Monthly Archives: October 2018

Building the Capacity Of Health Workers in South Sudan

Thomas Elikana screens an infant for malnutrition at the Maridi Primary Health Care Center (PHCC). He is one of the 13 health professionals trained on preventive and curative methods by the South Sudan country programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I). The training took place from 28 September to 3 October 2018 with support of the Ministry of Health. The objective of the training was to provide key health community leaders with essential health knowledge and skills.

Thomas screening an infant

Over 10,000 children die daily from preventable diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. In most high disease-burdened African countries, the shortage of health workers is compounded with limited education and training due to insufficient health teaching staff.

“I work as a primary health care supervisor in Mundri. I was very pleased when I was told I would benefit from this training. Such opportunities are rare within our health department. We learnt about health screenings and counselling to prevent disease occurrence and treatment, with an emphasis on the expanded program immunization,” said Thomas. “We also participated in a mandatory family health information collection process through community outreach. We were able to gather data on households’ nutrition status and medical history. This training was very practical and strengthened our case management skills which will be valuable in our work as we serve communities.”

Trainees during the family health information exercise

 “The participants were drawn from 6 counties of the Equatoria state. This initiative is crucial to the improvement of quality health services. With this training we hope to lay the foundation for successful implementation of the Boma Health Initiative,” said Maridi Ministry of Health Director Alfonse Lohyre.

The Boma Health Initiative is a government-led health programme developed to increase access to quality health care services and to establish sustainable community health structures as an integral component of the national health system.

AAH South Sudan was established over 30 years ago and aligns its health operations to Sustainable Development Goal 3 in order to achieve quality and efficient access to healthcare services for all. AAH-I is implementing the Boma Health Initiative in Yei River, Amadi and Maridi States through the Regional Primary Health Care project that is funded by Bread for the World.

 

Rallying For Zero Hunger In South Sudan

To mark the World Food Day in South Sudan, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) hosted an agricultural show at the Nyakuron cultural centre in Juba. The show took place on 16 October 2018 and gathered NGOs and government officials including the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Hon. Odigo Onyoti Nyikwec. People living as refugees in Gorom refugee camp and the host community participated in the event. Farmers were present to display their seasonal harvest.

28-year-old Ariet Ochalla and 48-year-old Lilian Zeinub are some of the farmers who were at the show. For them farming has helped them achieve financial security and obtain a healthy diet.

Cassava produced by refugees

“I fled Ethiopia with my husband and 3 children in 2011 due to political tensions. Things didn’t get any easier as my husband and I struggled to provide for our upkeep. We didn’t have money for food, medical expenses or our children’s school fees,” says Ariet. “Thankfully, our lives changed for the better with the training on improved agronomic practices that was provided by  AAH-I. I learnt about crop varieties, how to increase crop production and agricultural waste management. I am very grateful for the knowledge on land irrigation and soil improvement that I acquired. My farm can now be productive all year round compared to previous occasions when environmental hazards hindered a good harvest. I earned an income of USD $200 in July which helped me support my family.”

Like Ariet, Lillian received assorted seeds and farming tools in addition to the training on improved agronomic practices. This has helped her support her husband and 7 children.

A total of 300 farmers have benefitted from training on improved agronomic practices and agricultural inputs under AAH South Sudan’s Livelihoods and Environmental Management projects implemented with funding support from UNHCR. The training took place between March and July 2018. The goal is to enhance food security while adhering to sound environmental practices.

In 2017, famine was declared in two South Sudan counties with hunger and malnutrition reaching historic levels. Due to the country’s civil war, destroyed food security and destroyed livelihoods are among the many challenges faced by the population.

During the agricultural show the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security comemnded AAH-I for its work and reiterated the government’s commitment to address food insecurity.

“We are working on making available more farming land for refugees and their host communities. I wish to thank AAH-I on behalf of the government of South Sudan, and I am positive that we will achieve a Zero Hunger South Sudan by 2030,” said Hon. Odigo Onyoti Nyikwec.

 

 

 

 

Enhancing Refugee’s Financial Security

A merchant stall in Kakuma refugee camp displays a variety of hair extensions and colorful fabrics. With no client to attend to this morning, 31 year old, Bindu Mulio reviews her transaction records.

“I arrived at the Kakuma refugee camp 4 years ago after fleeing my native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. I got employed and started working at a hair salon in order to provide for my two children. I quit after some time and worked as an incentive worker. Being a single mother, I still struggled to feed my children and to pay for their school fees to complement the support from I was receiving from UNHCR,” says Bindu. “I then realized that being self-employed would grant me financial independence and resolve most of my problems. Little did I know that accessing funds would be yet another hurdle I would have to overcome.”

