Stockholm 18th October 2016 – It is with great pleasure we announce that the Peepoople innovative brand and product will continue to be developed by International Aid Services (IAS) as from today’s date. Peepoople and IAS began the cooperation in year 2014. With the change in strategy from having a high-tech production in Stockholm, Sweden, towards a local production closer to the market, IAS became the first choice for Peepoople.
– The last years of partnership with IAS has been a game changer for us in Peepoople and we are excited to see how this free transfer of the brand to IAS can create an increased ownership amongst the target group that we intend to reach, says Anders Pihl, CEO of Peepoople since 2014.
Today, the Peepoople product is being distributed to more than 20,000 people (mainly women and children) living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.
– Fantastic to see this innovative product being used Worldwide and in particular Kenya. We believe that the product plays an important role in providing not only a sanitation solution but also in terms of protection of women and children using it in insecure areas, says Andreas Zetterlund, Head of Marketing & Fundraising Department at IAS.Photo: Patrik Eriksson
Two Schools in Dalarna fundraised more than 11 621 USD for IAS project with school lunches in Kenya. Many thanks to all the students for your great support!
Free Aid is a school concept where students at Söderbaumska School and Mosaik Free School together fundraise money by working at companies or at home for a day. Last year the students collected 7 946 USD for one of IAS projects in Ethiopia and this year they were determined to beat last year’s record. Carolina Sundin, principle at Mosaik Free School is proud to say that they did.
-We are very proud of our students who altogether collected 11 621 USD! The students have been very determined and they worked hard to reach the goal of beating last year’s record. The result was far beyond expectations, says Carolina.
Sponsoring school lunches
The students baked, cleaned, made the garden or worked at different companies. This year the money raised is channeled to IAS project in Tharaka, Kenya where Linas Food Basket (Linas Matkassse) together with IAS serve school lunches for school children. The students also organized a concert in the evening with music performances to which they invited family and friends and where the gate money went to the project.
-All parents know that children who are hungry have difficulties to concentrate. In Kenya 40 % of the country’s population lives in poverty, and many families are farmers depending on rain. When the rains fail and the crops die, it becomes extremely difficult for these people and they can barely feed their own family, says Mary Githiomi, Country Director, IAS Kenya.
School lunches will help children´s learning
When children are left out from breakfast and lunch, it’s hard for them to learn and concentrate.
-By providing children with school lunches, we make sure that they will continue their education. We have seen a major difference since the project started; the children have better health, they play more and they attend school, says Mary.
IAS is cooperating with different schools in Sweden to fundraise money for our projects. This spring we worked together with Åkerö School, Söderbaumska School and Free School Mosaik, all based in the north part of Sweden. Many thanks to The Åkerö School, who this year collected 1 730 USD.
If your school is interested to get involved with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Text: Rebecka Woods
Foto: Patrik Eriksson
Today, IAS is launching its new global strategy for growth called; Fit for Purpose. The strategy outlines IAS desire to deepen its engagement in its current countries of operation and expand into new geographical regions. The focus for the geographical expansion is Middle East/North Africa and Sahel.
Founded in 1989 with the purpose of assisting conflict affected populations in South Sudan, IAS is currently registered and runs programs in over 10 countries in three key operating regions: Sahel, Greater Horn of Africa and Eastern Africa. The expansion of IAS has always been strategically driven by need, injustice and the fact that no one else is responding to the needs of the population.
This strategy is a result of a renewed and sharpened vision to continue to build on IAS foundation to serve and reach out to the most vulnerable and underprivileged populations. IAS will continue to sustain what we have, while we expand and grow by assisting populations in other regions.
-Expansion in these regions means adding resources, not draining existing ones. While maintaining true to IAS core sectors and competencies, it might be that the programs will take other shapes, with other administrative setups. In order to see transformational change in this context, the key is to ensure long term physical presence by core staff consumed with the vision of IAS, says Daniel Zetterlund, CEO.
-The Swedish Board is excited to see this strategy being launched. We believe it will be a crucial tool for the further enhancement of IAS in the next years to come. While the initial timeframe of the strategy is set to five years (2016-2020) we are committed to the long term vision behind the strategy, says Agneta Kuhlin, Chair of the Swedish Board.-
To pour a glass of water is something that many of us take for granted, we just go to the tap and fill it up. For many girls and women in Kenya an everyday thing like having access to water can be associated with extreme danger. This used to be true for Joyce Kennedy, 19, from Kenya.
