On April 23, 2018 an alert was issued from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, warning that Nairobi has become a focus for Al-Shabaab terrorists, with a special target of foreigners. Upon further investigation, ASEC sister-associates on the ground in Kenya confirmed that there is ongoing concern about the terrorist situation in Nairobi.
Kenyan authorities announced that they had put down the current threat, but the volatile situation poses a safety risk to our service learning participants. Because of this development, Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. (President, Marywood University), Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. (President, Chestnut Hill College) and Draru Mary Cecilia, LSMIG, Ph.D. (Executive Director, ASEC) have unanimously decided that the upcoming (May-June 2018) Service Learning trip to Nairobi, Kenya must be canceled. All parties involved in the trip planning are in agreement about the decision.
Sr. Margaret Gannon, trip coordinator, in a email to inform participants of the news, writes,
“I know you will be most disappointed at this news, but the risk is too great that you would come under terrorist attack. When you read the alert, I think you will recognize that there is really no choice.”
ASEC is already planning a 2019 service learning trip to Kenya. However, if Al-Shabaab is still a threat to foreigners in Kenya, the trip will be relocated to Ghana, where there will be many unique service opportunities available.
Participants affected by the cancellation of this year’s trip are encouraged to join ASEC for the 2019 service trip. Should the location change, those participants will be offered a free, non-credit seminar on Ghana to help them prepare. Participants will be issued a refund for insurance and ASEC is looking into reimbursement options for participant travel Visas. Any money raised by participants will be used toward future service learning trips.
In situations like this, we need to be responsive to the circumstances. The safety of our participants is our first concern. Any questions can be directed to ASEC’s Executive Director by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.