THE REFUGEE CRISIS IN UGANDA

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February 16, 2017 | Posted in Humanitarian intervention, South Sudan, Uganda | By


See the film above. IAS is on ground – responding to the South Sudan refugee crisis –  together with other sister agencies, and the challenge is huge since there isn’t sufficient funds to take care of this immense catastrophe.(Photo: Andreas Zetterlund – Edit: Håkan Björk)

Below pictures: SVT (Swedish Television) Johan Ripås interview with IAS Juliet Namukasa on the 23rd February 2017.

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)

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The 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.

Below slideshow of pic’s from IAS visit to a new refugee settlement late July 2016 – (Pictures: Julius Bitamazire and team)

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World Humanitarian Day – 2016

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August 19, 2016 | Posted in Humanitarian intervention, Press release | By

REPORT BY – Milward Mwamvani – Humanitarian Coordinator – IAS

As we commemorate this World Humanitarian Day (August 19th, 2016), IAS reflects on current trends and issues in the Humanitarian circles. The Humanitarian situation around the world continues to pose many challenges, as needs increase, and the response capacity is usually limited due to financial restrictions. As natural disasters affect communities, many others are also being affected by man-made disasters, including wars and terrorism, which put humanitarian workers in harm’s way increasingly.

Despite this, IAS continues to engage in some of the most hard-to-reach areas and seek to alleviate the human suffering there. IAS is actively responding to various humanitarian situations in different countries. Notable in the past three months are rapid responses that IAS has engaged in as various disasters have unfolded.

Sri Lanka

In response to flooding that happened in Sri Lanka in May 2016, IAS partnered with local actors and rose up to alleviate the suffering of affected people. The floods led to the overflowing and back-flowing of toilet systems in the poorer areas of the city, in addition to the loss of household properties as water filled houses to about 6 feet for seven days. IAS responded by helping with the cleaning up of household and communal toilets in selected neighbourhoods of Kollonawa, Colombo, with the aim to enhance hygiene conditions and save lives. Outside the city of Colombo, in Hanwella, shallow water wells were filled with over-the-ground water, making the water unsafe for human consumption.

While a well-cleaning response was just commencing, part of the area was hit by another disaster as an army ordnance depot blew up and led to substantive destruction of property, including water wells. A response in the area has brought hope and smiles to the affected communities as they were struggling to find clean water. Above these, the dignity of women and children has been upheld by the provision of basic survival hygiene items.

Pictures: Sathees Kumar – Sri Lanka

Niger

Attacks by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region of Niger in June 2016 led to the displacement of communities in the area, with many of them flocking to the town of Diffa in Eastern Niger. IAS, being already engaged in the provision of clean water to the IDP communities there, engaged in the provision of basic household survival kits to help the newly displaced people. The basic critical household items, and some food, have helped the affected people to begin rebuilding their lives in difficult circumstances.

Pictures: Milward Mwamvani – Diffa, Niger

Ethiopia

The effects of the El Nino phenomenon have been felt in various countries in Africa, mostly indicated by severe food and water shortages. IAS has been working in the Borena Zone of Ethiopia for several years, working on alleviating the acute shortage of potable water. With the setting in of this current drought, IAS has embarked on the provision of emergency water through truck deliveries, while the longer-term solution is being sought by the drilling of boreholes and construction of water collection ponds. This will help in alleviating the suffering of communities and control the forced migration that would have occurred due to the need.

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Picture: Ketema Kinfe – IAS Ethiopia

South Sudan/Uganda

While IAS has been engaged in responding to the crisis-affected communities in South Sudan over the past two years both in South Sudan and Uganda, the fresh outbreak of hostilities in Juba on July 7, 2016 has led to new levels of humanitarian needs. Leading to the evacuation of staff and temporary suspension of activities among affected people in South Sudan itself, the flight of South Sudanese women and children across the border and influx into Uganda has challenged the humanitarian community. Conditions continue to be dire in the reception centres and newly opened villages. IAS is responding to the WASH needs of the displaced people and striving to help them rebuild their lives. With most of the men restricted from leaving South Sudan, the women and children that arrive face many challenges (see our earlier story at http://www.ias-intl.org/response-to-the-South-Sudan-crisis).

Pictures: Julius Bitamazire and team – IAS Uganda

Facing the Challenge

So, as we commemorate this day, we think of the communities that have suffered, and continue to suffer, not only in Sri Lanka, Niger, Ethiopia, and South Sudan/Uganda, but also those in other places facing dire needs. We appreciate our supporting partners, largely in Sweden and Denmark, who have encouraged us and mobilised financial resources to enable us respond accordingly. So, as IAS we will rise up, hold hands with supporting partners, and engage in saving lives in the other hard-to- reach regions of Yemen, Lake Chad Region, Syria, Somalia, and beyond, and alleviate the suffering of communities in those areas, as we remain Fit for Purpose.

