Jul 27, 2020

TCSC's Covid-19 Emergency Response

67 year old woman receiving relief.
67 year old woman receiving relief.

When the government announced the first case of Corona virus in the country, we all went into panic and anxiety, everything started to shut down slowly. The government directive and measures forced us to close all our programs considering the fact that in most of our peace program we would bring more than twenty participants in training. As an organization we had less experience on strategies to cope with the crisis. Through consultative meetings with other stakeholders and our partners through Zoom and Skype calls, we started our intervention.

We started educating and encouraging communities around us to adhere to Government measures of washing hands with water and soap/using sanitizers, keeping social distance, wearing masks and staying at home. It was not easy to learn this new normal. Everyday we had new infections, new deaths from COVI19 virus and other related illness. All this measures came with a price tag on it; Most of communities in Mt. Elgon could not access clean sufficient water leave alone affording soap. The cost of masks was equivalent to a meal that would feed a household, staying at home for low income earners who live below the poverty line would not only die from Covid19 but hunger due to lack of food.

AGLI coordinator David Bucura in a consultative Skype meeting with country coordinators of partner organizations in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, agreed in the meeting that there was a need for food support that include dry cereals of maize, beans, rice, green grams, maize flour. In addition we had cooking oil and soap  to the vulnerable members of community this included households of people living with disability, elderly and those who in poverty. The coordinator shared the same with AGLI working group and funding was released to buy food. Initially we had targeted 25 households of about 8 family members each that could give us around 200 beneficiaries both Quakers and non-Quaker., We managed to reached 300 families in 36 households, On 4th of July we had reached hundreds of vulnerable groups such as unemployed youth, the elderly, women and children from low-income households and people living with disability, who were at higher risk of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Distributing food supply is one of the most challenging activities. Despite the organization having Identified the most vulnerable beneficiary, other community members who could afford also wanted a share of the supply. During distribution we met other challenges of girls in need of sanitary pads, psychosocial support and guiding and counseling.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the ongoing and planned peace processes and trainings. It is becoming increasingly difficult to facilitate intra and interethnic dialogues. We cannot travel to conflict affected areas to conduct dialogue with parties in dispute. As result there are increased cases of intra and inter-ethnic conflicts in traditional conflict prone areas.

Another challenge being posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is stigma and stereotyping against infected and affected people as well as social animosity based on mis-conception on the virus.

Due to the prolonged home stays by people who would otherwise be away from home, there is the risk of increased family feuds such as gender-based violence including sexual violence, divorce and separation among couples, high levels of stress and emotional instability, among others, especially in poor households.

Following the pandemic there has been increase in anxiety, stress, panic attacks and mental illness. These should be major healthcare concerns during and after Covid-19 era.

Moving forward, we have great opportunity to start addressing trauma related issues now that churches have been opened, the government can allow 100 people in church congregation.

Address the issue of early pregnancy in Mt. Elgon; create avenues to get funding for sanitary towel.

Organize stakeholder meeting with local administration and the teenagers to take about challenges putting in mind schools will not open until next year, 2021,

Due to economic instability in the country, loss of jobs by pandemic, culture shock and trauma around mourning and police brutality during enforcement of curfew laws, there is a high rate of mental disorder that has caused lack of peace among communities which has led to depressions.

“We have never met God, when we meet like this and talk, God is present, am very grateful, I never knew I will get food to eat, when we go to bed you don’t know Gods plan in the morning. Thank you very much; I am happy my family will have something to eat.”

Since the government announced the pandemic, we were left on our own. At my age cannot work anymore, I solemnly depend on neighbors and well-wishers,  already my neighbors are struggling just like me, today I had decided to cook this wild red  pepper vegetables as my meal, Gods works in mysteries ways, am grateful to your organization for reaching to elderly widow like me, God bless you.”

Getry giving relief to member of Malava Meeting.
Getry giving relief to member of Malava Meeting.
TCSC volunteer Christine delivering food.
TCSC volunteer Christine delivering food.
I am inspecting the bags of relief.
I am inspecting the bags of relief.
I am giving relief to one of our beneficiaries.
I am giving relief to one of our beneficiaries.
Getry - listening session with man with disability
Getry - listening session with man with disability
Jun 9, 2020

Quarterly Report, June 2020

Children using sanitation gel made by the women.
Children using sanitation gel made by the women.

From June 15 to 20, the Sewing Project at the Kakuma Refugee Camp will be participating in GlobalGiving's World Refugee Week Campaign. Transforming Community for Social Change has a goal of raising $1500 to further the work in Kakuma as described below. GlobalGiving will be matching at 100% the first $750 donated during this week. This, therefore, would be a great opportunity to double your donation.

The first case of Covid-19 virus has been identified at the camp. This was a refugee who illegally left the camp, which is closed down for travel, to illegally enter Nairobi. He then illegally left Nairobi and returned to Kakuma where he was intercepted. He was put in isolation, tested, and found positive. He was then put into quarantine. Fortunately he was caught before he entered the camp so he would not have exposed others to the virus.

Before the camp was closed down, two members of the Sewing Cooperative that TCSC has trained were able to go to Nairobi for a training on making sanitation gel and washable sanitary napkins. They also know how to make masks.

The plan now is to raise sufficient funds to buy the materials they need to start production of the sanitation gel, masks, and sanitary napkins. They will also train other members of the Sewing Coop to make these items. These proactive measures will be important in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic if and when it reaches Kakuma Refugee Camp.

