Inclusion In Action

CBM Global in Partnership with Kenya Red Cross Promotes Inclusive Climate Change Resilience in Bungoma County

Waking up to clear skies, crisp fresh air, and distant sounds of waking villagers, the sun cast a golden hue across the landscapes as the Kenya Red Cross Society and CBM Global teams geared up for another day of service. The team’s convoy made its way through the bustling roads of Bungoma, and ventured into the heart of Kanduyi sublocation, where the rhythm of life seemed to slow down. Traversing the 40-kilometer stretch toward Mechimeru ward, the journey transitions onto a bumpy murram road, its rugged surface smoothed by the gentle caress of the daily rains.

Here, amidst the high bumps that almost throw the team to the car roofs, they are met by sights of flourishing maize fields, an electric tuk-tuk carrying passengers by the roadside, the vibrant Ekitale junction with a bustling market and bodabodas being washed by the small water points by the roadsides that are formed by the streams of Chwele, Kitinda, and Khalaba all pouring into Nzoia river that flows into Lake Victoria.

As the team arrived in Mechimeru, they were greeted by mothers carrying their young children upon their backs with practiced ease, men tending to their herds of cattle, and community members eager to collaborate and assist in their efforts. Together, they embarked on their mission to interact with the community on the impact of the CBM Global-supported project, which has been focusing on addressing the impact of climate change on communities in Bungoma County, through livelihood support, climate change awareness, and the provision of assistive devices.

Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity, and health professionals worldwide are already responding to the health harms caused by this unfolding crisis. In Kenya, according to the 2019 Kenya census report, persons with disabilities made up 2.2% of the population, though the global estimates point to a possibly higher figure across countries (an estimated average of 15% of the global population have a disability). Persons With Disabilities remain relatively marginalized, despite strides made in disability inclusion generally. Some remain dependent on poorly integrated livelihood systems with high rural burden, operate within disabling or weak disaster risk management and climate change adaptation policy framework, with low level or absence of service provision and non-representative, non-inclusive systems. Therefore, there continues to be a need for sustained support and programs to strengthen inclusive livelihoods, provision of access to basic services, risk reduction, better adaptation and resilience, preparedness, and mitigation, to the environmental challenges that climate change brings and affects people with disabilities and their communities.

The impact of climate change has resulted in extreme weather events in our country that have led to the loss of lives, reduced agricultural productivity, displacement of populations, and destruction of infrastructure among other adverse impacts. Bungoma County has found itself grappling with increased flooding, landslides, and drought, resulting in people displacement, infrastructure damage, and low agricultural yields. It has also presented enormous challenges and opportunities for mankind everywhere as it has to be tackled to ensure sustainable development is achieved. The CBM Global-supported project implemented by the Kenya Red Cross has imparted crucial information and awareness, fostering a resilient and informed community in the realm of climate-induced adversities. Since the project’s inception in 2023, the KRCS teams in Bungoma have achieved notable success in critical areas that they set out to accomplish.

Titus Ndalu, the Chairperson for Bungoma Organization of Persons With Disabilities (OPD), warmly welcomed us into the homestead of Nafula, a widower living with her two children and a participant in the Inclusive Climate Change project in Mechimeru. She is joined by three other project participants, who happily dive into the ongoing conversations. Nafula and Bwire, found themselves facing numerous challenges in accessing livelihood opportunities due to their physical disabilities. However, through the project implemented by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in partnership with CBM Global, their lives took a transformative turn. They became involved in a local Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPD) group supported by the project, where they received assistive devices, enabling them to navigate their surroundings with greater ease and contribute to community activities with greater ease. Nafula implements climate change actions at her homestead by planting eucalyptus, cyprus, bananas, and assorted trees. Today, Nafula and Bwire are not only able to move around and create a source of income for financial independence but also serve as an inspiration to others in their community, demonstrating the power of empowerment and inclusion.

