The Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad basin has impacted hard on the Diffa region in south east Niger. Before the first attacks on Niger soil in February 2015 the region was already host to over 100,000 refugees from Nigeria. Over the subsequent 2 ½ years the region has remained under a state of emergency and has been subjected to over 200 armed offensives during which over 500 civilians have been killed, injured or abducted. As a result, some 248,000 people are currently displaced within the Diffa region, with significant humanitarian needs across all sectors.
IAS has been engaged in WASH activities in Diffa since April 2016 and has to date drilled 29 boreholes to supply clean water to both displaced and host populations. However, despite the efforts of IAS and other international and local actors, needs for a safe and accessible water supply remain high, with water points being severely overcrowded in many sites.
This is why IAS is pleased to announce the receipt of funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) (www.ec.europa.eu/echo) that will allow us to continue responding to the humanitarian needs in Diffa. The allocated funding of € 1,420,000 from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2019 will allow us to provide safe and accessible water to 30,000 beneficiaries through the construction of 20 machine-drilled boreholes equipped with solar-powered pumps, water towers and tap stands. These new water points will be accompanied by hygiene training for all beneficiaries.
IAS is pleased to partner with ECHO in saving the lives of the displaced and host populations in Diffa.
DISCLAIMER – This news and press release covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
On this World Humanitarian Day we have a sad reflection as reports indicate that the number of
South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda has now hit (and probably passed) 1 million. This is the
sad reality of the situation that many around the world, including South Sudanese, have been forced
to be in. Frustrating as it may be in consideration that the South Sudan crisis is man-made, we are
reminded of the Humanitarian Principles to which we adhere, and continue to respond to the influx
of refugees into Uganda. IAS continues to join with other responders in this situation as we seek to
provide WASH services and join in the protection of Unaccompanied Minors finding themselves as
refugees with no one to call a guardian. We continue to hope and trust that the current trends in the
influx of refugees will change as the systems, including our own response capacity are stretched.
Nevertheless, we also continue to appreciate those that have joined IAS by providing financial
support in order for us to be able to respond to the situation on the ground within the existing
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.
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)
IAS continues to respond to the prevailing humanitarian needs in South Sudan itself. Over the past
year we have continued to render our services to the communities affected by the current crisis. We
have also joined with others in condemning the targeting of humanitarian workers, not only in South
Sudan, but in all places where we continue to put our men and women in harm’s way in trying to
We Need Rain!
Among IAS’ major areas of emergency response this year has been the Horn of Africa, with focused
active engagement in Somalia/Somaliland in response to the continued drought situation.
Responding to critical water and food shortages, we have seen some of the devastation among the
pastoral communities whose livestock have been destroyed by the drought as they not only lost
their economic sustainability capacity, but also have been rendered helpless by lack of food and
water. Hopes for rains coming at the times when they were expected have kept being shattered and
threatening the current situation to becoming worse. The recovery process itself even in the event
that the affected regions have received sufficient rains will take time. While recovery is of utmost
importance, it currently remains secondary as we strive to save lives in the now! We continue to
appreciate our donors in helping us respond in this difficult situation.
Lake Chad Region
The crisis in the Lake Chad region is estimated to be affecting around 17 million people in 4
countries. IAS has been responding to the crisis in Diffa, Niger for the last two years. Persistent
WASH gaps exist, and coupled with insecurity in parts of the Diffa region, teams have to be diligent
in planning humanitarian response. IAS is scaling up its response to the provision of potable water in
the region, and seeks to continue being relevant in addressing existing gaps.
Fit for Purpose
And so, with our teams serving in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Somalia/Somaliland, South
Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and all the partners in countries where we are not physically
present, we remind ourselves that our desire each day is to remain Fit For Purpose as we continue to
serve humanity. With that determination we will continue to serve!
PICTURES: Håkan Björk
VOICE (Volontary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies)
What should the EU´s humanitarian priorities be in 2017/2018?
VOICE, with it’s swedish members organized a “roundtable” with the intention to bring together the national humanitarian perspectives from the Scandinavian countries with the European perspective.
- EU Humanitarian Aid in 2017/2018 – Policy Framework
- Bridging between humanitarian and development aid
- The Grand Bargain
- Workshop on Grand Bargain
Among other participants;
Niklas Winberg – Head of section for Humanitarian Affairs, Swedish MINISTRY For FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
Chiara Gariazzo – Director, ECHO, European Commission
Kathrin Schick – Director, VOICE
CHAIR – Floris Faber – ACT ALLIANCE EU OFFICE
Jessica Hedman – Humanitarian Aid Coordinator, PMU
Anna Garvander – Head of Humanitarian Team/International Department, CHURCH OF SWEDEN
Marek Stys – Head of Emergency & External Relation, PEOPLE IN NEED
CHAIR – Ester Asin – SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL EU LIASON OFFICE
Nicolas Borsinger – President, VOICE
Daniel Zetterlund – CEO, INTERNATIONAL AID SERVICES
Magali Mourlon – VOICE secretariat
– Did you know that every third person on the planet is lacking a toilet?
Without toilets, people are at great risk of lethal epidemic diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, which is killing 1.4 million children every year. Lack of toilets is also the major reason why many girls in urban slums do not finish school. In Nairobi, IAS together with local partner Peepoople Kenya is bringing Peepoo toilets to schools in the slum, to give children a better chance to remain in class and stay healthy. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.
In a typical primary school in the world’s slums, the state of the sanitary facilities and the level of the children’s hygiene are poor. Often hundreds of children have to share single pit latrines.
Preventing girls dropping out of school
In many schools toilet floors can be covered with fresh faeces and are wet with urine. Children without shoes are left with no option but to stand barefoot in this mess to relieve themselves.
For girls who are approaching puberty the situation is even more severe. About one in 10 school-age girls do not attend school during menstruation and many also drop out of school due to lack of clean sanitation facilities. Having a personal toilet in school helps the girls to finish their education.
One of girls that is happy for this personal toilet is Doreen Indasi, 13, Kibera, Kenya.
” The Peepoo toilet has brought advantages for me in school and I also like the health club where we learn about hygiene. We also have Peepoo at home, and this is especially helpful during the night when I cannot go out. It is dangerous to use the pit latrine in the evening. At night we keep the used Peepoos at home. In the morning my mother takes them to the drop point. The latrines we used to go to were always dirty, and far away. With Peepoo we save time and we can stay in class. “
The Peepoople product is being distributed to 100 schools and more than 20 000 school going children living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
More info about the Peepoo product can be found on the Peepoople website
International Aid Services (IAS) is an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) abiding by Christian values. Founded in 1989 with the purpose of assisting conflict affected populations in South Sudan we now run programs in over 10 countries in primarily Horn of Africa /Eastern Africa supported by 4 offices in Europe and the United States. The Alliance Head Office is located in Stockholm, Sweden.
We see ourselves as catalysts for development. Investing in people in order for them realize their full potential – going beyond relief and development.
Stockholm 18th October 2016 – It is with great pleasure we announce that the Peepoople innovative brand and product will continue to be developed by International Aid Services (IAS) as from today’s date. Peepoople and IAS began the cooperation in year 2014. With the change in strategy from having a high-tech production in Stockholm, Sweden, towards a local production closer to the market, IAS became the first choice for Peepoople.
– The last years of partnership with IAS has been a game changer for us in Peepoople and we are excited to see how this free transfer of the brand to IAS can create an increased ownership amongst the target group that we intend to reach, says Anders Pihl, CEO of Peepoople since 2014.
Today, the Peepoople product is being distributed to more than 20,000 people (mainly women and children) living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.
– Fantastic to see this innovative product being used Worldwide and in particular Kenya. We believe that the product plays an important role in providing not only a sanitation solution but also in terms of protection of women and children using it in insecure areas, says Andreas Zetterlund, Head of Marketing & Fundraising Department at IAS.
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.
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
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
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.
Picture: Ketema Kinfe – IAS Ethiopia
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
REPORTER – Julius Bitamazire – IAS – UGANDA
Since Wednesday the 7th July 2016, heavy fighting broke out between the South Sudan ruling government and forces loyal to the 1 st Vice President Mr. Riak Marchar in the South Sudan capital Juba spreading to other parts of the country. Although not clearly quantifiable, huge destructions of property, loss of lives and other forms of suffering is being reported on media such Aljazeera, CNN, National Television (NTV) and much is awash in the local newspapers here in Uganda.
I travelled to the NW part of Uganda (Arua, Koboko, Adjumani and Yumbe Districts), where most of the refugees arrive in Uganda, to see for myself the refugee situation having been in a meeting at the UNHCR offices in Kampala.
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. She is the only child they had. She walked together with her grandmother for a week, before they crossed the border.
Here is a Child Headed family (unaccompanied minors) of five members all from Yei.
They are; Scovia Anna (16 years – in army green blouse); Nancy Nyadi (8 years – In sleeveless Kitenge dress); Agagka Blessing (6 years – wearing shorts); Christine Akina (6 years – in red top); Subura Joyce(3 years – with a necklace)
These children share a father with different mothers. They are all total orphans; they were helped to come to Uganda by their neighbour. The older girl, who was in school while in South Sudan, is now taking care of the young ones. Scovia was in P.4 and Nancy was in P.1.
They walked from Yei to Kaya (Approx.70km), boarded a public vehicle paid for by their neighbour to Keri where they were picked up by a UNHCR truck to Rhino camp.
When I arrived to one Settlement called Rhino Camp, I am left without words at the suffering of the refugees from South Sudan. The situation is quite appalling that one can’t fail to shed a tear due to the magnitude of the problem, with few humanitarian actors.
Over 80% of the new arrivals consists of women and children. There are also quite a number of Child Headed families (Unaccompanied minors). The others are the aged who have managed to come over for now.
Over 71,499 refugees have crossed the border into Uganda since the 1 st of July, and the number is increasing. On a daily basis the new arrivals are in thousands. Many of those I did talk to thanked God that they managed to cross into Uganda because many didn’t make it.
The challenge right now is that the period ahead of us is the heaviest rainy season in Uganda, so a daunting task is yet to come both for the refugees and the agencies who are responding.
IAS is on ground responding to the crisis together with other sister agencies, but the challenge is huge since there isn’t sufficient funds to take care of this immense catastrophe that has befallen these people.
The below are some of the identified critical gaps as of now:
– Water is a problem. The few bore holes cannot accommodate such big population. Drilling of new bore holes is much needed.
– Immediate need for temporary communal latrines & bath shelter including hygiene facilities (hand washing facilities and soap)
– Sensitization of community on acceptable hygiene practices
– Provision of water drinking containers to at least 5000 Households.
Health, Nutrition and Psychosocial
– Psychosocial support required to mitigate trauma effects
– Provide temporary shelter for Health Outreach
– Construction of huts for unaccompanied minors
– Provision of play materials for children
– Family reunions
Temporary overnight communal shelters to be used prior to construction of household dwelling shelters.
Julius Bitamazire – 11 AUG 2016 – KAMPALA – UGANDA – Pictures Julius B and team