In 2014, an estimated 2 billion adults lacked access to a transaction account and were excluded from the formal financial system. As accessing loans for small scale entrepreneurs is quite arduous, the same is seemingly impossible for forcibly displaced people. Yet, financial services enable individuals to care for their families, venture in businesses, manage risk, and invest in health or education therefore increasing their quality of life.

To address this, the Kenya programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I), with funding support from UNHCR, is granting business loans to refugees in order to sustainably improve their self-reliance and integration among the host community.  Grants are disbursed to sponsor various businesses such as saloons, grocery shops, biogas production and tailoring.

Prior to receiving her loan of 50.000 Ksh in May 2018, Bindu benefitted from a two month training on financial literacy and business management. Hence, her earnings and self-reliance have significantly improved. Bindu has expanded her business and confidently caters for her family’s needs.

In 2017, 3,469 people benefited from AAH-I enterprise development assistance.

Kakuma refugee camp is situated in north-west Kenya, on the outskirts of Kakuma town. As at January 2018, the camp was host to over 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers like Bindu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marking The Global Handwashing Day In Maridi

Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) in collaboration with the South Sudan Red Cross and Bread for the World, organized a handwashing campaign in Maridi, South Sudan. The campaign took place in 10 schools to mark the Handwashing Day, celebrated globally on 15 October 2018.  The event gathered a total of 5,543 primary and secondary school students.

While at least 5 billion people use at least a basic sanitation service, over 340,000 children under 5 die annually from diarrheal diseases due to unsafe water, poor sanitation or hygiene.

As some communities in South Sudan have little to no awareness of good hygiene practices, access to further knowledge on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) would save the lives of the thousands of people who die yearly from diseases related to sanitation and poor hygiene practices.

“Many households and educational facilities in Maridi County lack access to safe water sources because piped water supply is costly. Communities are forced to rely on unreliable sources, such as surface water and boreholes. The goal of this campaign is to increase awareness on hand sanitation and its role in preventing spread of diseases. Implementing this campaign in schools was essential as hygiene and sanitation awareness in schools lays ground for sustainable health outcomes,” said Maridi County WASH Director Emmanuel Edward.

Don Bosco Primary School student demonstrating proper hand washing

The event incorporated this year’s theme clean hands – a recipe for health and included various activities such as WASH information sessions and proper hand washing demonstrations. This initiative is part of AAH South Sudan’s Regional Primary Health Care project which focuses on addressing maternal and infant mortality through infrastructure development and strengthening of established government and community health structures and systems.

Committed to enhancing sustainable health outcomes, AAH-I has plans to establish school health clubs for primary and secondary schools in Amadi, Maridi and Yei River States of South Sudan. AAH-I’s WASH programmes focus on identifying key hygiene problems in order to provide appropriate and efficient solutions for communities.

 

 

Improving Family Nutrition Through Vegetable Farming

33 year old John Moriso lives in Leshuta, Narok County, Kenya with his two wives and 10 children.

The drylands of Kenya including those in Narok, are mostly vulnerable to climate hazards. This has a great impact on livestock pastoralists and smallholder farmers who depend on rainfall.

“As a Maasai, livestock keeping isn’t just a means of subsistence, it is a cultural way of life,” says John. “My family and I did not have a varied diet and my children slept hungry on several occasions. The typical Maasai diet consists of milk and meat. Because they hardly ate vegetables, my children were malnourished and constantly ill. This motivated me to engage in vegetable farming, as I needed to expand their dietary options, besides getting an alternative source of income.” 1 out of 9 people worldwide are undernourished, and 1 in 3 children in developing countries suffer from stunted growth.

John acquired seeds from Narok town and started growing kale on his farm. Unfortunately, his sufficient plant farming knowledge led to poor harvests.

John working on his farm

The tide turned in August 2018, when John joined other 18 trainees for a visit to Mopel farm in Kaijado County. “This exposure visit helped me to gain practical farming skills. I learned about land management, plant growing methods and livestock breeding which is beneficial as most us are livestock keepers. I currently grow spinach, cabbage and beans that I sell at the Leshuta and Naikarra markets. My fellow trainees and I are members of the Leshuta Entagotua Cooperative which engages is various farming activities such as bee keeping and cattle fattening. After the training and exposure visit we bought a collective vegetable farm that will not only benefit our households, but the community at large.”

The Kenya programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) facilitated the training on good agricultural practices. This initiative is implemented under the Mara Community Livelihood Improvement Project, with funding from Bread for the World. One of the goals of the project is to enhance resilient livelihoods and tackle food insecurity.