Milward Mwamvani – Humanitarian Coordinator – International Aid Services

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Joyce no longer risks being exposed to sexual violence

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March 8, 2016 | Posted in Humanitarian intervention, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Kenya | By

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

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New Humanitarian Coordinator at IAS

DZ-2-MilwardEditedGrade1000x300From left: IAS CEO Daniel Zetterlund together with IAS new Humanitarian Coordinator Milward Mwamvani

January 25, 2016 | Posted in All Countries, Humanitarian intervention, Press release, Quality, Security, Thematic areas | By

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.

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Milward Mwamvani

Text: Rebecka Woods

Photo: Håkan Björk & Rebecka Woods

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Meet our new interns

Leah ConorFrom left: David, Conor and Leah have joined our Internship Program Steps for Life

November 4, 2015 | Posted in Business partnerships, General, Humanitarian intervention, Inclusive Education | By

November 4th, 2015, Sweden

Did you know IAS has an Internship Programme called Step for Life? Say hi to our new interns Leah, David and Conor to find out more about what you can do as an intern at IAS.

Leah, David and Conor are currently doing their master in International and Comparative Education at Stockholm University. They will contribute to IAS work during 3-5 months  and they are all excited to gain expereince in the humanitarian field. IAS is collaborating with institutions such as Stockholm University and the Institute of International Education (IIE). If you are interested to join or have any further questions, send an e-mail to Andreas Zetterlund: andreas.zetterlund@ias-intl.org

Conor Diamond, intern at Programme Department

-I will be providing programme support to the Humanitarian Coordinator as well as Programme Managers in the field, across a range of humanitarian projects. I look forward to gaining a practical insight into the work of an international NGO, as well as using my experience to contribute to the valuable work IAS does across the development spectrum.

David Kunyu, intern at Finance Department

-I look forward to collaborate closely with the Finance department respectively programme department and hopefully my work will contribute towards an attainment of the vision and mission of IAS.  I am very excited to be a part of the team here, and I am looking forward to learning, growing and contributing to IAS work however I can.

Leah Kellgren, intern at Policy and Quality Department

– I will be working closely with the Policy and Quality department, examining IAS internal policies as well as policy frameworks followed by other humanitarian organizations. I have always had a personal interest in working in international aid and development, and have been aiming towards a career in that field through my studies. I heard about the opportunity to join IAS and was intrigued by their projects in Inclusive Education and Community Development.

Text & photo: Rebecka Woods

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Young mothers now stand on their own feet

Some of the young mothersFrom left: Victoria, Abigail, Eddah, Immaculate and Teresia are now able to support themselves

October 14, 2015 | Posted in Business partnerships, Humanitarian intervention | By

October 14th, 2015

Some years ago these single mothers from Nakuru were living a hard life in either abusive marriages or working as prostitutes. But thanks to The Kenya Food Basket Program, their lives are today completely different.

The Kenya Food Basket Program is a collaboration between IAS and the Swedish food delivery company Linas Matkasse. It´s a support project that help people to have a long-term economic growth. The beneficiaries are people living with HIV/Aids, elderly, persons with disabilities and single parents.

– The beneficiaries receives a food basket once a month during 18 months so that they can increase personal savings. They are also part of a self-help group to strengthen their self-sufficiency and economic empowerment, says Susan Kiambi, Programme Manager IAS Kenya and responsible for Kenya Food Basket Program.

Rescued from the street

The group of young single mothers consists of 20 members who are between 23-27 years old. Most of them have been rescued from either abusive marriages or from Nakuru streets where they worked as prostitutes.

-In Nakuru we are in partnership with a crisis centre in a local church which rescues young women in difficulties. These women go through counseling and are part of support groups where they meet and share experiences. After they have been rehabilitated, they are trained in different income generating activities, says Susan Kiambi.

Starting their own businesses

The young mothers have been part of IAS Food Basket Program during 18 months and today they stand on their own. Some of them have gone back to school to attain skills such as tailoring or bead work classes and some of them are running their own small business.

-I met with them several times and they all have a very positive attitude. One girl named Eddah, is selling second hand clothes and another girl Teresia sells potatoes to a wholesale company. Some of them also work as casual laborers like washing clothes in some of the hotels in Nakuru. They all support each other and believe they will manage on their own even when the Food Basket Program is finished.

Text: Rebecka Woods

Photo: Susan Kiambi

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IAS on ground in a fragile South Sudan

Beneficiaries after a post-harvest grain handling trainingPeople 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

October 7th, 2015

South Sudan

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

 

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