Abdullahi M. Abdi, the Executive Director of Womankind-Kenya (WOKIKE) has sent the following information while I have been traveling. I am posting it directly in the interest of time. Some of the numbers may need to be revised as more specific information becomes available. I am awaiting specific instructions about how people can make monetary donations via ILI, a long-standing U.S.-based partner of WOKIKE. I will post these as soon as I receive them.
I have also added to hotlinks at the end. The first will guide you to a news story about the Dadaab Refugee Camps. The second to research completed by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
North Eastern Kenya comprises the counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera, which share 1,200 kilometres of porous borders with Somalia. During the 50+ years of Kenya’s independence, this region has been used as a buffer zone by each successive government, and, thus, has served as a militarized region to protect other Kenyans without caring about the welfare of local inhabitants. This has caused a lot of harm to the residents of North Eastern Kenya.
The colonial government managed this region as a separate entity from the other parts of Kenya and made limited investment in public services. In its early years, the first independent government of Kenya had to battle with bandits. Government leaders imposed an emergency state in the region, placed its areas under security operation, and suspended all development. This state of emergency remained until 1997.
However, in 1992, the Government of Kenya softened its regulations to allow international humanitarian organizations and the media to visit the region. This followed the crisis of Somalia and the establishment of the Dadaab Refugee Camps in the area.
Though the nearness to Somalia provided advantages and disadvantages for the region, the challenges this proximity has posed seem to outweigh the benefits — especially during the last 25 years. The region lags behind others in Kenya in all development indicators due to the lack of investment by the government for the over half a century.
THE VISION FOR GARISSA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
For the first time in Northern Kenya, a university (constituent college) was established in the town of Garissa in 2011. It admitted the first students in 2013. Regional leaders had consistently lobbied for the establishment of this educational institution hoping that the university would spur development and improve knowledge sharing and cultural exchange.
APRIL 2, 2015
Thursday April 2, 2015 was just a normal day until 5:30 AM when all hell broke loose. While some of the students at the Garissa University College were waking up for their daily chores and others were still in bed, gun shots pierced the air. Many soon realized that this was not friendly fire but a terror attack.
EKMAN’S GIRL’S HOME
This attack has also disturbed the peace at Ummulkheir Dr. Ekman Girls Home, which is a neighbor of the university. The Home is adjacent to the University with just a road separting the two. The girls panicked and started running helter skelter [through the compound], at times overpowering the caretakers.
The impact of this attack has caused Womankind-Kenya (WOKIKE) to look critically at our security measures to determine how prepared the girls and the staff can be if a similar or worse attack occurs in the future.
The first and most critical, immediate action needed is to put in place a team of counsellors to give the girls psychological support and also address the resulting medical conditions.
ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED NOW
Two major types of interventions are needed now: those that address immediate needs and additional long-term interventions that will produce sustained results.
- Assemble a team of two counsellors to provide professional services for three months. At the end of the first three months, one of the counsellors will be retained for an additional three months.
- Hire one medical officer to provide medical support services for three months. The Ekman Foundation currently supports one nurse who usually visits the girls every weekend and whenever need arises. However, WOKIKE needs a resident nurse/clinical officer to treat the physical ailments stemming from the trauma the girls have experienced. The need for these medical services will be reviewed at the end of this three-month period.
- Secure financial support for private health service providers to treat the girls. Since almost all the health service staff feared for their lives and many of them relocated to safer areas, the cost of this activity will depend on how quickly the medical staff resumes duty.
- Assign armed guards (police) to the Girl’s Home. The staff of WOKIKE will request that the government assign these armed guards. However, WOKIKE will be required to cover certain costs for this added security.
- Carry out security review of the Girls Home and come up with security plans to be implemented immediately. This requires hiring a professional security consultant to advise WOKIKE on the most crucial measures required to reduce risks throughout our compound.
- Complete construction of a perimeter wall. This wall had been under construction for the last seven years. Through the support of Ekman foundation we have been putting up 50 metres per year. However, for the last two years we were not able to add more.
- Install CCTV cameras to monitor the movement within and around the Girls Home.
- Adding security guards so that one of them will be able to man the control room where the CCTV monitors will be located.
- Increase the security lighting within and around the Girls’ Home.
- Recruit two counsellors for three months and another for an extra three months: 2 counsellors x 3 months x $900 = $5,400 1 counsellor x 3 months x $900 = $2,700 Subtotal = $8,100
- One resident nurse for the Home 1 x 3 months x $500 = $1,500
- Budgetary support for hospital treatment Lump Sum = $15,000
- Enhancement of security guards through armed security personnel – 4 x 6 months x $500 = $12,000
- Consultant to do security review and security plans Lump Sum = $5,300
- Complete the perimeter wall Roughly 218 metres x 6,000 = $15,500
- Putting up CCTV camera around the Home. Lump Sum – $15,000
- Two extra security guards for the year – 2 guards x12 months x $125 = $3,000
- Increase security lights in the home (Lumpsum) = $15,000
GRAND TOTAL = $90,400