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Sierra LeoneSierra Leone has been trying to heal multiple wounds over the past few decades. The civil war from 1991-2002 left the nation with an especially deep cut. Many people fled their rural communities for growing urban areas; cities like Freetown quickly became overcrowded, leading to the appearance of slums almost overnight. According to the World Health Organization’s research, urban overpopulation, lack of sanitation and inadequate health services are key reasons as to why disease and death are so prominent in these locations. This holds especially true for mothers as well as for children under five. Humanitarian aid to Sierra Leone is vital in order to improve the lives of the country’s citizens.

Luckily, nongovernmental organizations like Concern Worldwide have implemented aid programs in Sierra Leone. From October 2011 to June 2017, Concern Worldwide implemented a USAID- and Irish Aid-funded Child Survival Project (CSP), also known as “Al Pikin fo Liv” (Life for Children). This program was designed to reduce maternal, infant and child deaths through the building of key foundations at 10 urban sites in the Freetown Western Urban Area District.

The main concern for completing the program was how to put into operation the national Community Health Worker Policy (CHWP). USAID and Concern Worldwide did this by working with individual health facilities to improve the quality of healthcare worker training, apply clinical protocols and providing on-the-job supervision and mentorship. Essentially, the CSP aimed to increase the number of healthcare workers per facility and improve the quality of care that is provided.

This might seem like it doesn’t have a solid correlation to solving maternal, infant, and child mortality. However, while it might be a simpler task to prevent death and offer treatment to an individual, it’s another matter to treat disease and prevent future deaths on a national level. The CSP and the implementation of the CHWP are strategies that are meant to carry on into the future.

It will take a number of years in order to determine the overall success of the humanitarian aid to Sierra Leone on maternal, infant and child health. But, in interviews completed after the program’s end date, many healthcare workers believed they were given the right training and resources in order to continue running efficient facilities and to improve care for patients. The community in general also felt more connected, because households were given increased knowledge about the importance of treatment and the health facilities were partnered with the Freetown City Council, Health Management Committees and Ward Development Committees at each project site.

This sense of unity and a more focused understanding of community-based health in urban settings is a powerful tool to have. It is important that humanitarian aid to Sierra Leone continues to be funded and implemented on the ground, in order to ensure an improved way of life and better futures for all citizens.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to India
With up to 1.3 billion citizens within an area of 3.1 million km, the country of India is soon to become the most populated country in the world. With that many people, proper living conditions in the country have decreased and inequality has increased. More than half of the Indian population lives below the poverty line. Along with this problem are tied many more. The lack of economic stability within the country has affected all branches of society. A lack of proper education, poor access to sanitation and social inequality are all problems that have increased over the past few decades. The U.N., UNICEF, Intermón Oxfam, Humanitarian Aid international and many more nonprofit organizations have taken action by sending humanitarian aid to India.

Christ for India has taken a prominent step forward by working with humanitarian ministers across India. Along with medical ministers, Christ for India has helped build houses for children living in poverty. Medical camps have also been built around villages in the country in order to provide medical care for those in need. By offering sewing, electrical repairs and technological courses, humanitarian aid in India also offers citizens opportunities for a better life.

The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust is an organization that combines humanitarian aid to India with public support in that same country and many more. The organization helps to address issues generally not tackled by bigger humanitarian aid organizations. The success of the organization has lead to an increase of performed surgeries and the creation of more hospitals in India.

Natural disasters are also a big cause of poverty in India. During this year’s summer, up to 41 million citizens were affected by flooding. The U.N.’s humanitarian agencies rapidly took action in order to provide food, clean water, shelter and medical attention to those affected by the floods.

The success of humanitarian aid to India is undeniable. Many issues have been tackled by many organizations, providing better living conditions for citizens in the country. Not only has India received aid but it has also increased the amount of international aid and assistance it provides to other countries.

