Member of the Month: ActionAid International Kenya

30 January 2019

This month we are putting ActionAid International Kenya in the spotlight. As a founding member of the CHS Alliance, ActionAid International Kenya was among the first organisations to engage in a Self-Assessment process against the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) in 2016. They are continuously demonstrating their commitment to the CHS, more recently by contributing to the governance of the Alliance. In December 2018, Makena Mwobobia, Executive Director of ActionAid Interntional Kenya was welcomed by the Board as one of its newest members.

ActionAid International Kenya has been active since 1972 as a member of the ActionAid International Federation, which has over 45 countries offices across Africa, Asia, America and Europe. It is a development and humanitarian organisation providing support to over one million people affected by crisis in over 16 counties of Kenya, partnering up with local organisations.

In recent years Kenya – as well as the Horn of Africa region – has had its share of natural and climate-related disasters. These were especially prolonged droughts and floods in the arid and semi-arid regions, adversely impacting food and nutrition security. The droughts, in particular, have led to the loss of livelihoods and productive assets, increased malnutrition and violence against women and girls. They also drove migration, resulting in conflicts over natural resources, particularly water and pasture.

ActionAid International Isiolo Emergency Response

A member of a local women’s group in Isiolo distributes food during the drought emergency food response operation in 2017. During the distribution, community members were provided with cereals, cooking oil and dignity kits.

ActionAid International Kenya has coordinated several timely and effective responses to these disasters while adhering to the CHS and other guiding documents. While saving lives through humanitarian response and assistance remains a critical component of their work, it is not an end in itself. These interventions are used as entry points to work with communities to develop community-led disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation action plans, to diversify and protect livelihoods and productive assets, and to build capacity to challenge existing power dynamics by empowering women to end poverty and increase resilience.

In this edition, we are bringing you two interviews and an article that highlights ActionAid International Kenya’s main quality and accountability initiatives.

Makena Mwobobia shared with us how she has developed a passion for women’s rights over the years. In humanitarian assistance and development work, she sees a unique opportunity to empower women who can, in turn, lead accountability efforts.

“Women need to be empowered to make their voices heard” – Coffee with Makena Mwobobia, ActionAid Kenya’s Executive Director 

Denis Orioki is supporting five Local Rights Programmes (LRPs) in Khwisero as a Capacity Building Coordinator responsible for livelihoods and resilience. We had a chat with him to hear about some of ActionAid International Kenya’s successes and challenges in the field in terms of quality and accountability.

“Affected communities are the ones who truly understand their needs” – Coffee with Denis Orioki, ActionAid Kenya’s Capacity Building Coordinator

As a strong supporter of the CHS, ActionAid International Kenya has a robust and thorough approach to quality and accountability. Not only is their work built upon their Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), which promotes programming that leads to community empowerment, they also respond to the needs of people affected by crisis by encouraging women’s leadership, learning from their experience to increase effectiveness and embracing accountability at all levels.

Learn how they do it:

Improving accountability by empowering women and vulnerable communities

We would like to thank ActionAid Kenya’s Makena Mwobobia, Pascaline N. Kangethe, Clement K. Chesire, Naomi Senda, Tabitha Mutanu and Denis Orioki for their precious help in providing content for this ‘Member of the Month’ issue.