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 17th, 2015
How is Inclusive Education defined? And how should it be implemented? These were some of the questions that were discussed when IAS arranged a seminar on the topic Inclusion or Separation – What´s best in education?
The seminar was attended by IAS collaborating partners and students and teachers from Stockholm University and opened up with a short overview of the historical development of Inclusive Education (IE). This was followed by discussion on the definition of Inclusive Education.
– IE is about including all children with specific focus on those who are facing barriers to learning and participation and hence vulnerable to marginalization, exclusion and underachievement. This includes children with disabilities, said Stephen Mwaura, IAS Inclusive Education Focal Point.
Environment needs to change-not the child
Stephen Mwaura stressed that all children can learn and should be given equal opportunity to reach full potential in education.
– IE is about changing the systems to fit and accommodate children facing barriers to learn and participate and not changing the children to fit into the systems. So, how do we remove or minimize these barriers so that all children can have access to quality education?
Paul Mbatia, Coordinator from Light from the World also stressed that Inclusive Education looks into transforming education systems in order to remove barriers that prevent children from fully participating in education. And this goes back to how we view people.
– What´s your first impression when you see a person who can´t walk? Do you see the impairment or do you see the person behind it? Impairment is not the issue but the issue is how we respond, Paul said.
-Education is a basic human right and should be achieved on the basis of equality of opportunity to all children including those with disabilities, Stephen said.
Children hidden in homes
Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion 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 homes since the parents believe the disability is a curse. Therefore they are also denied the opportunity to go to school.
-There is a lot of awareness-work to be done when it comes to changing of attitudes and reducing other barriers in the countries where IAS is implementing Inclusive Education. These countries includes Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya.
When children with disabilities are educated in special schools (segregated settings) they are often discriminated and the system tend to force these children to lead a separate life and often unable to fit in the society.
Awareness-work in IAS is done by training teachers, capacity building education administrators, awareness creation campaigns, empowering parents and local leaders, putting together parents groups and family networks, collaboration with key stakeholders, early identification and intervention of children, etc.
How far should we embrace IE?
The seminar ended with a panel discussion on the best way forward, should the education system be inclusion or separation? And how far should we embrace inclusive education?
-In IAS we want to give the child the best start in education and a smooth transfer to inclusion in the regular school. Often these children start school very late, since they have been hidden at home, said Stephen.
Therefore a child might start in a special class situated in a regular school for about two years or so to get extra support before being included in the respective regular class. While in the special class the children have an opportunity to meet and interact with children with no disabilities which is an integration to the regular class.
-Inclusive education is a process, a never-ending search to find better ways of responding to diversity. It is thus an on-going process of changing the education systems (polices, practices, attitudes, resources and environment) so that it can welcome, support and benefit all children, Stephen said.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Håkan Björk
April 16th, 2015, Sweden
IAS is expanding and we are happy to welcome Desiree Lyckelind, our new Head of Administration at the Head office in Stockholm.
Desiree, please tell us a bit about yourself.
– I´m married to Natanael and we have two children. Since I was little I have had a heart for Africa. My parents were missionaries in Ethiopia so I lived there for six years.
For the last six years I have been in charge of the administration in a larger congregation in Uppsala, coordinating the administration and also pulling a few strings when it comes to the congregation´s international work.
You have also been working with IAS in the past?
Yes, I have. During the year 2 000 I worked as a volunteer for IAS in Garissa, Kenya and between 2004-2006 I worked as Senior Administrator in Khartoum, for IAS in Sudan. It feels great to be back with IAS and have the privilege to work at the Head Office.
What do you hope to contribute to IAS work?
-I hope to use my experience to strengthen the administrative part of the office and will give my best to support the Human Resources Department. I know from experience that people in IAS are driven by compassion and are prepared to walk that extra mile to make a difference in peoples lives and I want to be a part of it.
Text & photo: Rebecka Woods
November 26th, 2014, South Sudan
The peak season for malaria this year has been unusually long in South Sudan, says IAS staff in Nyinbuli who are concerned that the incidence rate has been increasing year after year.
