The global pandemic has surfaced existing gaps between the refugee communities and humanitarian organizations. These existing gaps include education, public awareness of COVID-19, advocacy (e.g. human and refugee rights, female education), and representation for vulnerable members of the community (e.g. children, girls, elderly, single mothers and people living with disabilities).
In June 2020, we started knocking on the doors of NGOs such as Lutheran World Federation, UNHCR, and NRC, as well as connecting with other community-based organizations. Before long, we started bringing the first members onboard to become part of KAKUMA READ – a non-profit community-based organization with the mission to co-create spaces that support community-led advocacy and literacy.
We know that we can play an important role in helping both refugee and host communities who are impacted by COVID-19. It is the hope that this strengthens self reliance and creates a bridge between the refugee community and the host community for better integration.
We have started a weekly podcast to create awareness around COVID-19 and other topics such as community health. Our podcast is recorded using various languages such as Dinka, Somali and Nuer. It can be listened to through various apps. What makes us unique is that our episodes can be reshared, and accessible, 24/7. We share it using all means available such as memory cards, Bluetooth transfers, WhatsApp and other social media accounts.
Similarly, we’re trying to reach out to people living with disabilities and vulnerable members in the community to support them. Most of the leadership positions in our organization are filled by women to better communicate and mitigate the challenges that girls face. In this way, we want to actively involve women in the peace building initiatives, for a cohesive effort to create the environment we all want to live in.