Monthly Archives: May 2018

Greener energy in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

Meeting the energy needs of refugees and communities in emergency situations is usually second to basic needs such as food and shelter. Yet, energy plays an important role in supporting displaced communities return to normal lives.

According to UNHCR data, Uganda was hosting 68,703 refugees at the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in March 2018. This population of refugees needs support to meet their daily household energy needs.

The Uganda programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is upscaling the use of charcoal briquettes to ensure that the population in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement has access to a more environmentally-friendly source of energy. With funding from UNHCR, we have are providing training to individual and group briquette producers, during which producers learn how to:

  • Safely handle tools and equipment used in the production
  • Source locally available biomass for the charring process
  • Fill the kiln and decompose the biomass at high temperature (pyroloyzing) for quality char powder
  • Sift the char powder and mix it with a binder
  • Dry, package and store the briquettes

To date the project has provided training to 45 groups and supported the formation of four briquette producer groups, including equipping them with briquette-making machines. Through this initiative 7,120 people have been reached through 2,464 home visits tailored to assess adoption of environmental conservation practices and to increase use of briquettes as a source of energy. As at December 2017, 1,082 refugee households in Kyangwali had access to charcoal briquettes.

 

AAH Uganda briquette makingProducer emptying charred biomass

 

AAH Uganda briquettesDrying the briquettes

 

AAH Uganda briquettes ready for useBriquettes ready for use

 

This initiative is under the AAH Uganda multi-sectoral programme in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Hoima District. This programme is focused on improving the quality of life for refugees and nationals through supporting self-reliance and livelihoods projects and integration of social services delivery with local government systems. Key sectors in this programme include social protection, education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, logistics and infrastructure and environment and energy.

Ground-breaking for school construction in Ajuong Thok refugee camp

14 February 2018 saw the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Almerawi primary school by the South Sudan country programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) in Ajuong Thok refugee camp. Once completed the school amenities will comprise of 8 class rooms, an administrative block as well as 3 sanitary facilities which will host over 320 students.

H.E. Ambassador of Japan SejiOkada (L), Commissioner for Refugee Affairs Hon. Lt. Gen Bol John Akot (C) and UNHCR Rep. Johann Siffointe (R)

The event was attended by Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan His Excellency Seiji Okada, UNHCR representative to South Sudan Mr Johann Siffointe and the Commissioner for Refugee Affairs Hon. Lt. Gen. Bol John Akot. They were received by AAH-I’s South Sudan team alongside the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

According to a UNHCR education report, 3.5 million refugee children did not attend school in 2016 and only 61% of refugee children attend primary school compared with a global average of 91%. “The construction of the Almerawi primary school is aimed at making education accessible to additional refugees as the other schools are overcrowded and have exceeded their hosting capacities. Access to education is an indispensable human right that all children should be entitled to. AAH-I is very proud to be part of this project,” said AAH South Sudan Jamjang-Ruweng State Area Coordinator Mohamed Galgalo.

Almerawi School construction groundbreakingUNHCR Rep. Johann Siffointe (L); H.E. Ambassador of Japan Seji
Okada (C), Commissioner for Refugee Affairs Hon. Lt. Gen Bol John Akot

Action Africa Help-International is the lead implementation partner of UNHCR, implementing projects in logistics support for refugees and asylum seekers and infrastructure development in South Sudan such as the Pamir Public Health Care Center that was visited by his Excellency Seiji Okada on the occasion. The Ambassador of Japan also met with the Governor of Ruweng State and used the opportunity to reiterate The Government of Japan’s commitment to supporting South Sudan.

This initiative funded by the Government of Japan and UNHCR is under AAH-I South Sudan Country programme and addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education. Action Africa Help International is committed to working with local governments, communities and partners in order to support inclusive and equitable quality education.

Juba: Promoting social cohesion & improving access to income

According to UN poverty facts and figures extreme poverty rates have been reduced by more than 50 % since 1990. Yet 767 million people live below the international poverty line of USD $1.90 a day; the majority of which live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The highest poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries.

The situation in South Sudan is especially dire. The country is facing ongoing political and economic challenges that has resulted in one of the world’s worst displacement situations with tremendous suffering for civilians. The country’s economic situation has been deteriorating as a result of the 2016 conflict. According to trading economics, the inflation rate in South Sudan was 142% as at November 2017. The continuous fluctuation in value of the South Sudanese Pound against the US Dollar has caused a hike in the cost of living, leaving many households with hardly a meal a day.

To address this problem, the South Sudan country programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is implementing a World Bank-funded Safety Net and Skills Development Project (SSNDP) which is providing access to income and promoting social protection through temporary public work employment for vulnerable and poor men, women and youth in Juba.

AAH South Sudan Public Works
World Bank Social Protection Specialist Nadia Selim with Louis Gado (in red scarf) from Gudele block 6 Quarter Council

 

“The conflict in our country almost completely divided us. Through this project I am able to interact with fellow residents in Juba, but most importantly secure an income and develop new skills for future employment. I get a wage for every day that I work. The community has also benefitted because the project includes road rehabilitation, drainage improvement and clearing institutional and household compounds. I am grateful to AAH-I and its partners, and I am hopeful that my future is bright,” says project participant Sejerena Juan.

As at January 2018, at least 6,000 households (54301 individuals) have benefitted from SNSDP, and have reached received a total of US $1,620,000 in wages. Some members have used this opportunity to form local savings and credit associations (locally referred as Sonduk-Sonduk), strengthening income capacity and livelihood improvement.

This initiative is undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives, and Rural Development, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development. The main objectives are to promote social cohesion among communities in South Sudan and to support eligible project participants to increase and sustain their livelihoods, and to acquire new skills. The project is complementing Sustainable Development Goal 1 of ending poverty in all forms everywhere.

HIV/AIDS Awareness Through Football

UN Aids Report indicates that there were at least 200,000 adults and children living with AIDS in South Sudan in 2016.

As conflict has destabilized social structures in the country, HIV/AIDS cases are hardly ever reported or discussed in the community. This coupled with few systems and services to provide HIV support, low information about HIV/AIDS, cultural superstitions about the disease, a relatively low perception of the risk factors and different interpretations of safe sex contribute to the challenges of containing the endemic in Maridi County.

To support national and local governments’ efforts in HIV/AIDS management, the South Sudan Country programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is using sport as a key tool for mobilization and to create awareness among youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The idea is that sporting activities have the potential to instill a sense of health awareness and facilitate their access to the HIV/AIDS message.

In March 2018, AAH South Sudan in partnership with local radio station Maridi FM organized a soccer tournament to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, particularly among the youth in the County. The match was played between hospital staff of Maridi State Hospital and staff for Maridi FM radio station. The soccer match aimed to create a platform for information exchange and lessons learned in order to enhance the role of sports in the fight against AIDS at community level. 

Maridi State Hospital and Maridi FM staff preparing for the game

AAH-I and Maridi FM staff were on hand distribute leaflets with information on prevention and management of HIV/AIDS, and offer counseling and testing services at a booth that was set up during the match. Over 184 youths (89 female and 95 male) were tested for HIV/AIDS. People visiting the booth also received information about strategies for accepting of the people living with HIV/AIDS within the community.

A young man going through a HIV/AIDS leaflet during the match.

At the end of the match the Getting to Zero campaign was kicked off to ensure that conversation continues. To date more than 300 people including college and school students had taken part in the campaign.