This is Joyce Kenedy, 19 years old, from Tharaka, Nithi County, Kenya. Ten years ago almost nothing could grew in this area, and people were completely dependent on the rainy season. Lack of rain resulted in crops destroyed which lead to famine. To fetch water for her family Joyce used to walk several kilometers every day, which often meant dangerous walks in the evenings where she risked being vulnerable to sexual violence.
– Often when I went to fetch water men shouted after me and called me names. It made me scared and I didn’t feel safe. Constantly being exposed to this was very stressful, says Joyce.
A few years ago IAS built a water irrigation system in Tharaka where water is taken from a nearby river and distributed to 130 local farmers so that they can grow vegetables and fruits. The purpose of this was so the farmers would become self-sufficient and not dependent on rainy seasons. For Joyce and her family, it means that they receive water directly to their house from a water pipe.
– Now when we get water directly into the garden we are able to grow food to sell at the market. I also no longer need to be exposed to the risks that came with these walks, says Joyce.
IAS in Kenya
IAS has been working in Kenya since 1994 and currently has five projects in the country. The focus is implementing education, water, hygiene and sanitation, peace-prevention measures and relief aid in different parts of the country. This project was funded by the Swedish Mission Council l, Erikshjälpen, Linas Matkasse and Mockfjärds Fönster.
Text and photo: Rebecka Woods
Donate now to help us give more people access to clean water.
From left: IAS CEO Daniel Zetterlund together with IAS new Humanitarian Coordinator Milward Mwamvani
January 25th, 2016 //
IAS continues to expand, and this week we are really happy to have our new Humanitarian Coordinator Milward Mwamvani with us at the Head Office. Milward will be responsible for all IAS humanitarian activities and interventions and will continue to improve the quality of IAS projects.
-I hope to see IAS grow and expand into new areas. We need to fill the needs that no one is responding to. As an organization, we have a new strategy for growth called Fit for Purpose, which seeks to see the organization active in countries with great humanitarian needs in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel Region. We know of the present challenges faced by the populations of these regions, and we realize there are gaps in the humanitarian response in those countries, says Milward.
Expanding security work
As a Humanitarian Coordinator Milward will have an overall responsibility for all humanitarian projects, aiming at the qualitative and quantitative growth of the work in each of IAS program countries. One aspect of that includes security.
-Since a majority of the countries where IAS operates experience conflicts and political instability, we want to expand our humanitarian security management. Our teams in the field are doing okay with regard to security considerations today but we want to do even better. This includes training of our staff in conducting security risk and vulnerability assessments and analyzing the security situation for every context. We want to always be prepared, says Milward.
Milward has been working with IAS since 2010, first as Programme Manager and Deputy Country Director, Regional Program Support Officer, then as Program Support Officer from the Head Office, which he doubled with being Country Director for Somalia/Somaliland. He currently lives in Malawi but will be part of IAS office in Sweden, even though he will travel a lot to IAS ten program countries.
Donor countries reducing their aid budgets
-It’s with great humility I take on this new task. It’s not an easy world we live in with an unstable world economy and multiple crises going on, not only in Africa and the Middle East, but also in Europe with the refugee crisis. Donor countries are reducing their aid budget to spend money on the refugee crises in their own countries, which puts the humanitarian work in a tricky situation. Natural occurrences like droughts and floods also continue to put pressure on the already stretched resources.
-I believe that our work is more important than ever given the existing gaps and the immensity of suffering in the conflict-stricken regions of the world. One of IAS’s thematic areas is WASH,(Water, Hygiene and Sanitation) and we know how most of the challenges mentioned above, affect the access to clean water. We will continue to join hands with willing supporters to provide water to the affected communities.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Håkan Björk & Rebecka WoodsChildren performing in Mawenzusi, Tanzania to advocate for their rights
December 16th, 2015
One of IAS core areas is Inclusive Education and last week the International day of People with Disabilities was celebrated by IAS in Tanzania and Ethiopia. Here are some greetings from the field:
4 000 gathered in Ethiopia
More than 4 000 people participated in a colorful celebration to create awareness for people with disabilities in Hawassa, Ethiopia. The topic this year was: Inclusion matters, access and empowerment for people of all.