India, despite its poverty levels, has the fourth largest economy in the world. This has helped the country in regards to humanitarian aid. Thanks to its economy, India has been able to provide help to Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and others, and has been able to stand out in regards to development assistance.

– Paula Gibson
Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to NigeriaIn September 2017, U.N. Aid Chief Mark Lowcock said, “that the Government and humanitarians had made important progress in delivering life-saving relief to millions of people in north-east Nigeria.” He made this statement after visiting the country for two days. He did insist on continued efforts from the international community to support humanitarian aid to Nigeria.

This statement shows that humanitarian aid to Nigeria has been making a meaningful impact on the country. The large African country is home to 186 million people and is a large oil producer, but many people do not benefit from the inherent wealth.

The area that the U.K. and other international groups are concerned with is the North East region. According to the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, “Nigeria is a country riven with inequality. 85 percent of the population survive on less than two dollars a day, and certain regions, especially the North East, are far behind the rest of the country in terms of development.” It is extremely important to have funds to support this region.

Because of the poverty and poor living conditions of a large majority of Nigeria’s population, international aid organizations have been sending funds to the country. The U.K. pledged $250 million to Nigeria in August and has been a long-term supporter of its former colony’s development. This pledge was made to help stabilize Nigeria as the country is dealing with the terrorist group, Boko Haram. The U.K. had already given over $100 million in 2017 when they made this new pledge. Britain is concerned about the potential famine that could affect around a million people. According to News24, “The new aid is meant to restore key infrastructure and services, improve health care and education and help farmers.”

In addition to the U.K., USAID has also been helping to address food insecurity in the Northeast. The organization gave 2.2 million people emergency food assistance in September. This has been done through cash transfers so that people can buy locally. The success of this type of humanitarian aid to Nigeria occurs at a much more local level.

USAID has also been funding efforts to help improve road access to the North East so that food and supplies can reach those in need. This effort has positively affected over four million Nigerians.

Because of efforts like these, the international community and the people of Nigeria, specifically those in the North East, are seeing improvements. Providing food and resources in order to maintain stability is a continued effort in Nigeria. These efforts will continue to provide support for Nigerians in need of aid and hopefully, humanitarian aid to Nigeria will continue to thrive.

– Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to NepalWedged between China and India, the small country of Nepal consists of nearly 30 million individuals. In 2015, the country was devastated by an earthquake that took the lives of nearly 9,000 people, and left close to 4 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The earthquake also destroyed the nation’s infrastructure and homes, setting back economic development significantly. Despite the devastation that occurred, many organizations provided humanitarian aid to Nepal and many of their efforts have proven to be successful. While many organizations showed their support, the work of two key organizations has been transformative to the lives of the Nepalese.

CARE

CARE has been present in Nepal since 1978. Its work has been focused on food security, HIV/AIDS prevention, improving health, education and water sources. It also works to empower young girls and women. When the earthquake struck in 2015, CARE was one of the first organizations that was able to provide humanitarian aid to Nepal. It provided immediate assistance to 10,000 Nepalese with shelter and materials to thousands of others to repair their homes. CARE also distributed water purification tablets, built emergency latrines and provided the Nepalese with hygiene essentials.

Following natural disasters, it is common to see incidents of gender-based violence increase. As part of its humanitarian aid to Nepal, CARE created friendly spaces where women can seek protection, have access to information, education, support and various services. Its work with women has helped to empower many Nepalese women.

To date, CARE has provided humanitarian aid to over 130,000 Nepalese and it is estimated that by the early months of 2018 it will assist another 100,000 people.

Save the Children

Save the Children has worked in Nepal since 1976. The primary goal of its work is to partner with local communities and organizations to design sponsorship programs for kids. These sponsorship programs work to ensure that children have access to education and have the necessary tools to be successful in their education. Some of these tools include access to food, water and sanitation products.

