The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated the travel advice for Kenya, warning aid workers in the country that they should ‘satisfy themselves that those arranging their stay have sufficient security arrangements in place.’

Duty of care requirements mean organisations should have the systems and training in place to support workers who are travelling or deployed in the field. Before you are sent somewhere, you should be offered a briefing and any relevant training. However, this is not always the case and the lack of appropriate duty of care is not exclusive to smaller organisations or companies that are less experienced.

Travel advice

If you are in or planning travel to Kenya, make sure you have factored potential kidnap threat into your travel risk management plan. If you are being sent to Kenya for work, your company should have provided you with up to date security briefings and adequate training. If you do not feel prepared for your trip, talk to your boss as soon as possible. 

Depending on where you are working in Kenya, you could expect to be offered – 

  • Security briefings on the risks involved in the area you will be working. If these risks are ongoing and evolving, ask for regular updates where appropriate. Someone making decisions about your safety should know what is going on. 
  • An individual or team you can contact in an emergency – this can include terror incidents or crime. Some organisations give staff location tracking apps and/or personal security alarms.
  • A security officer or team that travels with you. If you have a security officer, please follow their advice!
  • Appropriate hostage survival training. Ideally, this should go beyond experiencing a ‘fake kidnapping’, and should provide you with the tools you need to survive both an abduction and then time spent in captivity. If you have had training and do not feel it was sufficient, contact your HR representative and explain as clearly as possible while you feel it was not enough. 

If your organisation has not offered any of these services, please talk to your boss as soon as possible. 

Official travel advice

Links to travel advice on visiting Kenya from the following governments –

Please note that the travel advice varies – it is worth reading them all and reaching your own conclusion.

From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

You should be alert to the heightened threat of terrorist kidnapping targeting Westerners, including British nationals. Westerners have been the target of kidnaps in northern, north-eastern and coastal areas and further kidnaps in these areas are likely.

If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release. On 20 November 2018, an unknown armed gang attacked a trading centre in Chakama in Kilifi County, and abducted an Italian NGO worker. A number of kidnaps have occurred in Dadaab refugee camps in north east Kenya. British aid workers in Kenya should satisfy themselves that those arranging their stay have sufficient security arrangements in place.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

There’s a heightened threat globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya

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