also become sick and die because it wasn’t safe to eat.”

And there is no end in sight to the drought. Five consecutive seasons of rain have failed. And the next is also expected to fall far short of what is needed. It was devastating to hear about the effects of the drought and to witness it myself. It is some solace to know that CBM is providing monthly relief to those most in need – thanks to the expertise and support of people with disabilities living in the affected communities.

“CBM comes back.” I was told. “You have helped us in our time of need.”

Find out more or donate to CBM’s Kenya Crisis Appeal today.

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