Monthly Archives: July 2017

Better sanitation, one homestead at a time

“After learning about the negative impact that poor sanitation has on my family, I decided to build a traditional latrine in my homestead using old pieces of cloths and twigs. Now any member of the family can access the latrine at any time of the day, thanks to the knowledge I gained from Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) sessions in Elwak, Gedo region.” These are the words of Fatuma Sheikh Adan, a resident of Bula Garas village in Elwak district, Gedo region.

Access to latrines has been a major challenge to the residents of Gedo region. There are few toilets in few households who have the financial capacity to construct one. The rest of the households often practice open defecation, a health hazard resulting from water-borne related diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), which thrive in poor hygiene.

Fatuma agrees, “We incurred huge medical bills as a result of diseases associated with poor sanitation and poor hand washing habits. We also had poor food handling habits.” “We knew the right thing to do but had financial constraints. My husband is a sales man in a shop in town and earns about USD $100 per month. This is hardly enough for food and other basic needs for our ten children. A proper latrine was at the bottom of our priority list.”

Before the latrine was built, Fatuma’s children would use a nearby bush as the toilet. The girls would either use the neighbour’s toilet or wait until dark so that they could discretely use the bush.

In May 2016, five NAPAD and AAH-I staff were trained on CLTS. The staff later trained and triggered the community using the same approach. As a result, five villages in Elwak were selected and triggered – Madina, Hawlwadag, Bula Garas, Waberi 1 and Waberi 2. Fatuma was a beneficiary. As a result of this triggering process, 171 traditional latrines were constructed and installed with hand washing facilities by the community using their own innovation.

Fatuma embracing the use of soap and water after visiting the toilet

This AAH-I intervention is complementing Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations such as her.

Bula Garas is one of three locations that were recently declared open defecation free (ODF) in June 2017. A team of 23 delegates comprising 13 WASH cluster partners, 2 local authority representatives, a district health officer, 2 women group representatives, a religious leader, 3 community leaders and a youth representatives took part in the ODF certification exercise. The methodology of verification was based on strict adherence to CLTS protocol, using a random sampling technique to assess 51 households. The delegates confirmed that the 3 locations had reached ODF threshold and as a result, a ceremony was held in Elwak town to celebrate the success.

With emphasis is placed on community mobilization instead of individual households, the communities continue to show significant achievements in establishment of pit latrines, installation of hand washing facilities with water and soap and safe disposal of all waste material. This bottom-up approach is increasing the chances of villages sustaining ODF.

With support from Bread for the World, AAH-I has been implementing the ‘Integrated community rehabilitation programme’ in Elwak District, Gedo region. One of the goals of the project is to improve maternal and newborn health in the region by 2018.

Djibouti: Health project for refugees

AAH Djibouti management and field staff teams attended a two-day training hosted by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) from 6th to 7th June 2017.

This training was conducted in preparation for support towards strengthening tuberculosis (TB) and HIV services in refugee camps. A grant by IGAD and Global Fund (GF) will support improvement, availability and utilization of tuberculosis and HIV services by refugees through complementing the efforts of other development partners and national programmes.

The goal of the 2-day training was to create a common understanding about the indicators and performance measurement of the performance framework of the grant among program and monitoring and evaluation staff. It also aimed to support the improvement of TB/HIV data quality.

AAH’s Finance officer Mahad Mohamed said, “I look forward to working with the teams to strengthen the grant management and link the programmatic achievement and fund utilization in the camps under this grant.”

AAH Djibouti field staff teams comprised doctors, nurses, pharmacists and community health supervisors from Ali Sabbie, Ali Addeh, Holl Holl, and Obock sites. Other participants were from UNHCR and TB/HIV and HIS officers from the Djibouti Ministry of Health.

L to R: Project doctor Yacoub Houssein Ardeyeh, Finance Officer Mahad Mohamed, Country Programme Manager Meltanan Gomintan, Program Manager Tharcisse Mulindwa, Consultant/Trainer GF/IGAD Dr Tsegay Legesse, Project Doctor Salam Abdisalam, and Pharmacy Technician for Holl Holl refugee camp Mohamed Omar

“The topics on data quality improvement in relation to the performance framework will enhance effective and efficient implementation, which is likely to result in increased project effectiveness and outcomes”, said Meltanan Gomintan, AAH Djibouti Country Program Manager.

An initial behavioral assessment in the targeted area of intervention, Ali Addeh Refugee Camp, is planned for August 2017.
Being blind hasn’t stopped me from singing about peace

Yei River County, located 105km west of the capital Juba in South Sudan, was host to a one-day peace and reconciliation concert on 7th July 2017. The goal of the concert was to promote the spirit of peaceful co-existence amongst the south Sudanese communities living in Yei, and to advocate for human rights, gender equality and hard work.

This is the second edition of the concert being held under Capacity Building for Post-Conflict Reintegration (CAPOR), a project being implemented by Action Africa Help South Sudan. At least 10 music artistes took part in the event. The event was graced by the the local community, including the local area chief Waningo Charles.

The main guest artist was 19-year-old Alex Sebit, known by the stage name ‘Dr. Amplifier’. It is easy to enjoy his soulful music conveying messages of peace, respect for human rights, and gender and equity. He sings in simple Arabic and in one of the local languages, Kakwa.

Alex (in dark glasses) performing during the peace concert in Yei in July 2017

Alex is visually impaired. His story might have turned out different had he not been trained on music composition. “Although I cannot see, my ears, memory and determination keep me moving.”

The first time he walked into the CAPOR office in Yei to record his songs, it was hard to believe that he was going to make any strides in music. But Alex silenced skeptics when he got behind the microphone in 2010. Alex now makes a living from musical performances during events in the town.

Alex is now learning how to play the piano and is inspiring other people living with physical disability in South Sudan.

CAPOR is funded by Bread for the World. The goal of CAPOR is to tailor information, education and communication activities to support rural populations in Equatoria Region to successfully participate in the social and economic community development, and to contribute to a peaceful reintegration and social rehabilitation of an independent post-conflict South Sudan. Since its inception in 2007, the project has been working and supporting peace committees, fine artists, women groups, puppetry builders, radio drama groups and Boma Development committees.