Monthly Archives: June 2018

AAH Uganda appoints new Country Director

The Board of Directors of Action Africa Help Uganda (AAHU) announces the appointment of Peter Douglas Avenell as the Country Director. AAH Uganda Country Director

Peter takes over a portfolio of diverse projects being implemented in humanitarian relief and recovery, basic services (health and water, sanitation and hygiene), environmental management and food and income security. AAH Uganda is currently working with communities in Kyangwali refugee settlement, Adjumani, Lamwo, Kiryandongo and Arua with funding support from the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP) and Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency. AAH Uganda is also supporting to build resilience of pastoralists and agropastoral communities through economic and rights empowerment of vulnerable women and girls in Karamoja region with support from UN Women.

Peter comes with over 25 years’ experience in leading diverse teams in humanitarian and developmental programming in Eastern and Central Africa. Peter holds a degree in Sociology and brings on board a wealth of experience, having worked in Chad, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. In the 1990s, Peter worked for AAH-I in South Sudan when it was still Action Africa In Need. He has also worked with the Norwegian People’s Aid, CARE, Save the Children and CORD in programmes in food security, primary health care, nutrition, WASH, child protection, child rights governance and education.

“My professional experiences from field positions to higher level management has given me the insights to understand programmes and the need for timely support from all to ensure we effectively implement projects. This background will allow me to support teams so that we achieve maximum impact with the resources we have” said Peter.

The Executive Director of AAHI and Board of Directors of AAH Uganda (AAHU) are confident that Peter Douglas Avenell brings experience energy, drive and enthusiasm to AAHU Country Programme. The appointment takes effect June 2018.

AAH Uganda began operations in 1993 through humanitarian assistance to more than 80,000 South Sudan refugees in the West Nile. Since then AAH Uganda has delivered services in five refugee settlements (Moyo, Adjumani, Rwamwanja, Kyangwali and Kiryandongo), and gradually evolved into a comprehensive multi-sectoral programme, with an approach of empowering the host communities and people displaced by conflict. Through this empowerment approach, AAH Uganda programme has had tangible impact through its work with livelihood-challenged communities. In 2017 alone, at least 145,000 people benefitted from our projects in the country.

My education journey: The Story of Hanna Abraham

18-year-old Hanna Abraham pores intently into a Mathematics textbook at the library at the Peaceful Coexistence Centre (PCC) in Hargeisa. She tries to come to the library at least once a week.

Hannah at the PCC library in Hargeisa


Hanna’s favourite subject is Mathematics. Being able to use a library to study is an opportunity that she did not have while in her home country. Hanna is of Eritrean origin. Her mother is from Ethiopia. They left Ethiopia with Hanna’s three brothers, Nahom, Yared and Dawit, in 2008 and sought asylum in Hargeisa, Somaliland. They now live in Idaacada village. Hannah was only 8 when she arrived in Hargeisa. She had dropped out the school in Grade 8, but through support from UNHCR she managed to resume her studies at the Sheikh Madar Primary School in 2010.

“I was taken ill while in school and it took me two years to recover. UNHCR introduced me to the PCC where my brothers were enrolled. I took up Computer and English courses to recover the time I had lost and to catch up with my peers.”

Hanna is back at the Sheikh Madar Primary School and is now in Form 3. Her journey has been long and winding but she has not lost her confidence. She was among the top three in her class in a GCSE final exam. “I look forward to a bright future. I want to be a doctor when I complete my university education.”

“My dream is to become a doctor.”

The PCC is managed by the Somalia Country Programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) with funding support from UNHCR. The PCC is a hub where communities have access to a library resource, training on various vocational and language skills and opportunities for social interaction. When Hanna is not at school she enjoys participating in various events at the PCC such as the World Refugee Day, International Women’s day and intercultural community days.

“The courses I took at the PCC made my education journey easier and helped me to build my confidence, “she concludes.

