Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program :: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

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notes from the field

These field notes are personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

Amy Quandt

Isiolo, Kenya
May 18 – August 5

June 4, 2013

Kenya MapHello everyone!  I have now been in Kenya for two whole weeks now and so far it has been great.  I spent the first week and a half in Nairobi.  While in Nairobi I had a chance to meet most of the partners in the Partners for Resilience (PfR) project.  The partners include the Netherlands Red Cross, Kenya Red Cross Society, Cordaid, and Wetlands International.  It was great to hear about the progress the PfR project has made so far and learn more about the project.  PfR is one of the first times that Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Ecosystem Management and Restoration (EMR) approaches have been combined and PfR is using this integrated approach to help build resilience in Isiolo County, Kenya.  It is a unique collaboration between humanitarian, development, and conservation organizations.

I spent my time in Nairobi meeting with people from the National Kenya Red Cross Society to talk about the work that I will be doing.  I also worked closely with the Netherlands Red Cross to help develop the methodology to be used for my climate-smart, ecosystem-friendly livelihoods survey.  I also met with various organizations to learn about what kind of livelihood projects have already taken place in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya.  This is part of a document review process that is taking place to learn about different livelihood options and already existing livelihood projects.  I met with the National Drought Management Authority in the famous Kenyatta International Conference Center, to discuss the Kenya Rural Development Programme which conducts livelihood activities and capacity building in arid areas.  I also met with the Ministry of Northern Kenya who has a project called Mainstreaming Climate Adaptation to discuss resilience assessments they have conducted in Isiolo County. 

Last Thursday I finally moved to Isiolo and am so excited to be here.  From Isiolo you can see Mt. Kenya (if it is not too cloudy) and lots of other hills that dot the landscape.  It is really beautiful here that is for sure.  The town is fairly decent sized, and I even could order pizza at my hotel.  The weather is very windy and dusty, but the wind feels good because it is also fairly hot.  Although I am enjoying the heat after the cold, snowy spring we had in Boulder. 

Yesterday I moved into my own little one bedroom apartment and I could not be happier to settle in a bit more.  My house is very nice and it has electricity, running water, and even comes complete with shower and sit down toilet.  Such luxury!  I am also settling into work here.  I have my very own desk at the Isiolo Branch Red Cross Office and it has been good learning about the other projects taking place and meeting everyone.  Tomorrow I head out into the field for the first time and I am looking forward to meeting the community members and seeing the places where PfR works and where I will be conducting my research.  I hope to start conducting the livelihood surveys in two weeks so visiting the communities beforehand will give me a good idea of what to expect.