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
December 10th, 2014, Niger
A few weeks ago we wrote about our startup in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries. We are pleased to announce that the first waterwell is now drilled and another four will be drilled before the end of 2014.
With a short rainy season and very few year-round surface water sources, the daily search for water is a top priority for the predominantly rural population in Niger.
– Usually women and girls bear the heavy burden to to fetch water. They often have to walk long distances, which is both hard and time-consuming. It also reduces their participation in educational and income generating activities, says Rune Cederholm, IAS Programme Manager & Acting Head of Programme Department.
Often the water is contaminated, it can even be deadly. In these instances, the women face an impossible choice, a certain death without water or possible death from illness.
– By drilling waterwells we both provide clean healthy water to the communities and also prevent these girls and women from alienation, says Rune Cederholm
IAS work in Niger has been running since November. The focus is on long-term solutions, including waterwell drilling and hygiene and sanitation training. The first waterwell well was drilled to a depth of 60 meter, in Sidi Koura, a village south of the capital Niamey. Another four wells will be drilled by the end of 2014.
-We are really happy to be able to bring life to these rural communities. Our work will also include equipping communities to dig their own latrines and to provide hygiene education and sanitation to reduce diseases caused by poor sanitation, says Rune Cederholm.
Text: Rebecka Woods
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
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