While its work is geared towards assisting children, through providing access to education, Save the Children was also prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to Nepal following the earthquake. In 2016, the organization gave over 1 million children vital nourishment, helped nearly 25,000 families feed their children and supported more than 210,000 children in crisis.

While thousands of children and families have received services and support from Save the Children, its humanitarian aid to Nepal still continues. Many schools have been rebuilt following the earthquake, yet there seems to be a disparity in the number of children who are currently attending. Its current efforts are geared towards getting children back into school and giving them the necessary tools to live a healthy life.

Humanitarian aid to Nepal has been extremely successful. Thousands of Nepalese have been provided with the necessary items, tools and support to rebuild their lives following the earthquake. However, there are many regions of the country that have received little to no support and are still in need. Organizations should continue to provide humanitarian aid to Nepal and other organizations should join the efforts to reduce poverty in the country.

 – Sarah Jane Fraser

Photo: Flickr

Damage to Infrastructure in Syria Entering Seventh Year of WarWarring factions in the six-year Syrian civil war have deliberately targeted both civilians and civilian infrastructure. While the international Commission of Inquiry on Syria has called the establishment of safe zones for civilians “a step in the right direction,” the lack of infrastructure has not allowed for improved delivery of humanitarian aid.

The prolonged crisis, which has resulted in massive displacement of refugees both within the country and internationally, has resulted in the destruction of infrastructure systems including the provision of water, electricity and sanitation. Additionally, social infrastructure such as schools and healthcare centers have been severely damaged or destroyed altogether. Without these systems, civilians have experienced increasingly vulnerable living conditions in affected communities.

A World Bank report issued in July 2017 estimated that, as of early 2017, the Syrian civil war has damaged or destroyed about a third of the housing stock and about half of medical and education facilities, and led to significant economic loss. The destruction of physical infrastructure, though, does not attest to the full toll of the war. World Bank called the visible impacts only “the tip of the iceberg.”

To calculate the extent of the damage, the report used satellite imagery in conjunction with traditional and social media postings for information on the state of the country. The specific targeting of health and education infrastructure in Syria has resulted in significant disruptions with communicable diseases reemerging. The warring factions often use schools as military installations as well.

Often overlooked, solid waste management systems continue to be one of the most affected services reliant on infrastructure in Syria. The equipment and heavy machinery used for waste removal has been looted, destroyed or not functioning due to lack of maintenance and parts. As a result, waste piles in the streets serve as breeding grounds for rodents and insects, polluting the environment and increasing the risk of disease.

The World Bank estimates that by comparing current circumstances with a projection of how Syria would have developed in the absence of conflict, the war has caused a loss of $226 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This total comes to around four times the entire Syrian GDP in 2010.

The United Nations Development Programme aims to stabilize local communities and promote the return of internally displaced individuals by restoring and repairing basic social infrastructure and services in severely affected areas. However, the U.N.’s ability to distribute aid has been severely limited by the Syrian government, armed groups, continued insecurity and fighting. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Meuller, told the U.N. Security Council, “despite reductions in violence, we have not been able to noticeably increase our reach.”

With more than 13 million Syrians in need of aid, more needs to be done to restore infrastructure in Syria and provide access to food, health care and other basic needs.

– Richa Bijlani

Photo: Flickr

Five Facts About Development Projects in South SudanSouth Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, sits along one of civilization’s oldest landmarks: the Nile River. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. Its path to stability and sustainability has not been easy.

The South Sudanese government originally planned to use its oil-rich regions to stabilize and grow the country’s economy, but due to disagreements with Sudan, oil production was shut down in 2012. Since then, civil war and rogue militias have ravaged the people of South Sudan, causing a humanitarian crisis. However, this has not slowed the success of aid in the nation. Here are five facts about development projects in South Sudan.

  1. Development projects in South Sudan see long-term international aid. In 2014, the British government allocated 442 million pounds for the development of South Sudan. Instead of directly involving itself in the process, the government has allowed various international aid organizations to use the money to carry out their missions on its behalf. These organizations include the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Over 60 percent of spending was allocated to providing food, medical supplies and material aid. The project is on track to end in 2020.

