“As much as the community depends on the Red Cross, the Red Cross also depends on the community’s support”
…said Maria Mbeneka, the First Lady of Laikipia County, while making her remarks at the Red Cross Humanity Walk in Nanyuki on the 22nd of September. More than a thousand school children in the age of 10-18 were ready to walk for Red Cross.
Early morning on day three in our new host county, we drove for three hours to take part in a Red Cross Walk in Nyahururu, which is also a part of Laikipia county. One week later we took part in another Red Cross Walk, this time in Nanyuki, our new home town.
Sidenote: Our drive to Nyahururu was an accidental “game-drive” (safari sightseeing). We saw rhinos, camels, and loads of sheep, goats and cows along the way. We feel lucky to be in Kenya and in particular Laikipia.
Kenya Red Cross Society branches organize annual walks to mark school children’s effort of fundraising for the Red Cross. The students in Nyahururu and Nanyuki have been fundraising for the past two months, and the annual walks we attended were celebrations of their achievements. The money raised supports the local Red Cross Disaster Programmes.
As we are stationed in Nanyuki, we participated in the preparations and took on tasks during the event, namely photography and distribution of food and water. The timing for our arrival in Laikipia could not have been better, as these walks provided an opportunity to meet Red Crossers from all over the county and even from other branches. It was also very interesting for us to learn about this method of fundraising, which we had never before seen on this scale.
Collaboration with other stakeholders
Something that caught our attention was the support from others outside of Laikipia Red Cross. On the day of the walk in Nanyuki, there weren’t only volunteers from Laikipia Red Cross who were distributing water, controlling the roads, and documenting the event. There were also volunteers from other RC branches (Kiambu, Nyeri, Thika and Nairobi), and other organizations, such as Kenya Scouts, Action Aid’s Youth Hub, and the Mount Kenya Rollers. As Youth Delegates it was encouraging to observe the volunteerism spirit and collaboration with other youth organizations.
A humanitarian walk for humanitarian response
As the First Lady stressed, the Red Cross needs the support of the community. In our short time in Laikipia, we have already seen our Red Cross colleagues respond to several house fires, as first aiders and by bringing non-food items to the affected persons. It is important to raise funds so that the organization can meet the humanitarian needs within the community. We are happy to have seen an example of how this is done in our new home.
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