WAJIR, Kenya: The Horn of Africa has always been the center of attention of the global public opinion. Thirst, hunger, famine, and wars are ravaging this part of Africa which brought unending tragedies in the lives of the people. Wajir county which is located northeast of Kenya bordering Somalia demonstrates vividly the enormity of human suffering in this region. The Somali land which is originally populated by pastoralist and herdsmen who are accustomed to nomadic way of life crisscrossing the border of Somalia and Kenya to graze their herds for centuries has become now a notorious place where thirst, hunger, and war are chasing relentlessly.
For four years, CADIS has been serving in this county together with the Camillian Sisters promoting programs which empowered the people to protect themselves from all these threats to life. For almost 2 decades, the people in this region are dependent on food supply and rationing from humanitarian organizations. However, CADIS took one step ahead by building the capacity of people to produce their own food and protect their own health. Pastoralists were trained in semi-arid land cultivation; men and women were formed and trained to become community health extension workers (CHEWs); communities were mobilized to engage in health and sanitation programs by building access to potable water supply and ecologically sanitary latrines. Greenhouses planted with vegetables and fruits are sprouting in the area. Existing bore wells were rehabilitated and capped for safety. Basic hygiene practices are gradually integrated into their culture. Sensitivity to the elderly and the disabled is being challenged and growing among their families.
The key to its success is the integrated health and healthcare approach in resolving the fundamental issues of the community amidst depravation and poverty. The programs introduced by CADIS empowered and build their confidence. This approach puts the people and vulnerable families and communities at the center of all the initiatives and programs.