  2. The South Sudanese health services are overwhelmed and underfunded. According to the World Bank, the South Sudanese Ministry of Health is underfunded. As a result, the World Bank began a project in 2016 to help the South Sudanese government cope with its rising need to provide healthcare to its citizens, called the South Sudan Health Rapid Results Project. Funding has been set at $40 million. The project has succeeded in providing healthcare to South Sudanese citizens in the Upper Nile conflict area, an area that only a few development projects in South Sudan continue to work.

  3. Food security is in jeopardy. Food is in short supply in South Sudan, and the World Bank has attempted to alleviate the crisis with a food and agriculture project in 2016. The project is called Southern Sudan Emergency Food Crisis Response Project. Overall, this project has had mixed results when measured against its target goals. It has reached its target for farmers adopting new technologies to increase output and surpassed its goal of constructing new food storage facilities. However, less than half of the targeted families have been helped by their funding. Unfortunately, this project did not receive funding again in 2017, but the infrastructure it created and the new technologies introduced will help drive development in South Sudan for years to come.

  4. May 4, 2017, saw the approval of the South Sudan Emergency Food and Nutrition Project. The project was granted $50 million and is set to run until July 2019. Its goals are similar but more comprehensive than the previous food aid project. This time, more focus is being given to the re-engagement of farmers, which is exceedingly important for the stability of the country’s food supply. Using the infrastructure and technologies of the last project will help provide the basics for the beginning of this new development project in South Sudan. To compensate for the shortcomings of the last project, more funding has been given to focus on supplying food while the farmers begin to produce their new crops.

  5. South Sudan’s development has improved at the community level. USAID is providing support to South Sudan at the community level, focusing on the availability of safe and sanitary drinking water and the health and education of children. Manual water drills and pumps are being provided to villages around the country along with education on waterborne illnesses. To protect and educate children, USAID has implemented three programs. The first aims to protect the rights of children against child-labor and provide equal access to education for boys and girls. Encouraging nonviolent play is another implemented program that focuses on keeping children away from violence. Safe spaces for children are often hard to come by in war-ridden nations. With the third program, USAID seeks to provide more of these spaces for children to receive medical treatment away from conflict.

Conflict has displaced 2.2 million South Sudanese citizens. Fortunately, the world has not forgotten about its newest country. International aid will continue to help fund development projects in South Sudan, hopefully leading the nation and its people to a brighter better future.

– Nick DeMarco

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to UgandaUganda is hosting over 1 million refugees. Thanks to its progressive solutions and open policies, the country, located in East Africa, has welcomed people from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. In 2017, the refugee population dramatically changed: close to 900,000 South Sudanese fled to Uganda seeking peace. This year, Uganda became host to the largest refugee camp in the world. Bidi Bidi is home to 270,000 refugees and is expected to get even more arrivals in December 2017. For that reason, humanitarian aid to Uganda has become essential to assuring that refugees’ needs are met. This includes shelter, healthcare and education.

Women and Children

Around 86 percent of the 900,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children. The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has provided different projects helping these groups. In 2016, 264,300 South Sudanese women received core-relief items, shelter kits and sanitary kits.

In addition, the international organization imparted help with Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) issues. The UNHCR aided 767 South Sudanese SGBV survivors to access psychosocial counseling.

Increasing Access to Education

Classes are difficult to hold in refugee camps, as most of the time there are not enough facilities and teachers. In Bidi Bidi, there are 5,000 students and only 38 teachers. Despite that, 130,600 school-age refugee children were enrolled in primary education. By the end of 2017, it is expected that 176,171 children will be registered.

Other educational efforts are being in Uganda’s Coburwas Primary School. One program ensures that refugee students receive food. Outside of the classroom, students learn how to farm, an activity that brings money to the school.

