‘Serikali saidia’ woman appointed flood preparedness ambassador


Jane Anyango Adika became a celebrity in April 2012 after the media widely reported her plight as a floods victim in the Kano region.

After floods wreaked havoc on her village, she cried out to the Government for help as her property had been destroyed and she could not trace her children. Amused by how she pleaded for help from the Government, Kenyans nicknamed her Mama Serikali.

Her intention was to expose the difficulties faced by Kano residents during long rains. Apart from losing property and crops worth millions of shillings, some of them had to be relocated to schools and churches for months reducing their productivity.

But her plight may have been a blessing in disguise because it earned her a contract with Safaricom. She was featured in a commercial.

Her star seems to be shining even brighter now because the Kisumu County government appointed her the county flood preparedness ambassador under the department of Special Programmes.

Ms Adika is expected to spearhead the massive multimedia campaign on flood preparedness and mitigation.

Governor Jack Ranguma noted that there was laxity in regard to flood preparedness.

Simple perspective

“We have taken this initiative to ensure that the people get the information on floods from a simple perspective and a familiar face,” Mr Ranguma said.

He added: “Given that she (Adika) has been a perennial victim of floods, she has expressed desire to help in the advocacy to ensure we do not experience worst impacts of the rains.”

The county has already started experiencing the impact of the rains. On Tuesday, learning was paralysed in several schools after Monday evening rains flooded classrooms.

Muhoroni, Nyando, Lower Nyakach and Kisumu Central are some of the areas usually affected by floods. The county government has set aside Sh70 million for floods mitigation.

Adika was first interviewed by the media in December 2011 when she was affected by floods. In April 2012, she faced the same problem and the media gave her detailed coverage.

It was after this coverage that her statements found their way into the Internet subsequently pulling a big audience.

Relief food

Last month, her dream for Government intervention came true after Water Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa visited her home to assess the level of the county’s preparedness for the El Nino rains, where she was recognised for her advocacy role.

“We have to depend on relief food and clothing, which do not add to our livelihoods.

We also risk our health as we battle adverse conditions in rescue centres. So this is an opportunity to have everybody involved in the preparation,” said Adika.

She is expected to undergo a short training on disaster preparedness and mitigation before commencing the campaign on radio and in public barazas, among other media platforms.

“We have always known what to do to prevent flooding but people do not take the interventions seriously as there is lack of reinforcement. That is what I want to do,” she said.


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