Illuminating the Path to Peace
As the world celebrated the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2023, the significance of this year's theme, "Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the Global Goals," resonates more profoundly than ever before. This annual observance, established by the United Nations, calls upon individuals, communities, and nations to unite in their pursuit of a more peaceful and equitable world.
In alignment with this theme, we bring you a poignant story that exemplifies the power of actions for peace and their transformative potential. Mercy's courage embodies the very essence of the International Day of Peace, highlighting the resilience, bravery, and hope that lie at the heart of every effort to achieve the global goals for peace and justice. This story transports us to a community marked by conflict and adversity, where a remarkable woman named Mercy defied all odds to champion the cause of peace. Her journey serves as a powerful reminder that our actions, no matter how small, can contribute to the grand ambition of a more peaceful and equitable world for all.
COMMISSIONING OF COMMUNITY FACILITATORS
Saint Martin CSA, Community Programme for Peace and Reconciliation has for the last three years (20..) been engaged in a project called 'Awakening Silenced Voices,' funded by Smart Peace an organization based in ….. The overarching aim of this project was to foster transformed communities where women and girls could live free from all forms of violence, being empowered to assert their rights and pursue personal aspirations. This objective was pursued through strategies that aimed at reducing the prevalence of gender-based violence in specific areas of Baringo and Laikipia counties.
Transforming Lives and Shaping a Compassionate World on World Humanitarian Day
The World Humanitarian Day is a time for reflection and solidarity. As an organization our journey is one of unwavering commitment to human values. As the world confronted pandemics like Covid-19 and grappled with unyielding drought, we stood strong, extending emergency response initiatives that reached far beyond immediate relief. Echoing the origins of World Humanitarian Day -a day born from tragedy, our response mirrors a dedication to addressing human suffering and reinstating dignity in adversity. Our commitment radiates through diverse projects of mental Health, children rights and peace building initiatives, our actions embody the spirit of World Humanitarian Day.
Intensive Outpatient Program
Prevalence of substance abuse remains high at 18% in Kenya despite the efforts of various stakeholders in addressing the problem in country. In Laikipia County, 17.3% of people are deemed to have substance use disorders according to a study commissioned by St. Martin CSA. An additional 11.6% are engaged in harmful or hazardous drinking behaviours. The most commonly abused drugs include alcohol, marijuana, khat/miraa among others. The situation is further compounded by the high rates of poverty and unemployment that makes it more difficult to institute effective interventions to those already affected. The low cost residential rehabilitation centres charges range from Kes.150,000/- to Kes. 180,000/-, for the three month rehabilitation program. Moreover, addiction has generally been considered to be an individual problem where others in including significant others and community member have very little to do with the interventions. As a result people affected by addiction are isolated and do not receive support from the people around them. Residential rehabilitation takes away the client from the usual environment where the client resides to an environment which is not real – when the person goes back to the community they face the same challenges that are likely to result in relapse. St. Martin CSA has therefore borrowed some aspects from the intensive residential rehabilitation, customized it to fit the local situation addressing the unique challenges that are found in our areas of operation. The goal of the program is to provide effective treatment at affordable cost compared to the residential rehabilitation (for those who qualify).
CREATING A SAFE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN
CREATING A SAFE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN
Marked every June 16th, the Day of the African Child is celebrated to honor children who took part in the 1976 Soweto uprising to demand for their rights and highlight the current situation of the African Child. Children have the right to life, survival, protection, wellbeing and development, and as so, we must strive to promote and protect those rights. The theme of this year “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment” is well suited for the prevailing realities of the African Child.
Empowering social safeguards
All those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
must take reasonable steps to ensure risks to their welfare are minimised.
When concerns are raised, all parties involved must take appropriate action.’
St. Martin CSA works with vulnerable people who, for convenience, they are grouped together on the basis of their vulnerability:-people with disabilities, people with mental illness, survivors of gender-based violence, people living with HIV, children in need of care and protection etc. Depending on the context, these groups of people share some characteristics in common. In our context, they are largely alienated and suffer exclusion, discrimination and denial of inalienable human rights overtly and covertly. In spite of this classification by the nature of their vulnerability, they are unique individuals who require a person-centred approach to care and support. For instance, it is widely assumed that a disability-friendly toilet is one with a wide door that a wheelchair can pass through. Another example is a lamp to improve access to building for people with disabilities while the facilities and space within the premises are not disabilities friendly. Some of these interventions are made to comply with the law but not to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. In the person-centred approach, we take into account each person’s experience, age, culture, gender, heritage, language, beliefs and identity and support the ‘person at the centre of the service’ in making decisions about their life.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults training
We believe in a world where every individual's rights and well-being are safeguarded, especially the vulnerable adults among us. It is our collective responsibility as St. Martin CSA to protect and empower those who may be at risk. On Friday 9th to Saturday 10th June 2023 we will be having a training on safeguarding vulnerable adults to our staff so that they are better equiped.
Empowering Sustainable Livelihood Champions
For more than two decades, St. Martin CSA has been helping vulnerable people and at-risk communities cope with shocks and disasters ranging from the effects of political violence, drought and Covid 19. In 2022, the country experienced its worst drought in 40 years. To a greater extent, the livelihoods of the people of Nyandarua, Laikipia and Baringo counties, where St. Martin has been strengthening community capacities to care for and empower vulnerable people often depend on agriculture and the direct consumption of natural resources. The drought that has been witnessed in the country for 3 consecutive years and with severe impact on the ASALs including in Laikipia and Nyandarua counties has reversed gains made in improving the quality of life of households affected by disabilities, HIV/AIDs, mental illness, gender-based violence and violent conflicts and families with children living in a difficult social situation that excludes them from the rest of society. The quality of life in these 3 counties is directly influenced by the condition of their environment. As a result of the effects of climate variability and climate change, we have witnessed an increased number of households transitioning from food-secure households to food-insecure households, while those food-insecure households are now food hungry.
Annual Report 2022
The annual report for 2022 is now available. We thank all our friends, stakeholder and our staff for their continuous commitment to the mission of St. Martin CSA! It is only through you that we can empower the vulnerable people in our midst to lead a life in dignity and self-determination.
The hidden dimension of vulnerability
On 15th October 2023, 0830 hours I was stopped by a lady (I call her Risper) on a wheelchair being pushed by a school going boy at St. Martin CSA gates. I greeted them but Risper was in such a hurry to ask for my financial support than in exchange for pleasantries. Apparently, I knew Risper for several years because we had rescued one of her sons from the streets but she kept pulling him back to the streets until we lost the battle. I inquired from the boy why he was not in school. The mother retorted quickly that they did not have anything to eat back at home. By now she was already growing impatient with me. I offered to support them with food for a month and reinstate the boy back to school as we work out a sustainable solution to their vulnerability. She declined my offer and commanded the son to move on, with disappointment on her face. This is not an isolated experience. Many poor people with special vulnerability (real and crafted) are pushed to the streets of our towns by unscrupulous people to beg and pay a commission while others have found an easy source of shillings from charitable Kenyans.
Zero Tolerance To FGM
Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights. Yet over 200 million girls worldwide are at risk of undergoing this harmful practice every year, many of them under the age of 15. Many factors contribute to the prevalence of FGM but in every society in which it occurs, it is a manifestation of entrenched gender inequality. Here in Kenya around 4 million, or one in five, women and girls have been subjected to FGM. Although overall these numbers have declined over recent years, they still remain much too high. An estimated 574,000 additional Kenyan girls are at risk of undergoing FGM between now and 2030 unless urgent action is taken to prevent it. St. Martin CSA through the Community Programme for Peace and Reconciliation runs a project known as ‘Awakening Suppressed Voices’ with an aim of transforming communities where women and girls are free from all forms of violence and are empowered to claim their rights, and pursue their own goals.
Competency Based Curriculum - CBC
Competency-based curriculum (CBC) is the country’s new education system that was introduced in December 2017 to replace the 8-4-4 cycle. It plays an important role in the promotion of individual well being and acquisition of skills and capabilities to contribute meaningfully to the economy and society at large. The focus of the CBC curriculum is the potential of the child and not about memorization of content. It is about being creative, having the ability to think critically, being able to solve problems and also being able to apply the knowledge and skills gained. The CBC is a great opportunity for our children!