Health and Humanitarian Aid to Uganda

Humanitarian aid to Uganda has had large success in addressing health issues. It is expected that 100 percent of the people of concern, specifically refugees, will have access to national primary healthcare services in 2017. In addition, health organizations such as the Real Medicine Foundation (RMF), are developing projects in refugee camps. The RMF currently operates 30 health centers in Bidi Bidi.

Economic Improvements

Finally, the UNHCR implemented a project to improve refugees’ economic situation. The organization trained 9,300 refugee business owners in entrepreneurship and all of them received access to credit and financial services.

Humanitarian aid to Uganda is increasing as the refugee population grows. Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world, but in order to ensure improved living standards for refugees, there is a need for continued contributions of humanitarian aid.

– Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to Burundi
The 10.4 million people living in Burundi suffered through civil war conflict that began in 1994 and lasted for 12 years. Ongoing violence has since kept Burundi one of the poorest and hungriest countries in the world. In 2015, the political and social unrest reached a tipping point when a contested presidential election plunged the country into its worst crisis yet. Humanitarian aid to Burundi was threatened after donors suspended funding to the government following human rights violations and negligent use of funds. Fortunately, organizations have been focused on finding other ways to aid Burundi citizens and refugees.

After suspending governmental aid in 2016, the European Union has been redirecting humanitarian aid to Burundi by concentrating its efforts on local populations and civil society. Over 90 percent of Burundi’s population depends on agriculture, based mainly on subsistence farming, one of the main contributors to its GDP. The European Development Fund has allocated $500 million in aid. The funding will be used to support sustainable rural development, benefiting nutrition, health and energy, and helping Burundi citizens support themselves.

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with singer Beyoncé to launch BEYGOOD4BURUNDI, a partnership dedicated to providing safe water in Burundi. Over the next few years, the program will improve water sanitation facilities in schools, provide hygiene education and construct new wells equipped with hand pumps. Access to clean water will prevent transmission of water-borne diseases, one of the leading causes of death of children in Burundi. The risk of attack on young girls will also be lowered, as they will no longer have to travel for miles to find water.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has released an extensive regional response plan to organize global humanitarian aid to Burundi. After receiving aid from countries all over the world, the humanitarian response plan is already about 88 percent funded and is focusing its efforts on providing education, food, safety and economic growth in Burundi.

While providing humanitarian aid to Burundi without the full cooperation of their government is a challenge, organizations have found ways to directly help villages sustain themselves, help more children receive education, improve health and hygiene to help prevent disease, and give access to safe water.

– Jenae Atwell

Photo: Flickr


Burkina Faso is a country situated in Western Africa, and its capital is Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso – a former French Colony — is surrounded by the countries of Mali, Niger, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, making it a land-locked country. Being a part of Sub Saharan region, the climate is predominantly hot and semi-dry with an average annual rainfall of 25 cm to 115 cm. The country is rich in mineral resources like gold, manganese, zinc, phosphate, silver and diamond with gold being the major export commodity.

In spite of the country’s natural resources, about 45 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Due to drought, deforestation and improper agriculture, food insecurity is a major problem in this area. Lack of high-quality drinking water also contributes to diseases like malaria, dengue, and yellow fever prevalent in the population.

HIV/AIDS poses a huge threat to the population of Burkina Faso. As a result of food insecurity and disease outbreak, education doesn’t find a place among the population.

Humanitarian Aid to Burkina Faso 

The good news is various Foreign Aid Organizations like Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), UNICEF and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are working relentlessly to address the problems faced by the country by offering humanitarian aid to Burkina Faso.

Millennium Challenge Corporation

In its five-year compact from 2008 to 2013, the MCC along with the government of Burkina Faso invested in four different projects related to agriculture, land tenure, roads and girls’ education. The target of these projects was to reduce poverty, increase economic growth and educate the female population.

