The people of Kenya’s West Pokot County are an amazing lot. No matter who you are or where you come from, they are always welcoming. We know a lot about this region because CURE Kenya has many children from West Pokot come to CURE Kenya for treatment.
The main source of income for the people of West Pokot is farming and livestock keeping. Since they border Uganda, a lot of trade is done there, enabling them to feed their families and earn a living. However, most of the families are poverty-stricken and often have no way to make ends meet. In fact, some families go for days without food.
Not so long ago, the people of West Pokot were hit by flash floods and mudslides. Many families lost everything, their homes, farms, livestock and hundreds lost their lives. The farms that helped supply food to the local markets were swept away. People and livestock were buried never to be seen again. Roads were destroyed, dealing transport a huge blow. This was devastating for West Pokot dwellers.
Unimaginably, life has become even harder now with the current COVID-19 pandemic eliminating jobs and forcing people to stay home to curb the spread of the virus. This has left many people asking the question, “How can you stay home when there is nothing to feed your children?” This is why CURE Kenya, in partnership with Hope and Healing International, began an effort to help the people of West Pokot lovingly named “Project Emmanuel.” (Emmanuel means “God with us”). We distributed food and hygiene materials to roughly 200 families, but due to the poor state of the roads, we struggled to reach more. Thankfully, the local government partnered with us and assisted in distributing the food to almost 2,000 more families! These families received 4kgs of rice, 4kgs of beans, 4kgs of green grams,19kgs of maize, 3 liters of cooking oil, and soap.
Apart from food, we were also able to train 50 health workers from all over West Pokot County on how to identify and react to a suspected case of COVID-19. As of May 27th, West Pokot has not reported any COVID-19 cases, but as the world is learning, preparation is key. To help them prepare, we provided the local county hospital with 50 sets of personal protection equipment (PPE).
During these crazy times, we are required to stand in the gap for each other, and God is helping us do that through friends and partners. We are very grateful for our friends at Hope and Healing International and in the West Pokot County government who were able to help facilitate Project Emmanuel.