MAF flights help partner organization ‘Concern Worldwide’ promote their opportunities in Kenya by saving days of travel.
Story and Photo by MAF Communications Coordinator, Katie Machell.
‘Nothing could prepare me for the distances we traveled,’ says Aoife Garvey, Supporter Marketing Manager with Concern Worldwide. ‘Thanks to our pilot Melvin and the use of the MAF plane, our one hour flight cut down an entire days travel by car. The distances between each village were vast, and it gave me an insight into how isolated communities must be and how challenging it is for organisations like Concern and MAF to support vulnerable communities.’
As part of Concern’s fundraising team based in Dublin, Aoife and her colleagues are responsible for recruiting new donors to support Concern’s work, in financial and other ways. One of the methods they use is through Direct Response TV, running advertisements appealing to the public to give support by a monthly gift. In July she and three other staff made a trip to Kenya to gather footage of Concern’s work around malnutrition for a new advertising campaign which will run from October 2017; they were able to make use of 5Y-PTL to provide efficient travel to their various projects.
‘We visited families at home and saw Concern’s outpatient therapeutic programme in Ileret and North Horr,’ Aoife explains. ‘A personal highlight was meeting a beneficiary our colleagues had met and interviewed at the height of the drought back in February. His situation was improving and we could see his wife and children looked healthier and happier a few months on.’
Founded in 1968, Concern has worked in Kenya since 2002. Originally urban-based in the slums of Nairobi, the programme has since expanded to the Marsabit area, and now encompasses a variety of activities including primary education, HIV and AIDS, water and sanitation, and health and nutrition.
In addition, Concern also partners with local organisations to respond to emergencies resulting from floods, drought and violence, an aspect of their involvement which is vital at this point in time. In response to the ongoing drought in northern Kenya, the organisation recently launched an emergency response in the Marsabit area, focusing on cash transfers, and the provision of water and health and nutrition services. Regular financial assistance will allow people to purchase the food, medicine, or other goods that they need; while the donation of Aquatabs to 7,500 families will mean they can purify whatever water is available to make it safe to drink. Concern has also increased its health and nutrition programme from 21 to 38 outreach clinics, to further support isolated communities at this particularly difficult time.
Experiencing first-hand the realities of life in the wake of the drought had a significant impact on Aoife personally. ‘It gave me perspective and really made me appreciate how lucky I am,’ she shares. ‘My luggage never arrived from Dublin…and I very quickly realised this was not a problem in the grand scheme of things! We are so fortunate.’
Aoife and her colleagues enjoyed their experience with MAF and appreciated the convenience of being able to use the plane. ‘Our pilot Melvin was fantastic! One of us was a nervous flyer, and he got to sit beside Melvin for the flight, while Melvin explained everything to him throughout our journey. Melvin chatted to us throughout the flight and made it a really pleasant experience for us all! As mentioned before flying with MAF saved us an entire day’s travel by car, so we were really grateful for the experience!’