The above projects helped in irrigating more agricultural land as well as training farmers in growing more crops and raising better livestock. Legal protection has been provided to the farmers in securing their farmland. Roads were constructed in the rural region which helped in both reducing travel time and vehicle maintenance cost — developments that thus boosted the overall economic growth throughout the region.

BRIGHT II Project

The BRIGHT II Project of MCC (related to girl’s education) directed its efforts towards building schools, providing proper facilities for female education and increasing access to school education. The result is that the completion rate of primary school students increased from 21 percent in 2008 to more than 57 percent in 2012. In this regard, humanitarian aid to Burkina Faso is working its way up towards success.

USAID provided human rights assistance to the government of Burkina Faso by helping to maintain a stable democratic governance. Under its support, the country held its first free and open democratic elections in November 2015, followed then by the municipal election in May 2016.

USAID Resilience Program

The Resilience Program of USAID focuses on increasing agricultural productivity and long term food security. It also targets improving the health conditions of the women and children whose mortality rate is higher and thus are more vulnerable to various diseases.

In collaboration with the World Food Program, the organization also provided food assistance to 30,000 Malian population who continued to take refuge in Burkina Faso as of December 2016.

UNICEF

Unsafe water is a leading cause of death in Burkina Faso. UNICEF works with the government in manually drilling water points in various remote areas so that mass populations can get access to safe water and hygienic sanitation. In the process, they are also providing employment to the common people by training them in locally produced and easily available tools.

Due to the contribution of humanitarian aid to Burkina Faso, the country has progressed in political rights, rule of law and information freedom. Despite its poverty, illiteracy and disease outbreak, Burkina Faso is slowly moving forward as a stable democratic country.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to BelizeLocated on the eastern coast of Central America, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the rainforest, Belize is a diverse and small nation of 366,000 people. The success of humanitarian aid to Belize has been evident.

Belize is subject to chronic instability, due to its vulnerability from climate shocks and a longstanding public debt burden. Policymakers have done much in undertaking adjustments to bring Belize back to a sustainable development trajectory. However, some are still at risk of getting left behind, like the country’s children, who are most vulnerable and affected by these challenges.

Despite these difficulties, Belize has made considerable advances in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015, performing satisfactorily in health-related investments and progressing on a positive track for child and maternal mortality rates, HIV/AIDS and the environment.

Much of the humanitarian aid to Belize comes from UNICEF, who has been committed to Belize dating back to 1954. UNICEF established an office in the country after Belize gained its independence in 1981. It provided aid in the form of environment health, vector control, school feeding and the provision of school textbooks and supplies. Currently, UNICEF is focused primarily on young child survival, education and development, disparity reduction through policy investment, participatory governance and the protection of children against violence.

Another form of successful humanitarian aid to Belize by UNICEF is their response to the Zika Virus outbreak in the region, providing fieldwork support and training at the national and local levels, with the Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative. So far, UNICEF has allocated over BZ$116,000 to Zika relief efforts.

UNICEF also provided humanitarian aid to Belize during the aftermath of Hurricane Earl, which struck Belize on August 4, 2016. They provided aid totaling over BZ$153,000 to help the most vulnerable families. This was done in partnership with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, the Ministry of Labor, Local Government and Rural Development, city mayors, NEMO, Immigration and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The aid provided included the distribution of hygiene kits, the provision of support to shelters and the cleansing of debris and dissemination of emergency messages.

Similarly, Brazil donated provisions to Belize after it was hit by Hurricane Arthur in 2008, which was the worst tropical storm to affect the country in the past four decades. It provided 1,370 boxes of food, containing rice, beans, sugar, powdered milk, soy oil and ham in each box. Brazil also donated provisions valuing approximately $50,000 to assist the victims of Hurricane Dean in 2007.

With the success of humanitarian aid to Belize that has already been provided, the future of the country is looking brighter than ever. Still, there is a need for more aid that will improve the quality of life drastically in Belize.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr