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!
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 WoodsIAS staff meet regularly. Picture show country directors and program managers in Kenya last month.
IAS has ten program countries and each country has one local office or more. Despite the distance our staff come together regularly and this week are wehappy to welcome our 10 country directors to Sweden.
-This week we will come together for a time of strategic discussions and fellowship to inspire us to take IAS further in the years to come. It´s also a great opportunity to share experiences and difficulties faced on a daily basis. Since all of our staff work in areas of either conflicts or extreme poverty we want to encourage each other and equip one another for the time ahead, says Daniel Zetterlund, CEO IAS.
Local staff – core of our work
IAS has 350 employees in total and despite the distance between the countries IAS internal personnel management meet regularly. Currently IAS program countries are; Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia/Somaliland, Uganda, Tanzania. IAS always strives to recruit local staff to ensure that our work is as efficient and authentic as possible, says Daniel.
-We have realized that by doing this we have the local expertise to ensure that our help reaches those who need it most. We can also easily follow up on our projects and guarantee that our work is of high quality.
Text och foto: Rebecka Woods
People who´s been trained in post-harvest grain handling in Rolngap village in Aweil, Northern Bahr El Ghazal
October 7, 2015 | Posted in Civil Society Development (CSD), Countries, Humanitarian intervention, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Quality, South Sudan, Thematic areas | By Rebecka Woods
October 7th, 2015
Since December 2013, the conflict in South Sudan has devastated the lives of millions of South Sudanese and displaced more than 2.2 million people. IAS is on ground in Northern Bahr el Ghazal implementing a large development project on Life changing food security, water and community development. So far 23 000 have been reached but the goal is to help 25 000 people.
Over 90% of the people in South Sudan are engulfed in extreme poverty and major humanitarian consequences are widespread ; high rates of death, disease, and injuries, severe food insecurity, disrupted livelihoods and a major malnutrition crisis.
Rural communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal are particularly vulnerable when it comes to food and water insecurity. Here is IAS helping people to grow food crops like sorghum, groundnuts and sesam.
-We want the communities to lead their own development process and therefore we train farmers on modern food production techniques.Farmers are trained on principles and practices in crop food production, post-harvest handling and storage of cereals and grain legumes, says Zaitun Ragota, Programme Manager IAS South Sudan.
-This training is very important because it equips the beneficiaries with knowledge that help in preventing or minimizing post-harvest crop losses, says Zaitun.
Improving hygiene and sanitation
Another component of the project is Water, Sanitaton and Hygiene (WASH) which includes new boreholes and construction of mini water yards. Each community who receives water are also educated in two levels of training. The first level is in hygiene and sanitation practices.
-Northern Bahr el Ghazal has a long history of communities practicing open defecation in respect to their cultural norms and beliefs. This results in bad sanitation and that diseases are spread. However, training in hygiene and sanitation has been very effective in changing the mindset of the communities, says Zaitun.
IAS has so far drilled 11 new boreholes, rehabilitated 20 broken boreholes, constructed 3 new mini water yards and constructed latrines in three schools.
Promote girls education
The second level of training is on common cross cutting issues which includes gender, early marriages, child protection, HIV/AIDS and girls education.
-Through trainings on cross cutting issues IAS creates awareness on the dangers of early marriages and through girls activities we advocate for girls to remain in school. An important aspect of this is access to water. Girls are the prime water collectors for the families and often have to walk many hours every day to collect water which gives them no time to attend school. But by reducing the walking distance to the water points girls return to school and finish their education.
Women, men and children are all very positive and excited to IAS interventions, says Zaitun.
-All have been actively involved in the implementation of this project and share the feeling of owning it together.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Zaitun Rogota
September 30th, 2015, Ethiopia
Mohamed Deqe from Ethiopia was born with a physical disability and because of this he was denied to go to school. But thanks to IAS project in Inclusive Education (IE) he can now read, write and count and is one of the top students in school.
All children should have the right to go to school. Still, as many as 126 million young people today can´t read or write and disabled children are particularly vulnerable as they are often not accepted by friends, family or the communities in which they live.
It is not uncommon that these children are being hidden in the home and denied the opportunity to go to school. Therefore IAS work actively with projects in Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya to help these children get a chance to education.
Rune Cederholm is our Head of Programme Departement and he visited IAS project on Inclusive Education in Ethiopia. Here he writes about his meeting with Muhamed Deqe:
“I spoke with Mohamed, 15 years old, who lives in Jijiga in the Somali region of Ethiopia. He is truly an example of that Inclusive Education works. Mohamed was born with a physical disability and can only walk on one leg, with a crutch. Because of that, he was denied the opportunity to go to school. After a year of schooling at the IAS Special Needs Education Center, he could both read, write and count! He even helped his teachers to teach the other children. His best friend had difficulties to manage in school but when he received extra help from Mohamed he was able to continue his education.
Today, Mohamed is integrated in the regular school and is one of the top students! “
Some of the activities that are implemented in the projects with Inclusive Education are:
-Organize teacher training courses.
-Provide support to parents who have children with intellectual disabilities.
-Arrange investigations on why children may have learning difficulties.
-Influence the development of educational materials and curricula.
-Produce educational materials.
-Construction of additional classrooms for children with learning difficulties to have a quiet environment to learn better and get a customized education.
-Promote a continuous dialogue with local education authorities to have “Education for All” on the agenda.
October 29,1014, Horn of Africa
More than 13 million people so far have been affected by the drought in the Horn of Africa. IAS is on ground distributing water, food and other necessities to 30,000 people in Ethiopia and Kenya. Thanks to this, many lives have been saved. The work is however far from completed.
The rain in March did not come which had led to severe consequences: harvests was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people now lack basic necessities such as food and water.
– When the rain didn’t occur both humans and animals lacked water, which has led to the death of people and animals because of dehydration. The situation is serious and especially for women, children and elderly, says Ketema Kinfe, Country Director for IAS in Ethiopia.
Challenges delay the implementation work
The IAS team focus on distributing water, food and other supplies to the villages where the need is the greatest. However, they face several challenges on a daily basis.
– A problem is that electricity is often lost and it can take several hours before returning. Since the distribution of water depend on electricity it creates delays and we can’t hand out the water as fast as we would like, says Ketema.
Another challenge is the distance. There is no gas station in the villages, instead the teams must often drive long detours to refuel, which also causes a delay in the distribution of water.
Breaking a vicious circle
Women are the most likely to be responsible of fetching water and the drought forces them to walk long distances to the nearest well. Since they lack food the women return home exhausted and as a result they are not able to care for their children and give them the food they need. Often children are forced to leave school because they are needed at home.
– It becomes a vicious spiral. But by providing families with food and water, kids also can continue school, says Ketema.
IAS ambition is to target help where it is most needed. In order to quickly meet people’s needs for water IAS transport water to schools and hospitals with trucks. Even food packages are distributed to the most vulnerable areas. IAS also drill several wells in order to contribute to long-term solutions.
– We are also working hard to educate and create awareness about hygiene and sanitation in the villages to prevent infections and diseases, says Ketema.
Your help is needed
The situation is very serious and people need your help. If you want to participate and contribute, you can donate a gift and mark it with the “Horn of Africa”.
Thank you for your gift!
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Håkan Björk