Safer Edge staff have been monitoring elections, insecurity, and political violence, and more recently terror, in Kenya for over 30 years. We have conducted numerous training programmes and provided frequent support for NGO’s facing intimidation, threats, violence and looting.
We will have a strong presence in Kenya during February and March 2013 to provide support for agencies exposed to threats or difficulties during the election season. Our team will include Kenyan and international staff.
In February we’ll provide help in planning and preparing; in March we’ll provide back-up as the post-election period develops. After that we will be providing longer-term support.
Are you fully ready for the challenges of the next few weeks? We have put together some useful checklists to help with your preparations.
NGO Managers: Things To Do NOW
- Make an effective contingency plan
- Know where all your staff will be during the election season
- Know where all your vehicles will be parked (in very secure compounds)
- Know where all your movable assets will be, and have an up-to-date asset register
- Prepare first aid kits and station first-aid-trained people in each key area
- Meet all staff and tell them how they can avoid danger during electoral violence
- Remind staff to store movable assets before any problems start
- Where possible and practicable, Safer Edge recommends that staff should work at home from March 1st to March 11th.
- Ask everyone to prepare in case they have to ‘camp’ at home for a prolonged period (see below).
We can help you with more detailed and context specific planning and preparation. Most agencies will need support on at least two or three of the above and on the other actions that have to be considered. Contact us to discuss your requirements.
Election Season Checklist
- Before the elections, meet with your senior staff to agree on an action plan for staff and asset safety, including details of how offices and compounds will be guarded
- Consult discreetly with other NGO and other groups to see what their plans are in case you can learn from them
- Set a budget for the election emergency
- Make and secure backups of all your financial, programme and admin information files
- Pay salaries one week early
- Ensure staff are prepared to camp at home
- Understand how these elections will work – they are different from last time. Confusion or misunderstanding can cause you to be exposed to greater risk
- Prepare a revised work schedule for the immediate election period, with work people can do at home
- Get project supplies out into the projects well before the election (cut-off date for this should be February 15th)
- Purchase all emergency supplies for the period by mid-February.
- Establish a contact person for each of your project areas and use your security tree. Carry a copy of your security tree in your pocket at all times in case you need it
- Register where all your staff will be from one week before the election
- Reduce travel one week before the election.
Camping At Home: Stocking Up
Stocks for staying safely at home for several days must include the following:
- Drinking water
- Food, including non-perishables, (and tin openers!)
- Fuel, for vehicle, cooking gas, kerosene, etc.
- Candles – be careful, mount them in secure flame proof enclosures when in use
- Household items such as soap and hygiene items
- Personal sanitary items
- Phone credit (Senior staff should hold Ksh 5,000 credit in case they cannot go out to buy more)
- Blankets in case of stranded people
- Biscuits and dry food for days when cooking is not possible, or in case of emergency evacuation by road
- Fire extinguishers at key locations and in vehicles
- Buckets and water/sand in case of fire
- Whistles to raise the alarm in case of looting or other crime
- Any other essential items, including personal medications
- Good books, magazines etc
- A radio or TV to stay in touch with events
Advise staff and their families to stock up on essential items 1 month before the election.
On Election Day
- Anybody travelling or working should have a suitable emergency bag including mosquito net, spare clothes, soap, emergency snacks (biscuits etc.) drinking water, phone credit, flashlight, etc. Staff should prepare their bags not less than 2 weeks before the election.
- Reduce travel to agreed distances and locations. Ideally, do not travel on Election Day
- Monitor news stories and be well informed. Learn what is rumour and what is fact
- Maintain contact with senior staff and security focal points
- If you have to travel in an emergency, use taxis, not NGO cars. Known and reliable taxis are probably safer.
The Post-Election Period
The period just after elections is often the most difficult. This year, unfortunately, we again expect some negative reactions to the election results, and we may again see an increase in violent crime and looting.
Talk to us at Safer Edge about managing problems that may arise after the elections. We are experienced in providing support to humanitarians in the post-election period, utilising our experienced Kenyan and international humanitarian security practitioners.
We’ll work with you on recovery, to reduce injury, and reduce your losses; we can help get you back to the programme work as soon as possible.
The impact of insecurity can be tragic – and expensive.
So please use these suggestions to help prepare your organisation, and contact us for support if you need it.