– Children under five and pregnant women are the largest groups at risk, says Emmanuel Baraza, nurse at a health center supported by IAS in Nyinbuli, where IAS specifically work to treat and prevent malaria.
– The peak season for malaria is usually in July, August and September. This year however, high malaria cases has been seen into late October. It is worrying that the number of malaria cases seem to be increasing, says Emmanuel.
Women and children worst affected
Nyinbuli in Bahr El Ghazal is one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to malaria and the disease has continued to be an endemic condition here despite efforts to curb its spread. The most vulnerable groups are children under five and pregnant women.
– For pregnant women we have a special antenatal care program, since the treatment options are limited. We also distribute Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets to children, men and women, says Emmanuel.
Creating awareness about malaria
– We have also created awareness in the local community. One of the things is to inform people that they need to seek health care as soon as symptoms appear. This is a challenge as many confuse malaria with ‘’Gargan’’-a local name for yellow fever which presents itself almost the same as malaria, says Emmanuel.
Some are also seeking medical help from local healers and only go to the health centers when the symptoms have become so severe that it is often too late. This has largely contributed to the increase of the mortality rate of malaria.
– IAS continually provides services here and we remain the only hope to the local community when it comes to health care provision, says Emmanuel.
Text: Rebecka Woods
The crisis in South Sudan is worsening on a daily basis . Therefore IAS Humanitarian Coordinator Daniel Zetterlund will participate in the High-Level Humanitarian Pledging Conference for South Sudan 19-20 of May. The Conference is taking place in Oslo and is hosted by the Norwegian Government and OCHA. The purpose of the Conference is to discuss how to address the humanitarian crisis which during 5 months only has caused 1.3 million people flee their homes. Today over 4 million people, including over 2.5 million children, are extremely vulnerable to food insecurity, as people have been displaced from their sources of survival. IAS has signed a joint NGO statement outlining ‘seven steps’ to address the current crisis.
April 17th 2014, South Sudan
Some months ago the UNMISS base in Bor, South Sudan, was a horrific sight with more than 17,000 people cramped in a very small space. Today it’s all very different, thanks to IAS staff.
-The camp is clean, water provision has improved and sanitation and hygiene is also greatly improved, says IAS humanitarian coordinator, Daniel Zetterlund.
Together with South Sudan country director Repent Taban he visited our ongoing intervention in the UNMISS base, The United Nation Mission, in Bor. IAS staff were the first to respond on 27 December 2013 and has been present continuously to this date.
– There has been no water related deaths for the last 5 weeks and we are very happy about the improvement. It’s clear that IAS has made a great impact here, many of the refugees are now even naming their kids Yakani after our program coordinator Yakani Hillary, continuous Daniel with a smile.
IAS team mobilized community leaders
The first thing IAS did when setting ground in December was to respond in water, sanitation and hygiene. But to do this effectively our team mobilized community leaders within the UNMISS base.
– They set up community structures capable of responding to the massive needs on ground. An ‘elders community council’ was established which serves as the voice for the people within the UNMISS base, says Repent Taban.
Linked to this council were a number of people who could also perform more technical duties. IAS also hired a number of volunteers and key staff who could take charge in the implementation of activities.
“We are now able to help people outside the UNMISS base”
During the time of IAS presence the town has shifted hands four times between Government and opposition forces. Today the Government is in control of the town and security has improved, albeit it remains tense and unpredictable.
– However, IAS believes it is now possible to do larger scale programming outside the UNMISS base, targeting Bor County and nearby surroundings. While still maintaining the good work inside the UNMISS base we also look at responding to populations outside; also ensuring neutrality and equal distribution of aid, says Repent Taban.
Facing challenges and providing hope
Some of the key challenges are the upcoming rains which is due to start around this time. Measures are though put in place to ensure that the people in UNMISS base can still be served throughout this season.
– Drainage systems are being constructed among others. IAS aims to continue to take a lead in water, hygiene and sanitation. The director of OCHA told us that IAS provides more then just aid, we also provide hope and that we will continue to maintain, says Daniel.
Today IAS run programmes and maintains staff/volunteers in six main categories:
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Repent Taban