“Teach self-denial and make its practice pleasure, and you can create for the world a destiny more sublime that ever issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer,” said the inventor and greatest practitioner of the historical novel, Sir. William Scott. However, it is still unknown to most people. What is this destiny so sublime? How can it be created? And who will create it?
The Kenya Red Cross Society has one of its branches in my upcountry, Baringo County, Kenya. One of its offices is located in my village, Chemolingot.
The Kenya Red Cross Society is a humanitarian agency that is auxiliary to the national and county governments and works with communities, volunteers and partners to ensure they prepare for and respond to humanitarian and development needs. At national level, operations are spearheaded by a management team led by the Secretary General, while at county level, it is governed by board and administratively managed by a Regional Manager.
The Kenya Red Cross Society visions to be the most effective, most-trusted and self-sustaining humanitarian organization in Kenya. Its mission is to work with vigor and compassion through their networks and with communities to prevent and alleviate human suffering and save lives of the most vulnerable. Its core values include commitment, accountability, trust and service to humanity. Its fundamental principles include humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. The core programs run by Kenya Red Cross Society include, Disaster Risk Management, Disaster Management Operations, Health, Nutrition and Social Services, Organizational Development and Water and Sanitation and Hygiene.
Kenya Red Cross Society launched the world’s first humanitarian smartphone app- Kenya Red Cross app- available on both android and iOS platforms, in 2006. This app allows users to receive timely and life-saving information during emergencies. It also makes it easier for partners and the public to connect, talk and engage with Kenya Red Cross Society through simple, easy to use key features such as Emergency Services, Membership and Blood Donation drives and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns.
The Kenya Red Cross Society offers various job opportunities countrywide. For instance, in 2008, the organization started an entertainment channel, Cross TV, that is engaging, positive and progressive. This created job opportunities for young adults with the vision to expand internationally. It was seeking for passionate and enthusiastic individuals to fill various positions such as reporters, online and social media editors, TV graphic and Broadcast Designers, Marketing Communications Manager, Sales Account Executives, Studio Technical Operations, Managing Editors, TV Research and Scheduling Managers. Whenever the Kenya Red Cross Society opens an office in a particular location, more job opportunities are created. Security officers, a Safety and security coordinator, Health Information Systems Officer, Program Assistant, are among the human resources usually required.
The organization also provides youths with internships, attachments and volunteering opportunities. Early this year, the Kenya Red Cross Society called for youths to apply for paid internships, alongside other jobs. Data Analysts, GIS Intern, Data Visualization and Reporting Officer, System Strengthening and Institutionalization Lead, Monitoring and Evaluation Lead, Research and Design Lead and Strategic Learning Lead, were the vacant positions. This organization provides volunteering opportunities for youths and other citizens as well. The Society provides exchange programs for the volunteers, such as, the Youth Delegates Exchange Program (YDEP), for members and volunteers between the ages of 21 and 28. These young adults may apply to work as youth delegates in Norwegian Agency for Exchange Corporation (NOREC). The Society also celebrates its volunteers by holding Annual Volunteer Awards. These awards honour and recognize individuals (Red Cross or Non-Red Cross), groups, institutions, media hoses and organizations for outstanding volunteer service and acts of great contribution to the society towards the cause of Red Cross Movement. It also recognizes individuals and institutions that have demonstrated leadership and commitment to promoting volunteerism. These awards also provide an opportunity for volunteers from different branches to network and get to know each other as they work to help Kenya Red Cross achieve its mandate as the leading humanitarian organization in the country. This is according to Kenya Red Cross News, written by Super User.
The hands of charity of Kenya Red Cross Society have stretched so far that they have touched many hearts in Baringo County. For many years, this humanitarian agency has always been concerned about the people of Baringo County. They have supported them in difficult times of floods, drought, landslides, disease outbreaks and community clashes.
On the 24th February2017, Kenya Red Cross Society suspended its operations and withdrew all its staff and volunteers from Baringo, citing insecurity. Seven vehicles carrying 96.8 metric tons of relief food were blocked back to Marigat. At the time, Baringo County was one of the worst affected out of the 23 counties affected by drought in Kenya. Moreover, there was violence between Baringo North and Baringo South, which was believed to have been sparked off by the killing of two Pokot leaders by hooded gunmen in Marigat. The residents from Tugen Community had accused Kenya Red Cross Society of giving support to the Pokot Community. This new spate of attacks had sparked tension among the warring communities with some residents fleeing their homes for fear of revenge attacks. The displaced people pitched camp in Bartabwa, Kesumet, Rondinin in Baringo North and Nyimbei Primary and Secondary Schools in Baringo South. These families lived in deplorable conditions with poor hygiene and lack of clean water. Fear of disease outbreaks filled the camps, women and children suffered from hunger. Education too was adversely affected as most of those in camps were school-going children.
The Kenya Red Cross Society resumed operations in Baringo on 27th February 2017. The Baringo County Government assured the Kenya Red Cross Society of the safety of their personnel and resources. Their immediate task was to reach out to the internally displaced persons and reunite them with their families. They also supported the drought-affected households by distributing relief food to them.
A cash transfer program was set to target 1546 households in Baringo North, south and Tiaty Sub Counties. Three boreholes were rehabilitated in Nginyang’, Tangulbei and Yatta, while six more were repaired. Provision of ambulance services, tracing of missing persons and psychological support to those traumatized by the conflict, especially children and mothers, was done.
Despite the fact that Kenya Red Cross Society was affected by the intercommunity clashes in Baringo County, they did not stop to help. Kenya Red Cross Society has proved that charity is a very wide phenomenon that cannot be described in words.
In conclusion, almost anyone who is financially sound can contribute money and goods but not everyone possesses that patience to work for a charitable organization. Therefore, Kenya Red Cross Society has taught self-denial and has made its practice pleasure, creating a destiny so sublime in Baringo County and Kenya at large.
By JUNE CHEROP LOKWEE, NGINYANG’, BARINGO