Family Projects

CRK firmly believes that children can be best cared for at home. The social fibre of much of East Africa is dependent on the family unit and structure. In Kenya the government is largely ineffectual when this structure fails and the vast majority of homeless or runaway children are the result of family meltdown. Family breakdown occurs for a variety of reasons, most directly or indirectly related to poverty. What is clear is that when the family collapses children become vulnerable. For any intervention to be meaningful it must address the underlying issues that lead to family breakdown.

Working with families is key to enabling runaway children to be reunited into this important support network. The work we do through projects and with families collectively forms our 'Families for Children' initiative.

Many children leave their homes because of lack of, or irregular provision of food. This is an issue that has to be addressed before successful reintegration can take place. If the same problems remain the child is likely to run away again. Intervention with families varies but it must form a partnership and bonding between family and CRK on equal terms. Advice, advocacy, and material support may all be involved in enabling change that can rebuild relationships and take the unit forward.

Where the underlying problem is poverty, which it often is, CRK can provide training and support to permit the family to better provide for themselves and their children. Bio Intensive Farm training or Tactical Support provide many families with the shove-up needed to transform their lives.

Bio Intensive Farming

"Biodiversity for food and agriculture .... are essential for feeding human populations and improving the quality of life". (Food & Agriculture Agency of the UN)

Biodiverse plots have been established at both Birunda Rescue and Liyavo Childcare Centres which provides a constant supply of fresh vegetables to the children's kitchens. These plots also provide the initial training to families of runaway children where the provision of food had proved a problem.

During the repatriation process families with even a small plot of land, not much is needed, are introduced to the principals of Biodiverse Agriculture and offered training and support in establishing plots.

Families who undertake the training are tutored while establishing plots at their homes. Preparing beds, planting, composting and general farming practice are complemented with the provision of basic tools and seed.

Though in it's infancy this programme has proved successful and cost effective. Most families who have undertaken training are now supplementing the family diet with home grown produce, some are able to sell excess and one family has been able to expand their home with the addition of a new room. To say it has been an unmitigated success would be untrue with a couple of trainees unable or unwilling to establish themselves. Careful monitoring and gaining insight into why some are successful and some fail will help what is essentially a learning curve in this new programme.

Tactical Support

Not all families have access to land and for them a small tactical grant may make the difference. Having identified a family in need with necessary discipline and culture starting a small business with a small grant may prove the solution.

Grants of about Ksh. 5,000 (37) can be given once a viable business has been identified and basic business skills understood.

This is also a new initiative but has already proved that with a little help families can provide for themselves in the long term.