Linking Preparedness Resilience & Response in Kenya

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31 Jul Linking Preparedness Resilience & Response in Kenya

Integrating Conflict Prevention and Resilience for Improved Humanitarian Programming

Let the community define the change they want to see” – START Member Field Officer, Nairobi

How can we improve humanitarian programming to build existing capacity of at risk communities and strengthen future resilience? How can we effectively and practically integrate conflict prevention into the work we do? How can we improve international assistance in an ever increasingly complex, insecure and volatile global context?

The humanitarian, development, academic and policy sector alike have been grappling with these questions for decades. The crux of the START DEPP Linking Preparedness Resilience and Response (LPRR) project offers ‘Resilience’ as a new way in to tackle these questions once and for all… but how?

Between Monday 29th June and Friday the 3rd July 2015 the START DEPP LPRR Kenya Consortia team came together in Kenya to discuss the project, map out the most effective capacity building methods, explore how resilience can be utilised to improve humanitarian response programming and put into practice Saferworld’s training and methodology on integrated conflict prevention.

The Project
The LPRR project seeks to develop and test new ways of both building community resilience in fragile settings and designing humanitarian response interventions in ways that strengthen long-term community resilience. Findings will inform and improve consortium agency practice, resulting in more resilient communities. Led by Christian Aid, the LPRR project joins together a consortium of nine agencies (Action Aid, Concern, Help Age, King’s College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Saferworld and World Vision) in an effort to promote resilience in humanitarian responses to disasters and conflict.

The Kenya Workshop
The Kenya workshop brought together the consortiums’ in country officers, managers and a number of local partners primarily from Northern Kenya’s more volatile and conflict prone counties. Here, Saferworld conducted a training around their newly develop methodology for integrated conflict prevention.

On the Monday we kicked off the week in Nairobi at a project launch workshop where government members from the Government of Kenya’s Department of Civil Defence and other external actors joined us to hear about the work that our teams will be implementing. On Monday afternoon the team travelled down to Machakos named as ‘The place to be’ by Governor Mutua in the recent launch of the counties ambitious development plans. Mutua’s saying is “if you want your dreams to come true you must first wake up”…very apt for the start of our very own ambitious, global project.

Here we settled into a week of LPRR focus. Christian Aid led a day on learning and capacity building techniques and Safeworld facilitated a three and half day training around integrated conflict prevention.

Conflict Analysis
The team were introduced to and practiced conflict prevention methods such as the conflict analysis tree, the ABC analysis (Attitude, Behaviour and Context) and conflict mapping. At the national level the consortia discussed and analysed the threat of terrorism and the conflict between the Kenyan Government and Al-Shabaab. At the local level the consortia mapped out and analysed community and tribal conflict and the ever increasing violence caused by cattle rustling. The group actively shared their vast amount of experience and expertise working for different organisations, with different groups of people and in different contexts and areas of Kenya.

So what’s new?

Humanitarians work in and around conflict contexts but never on conflict, we need to bring our humanitarian approach together with conflict prevention, to not only be prepared and resilient to disasters but prepare for, address and prevent conflict and related crises. This should be happening from the word go”. – START Member Field Officer, Nairobi

Saferworld’s integrated methodology offers guidance around how to directly address the root causes of conflict. It introduces the idea of actively engaging with security providers and draws together how to do this in a conflict sensitive way to proactively prevent future conflict.

What is the training for?
Over the next two and a half years the conflict prevention strand of the project will be implemented in 5 communities in Kenya and 5 communities in Pakistan with a total reach estimated to be 37,500 beneficiaries.

Improved Humanitarian Response Programming
Finally the Kenya team spent some time reflecting on the sectors’ approach to humanitarian response. Here the team made five recommendations for improved humanitarian programming:

1. Ask the people. Ask the at risk vulnerable communities living in protracted crises contexts. Ask those who have experienced crises after crises what they think of past humanitarian interventions. Share risk information, build local capacity and ask the people how they would recommend improving interventions. Ask the people how they want their communities to change and adapt. Empower the people to help themselves, build their own resilience and prepare for whatever the future may bring.
2. Let the people on the ground determine the humanitarian agenda. Too often the sectors’ focus is decided in the global north by those who are not living in crisis day by day. Too often we are forced to take on board the latest buzz wold or technological fad. Ask the people living in the crises what the international aid agenda should focus on.
3. Advocate on the ground and raise awareness on the importance of linking humanitarian and development work.
4. Advocate for policy makers to develop practical, easy to implement, holistic methods and ways of working.
5. Remember good governance is crucial. Accountability and transparency are the two pillars of good governance. However we need to reflect upon exactly who we are accountable to. Is it the donor or is it the beneficiary? In everything we do it should be for the benefit of the beneficiary. Donors need to understand that, trust us and enable the flexibility required for us to effectively make decisions based on beneficiaries’ needs not reporting procedures.

What’s next?
Next the Kenya team take their training to their implementing teams, partners and communities and we take the project out to Pakistan.

More information
For more information on the START DEPP Linking Preparedness Resilience and Response project or about the Kenya workshop please get in contact with Becky Murphy at Watch this space for more blogs, information and publications coming out of the START DEPP LPRR project.
Alternatively visit the project website here: