Coast Development & Empowerment Network (CODEN) was registered on 5th March 2012 as a community-based organization operating in all six counties of the Coast of the republic of Kenya.The six coast Counties include Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, and Taita Taveta. These counties have diverse communities which share overarching problems that hinder coast communities from achieving empowerment.
Founders of CODEN are a team of natives who were born and educated in coast. They all went through life challenges in the Coast meaning they understand the challenges very well. This team managed to overcome all challenges in coast and managed to make success stories in life. The team has offered to play role models to students in coast communities.
CODEN membership consists of natives of the Coast Counties, friends who may not be native but willing to join CODEN in establishing beneficial networks to empower the communities, Corporates & Partners who range from County government, International and local civic and non-governmental organizations, and any group that has mutual passion to empower coast communities.
The leadership and management of CODEN is under an advisory board of management who consist of members who have demonstrated commitment and passion and have contributed resources to enable implementation and operationalization of CODEN programs.Below the Board of Management is a team of CODEN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE who consist of elected office bearers including the Chairman, Secretary, Organizing Secretary and Treasurer. CODEN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE implements its activities through teams called task forces which include the organizing force, fundraising force, Mobilizing force, Marketing & PR force; and project leaders who work with community volunteers, ambassadors, community and all stakeholders.
CODEN VISION: To enhance empowerment of coast communities by establishing networks.
CODEN MISSION: To enable coast communities achieve empowerment by establishing networks and establishing and enabling environment for self-learning, self-development, professional mentorship and exposure to professional networks locally and internationally.
CODEN CORE VALUES: CODEN is guided by the following core values - Fairness, Diligence, industriousness, humility and professional aptitude at all times.
CODEN SLOGAN: “Empowering coast communities by establishing networks” is our pillar of strength.
CODEN PHILOSOPHY: CODEN seeks to enhance empowerment of coast communities so that the coast communities can attain basic human rights such as quality education, quality health, and good leadership and governance through sensitizations, trainings, mentorship and exposure to local and international professional networks.
CODEN programs are dictated by the overarching problems of the Coast well known to result in poverty and include:
1. Education – CODEN is concerned about the reported low literacy levels & academic performance below national average. CODEN is aware that community empowerment trickles from good leadership and governance and coast communities ought to undergo civic education to realize this.
2. Health/water/sanitation-Most of Coast communities cannot afford access to quality services in health, water & sanitation. Most of coast communities are in fact ignorant on where and how to access these services.
3. Environment – CODEN is concerned about both physical and social environment to support agriculture, education, health and protect vulnerable members of coast communities from dangers due to drugs, school drop outs and teen pregnancies.
CODEN understands that the main cause of lack of empowerment in Coast communities arise from culture, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs & practices which generously contribute to ignorance, poverty& eventual feeling of marginalization.
CODEN with networks will help lead coast communities to achieve empowerment through by inculcating five community values and principles i.e.
1. Knowledge is power – CODEN believes that the broad challenges affecting the region are as a result of lack of information or knowledge especially on the irreparable consequences of their actions, practices, culture, behavior, attitudes and beliefs. Lack of information and knowledge on where, how and when to access quality services in education, health, environment and sanitation makes coast communities miss out in current opportunities to achieve empowerment. With devolution, coast communities need to be informed of the services and programs that have day to day effect of their wellbeing.
2. Teach a man how to fish – CODEN believes that coast communities should be trained to be self-reliant, self-sufficient, and empowered enough to be able to individually work hard to enhance access to quality education and health meanwhile be able to understand, attract and benefit from devolution.
3. You Vs us, our role, our responsibility – CODEN believes that coast communities will achieve empowerment if they took responsibility and become proactive in looking for solutions to their own problems including proactively understanding and benefitting from available opportunities brought about by devolution. This is as opposed to the mentality that the community awaits the government or sponsors to solve all their problems.
4. Community challenges can be addressed by community through networking and sharing of talents-challenges in coast are very diverse, deep routed and almost part and parcel of communities who are in their comfort zones. To overcome coast community problems hindering empowerment as stated by CODEN programs, there is dire need to establish networks, form partnerships, create collaborations and continuously engage multi agencies to contribute time, resources, professional ideas and extended networks, bringing together all coast communities for training, mentorship and exposure to professional networks
5. Transformational approach which translates to mean “our well-being is our responsibility and that our solutions lie within us”-CODEN believes challenges of coast communities are best known and understood by the coast communities, and in fact solutions to these challenges still lies within and among the coast communities. Lack of knowledge on how to solve challenges may be the main reason solutions seem to come from outside and majorly from donors.
CODEN believes that creating cohesion, interaction, training programs, mentorship programs and overall sensitizations among coast communities will give coast communities an opportunity to identify their problems and establish programs to mitigate those problems.