‘Putting the community at the center during humanitarian interventions encourages participation, ownership and sustainability’. This is a living testimony for Nagero local authorities during a focus group discussion held in April 2019. They shared that LCED staff consulted with them right from the start of the project and were involved in verifying and registering households for assistance, monitoring of project activities, providing information on safety and access of the selected distribution centers as well as ensuring there is order and calmness during distributions. The RRC Nagero said, ‘we supported wherever possible and we continue to provide any related information about the project because we were fully involved and know exactly what and how it happened’. It is very important for humanitarian partners to also utilize the local authorities as avenues for collecting feedback about their response as well as addressing some complaints raised if they are engaged.
John (not his real names) a household head of seven members lost his sight 10 years back. Currently aged 46 years relies on his 7 year old to aide his movements. The June –August 2018 conflict left him displaced and his home totally destroyed just like any other Nagero residents and together with his family ran for their safety. During an interview with him, he cannot hide his appreciation for LCED’s approach especially prioritising people like him for humanitarian intervention including emphasis on their participation in leadership roles. He says, he was selected among the few households and the project constructed a shelter that he now freely and safely lives in together with his family unlike before when he lived under trees. He was also selected to be part of the Relief Distribution Committee and his role was to listen to the community’s complaints and provide feedback to NGO staff. He also says that much as he still needs more assistance in terms of shelter NFIs, he is now safer and settled and looks at a brighter future ahead.
Idapase (not her real names) makes a temporary door for her newly constructed shelter. She is more than happy. She started creating her door the moment she was selected as a project participant. Idapase has been through a lot even with the bright smile on her face. Her husband left her with 5 children. The misfortunes that rocked her life have not managed to kill her spirit. She believes with the interventions they are receiving, life will get better.
'It is not possible for God to give you everything in this world, you must lack something for you to learn humility.'
'Eventually, I believes that this nation will grow and be great.''
‘I lost my husband during the recent conflict leaving me with six children in a foreign and then homeless world'
With two daughters and four sons to look after back home in Nagero, 34 year old Assumpta (not her real names) did not know how to begin upon return to Nagero County from Mabia settlement only to find her home all destroyed during the conflict. ‘I cried heartily, a young, helpless and homeless widow is all that was left of me’, says Assumpta. She explained that when LCED encouraged the community to mobilise themselves and provide all the necessary support, together with her children did not have to wait or ask any questions. ‘It was a dream come true and we hit the bush with my two elder son to cut poles much as we did not have any pangas or axes but we were willing to do anything possible to support ourselves’, says Assumpta.
With the support of community volunteers and LCED staff, Assumpta recalls that on 28th March 2019 she managed to leave the cold nights under the open sky together with her children slept in their home. ‘Currently, we lack what to use in the house but we are hopeful that one day, God will answer our cries. My children are now happy and if all goes well and schools open, they can go back to school.’ Cheerful Assumpta shares her future plans.
LCED subscribes to Accountability to Affected Population (AAP) principles whereby the community should play a major role in all the interventions that benefit them. In fact, LCED refers to its target population as project participants rather than beneficiaries!
This RRF project in Nagero was no exception. Challenges like poor network coverage, insecurity, lack of social amenities did not deter LCED from extending a hand to those that were in need. In a period of less than one month, LCED staff conducted a rapid site assessment to identify areas where the most vulnerable returnees were concentrated. Through community meetings and with the support of local authorities and community volunteers, 868 most vulnerable returnee households were identified, registered and supported with emergency shelter assistance that included 2 plastic sheets, 2 bundles of ropes, framing poles and nails and with the support of a hired shelter expert, supported or guided on proper shelter construction. ‘As a humanitarian worker, my gratification is seeing people smile after my intervention’ shares Jame Alex (LCED, Program Assistant).
‘Two key lessons learned; never underestimate and assume that the community is very vulnerable with nothing to offer and secondly, the complaint and feedback mechanism is a key tool in identifying and addressing gaps unforeseen by the project staff yet could have serious impact on the project’ Jame shares. Lastly, Jame re-echoes other humanitarian partners to come to the rescue of the many returnees who are still homeless and at a greater risk with the anticipated rainy season soon. He also recommends partners to consider WASH and Non-Food Items (NFI) for the conflict affected people in Nagero County as most pressing needs since majority were either routed or lost their belongings during the massive displacement.