Kenya: Families return to fields after election violence

Catholic Relief Services has been providing emergency relief and reconciliation support since the start of the post-election violence in Kenya in early 2008. This past month in partnership with CAFOD (the Caritas agency of England) and two local dioceses, CRS began helping 4,500 families to restart agricultural activities in the Rift Valley.

Each family receives about $200 worth of vouchers, funded by the European Union. The families then use the vouchers to purchase seeds, tools, fertilizer and small livestock from approved vendors, who in turn receive cash for the vouchers from CRS' diocesan partners.

"This project is not only helping thousands of families affected by the post-election violence in Kenya to grow critical food but is also helping communities to reconcile," explains Massimo Altimari, emergency coordinator for CRS Kenya. "When we first started working with affected communities, tensions were quite high among disputing residents. Now they have come together to help identify beneficiaries and support project activities, helping them to resume normal relationships."

Debbie DeVoe, CRS regional information officer, East Africa