It is World Humanitarian Day (19 August 2019), that one day in the year when we reflect on our engagement in the global humanitarian response. As this year focuses on honouring the Women Humanitarians, we take time to appreciate those in our own organisation who have made the work we do worthwhile. Without the committed women that we serve with, more than half of our efforts to respond to humanitarian crises in different places of the world would not be possible. Not only do they bring in the critical aspect of cultural relevance and appropriateness, but they also bring critical skills that have impacted communities.
We are unable to mention each one of them by name in this release, but these few that are mentioned are intended to represent the 100+ women across our program countries. The sacrifices made amidst the challenging environments for these women are just amazing!
Staff management is one of the key areas in ensuring successful humanitarian interventions, and we are glad that Ms Khadmallah keeps the morale among our staff in one of the most challenging operations in South Sudan.
Community Sensitisation/Mobilisation in our operations need to be culturally appropriate, and our Women Humanitarians are in the fore front in working with female populations. Here, it is a session on sensitizing women in Diffa on the importance of maintaining water quality from the tap to the cup.
Very thankful and honoured to have women like Salma (top picture) and Latifa (bottom picture) who are making a big difference in the humanitarian response in Yemen.
Ms Violet Avako is one of our officers in Uganda’s Rhino Camp where our response focuses on the South Sudanese refugee situation. She is appreciated among the women as they feel comfortable to relate and share their challenges amidst the very challenging conditions of being a refugee.
In some of the places we operate, our teams ride many miles as they work with communities. Ms Emily Ayaa is engaged in Uganda’s Kyangwali Refugee Settlement where we are responding to the DRC refugee situation. She rides her motorcycle through the “bushes” where she engages with new refugees working on settling on their allocated land.
These are but just a few examples of the amazing Women Humanitarians we have in our organisation, and on this day we express how truly grateful and honoured we are that this wonderful family of committed workers strives to alleviate suffering and promote human dignity with so much love!
Happy World Humanitarian Day!
/Milward Mwamvani – Humanitarian Coordinator
ANGOLO EAST VILLAGE – Ailang District – UGANDA
Walking long distances to fetch water takes time and effort. The heavy responsibility usually falls upon women and girls which means that girls don’t have time to go to school. Walking long distances is also a safety issue because of the risk of assault.
Therefore, we are always striving to ensure shortest distance possible, for people to walk to the nearest waterpoint. Our goal is that a person should have to walk maximum 500 meters to fetch water. By doing this we create safety and also reduce exclusion!
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
Some years ago, Pader district in northern Uganda had a widespread alcohol abuse. It resulted in much domestic violence and many children dropped out of school. Abel Murungu is Community Development Officer at IAS and is one of those who worked hard to break the negative trend that´s been holding Pader in captive for so long.
-To start up a work in a society where alcohol was equivalent with food was tough. It was understandable that many saw this project as a mission impossible, says Abel.
Abel shows around in the village Puranga, outside the city of Pader, one of the areas that is severly affected by alcohol abuse. Much of the alcohol produced here is consumed in the districts of Pader and Agago, some of the places where IAS has worked with sustainable rural projects for several years. A quality survey showed that the effect of these projects was hampered because of alcoholism. Due to this need Action Against Alcohol (AAA) was started.
Abel points to a couple of bowls with molasses, sorghum, maize, and cassava, some of the most common products used for brewing alcohol.
-Much of the alcohol is brewed locally and sold on the local market. It is not uncommon that people start to consume alcohol as early as 07 am, says Abel.
Because it is mostly men who spend their days drinking, the heavy agricultural work falls upon women and children. Even the elderly are affected since they have to take responsibility for children who have been abandoned by their parents.
IAS organize campaigns to increase awareness
Through the AAA project, IAS has carried out several campaigns to highlight the bad consequences of alcohol.
-One alcohol-related problem here is children dropping out of school. When the parents consume alcohol, they don´t engage in their children’s education which results in children staying at home, says Abel.
Alcohol also has a direct link to the spread of HIV / AIDS, says Juliet Namukasa, Country Director IAS Uganda.
– Alcohol is associated with an increased number of sexual contacts, and a greater risk-taking. This contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, especially among the youth, says Juliet.
Alcohol also increases the risk of domestic violence. Juliet refers to a study (note)showing that alcohol is behind as much as 40% of all violence that takes place at home.
– Alcoholism leads to both physical and psychological violence. Children who grow up in homes where there is alcoholism have lower grades, higher risk of developing depression and carries a constant feeling of being socially isolated, says Juliet.
Has helped over 20 000 people
The AAA project started in 2012 and has been conducted in the districts of Pader, Abim and Agago. From the beginning the number of targeted households were 450 but today as AAA has been integrated in other IAS projects, the number of people that´s been helped has increased significantly.
– All in all, we are talking about 20 000 people, says Juliet.
In addition to awareness campaigns, IAS has also engaged local politicians to raise the discussion about alcohol and how they can influence their village to help people stop drinking.
-We collaborate with both local politicians and the police. By talking about the negative effects of alcohol and at the same time highlight stories from people who have been helped, progress is being made, slowly but surely. There is a lot of work, but when I see all the families that have been rescued and see how individuals have been helped, I am so happy and I think it is worth everything. I am convinced that when we change the attitudes towards alcohol, tomorrow’s generation will also be rescued from alcohol abuse, says Abel.
(Note: The social effects of alcoholism (March 2012) –Promises Treatment Center)
Film & Photo: Håkan Björk
Text: Rebecka Woods
Read more in The Journey (PDF-2.6MB) produced by IAS Uganda