Providing access to water!

It is no doubt that the worst famine on the horn of Africa was precipitated by

part of the landscape of northern Kenya during last years drought

drought. This led to death of animals, the key source of livelihood here.
It was made worse when humans did not have water for life.

In the heat of relief, TSM singled out provision of alternative more permanent water points for populations here both as relief on the short term and long term solution rehabilitation of the region.
We could have supplied water by trucks. Instead we decided to dig wells and boreholes. These were already preferred solutions here in any case. The government allocated ksh 1.4 million for each constituency to provide water.
“the chief and TSM team at Lavaley borehole “]
But this is totally inadequate in comparison to the needs. Some of the boreholes done were not at required depth and so ran dry. Many of these wells were not sufficient for human and animals and besides many were too deep to easily draw water from.

we repaired this wind mill which had ceased working for 5 years and it is now provoding water for home and farm for women group in Wagberi in Wajir

boreholes water tank being hoisted!

Our first borehole in Wajir yielded 10 cubic litres p/h. This is providing water to three villages around Wajir town, one of them, Wagberi, has close to 8000 households. The Ministry of the Northern region have requested that they tap from here to other neighbouring villages. The water is much and very sweet knowing what we often get in Wajir.

Tsm and local leadership were here commissioning a hand pump and well for the benefit of Wagberi people of wajir county

woman drawing water from one of the pumps and well done by TSM in wajir

In complementing these efforts we have rehabilitated one borehole to new depths and re-equipped it to provide water at Levaley to over 7000 households and their stock. We have provided also 15 well and hand pumps for each to allow quick and easy access to water for older people and children.

children can now get water from the wells via pumps quicly and easily

These are very low maintenance due to low mechanization, at initiating and latter running them.

TSM board member was at hand to try one of the new water pumps installed onto a well dug out during the drought as part of our drought recovery plam

In another place we have helped restore a windmill pumping water for a community. They use this water also for farming vegetables for home and sale.
We plan to focus on providing water in the region with 20 more wells needed and 5 more boreholes to help provide water for people livestock and farming.

these are wagberi women group whose farm was rehabilitated to allow them grow crops by restoring the wind mill to pump water to their farm traughs, farm support was given to them also

women group farm at wagberi with 'dania' seedlings ready for transfer. part of thw women group project enabled by water provision

We have one earth dam in an area where doing a borehole is not feasible because of the salinity of the water, nor wells will be possible.
Many thanks for your support in this venture.
Canon Francis Omondi
TSM international Director


Fighting famine in Africa with the help of faith communities

By; Becky Garrison, Wednesday 25 January 2012 12.43 GMT
The common goal of love of God and love of neighbour in the Abrahamic faiths is a strong bond in tackling crises in Africa

More than 170 people have died in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after a series of attacks by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. This rampage follows several major attacks in the last year, which have strained relations between Nigeria’s Christian south and Muslim north.

Meanwhile, over in east Africa, the United Nations documents a parallel scenario of violence committed by Al-Shabab, a Somali-based militant Islamist group. This group’s ongoing actions led to several community leaders fleeing Dadaab, the world’s largest refuge complex that currently houses 463,000 people, mostly Somalis. Sheepfold Ministries, an indigenous agency working in north-east Kenya, issued this proclamation: “We are no longer safe anywhere, especially those of us working to feed people facing starvation.”

These insurgent actions by Islamist militants stand in sharp contrast to stories of faith-based relief organisations who came together to address the Aids pandemic in Africa more than 25 years ago and continue working together over issues of common concern.

Dave Robinson, senior adviser for operations in Islamic contexts for World Vision, reflects how the common goal of love of God and love of neighbour prevalent in the Abrahamic faiths serves as their core operating principle in emergencies. While they recognise theological and religious differences, by working together to provide essentials like food and water, they build trust and create opportunities for inter-religious peace-building.

The staffing for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Eastern Africa reflects this diversity. Father Frido Pflüger SJ, regional director, JRS eastern Africa, states: “The JRS Eastern Africa staff range in terms of religious background – the majority are Christian, but some are of Muslim faith or from other religious backgrounds.” Along those lines, while Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) provides food, water and sanitation services to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu and Somalia, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints funds a portion of these activities.

As Catholic Relief Services-USA (CRS-USA), the official overseas relief and development agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, have been working in Ethiopia for 53 years, their relationships, infrastructure and an understanding of a region’s culture and religious practices enable them to gain critical access to particular communities. Also, Peter Howard with Food for the Hungry describes how their partnerships with Catholic Relief Services, Action against Hunger, Care and World Vision, enable them to provide sustained access to food to vulnerable rural communities in Kenya.

