Get to know Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege


December 13, 2018 | Posted in Congo, Health | By

’My strategy is to respond to hate with more love, to show that evil will never prevail. My way of giving love is treating the sick and offering them hope.’ (Nobel Peace Prize winner 2018 – Doctor Denis Mukwege)

Glad Mukwege med kvinnor Torleif Svensson copy

Denis Mukwege was washing his hands after surgery when he found out he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2018. Stepping out of the operating room, he was greeted by cheers and applause from the patients and colleagues. Dr. Mukwege has been fighting sexual violence; long before the MeToo movement made it a global issue. He has operated on women who were subjected to brutal assaults without ever succumbing to the rage the evil. Instead, he has used his platform to raise awareness about the situation of these women, and as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, he is emphasising that this award also belongs to the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Many people are now commenting on the significance of Dr Mukwege’s work, but I think Justine Sirie, a cleaner at Panzi Hospital, said it best: ’Following a rape, Dr Mukwege operated on me seven times. Once I healed physically, Dr Mukwege offered me a job at the hospital, and thanks to that I can support my family. I can afford to pay school fees, and I’ve even bought a small plot of land to grow crops. Words can’t express how much Dr Mukwege has done for women like me. He gives us hope, even in times so hard we feel like our hearts will just give up. He will operate on anyone, no matter their income, ethnic group or religion.’

mukwege A few years ago, Denis Mukwege was the target of an assassination attempt, during which his daughters were taken hostage and his close friend and security guard was killed. Dr Mukwege survived and however forced to live in exile. Congolese women started collecting money to pay for his flight back to Congo. Most of them were poor women, selling fruit and vegetables by the side of the road, who didn’t have many pennies to spare. But they knew that when enough people work together, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

Our merging partner Läkarmissionen is the single largest Swedish aid donor to Panzi Hospital and we are proud to be a part it. At Panzi Hospital, besides women, the lives of many severely malnourished children are saved in the special ward supported by Läkarmissionen. The hospital is also equipped to save the lives of premature babies in the neonatal ward that Läkarmissionen has helped fund. The families then receive help to improve their access to food. Without this help, there is a significant risk that the child will need emergency care again.

Let’s hear from Mukwege’s colleagues 

Dr Buhendwa, anesthesiologist and long-time colleague:

‘While Dr Mukwege could easily choose to live in Europe, where he and his family would be safe, he has chosen to stay and live here, near his patients and the people he fights to protect with every fibre of his being.’

Sylvie Mwambali, MD and Head of Family Planning at the hospital:

’Dr Mukwege isn’t just a skilled gynaecologist. He is also a humanitarian, fighting for justice on behalf of his patients. Treating a woman who has been raped isn’t like treating a person with malaria. Dr Mukwege has to work under the protection of bodyguards and is a survivor of an attempted assassination. We must stop these rapes now!’

Claes Johan Alexandersson, Läkarmissionen:

The UN characterises the situation in the DR Congo as one of the worst in the world. Around 120 armed groups are currently fighting the Congolese army or each other. Families have been forced to leave their homes to escape the violence. The maternal mortality rate is high, and many children are malnourished. Panzi Hospital, a source of hope, is doing crucial work and needs our help.

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World Humanitarian Day, 19 August 2018


August 17, 2018 | Posted in All Countries, General, Press release, Thematic areas | By


While the world gets “more organised”, with various institutions in place and advocating in various ways to promote living in harmony, the lives of humanitarian workers and those that they seek to serve seem to be increasingly endangered. In some of the places where IAS and other humanitarian agencies serve, it is almost a norm that workers are harassed in different ways on a daily basis.

IAS joins the world humanitarian community on this year’s World Humanitarian Day to remind the world that as we serve in the difficult areas and seek to alleviate suffering, some of which is man-made, as well as that caused by natural effects, we would like to serve without fearing for our own lives. It becomes sad when the resources that are intended to serve the suffering are either targeted and destroyed, or a significant amount has to be used just to ensure that the people safe. In some of the world’s environments where we fear for the lives of workers each day it is increasingly becoming expensive to just operate to deliver aid. We do not think this should be so!


The communities we serve are #NotaTarget (Photo: International Aid Services)


Our Teams are #NotaTarget (Photo: International Aid Services)

Despite these challenges, we continue to be thankful for our teams that have served with endurance is some of the hard-to-reach areas despite the challenges. When teams have been ambushed on the road and robbed, or attacked in the offices or their residence quarters, we have not given up and left the people that are facing unspeakable suffering.

On this day we join with others to declare that we are #NotaTarget as we serve! The communities that we serve are #NotaTarget! Our equipment or service vehicles are #NotaTarget! We join others to call for a cessation of attacks on humanitarian workers and civilians in whatever form.

