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 CoordinatorChildren 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