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)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 Woods