The 2007/2008 election violence led to the loss of over 1,000 lives and the displacement of an estimated 663,921 people. A report by UN-OCHA published in July 2009, indicated that an estimated 350,000 displaced persons sought refuge in 118 satellite camps across the country, while another lot of approximately 313,921 were integrated into communities. The increasing number of people seeking refuge has posed a serious challenge to national disaster management capacities and consequently raised major humanitarian concerns. The same report adds that prior to the 2007 elections; the camps hosted approximately 350,000 IDPs owing to previous unresolved land disputes, election-related violence, and socio-economic insecurities.
The excessive population of IDP camps has resulted in poor living conditions characterized by poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, starvation, and lack of health and education facilities. As part of the healing and reconciliation efforts of the coalition government, resettlement of IDPs has been a key priority. A Department of Mitigation and Resettlement was subsequently established in the Ministry of State for Special Programmes (MoSSP) to facilitate the resettlement of IDPs. In one of its efforts, the Department initiated “Operation Rudi Nyumbani” (a Swahili phrase meaning “Return Home”) in May 2008 to resettle IDPs. The operation received massive support from Kenyans. However, most IDPs were reluctant to return to their homes for fear of attacks from their neighbors. Some claimed to have been warned never to return, while others claimed that they returned only to find that there was nothing left to call home. Furthermore, the State expressed its commitment to the resettlement process by cancelling tradition of the State House Christmas Celebration in 2010 so as to channel funds to the IDP resettlement process. The Office of the Vice President pledges that all the IDP’s would be permanently resettled by the end before the next general election in March 2013, as reflected in the Agenda IV of the National Coalition Government. Additional support has been offered by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) through the support of NGOs and International organizations particularly the United Nations.
To date the government has made great stands into resettling IDPS. Those resettled have received 2.4 acres of land to use for settlement and farming. In addition the government provides house construction materials. The only challenge is that most of the areas that the government has resettled these people do not have any social amenities like schools, health care facilities, and water. It is for this reason that VICDA comes in to supplement government’s effort by supporting these communities with some social amenities like building of primary/high schools, water installation, toilets, children nutrition and feeding program.
Those that have remained in transit camp continue to live in appalling conditions without housing, education, sanitation, food, and health care.
Children Feeding & Nutrition Program
The organization is supporting more than 600 children attending Early Childhood Education Development (ECD) with School Feeding Program at transnational and resettlement camps. The program has benefited children from Pipeline IDP camp, Ebenezer camp in Gilgil, Jikaze camp in Mai-Mahiu, Benjamin resettlement farm, Banita resettlement camp, and GIWA resettlement camp in Rongai. Provisions of meals to children have helped maintain them in schools. Meals too have improved the children’s health and children are able to concentrate with education at their early ages.
Provision of Shelter
The organization is supporting rebuild their lives. To date VICDA has constructed 100 houses for IDPS in pipeline camp. IDPS at the camps are still living in the tents some of which are worm out after four years of use. IDPS living in the tents often get sick due to exposure to extreme weather conditions. Provision of housing have improved the living standards of the IDPS and has reduced incidences of illnesses brought by exposure to cold, rain and mosquitoes.
Construction of school/classrooms
Other support for children includes construction of classrooms. So far we have been able to construct classes and provided for desks and stationeries for eighty children in Jikaze Camp at Maai Mahiu, Naivasha, Giwa Farm, Kikopey Camp, Benjamin Resettlement farm and Banita Resettlement farm. We have also completed construction of Shalom Primary school at Giwa farm benefiting more than 1500 children. A secondary school in the same place. We has also helped construct classes for early childhood education in different IDP camps benefiting more than 1000 children.
Provision of Clean drinking water
Most of the land that IDPS have moved to do not have clean and safe drinking water. This greatly affects the whole community with water borne and water related infections like diarrhea, typhoid, and skin infections. We assist these communities to pipe water close to them, shortening distances and time spent in collecting this valuable commodity. We have done so in Sam Marko IDPs resettlement farm, Gituamba IDPs Resettlement Farm ,shalom primary and high schools.
Support for small income generating activities and Micro-finance
The organization also supports Internally Displaced Persons initiatives aimed at economic empowerment. The organization supports groups with a small amount of funds or seed capital to enable them to start small income generating activities. Among such activities that VICDA has supported are broiler chicken project in pipeline IDP camp, jewelry project, green houses projects, local chicken projects, diary farming projects among a few. VICDA has also come up with lending to women groups under its small micro finance department to empower the women especially in the rural communities.