Zeenat Rahman, acting director, office of faith-based and community initiatives, (USAID), reflects: “When Christian, Muslim and Jewish NGOs work together on an issue like feeding the hungry, their collective quest toward a common good can cut across their traditions when they meet others of differing theologies who are doing the same thing.” She cites how the global faith communities have helped to raise awareness of the famine in the Horn of Africa through vehicles such as the FWD campaign and the ONE Sabbath action kit. In particular, the Somalia-American diaspora, who are predominately Muslim, has been very active in creating awareness and fundraising for this cause.

Despite these efforts, a policy paper issued by Oxfam and Save the Children examines the factors that allowed this drought to develop into a full-scale crisis. Can these lessons be applied to the impending crisis in west Africa where winter, droughts and rising food prices have put more than a million children in the Sahel region at risk of starvation?

• Follow Comment is free on Twitter @commentisfree

Christmas in Dadaab: Scary and Risky venture!

We in TSM had indicated that we will continue supporting the refugees in Dadaab.  Following the kidnap of aid workers from the camps by Al-shabaab and the subsequent war by Kenya defense forces wedged in  Somalia, many agencies at the camps pulled out from work in the camp waiting for restoration of security.  Only people serving here were essential services staff… but things have increasingly taken a different turn.

The Al-shabaab sympathizers have been on the loose with grenade and land mine attacks at the moment on security forces and may spread.




On the 20th December 2011 we had began preparations for Christmas week celebrations for the refugees  in Ifo. It was to begin with children programes and parties gathering in this Gambelle Community church. All their teachers and parents were pleased to participate TSM facilitated the programes.

It is vital to create normalcy among them at this time of great tension.  We have been bared from gathering in big groups so we split them into several groups gathering in different camps.

While the parties were going on, there was another blast! This time it was a grenade and in Ifo camp where we were gathered. This was targeted at security patrols at the camps only a day before 19th we had a land mine blow up a police truck killing two.   We are obviously not safe here!

This time around it seems as though everyone opted to leave Dadaab for Nairobi or elsewhere but here.  TSM had planned to distribute food to refugees in Ifo in Dadaab the week before Christmas to allow the Christian families some memorable time. You should note that with the blast No one wanted to commit staff here for distribution of food.

WFP who had the responsibility to do this withdrew staff and are now delaying the ration distribution until further notice! What are the refugees to do?

We had to honor our commitment and bring food to over 1000 families we have been responsible for. We wanted our giving to coincide with Christmas. We in this have answered a desperate call for food this is what they will have for the next while.

TSM sent two loads of Lorries with food maize floor, beans, oil and sugar. We were being waited for eagerly. This will go a long way to support lives at the camp!

Thank you very much for your prayers for us and support that has enabled us provide this service.  Blessed season!

Rev Canon Francis Omondi,

TSM International

In a town gripped by fear, He is our peace

Clouds of fear brood over Garissa. The reality of terrorism struck home for those of us who live there on a dark Thursday night on 24th November. My colleague at the clinic thought it was a tyre burst. Suddenly John rushed in with blood allover his face. He did not know that he was bleeding. We quickly rushed him to the provincial general hospital. Then the details began to jell. John was one of those at Chege’s café when a grenade was hauled at them. The simultaneous explosions happened at 7 pm, one at Chege’s about 100 meters from NEMC clinic and the other was at a shopping centre on nearby Ngamia Road killing six people.

This was the second time we have experienced grenade attack in Garissa in one month. Earlier on the fateful night of November 5th, an unknown suspected terrorist threw a grenade into the compound of the East Africa Pentecostal Church, killing an eight year-old girl and according to reports leaving three others seriously injured.

Fear spreading through the community has several faces. We all knew that attempts by the government of Kenya to quell the activities of Islamic extremists in the Somali border area might trigger reprisals. Would this ghastly deed be the start of something often predicted, an all-out attempt to drive the Christian minority out of the area?

Immediately the Kenyan government moved to diffuse the thought that Muslims were launching an all out attack on Christians. Government spokesman rightly blamed the attack on Al-shabaab sympathizers. Muslim leaders in Garissa acted swiftly, not only condemning the attacks but joining Christians at the burial of the victim of the blast.

The attack signaled a change of direction by the perpetrators. Until 5 November police and government officials were key targets. A day after Kenyan troops entered Somalia a senior CID officer was shot at. The action led to arrests of suspected Al shabaab. In what is thought to be retaliatory attack, his car was shot at in the nearby town of Wajir, seriously injuring a passenger in the vehicle.