// Milward Mwamvani (Humanitarian Coordinator)

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Läkarmissionen and IAS/Sweden are planning a merger for a stronger future


April 23, 2018 | Posted in Press release | By

Läkarmissionen and IAS/Sweden are planning a merger in order to enhance capacity and equip the two organisations for the future. – A fantastic opportunity to provide support and assistance to even more people in vulnerable contexts, says Johan Lilja, CEO of Läkarmissionen.

Läkarmissionen and International Aid Services (IAS) / Sweden have cooperated since 1994, mainly in regards to various water- and sanitation projects. The cooperation has increased during the years and in 2016 the two organisations signed an agreement aiming at deepening the cooperation. With the planned merger they are taking it one step further.

– With a strengthened administrative capacity we are able to focus even more on our role as a global humanitarian actor, says Daniel Zetterlund, CEO of IAS/Sweden.

The two organisations are merging in order to create synergies and enhance aid efficiency, sustainability and relevance. The two operations complement each other well. Together IAS/Sweden and Läkarmissionen will become stronger and can assist more people in vulnerable contexts.

– For Läkarmissionen the merger is fully in line with the ambition to increase our field presence. It will also enable a growth in institutional funding adding value to our existing funding portfolio, says Johan Lilja, CEO of Läkarmissionen.
The merger will formally mean that IAS/Sweden, with retained identity, will be incorporated in Läkarmissionen. Läkarmissionen will enhance IAS/Sweden operations with a well-established administrative capacity, strong own financing and competence within development aid. IAS/Sweden will contribute with a strong implementing capacity in the field and a wide network of international donors and stakeholders.

Both Johan Lilja and Daniel Zetterlund are grateful for the support they have received from their respective Board and Management throughout this process. The aim is that the formal incorporation will take place during the summer of 2018 after which it will be one organisation.

The new operation will have a turnover of more than 200 MSEK and more than 350 employees of which approximately 90% are locally employed in the field.

For more information, please contact:

Johan Lilja, CEO, Läkarmissionen – Tel +46-70-6288161
Daniel Zetterlund, CEO, International Aid Services / Sweden – Tel +46-70-7777378
Bo Guldstrand, President, Läkarmissionen
Johan Sigge, Board Chair, International Aid Services / Sweden


Related post

Läkarmissionen and IAS/Sweden are planning a merger for a stronger future (April 23, 2018)

Läkarmissionen and IAS/Sweden team up to make a bigger impact (Feb 15, 2016)


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Facelift of IAS logo and brand


March 5, 2018 | Posted in Press release | By

Today we are pleased to announce a facelift of the IAS logo and brand. We believe the changes are timely, appropriate and will enhance the communication of the IAS brand globally.

Our current logo and brand has been in use since 2004. This was a dramatic change from the original logo and brand which had been in use since the establishment of IAS in 1989. The change of logo and brand at the time coincided with the name change from International Aid Sweden to International Aid Services; encompassing the global nature of IAS following the additions of several entities joining the IAS International Association. In November 2015 IAS changed its governance structure to become an International Alliance with IAS Sweden, IAS Denmark, IAS Germany and IAS USA as the legacy members. IAS Sweden was formally mandated to act as Head Office for the Alliance. In 2016 IAS also adopted a new global organizational strategy – Fit for Purpose: A strategy for sustained growth, 2016-2020.

The facelift of the IAS brand and logo presented today is a result of deliberations between IAS Alliance Members and an important step in propelling our strategy and vision.

The main differences from the previous logo and brand are a mother logo with the abbreviation IAS more clearly marked as well as a more distinct shield. Recognizing the need to be able to communicate the diversity of the IAS brand we have also introduced four different denominations – separate communicative brands with different names and colour codes but still clearly attached to the IAS brand. Finally, we have introduced a gravatar option for all the logos to be used in primarily social media platforms.

Kindly refer to the ‘IAS Brand White Paper’ for more detailed information. A new facelift of IAS website and media outlets will follow shortly

International Aid Services (IAS) is an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) abiding by Christian values. Founded in 1989 with the purpose of assisting conflict affected populations in South Sudan we now run programs in over 10 countries in primarily Horn of Africa /Eastern Africa supported by 4 offices in Europe and the United States. The Alliance Head Office is located in Stockholm, Sweden.

We see ourselves as catalysts for development. Investing in people in order for them realize their full potential – going beyond relief and development.

Download the “IAS Brand White Paper” here

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USAID funding secured for response in Uganda

November 24, 2017 | Posted in Press release, Sanitation, Uganda, Water | By

Stichting ZOA Uganda, International Aid Services Uganda, and Malteser International Consortium secured USD 1.5 million as a gift of the United States Government under the Population Refugees and Migration (PRM) fund. This fund is for the implementation of a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene response among the South Sudanese refugees in Imvepi Refugee Settlement. The one year funding took effect from 15th September 2017.

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August 19, 2017 | Posted in Press release | By

One Million!