-IAS Ethiopia took the bigger role in the celebration using banners, brochures and t-shirts to create awareness to all stake holders. Dramas were performed by students with disabilities to advocate for their rights, says Eshetu Tilahun, Project leader IAS Ethiopia who also was part of the celebration.
Two students, one visually impaired (using Braille) and one intellectual impaired students inspired the attendants by presenting two big lessons using poem and reading from an article.
-The focus of their message was showing the participants how people with disabilities are effective and able if they get the chance to education. Another child, integrated to the regular class from IAS center, grade two, read one article to show how he improved his studies since he joined the project, says Eshetu.
Children performed in Tanzania
-We had a great day, altogether over 700 people were gathered, says Irene Shayo, Programme Manager, IAS Tanzania.
In Tanzania the event was organized by IAS Tanzania together with Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania, Information Center on Disability and the authorities from the local government of Rukwa Region.
-The main reason for this day was to highlight the rights of persons with disabilities. We had children with impairments such as albinism from different schools that performed with for example poems. People were sad when they heard the stories about people being mistreated. But at the same time they were happy, since they saw that people with disabilities are capable, says Irene.
A speech was held by acting District Administrative Secretary, Oresta B Haule. He addressed the community on the rights of persons with disability and encouraged the whole district to have a budget for persons with disability.
-The celebration was important since it was a part of awareness creation. It was also a platform for persons with disabilities to raise their voices.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Eshetu Tilahun, Irene Shayo
December 3rd 2015, Somalia/Somaliland
IAS is doing a lot of work for persons with disabilities and today on International Day of Persons with Disabilities we want to higlight this storey from the field:
For ten years 17 year old Hodan from Somalia/Somaliland was pushed around in a wheelbarrow. Besides the discomfort, she was always dependent on someone to take her around. A wheelchair and a specially made toilet from IAS gave Hordan the opportunity to a dignified life.
Hodan Jama Osman is 17 years old and was born at Jaamalaaye village, Berbera town in Sahil Region. She is the first child in a family of eight, with her being the only one with a disability. Hodan is physically challenged and has never developed speech. However, she can respond to sound.
For ten years Hodan has been pushed around in a wheelbarrow by her mother.
– When Hodan grew older it became to heavy to carry her on the back so the wheelbarrow was the only option, says Hodans mother, Anab Haibe Idle.
Improved education since 1992
IAS established its presence in Somalia/Somaliland in 1992, and has over the years worked to improve the educational environment and infrastructure.
-In various parts of the country, teacher and community training programs, special needs education and skills training also have been developed, thanks to IAS work,” says Milward.
The primary purpose of distributing the assistive devices is to encourage children with disabilities to be in school.
-One of the excuses the parents have for not sending their children to school is the mobility, says Milward.
Wheelbarrow exchanged to wheelchair
And some weeks ago the life of Hodan and her mother were completely changed. For the first time in 17 years, Hordan received a wheelchair and her own toilet seat. This meant a lot of new freedom for her and a heavy burden was unloaded from both Hodan and her mother.
-Now she can have a dignified life. Before, she was dependent on someone else to move her around. Now that she has a wheelchair, she can push herself to where she needs to be, including going to the toilet. It´s also a great relief for me as I now have time to do other things, says Anab.
Disabled children hidden in homes
Anab is a member of IAS family network in the area where parents of children with disabilities can learn about how to care for their children and support each other.
-The network is very important since children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion. It is not uncommon that these children are being hidden in the homes since the parents believe the disability is a curse says Milward Mwamvani, IAS Acting Country Director in Somalia/Somaliland.
In these meetings, the parents also builds an organized platform from which they can lobby government to enhance the support of children with disabilities. As a result of these meetings, more and more families in the area are not hiding their children anymore.
-These meetings has meant a lot to me and it was also here I got information about the distribution of disability mobility devices, says Anab.
The devices are sourced by IAS’s local partner in Somaliland (Taakulo Somaliland Community – TASCO), through the Australian Doctors for Africa.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Milward Mwamvani