Humanitarian response must strengthen communities for long term, says ACT general secretary

Feb 29, 2012

Development partners should focus on building the resilience of communities when responding to emergencies so as to avoid creating dependency, the General Secretary of ACT Alliance Mr John Nduna has said.

While speaking during a breakfast hosted in his honour by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Nduna said that ACT is determined not to be a 'firefighter' but to upscale its engagement into capacity building.

“When it comes to fundraising for emergency response, the money is there on the table, but when we raise funds to build resilience, the money shies from us. But do we want to be putting out fires, or to build resiliency?” he posed.

He further recommended that partners seriously consider funding the capacity building of pastors and church personnel on the ground to enable them to act efficiently on the issues facing their communities.

They are the best placed to identify the local resources that communities can tap and make use of to build resilience.

Speaking during the same forum, the NCCK General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said that development and emergency interventions help people, but also run the risk of disabling them from undertaking local initiatives.

“Not so many people are so poor that they can’t do anything to alleviate the pain of others,” he pointed out.

He added that on its part, NCCK has established the Jumuia Business Services as a vehicle through which to promote economic empowerment of the people at the grassroots while continuing to build its microfinance SMEP DTM with the goal of having it become the first Christian bank in Kenya.

These initiatives he said would help Kenyans grow themselves and get off dependency on aid.

The General Secretary of ACT is in Kenya for a three-day visit to meet with partners and members of the ACT Kenya Forum.

This article originally appeared at National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).

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