This was not the only incident. Another attack was reported where ”a group of about 30 suspected Al Shabaab militants ambushed a security base manned by the Rural Border Patrol Unit of the Administration Police near Elwak in Mandera at night but were repulsed by the security officers: The armed militiamen reportedly sneaked into the country but were confronted by the alert soldiers who were later backed by the military to pursue the militants into the Somalia.”


The classic tactics of terrorism are being applied here. The perpetrators seek to create fear by hitting very hard at the civilian population. This they hope will force the government to withdraw forces that are now inside Somalia trying to dismantle Al-shabaab positions.

These attacks are not by any means supported by all Somalis. At the Dadaab Refugee Camp a few weeks ago, thousands of Somali refugees held a demonstration to condemn what they called the “barbarism” of the Al Shabaab. They carried carrying banners, waved twigs and chanted anti Al Shabaab slogans. These refugees from the three camps, Hagadera, Ifo and Dagahaley, said they supported Kenya’s military offensive against the Al Shabaab.

Hagadera Refugee Camp chairman Kussow Abdi Nuni said the demonstration was organised by a refugee camp community consortium. “We support the Kenya Government in their operation to wipe out Al Shabaab from Somalia. Kenya has hosted us for more than two decades and we want to go back and build our country now,” Nuni said. He added that recent grenade attacks in different parts of Kenya are a clear testimony that the militants can strike anywhere.

The message is clear. We are no longer safe anywhere, especially those of us working to feed people facing starvation. The easiest option would be like many workers from Western NGOs to flee the situation.

For me the question is what will allow us living in this region and country to know peace? Will the presence of police or military forces protect us against the terrorists? Will their removal bring us that peace?

Long ago Isaiah the prophet spoke about the quality of peace that God was ready to give his people. He says, “You give us peace, Lord, because everything we have done was by your power.” (Isa 26.12, CEV)

Isaiah lived in troubled times. His country, Judah, faced the prospect of being invaded and gobbled up by the Babylonian empire. He saw no prospect for trouble-free days. Babylon was notorious for cruel treatment of subject people. Soon Hebrew slaves would be force marched into exile tied together by strings secured through their noses by fish hooks. Throughout exile in Babylon treatment of the people of God would be harsh. It would last over 400 years. It would be the destiny of the people to live under a series of oppressors in the centuries to come.

The safety and peace that Isaiah envisions would be experienced despite living in a context most foul. The cruelty of Nebuchadnezzar hardly compared to the cruelty of Rome whose iron-clad soldiers bullied and bribed and would not hesitate to crucify rebels. Their pax romana was a peace that came at great cost to subject peoples. At this time God promise was full filled, unveiled with the coming of the prince of peace.

God’s peace can be our peace even in time of cruelty and terror, this is the peace the world cannot give Nor can the world take it away.

“He makes wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder; He burns the chariots in the fire.” Psa 46:9

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psa 46:10

The Rev Canon Francis Omondi is International Director of TSM a Kenyan led mission providing education, medical care and emergency relief in the arid north-east of Kenya near the Somali border

Lest we forget : Caring for children in famine!

children are with their parents in search for food

Focus on the children during drought often plays a second fiddle to food distribution. Attention is often beamed on adults, with the assumption that they will care for their children. During this drought we heard of parent who left their children for dead because they could not feed them. They sought food help with their last breath wherever they could find it. In these situations children need food urgently. They need to get over the huddle of hunger …     One of the devastating impact of drought is children’s health. . Worms…  skin diseases [‘mashilingi’] among others. Mororo was not exceptional. Children here epitomized plight of children in hunger.     TSM in mitigation set up feeding centers where the children were given nutritious porridge daily. At first the aim was supplementing what they got at home to give them the vital help they would need against being afflicted by effects of under nourishment. . In this place the feeding point became so popular.    Now TSM is determined to expand the fight against the diseases among the children here. Help was provided at NEMC with parents bringing their children who had been identified at the feeding center for medical help Help was provided at NEMC with parents brining their children who had been identified at the feeding center for medical help.

Today [24th Nov 2011] we were taken a back at the clinic to have had a visitor. During a routine visit to parents and children previously treated and provided for at NEMC neighbors drew our attention to a family with three children suffering acute malnutrition. They would not seek help. This was the family of Nicholas. The parents depend on casual labour to make ends meet, but they had no job!  We got him Nicholas an initial line of treatment before taking him and his Mum to PGH in Garissa. He was admitted and is getting more help.

Will Children here recapture their joy of Yesteryear  ?

We thank you for your support and prayers which has enabled us to serve His children in Famine.

Rev. Canon Francis Omondi

TSM International Director