On this World Humanitarian Day we have a sad reflection as reports indicate that the number of
South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda has now hit (and probably passed) 1 million. This is the
sad reality of the situation that many around the world, including South Sudanese, have been forced
to be in. Frustrating as it may be in consideration that the South Sudan crisis is man-made, we are
reminded of the Humanitarian Principles to which we adhere, and continue to respond to the influx
of refugees into Uganda. IAS continues to join with other responders in this situation as we seek to
provide WASH services and join in the protection of Unaccompanied Minors finding themselves as
refugees with no one to call a guardian. We continue to hope and trust that the current trends in the
influx of refugees will change as the systems, including our own response capacity are stretched.
Nevertheless, we also continue to appreciate those that have joined IAS by providing financial
support in order for us to be able to respond to the situation on the ground within the existing
coordination mechanisms.

Gonya-Rose12yearsANDgrandmother15Aug2017The young girl is called Gonya Rose (12 years). She was in Primary 4. Her mother died before the war and the Father remained in Juba. They have no idea if he is alive or dead.

Above pictures: IAS is hosting SVT (Swedish Television) Johan Ripås to report to sweeds via TV-news; RAPPORT (24 Feb 2017, time 19:30) – and more at SVT. (Pictures: Julius Bitamazire)

IAS continues to respond to the prevailing humanitarian needs in South Sudan itself. Over the past
year we have continued to render our services to the communities affected by the current crisis. We
have also joined with others in condemning the targeting of humanitarian workers, not only in South
Sudan, but in all places where we continue to put our men and women in harm’s way in trying to
serve humanity.

We Need Rain!

Among IAS’ major areas of emergency response this year has been the Horn of Africa, with focused
active engagement in Somalia/Somaliland in response to the continued drought situation.
Responding to critical water and food shortages, we have seen some of the devastation among the
pastoral communities whose livestock have been destroyed by the drought as they not only lost
their economic sustainability capacity, but also have been rendered helpless by lack of food and
water. Hopes for rains coming at the times when they were expected have kept being shattered and
threatening the current situation to becoming worse. The recovery process itself even in the event
that the affected regions have received sufficient rains will take time. While recovery is of utmost
importance, it currently remains secondary as we strive to save lives in the now! We continue to
appreciate our donors in helping us respond in this difficult situation.

Lake Chad Region

The crisis in the Lake Chad region is estimated to be affecting around 17 million people in 4
countries. IAS has been responding to the crisis in Diffa, Niger for the last two years. Persistent
WASH gaps exist, and coupled with insecurity in parts of the Diffa region, teams have to be diligent
in planning humanitarian response. IAS is scaling up its response to the provision of potable water in
the region, and seeks to continue being relevant in addressing existing gaps.

Fit for Purpose

And so, with our teams serving in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Somalia/Somaliland, South
Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and all the partners in countries where we are not physically
present, we remind ourselves that our desire each day is to remain Fit For Purpose as we continue to
serve humanity. With that determination we will continue to serve!



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Highlights from the Peepoo School Project in Kibera, Nairobi


November 19, 2016 | Posted in Peepoople, Press release, Sanitation | By

– Did you know that every third person on the planet is lacking a toilet?

Without toilets, people are at great risk of lethal epidemic diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, which is killing 1.4 million children every year. Lack of toilets is also the major reason why many girls in urban slums do not finish school. In Nairobi, IAS together with local partner Peepoople Kenya is bringing Peepoo toilets to schools in the slum, to give children a better chance to remain in class and stay healthy. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.

In a typical primary school in the world’s slums, the state of the sanitary facilities and the level of the children’s hygiene are poor. Often hundreds of children have to share single pit latrines.

Preventing girls dropping out of school

In many schools toilet floors can be covered with fresh faeces and are wet with urine. Children without shoes are left with no option but to stand barefoot in this mess to relieve themselves.

For girls who are approaching puberty the situation is even more severe. About one in 10 school-age girls do not attend school during menstruation and many also drop out of school due to lack of clean sanitation facilities. Having a personal toilet in school helps the girls to finish their education.

One of girls that is happy for this personal toilet is Doreen Indasi, 13, Kibera, Kenya.

” The Peepoo toilet has brought advantages for me in school and I also like the health club where we learn about hygiene. We also have Peepoo at home, and this is especially helpful during the night when I cannot go out. It is dangerous to use the pit latrine in the evening. At night we keep the used Peepoos at home. In the morning my mother takes them to the drop point. The latrines we used to go to were always dirty, and far away. With Peepoo we save time and we can stay in class. “

The Peepoople product is being distributed to 100 schools and more than 20 000 school going children living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

More info about the Peepoo product can be found on the Peepoople website


International Aid Services (IAS) is an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) abiding by Christian values. Founded in 1989 with the purpose of assisting conflict affected populations in South Sudan we now run programs in over 10 countries in primarily Horn of Africa /Eastern Africa supported by 4 offices in Europe and the United States. The Alliance Head Office is located in Stockholm, Sweden.

We see ourselves as catalysts for development. Investing in people in order for them realize their full potential – going beyond relief and development.

Read More →

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