The Alcatel-Lucent Foundation made a donation to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in 2011 to help combat the severe humanitarian crisis devastating East Africa, brought on by the worst drought in some 60 years. The donation was a result of a Global Matching Gift Program launched by the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation for Alcatel-Lucent employees. In 2012 and 2013 the foundation renewed its support by funding a new program of KRCS to improve food security and livelihood through climate change adaptation and environmental conservation in Inkisanjani – Loitokitok, Kajiado, by 2016.
Since then, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation continued it support to KRCS program which aims to:
• To enhance food security and livelihood through sustainable and appropriate technologies.
• To mitigate the impact of climate change through protection of the springs.
• To enhance access to clean and safe drinking water in the community.
• To strengthen and build the capacity of Kajiado branch thereby enhancing the branch volunteers
The project targets the rural population in Enkaroni Sub-locations, Kuku location in Loitokitok, Kajiado County, on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near the Tanzanian boarder. Once completed, the above components will directly benefit approximately 9,500 people with the irrigation component directly benefiting to more than 40 families.
No limits – Solidarity reached Kilimanjaro: From a distance of 240 Kms from Nairobi capital city of Kenya, a group of employees from Alcatel-Lucent East Africa accompanied by their CSO (Country Senior Officer) travelled to Loitoktok to support the KRCS during 2 days of full volunteering actions. Loitoktok is located in the South Eastern Kenya, at the international border with Tanzania. The town lies within the foothills and in full view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Armed with energy, enthusiasm, some stationeries and snacks for the kids in the community, a group of 12 employees boarded the van and left Alcatel-Lucent East Africa offices in Nairobi Kenya for a journey that turned out to be adventurous as well as educational!” said Philip Sakwa HR Director of Alcatel-Lucent East Africa. “The sight of the towering Mt. Kilimanjaro was a sign that we were closing in to our final destination. The members of the local community and KRCS staff were waiting for our arrival and we were so excited to start right away our 2 day activities with the local community and the KRCS team”. –
The Alcatel-Lucent team was given a tour of the project: already completed installations including boreholes, solar panels, water pumps and irrigation equipments. The volunteers were then briefed by the agronomist experts for their assignment, which was to prepare the beds where the crops in one of the demarcated one acre piece of land would be planted. A substantial achievement was realized from this target as this was done as a demonstration by theAlcatel-Lucent team and the expert agronomists for the local community, who will have to do the all the remaining 39 acres themselves.
The project is an ambitious one and its progression is very impressive – Thanks to the KRCS, the local community of Loitoktok is fully involved and one can already see them ripping big. However, there is a need to maintain sustainability before KRCS fully hands over the projects to the local community, at least after the second harvest.
The KRCS program also supports activities designed to meet the immediate needs of the disadvantaged and rural area affected, including training and innovative techniques and necessary skills to become self sufficient. It helps the local community acquire life skills that will lead to a healthier and more prosperous life.
“We are committed to improve and transform peoples’ lives in the communities we live and work and we hope that individuals and organizations will also support the KRCS in their projects. A volunteer serves others by supporting a cause without expecting anything return and this is the most efficient way to show solidarity and make a difference” said Tony Wood, Country Senior Officer of Alcatel-Lucent in East Africa. He added: “It was a really enriching moment and experience! It teaches you humility to see some of the obstacles they had to overcome to get out in the community and make their own contribution. I look forward for the next session”.