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
April 22th, 2015, Ethiopia
When the new IAS well was drilled in Idiola, Ethiopia, the life of Uka Golicha was completely changed.
Access to clean water save lives, in many aspects. One of them is of course on a health-related level; clean water reduces the risk of having water-borne diseases, like diarrhea, typhoid fever and cholera.
In Oromia/Borena region of Ethiopia, 700 kilometres south of the capital Addis Ababa and on the Ethiopian/Kenyan border, clean, fresh drinking water was difficult, if not impossible, to find – until IAS team came to drill.
‐ People travelled an average of four hours round trip in order to obtain water – water that is still not suitable for drinking. The significance of the newly drilled well in my community is great and I ́m so thankful, says Uka.
In a country where the average citizen earns approximately 1,100 Birr a month (the equivalent of $60), towns in this region that rely heavily on agriculture for their daily sustenance are in even more of a desperate situation. It is not just the basic necessities that are lacking in this area, such as clean water, electricity, sanitation, and roads. The lack of water also means the loss of their livelihoods.
Recognizing this incredible need, IAS is embarking on a holistic approach to transform the Oromia/Borena region.
Job creation for the women of Idilola, as well as methods that would help farmers in the region improve crop yield, are a few of the ideas IAS is considering to engage Oromia/Borena in a manner that will go beyond providing the basics and will transform lives.
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) the practical way – using IWRM as tool for sustainable development
– Unpacking IWRM
– IWRM in practice – some case studies from IAS experience
– Outlook – trends/opportunities/challenges
– Questions and answers
The seminar will be facilitated by Mr. Sahnon Abbass, IAS global IWRM Focal Point, and will be an excellent opportunity to, in an informal setting, engage in a dialogue around critical water related challenges facing our sector.
The seminar is only for invited guests.
Abstract/background to the seminar
This year marks our 25th year of existence as an organization. Today we have in-country registrations in 10 countries in the regions of SAHEL, East Africa and Horn of Africa. Water (and hygiene/sanitation) has been the backbone of our programming and will continue to be our main focus of engagement in the years ahead. Some reasons for this are: Water is a fundamental human right,; water is considered as one of the most pressing global needs; water is a continuous source of tension/conflict, but most importantly; water is one of the key drivers for sustained health and economic development. In order to continue to improve in this regard we took the strategic decision 7 years ago to adopt an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach to water programming.
IWRM is usually considered as a higher level policy and longer term development approach. However, our aim is to make that approach attainable and practical. Our approach is therefore a field-based and project based way of dealing with IWRM. We use IWRM in both humanitarian and development programming and see it as a perfect fit for resilience and a way to bridge the gap between the two.
This week we are honoured to have Mr. Sahnon Abbass in Sweden. He has a strong background in geology, development studies, environmental planning and other water related fields and is serving as our global IWRM Focal Point. Based in Sudan he is now providing support to our various countries of operation on all IWRM related issues. He is currently finishing an updated version of our IWRM Manual and some of the findings will be presented in this seminar.
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