Friday, February 01, 2008

Kenya: What Can One Person Do?

According to a recent AP report, 300,000 people in Kenya were forced to leave their homes, and over 800 people were killed during this past month's post-election violence.

Reuters reported today that, "Increasing numbers of Kenyan women and children are raped nightly in displacement camps, where sexual violence is used to threaten and intimidate . . ."

I want to do something.

But what can one person do?

Feministing suggests making donations to the Kenya Red Cross Society.

El Oso made a donation through MamaMikes. According to the MamaMikes web site, $25 ( £ 12.50 or € 17.24 ) will buy either of the following items:
• 5 litres of cooking oil, sanitary products, 2kg of unga, 2kg rice and a pair of shoes
• or one bale of unga
• or a mattress
• or a blanket.
The Vuma Kenya Initiative's site has a list of Kenya related blogs, and a list of 10 places to donate. One of the places on their list is the Nairobi Women's Hospital's Gender Violence Recovery Center which is, "currently attempting to deal with the dramatic increase in sexual violence following the Kenyan presidential election."

Ida Wahlstrom's post, Kenya's Crossroads: What You Can Do is full of resources for how you can help. She recommends that you stay informed through Pambazuka News' coverage of the situation.

You can also keep informed about breaking news on Global Voices' roundup of bloggers' coverage of Kenya, and read background information on the Genocide Intervention Network.

What are some other ideas for how people can help?

Photo Credit: Red Cross by DEMOSH. Caption: "Internally displaced people queue to register for the food rations being provided by the Kenya Red Cross in Nairobi" DEMOSH is a photojournalist working in East and Central Africa and based in Nairobi, Kenya. Check out his other photos.


  1. You've given plenty of ways to help in one simple post, Britt! Thank you! K.

  2. Excellent resource round-up; here are a few more on Shaping Youth re: using social media to help orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya.

    The worknets wiki and pyramidofpeace is chock full of hands-on info on how you can help by putting credit on mobiles via the internet to keep communication channels open for updates.

    Several of our Women Leaders for the World delegates are smack dab in the middle of the mess, and keeping us apprised. In fact, Louise Sewe sent us this note 72 hours ago (she’s the director for WEGE/Kenya) “We've been praying day and nights, but things are not cooling down. There are some new eruptions but we hope the eminent Kofi Annan team will do something. We need your prayers and intercessions.”

    Also, is no doubt funneling their energies into hotspots there as well…Keep me posted on any new leads you have as I’m posting to our WLW group everytime I hear of new routing/media feeds. Thanks, Britt, this is so very helpful. As always, "you rock!"

  3. Thanks for the additional resources, Amy! I cross-posted this on BlogHer, if you want to add your suggestions there too.

  4. Anonymous9:35 AM


    I love how you emphasize the importance of one individual in making a difference. I wanted to share with you the software that I have been working to promote over the past few months. In addition to a $25 donation today, an extra donation of $25 can be donated through, which places your money in a charitable mutual fund to grow and earn interest throughout a lifetime. Every year, interest is earned on the donation, and it continues to grow until your passing away.

    It's a neat concept, and a great way to build a foundation for the future, while at the same time helping those in need today.


  5. Thank you for this post and for action ideas.

    I have a question that is really bothering me about all this. Every time you read about refugee camps and oppressed groups you find out that men in power are raping women...

    Why? The people are already oppressed and herded together--how does all of this time spent raping moving their cause or their country ahead at all? They are expending their energy, spreading disease, etc. Shouldn't they be plowing a field or making money or something valuable??

    It is horrifying-I couldn't imagine living in those circumstances. It also seems very non-strategic.

    Can you shed any light on this for me?

  6. Hi Terri, I'm not an expert on this, but my understanding is that rape is being used as a weapon as part of ethnic cleansing. So, it isn't that people are in refugee camps and people are being raped by people in their tribe, although that happens too, it is that the tribes who are in conflict with each other are using rape as a weapon against each other.

    As this article in the explains,"The vast majority of the victims had been assaulted in their own homes and all had been targeted because of their tribe, the doctors said.

    Most were members of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, attacked in Nairobi's slums by other ethnic groups who support Raila Odinga, his Luo challenger."

  7. Thank you. Without your action steps this would be too overwhelming to think about.


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