Project participants of the CBM Global-supported Project in Mechimeru ward, Bungoma County

Nakhumicha faces the daily challenge of caring for her two children with disabilities. Born with disabilities, her children require constant care and support, which often strains her both emotionally and financially. Through the project, Nakumicha and her children received livelihood support, rehabilitative services, and assistive devices tailored to their needs. The project provided specialized training to Nakumicha on how to care for her children’s unique requirements, including mobility aids and adaptive equipment to improve their quality of life. Additionally, she received psychosocial support and counseling, offering her much-needed emotional resilience to navigate the challenges of raising children with disabilities. With the support of the Inclusive Climate Change project, Nakumicha’s confidence grew, and she found a renewed sense of hope for her family’s future. She learned practical techniques to improve her children’s mobility and independence, enabling them to participate better in daily activities. Moreover, the project connected Nakumicha with a supportive network of other parents facing similar challenges, fostering a sense of community and solidarity hence reducing stigma with Persons With Disabilities. Today, she is empowered to provide the best possible care for her children, thanks to the assistance of the CBM Global-supported project. Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of inclusive and community-based initiatives in supporting Persons With Disabilities and highlights the Kenya Red Cross Society’s commitment to promoting dignity, inclusion, connectedness, and ensuring that no one is left behind in the society.

In the initial phase of the project in Kanduyi, Cheptais, and Kopsiro sub-counties, significant strides have been made as 31 Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPD) groups were established and strengthened, offering assistance to 418 Persons With Disabilities, while an additional 784 project participants (women, youth, elderly and widows) were embraced by 39 farmer-to-farmer groups. The scope of empowerment has expanded with livelihood training sessions benefiting 431 project participants. Furthermore, 236 project participants have received crucial aid through the provision of assistive devices which have improved their independence and mobility, with an additional 582 Persons With Disabilities finding solace in comprehensive psychosocial support programs, including tailored therapy, clinical screenings, and counseling. Additionally, 24 Persons With Disabilities were identified for linkages and referrals to essential health services, ensuring that no one was left behind in their journey towards inclusion.

Loreen Orembo, Project Officer of the CBM Global-supported Project in Bungoma County

The communities have also experienced a surge of awareness, with 1,667 project participants now vigilant and ready to respond to early warnings. At the same time, 1,415 Persons With Disabilities were empowered to start their income-generating activities, boosting their self-reliance and ability to weather tough times. Meanwhile, 217 project participants within the community sharpened their knowledge of climate action through training sessions. Ward-level committees, number 45, have a diverse representation of Persons With Disabilities, ensuring that decision-making processes are inclusive. Additionally, a significant 1,637 project participants in the community were educated about the impact of risks associated with climate change, reinforcing their adaptability and agility.

Farmers in the county have also borne the brunt of the increasingly erratic weather patterns brought about by climate change. Wepukhulu, an elder in the village, has been a farmer for the past 60 years of his life. His crops were unyielding, and his family’s livelihood was at risk. However, through the CBM Global-supported project, he received training and support in climate-smart agriculture techniques and disaster preparedness. He joined a farmer-to-farmer group supported by the project, where he learned sustainable farming practices and received early warning information about weather-related risks. Equipped with this knowledge, Wepukhulu diversified his crops, and implemented water conservation methods, and these contributed to building his resilience against climate shocks. As a result, his farm became more productive, ensuring food security for his family even in the face of adverse weather conditions. His story highlights the vital role of community-based interventions in building climate resilience and safeguarding livelihoods in the face of environmental challenges.

Our society is more interconnected when we work together. Through the implementation of the CBM Global-supported project by the Kenya Red Cross Society, Bungoma County has exemplified the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, fostering partnerships for sustainable development. The County Government has facilitated the legal and policy framework through a Climate Act, Climate change policy, and a Climate action plan, to name a few. The growing collaboration between various stakeholders, including local communities, persons with disabilities, and governmental bodies, embodies the spirit of SDG 17, and emphasizes the importance of inclusive and participatory approaches to development. By working together, the project has strengthened livelihoods, improved access to essential services, and built resilience against climate-related challenges, thus contributing to the overall sustainable development of Bungoma County. This collaborative effort serves as a beacon of hope and a model for achieving sustainable development goals through collective action and partnership.

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Grace Waigumo

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The Reach Out Blog is a curated collection of inspiring humanitarian stories, showcasing the impactful interventions we have made within communities in Kenya and the individuals who have benefited from the aid initiatives of Kenya Red Cross and Partners

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Kenya Red Cross Society is a humanitarian relief organization, created through an act of parliament CAP256 of the laws of Kenya

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