The region where I work is an opposition zone, and so the people here were demonstrating. There was a lot of violence, and many people lost their lives. The NCCK is in a position of trust, so local people asked us to intervene and speak on their behalf. We had to engage with the government and police officers, we talked to local communities to try and encourage them to demonstrate in a non-violent manner. It was pretty scary sometimes, and our safety was at risk.
I live about 50km from the main town, and I had to travel back home each day after work. During this period there were about 6 roadblocks on the road home from the office. I had to get out of the car at each one, people were throwing stones, it was a terrifying time for me.
Our offices are next to a guest house, which we use for training courses. Around the elections, we were running a course on peacebuilding for a group of local women when the place was attacked. I wasn’t in the office, so I had to be called in. I rushed back, and the place was just hectic – women were beaten up, bad stuff happened. The team did not know what to do, we didn’t have any guidelines on how to deal with this situation. Eventually, they were able to calm things down, but it was a traumatic time.
In my role as a team leader, I wanted to know how I could prevent such attacks from happening again and how to prepare our staff, so they knew how to respond if security incidents do occur.