May 11, 2020

16th HROC International Training in Rwanda

Trust walk
Trust walk

Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) International workshop in Rwanda Musanze Feb. 02-22/2020

Facilitators: Serete Peter, Anena Terry and Solange Maniraguha

The first Basic

In all international Healing and rebuilding our community workshops we always give participants an opportunity to attend a basic HROC workshop with local community members to help them have an introductory sense of how things are done in terms of the context and the methodology in delivering a workshop. In three days participants will recognize and understand Trauma, learn skills of dealing with their personal trauma, carefully begin their personal journey of healing, recognize that life continues after traumatic event and help them reconnect with their communities and rebuilt society.

    During the basic workshop participants were drawn from 6 countries, we had 5 from Zimbabwe, 1 from Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 from Nigeria, 6 from Rwandans and 1 from Kenya. The workshop was conducted by three facilitators from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with the help of a Rwandan translator. 

    Local leader from the office of civil registration in the sector opened the workshop officially and assured both local and international participants of their safety and appreciated the collaboration between HROC Rwanda and the Local administration. “I welcome you all in Rwanda, we were told about your coming, Rwanda is peaceful, we like visitors, you are free to move around and visits beautiful sites here in Musanze, with  thank the organizers for collaborating with local Government, this shows that for us to heal and have peace, we need to work together” Community leaders play an important role in identifying and inviting potential participants to a workshop. The process is done in fairness and balance in the selection process. During the process it is important to ask questions about the person’s symptoms and experience before immediately accepting such a participant, to ensure that the person is stable enough to participate in the workshop. 

Experience and testimonies from the participant varies depending on the depth of understanding and the level of transformation towards healing, three day may not be enough, however the module is  design to help individual on the underlying philosophy that each person and society has the inner capacity to heal and an inherent intuition of how to recover from trauma.

“I appreciate the methodology and how the module has been simplified to deepen our understanding, the meaningful examples were helpful, given my own time to share my traumatic experience was so enriching”

“I have been working with traumatized people in my community, I find it useful especially the support given to me by you, I felt not judged, my opinion was respected, and more importantly I was involved in all process”

“Am Glad I was given time to share my traumatic experience, sometime you feel you are alone, I have decided not to go back home again because I don’t want to meet my neighbor who killed my family members, when I was listening to people share, it gives you courage to share your own pain and find ways of getting help, I need more time and hope I will work on my fears and more importantly I will need help from facilitators”

“Facilitators gave us opportunity to share our thought and insight on our own understanding of trauma”.

The Training of Trainers

After all international participants have attended a basic HROC, they embark on a two weeks long, during this time we manage to prepare new facilitators to facilitate  a basic HROC workshop, deepen their understanding of trauma, trauma recovery, listening and the role of trauma healing in reconciliation.

With mentorship of a lead facilitator the program help to develop and practice basic peer counseling and listening skills, so facilitators are accomplished healing companion in their communities

At the end of two weeks the new HROC facilitators develop and practice basic facilitation skills

In order to push into the intense and difficult journey of trauma recovery and healing, participants, facilitators and healing companions alike must have strategies, rituals and sources of strength that can serve as anchors, for many years in all our international trainings participants have come out with creative ways that keep each person connected to him or herself, to one another and God. Without these, we can lose ourselves in sea of pain and helplessness.

Some faced challenges during this one

We are sharing some of the challenges met during this one training. Some are new, others are not, but just keep coming as challenge.

-Unfinished constructions at the Hroc Center that pushes us to take some of the participants staying at the hotel. This is more challenging, when you ask people to walk after having diner, and it is late in the night.

-Using an apprentice facilitator(s) and don’t pay them anything is not fair. Spending three weeks and going back home with empty pocket… It is really challenging.

Testimonies

  • Eugenia (from Zimbabwe): It is so powerful to have this kind of training. I cant wait to go back to Zim to do some Hroc workshops. It is a based community approach for sure. I have learned so much from you(facilitators), and learned from the approach itself. For us in Zimbabwe, when we do workshops on trauma healing, we train victims themselves, and the perpetrators, or vice versa. Now I see the importance of bringing them together. I appreciate so muc Hroc Philosophy. Very rich and touches everyone in the community. I think we will organize a Hroc training of trainers back home, and have more facilitators, because the work is huge and needed.
  • Mike (from Zimbabwe): Its just too much! Its rich and easy to learn. I normally work with others in a group, but now I see how much this Hroc approach touches the grass roots. Thank you my organization for bringing me to this one. We are still going under political pressure in our country. People are still in the cycle of violence. We have so much to do!
  • James (Nigeria):” Let us not loose hope”. There still time and space for someone to get healed. I was waiting for this one training to happen so that I can attend. I have founded myself to be here because I needed too. My fellow facilitators from Nigeria have interested me when they shared some of the things they have learned from the same kind or training, now I can testify it myself. I am just wondering how we can cooperate with other facilitators from my country as they seem to be away from me. But I still believe we can do something. I myself got helped to go through my personal journey of healing. Thank you so much Hroc.

 Recommendations for way forward

1.HROC IT participants database

2.International follow up activities

3.Being open to some adaptations if there is a need for the country/context

4.HROC facilitators gathering to be organized.

Official opening by local government leader
Official opening by local government leader
Participants during workshop
Participants during workshop
Two participants in small group discussion
Two participants in small group discussion
Practice facilitation
Practice facilitation
Workshop exercise
Workshop exercise
Group photo with certificates
Group photo with certificates
 
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