The number of vulnerable people affected by unexpected crises is growing: in 2020, 168 million people worldwide required humanitarian assistance and protection (not including Covid-19 response). That’s approximately 1 in 45 people, the highest figure in decades.*
Conflict, climate change and natural disasters can lead to displacement, homelessness and hunger for people with few or no resources.
Having lived and worked in their communities for decades, missionaries have a deep knowledge of local vulnerabilities and where emergency aid will be most effective. Working with missionaries has a dual benefit: deep-rooted relationships mean they are trusted locally and emergency aid can be channelled via existing development project infrastructure.
Emergency Food Relief in Drought-Plagued Kenya
The terrain around Rotu, in East Pokot, Kenya, is hilly and rocky. It is also isolated from the rest of the country by poor infrastructure and limited public transport. In recent years, the normally hot and arid local climate has been plagued by severe, prolonged droughts followed by heavy rains and flooding.
Extreme drought hurts crop yields and food supplies and the subsequent heavy rains and floods frequently displace residents. This makes them vulnerable to food and water insecurity with elderly, young children and lactating mothers most at risk. Heavy rainfall also increases the risk of disease and hampers efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help the people of East Pokot, the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans) applied for emergency funding from Misean Cara. This was used to distribute food, including maize, beans, salt and cooking oil to over three thousand people.
This has helped them maintain good health and the sense of well-being necessary to continue with their daily lives. Efficient collaboration with local leaders and a sister congregation enabled the Spiritans to surpass the numbers of people initially targeted for aid.
Building community resilience to survive severe and erratic weather events is important, especially as climate-change-induced challenges will persist. Funding has also supported activities that help local people move from relying on emergency food support to sustainable livelihood programmes. The project is also looking at other ways to improve local infrastructure. This includes opening up the area for trade - especially in honey processing and other income-generating activities - by making roads more passable during rainy seasons.
Misean Cara members have responded to the emergencies that hit the developing world especially hard since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Living alongside the communities they serve, our members could immediately respond quickly to the pandemic. Misean Cara also reacted promptly with additional funding to help members stop the spread of the virus. Members also helped manage secondary impacts like hunger, school closures, lost livelihoods and increases in gender-based violence.
Learn more about how our members responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.