Antenatal care reducing child infections in Maridi

Twenty-five year Ruba Namana proudly holds her 2-month old baby Kezia in her arms. The baby is healthy and is showing a good growth record. “This was my second pregnancy and it was much easier than my first one. I didn’t always know how to take care of my first baby. She had skin infections and often fell ill. I was worried that she would die,” says Namana. “With my second baby, I began attending antenatal clinics at Maridi Hospital much earlier, by the second month, until the last trimester.”


Child health care AAH South SudanNamana with baby Kezia wait to be seen at the Maridi Hospital

A report from the World Health Organization indicates that a higher frequency of antenatal contacts by women and adolescent girls with a health provider is associated with a reduced likelihood of stillbirths and maternal mortality. Globally, while 86% of pregnant women access antenatal care with a skilled health personnel at least once, only three in five (62%) receive at least four antenatal visits.

Antenatal visits are key in the health of the pregnant woman and the unborn baby. Through the visits women get advice on healthy diet and nutrition and safe physical activities to engage in during the pregnancy. They also get information about the prevention of diseases such as malaria and HIV, the health of their baby through fetal measurements and guidance on future vaccinations. Complications during the pregnancy are identified and addressed in order to reduce the chances of maternal mortality.

The South Sudan Country Programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is implementing a health project with a focus on reducing maternal and child mortality in Maridi Country, South Sudan. One of the components in this programme is the management of the Maridi Hospital. AAH-I has been managing the Maridi Hospital since the early 90’s. “Maternal health indicators in South Sudan are among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Our work at the Maridi Hospital is to ensure that most maternal deaths that can be prevented do not occur. In 2017 alone, we had 6,088 women attend four antenatal visits,” says Maridi State Hospital Medical Officer Monica Ejidio.

“During the antenatal checks I learnt how to recognize signs of infection and use mosquito nets. I also learnt how to bath my baby, feed her and keep her warm. I didn’t bathe my first daughter correctly, so she had a few wounds on her arms that got infected. This did not happen with my second daughter because I followed the guidance I received at the antenatal clinics at Maridi Hospital. I am now more aware of the correct diet I should take for good milk production. I feel more confident now and I am grateful that my daughter is healthy.”

UNHCR reps visit the Peaceful Coexistence Centre

The UNHCR Somalia Deputy Representative Takeshi Moriyama and UNHCR Hargeisa Head of Office Xhemil Shahu, visited the Peaceful Coexistence Centre (PCC) in Hargeisa on 13th May 2018.

They were accompanied by other senior UNHCR Staff from Mogadishu. The objective of the visit was to experience and understand first hand the operations at the PCC, and how it is supporting refugees, internally displace people, returnees and the host community.

Right to left: AAH-I Hargeisa Programme Manager Anthony Esenu, UNHCR Somalia Deputy Representative Takeshi Moriyama, UNHCR Hargeisa Head of Office Xhemil Shahu, UNHCR Mogadishu staff and UNHCR Senior Field Assistant Mohamed Abdi Bakal

The PCC is managed by the Somalia Country Programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) with funding support from UNHCR. The PCC is part of AAH-I’s investment in the operation for community programs that address social cohesion between displaced people and the host community, and that improve the environment for tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The PCC is a hub where communities can have:

  • Training on good governance, human rights and conflict management
  • Psychological and legal support
  • Training on various vocational and language skills
  • Access to a library resource at the Centre.
  • Opportunity for social interactions, especially on cultural days

AAH in Somaliland

UNHCR Somalia Deputy Representative Takeshi Moriyama (left) and UNHCR Hargeisa Head of Office Xhemil Shahu (2nd left) with AAH-I staff at the PCC’s playgroup room


The team visited the Centre’s library, playgroup area and classrooms. Some suggestions from the UNHCR mission include future consideration to

  1. Provide meals for the children at the Centre
  2. Increase the number of members of the host community taking part in projects at the PCC to 50% (of total project participants)
  3. Put up more shades to increase the size of the waiting bay and activity areas
  4. Test creative solutions and models to support refugees, asylum seekers, returnees and internally displaced people to set up and engage in viable businesses, including partnering with the private sector.

In 2017 alone, at least 12,000 people benefitted from legal, psychological and training support at the PCC.