Posts

Cyclone Effects on Mozambican Students
Six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped through central and southern Mozambique in March, Cyclone Kenneth added further destruction in the northern portion of the country. Having these consecutive disasters is highly abnormal in the region, and the impact of both storms has left over 650 people dead in Mozambique alone. Time Magazine reported that Mozambique would need $3.2 billion in order to recover after the damage caused by the storms.

The Cyclones

Mozambique is already a developmentally challenged country, suffering from high poverty rates due to high population growth, low agricultural productivity, illnesses and unequal distribution of wealth. These storms have left many citizens with nothing, further impoverishing the country. One of the most impactful yet overlooked aspects of the storms is the influence they have had and will continue to have over students. Cyclone effects on Mozambican students have made it difficult — and sometimes simply impossible — for the young population to continue their educations.

Impact on Students

More than 600 schools in Mozambique were damaged, impacting more than 300,000 students’ access to education. School records have been destroyed, roofs are missing from schools, and the water damage to classrooms is significant. School supplies have also been destroyed, meaning students have no access to notebooks, textbooks or writing utensils. Because of the damage to many classrooms, students are being forced to overcrowd classrooms, forcing multiple teachers to use the same room. This has proven to be highly distracting for students, and their focus is not fully on the content they are learning.

Along with schools being damaged and inadequate, other cyclone effects on Mozambican students come from the storms’ impact on their lives outside of school. With the devastation of the cyclones, many students come from families who have lost their homes, or even someone who had lived with them. As a result, children are unable to attend school, and both the ones who do and don’t attend school are suffering from lack of proper food and water — often going without either.

Additionally, the psychological toll that these storms have taken on kids has led to disruptions in their learning abilities. Many kids have seen the effects of the storms firsthand, having lost family members, neighbors and friends in the floods. School attendance rates are already low, with less than half of children under 15 fulfilling the country’s mandatory primary school program. That number decreases to less than 20 percent when it comes to high school attendance because many families cannot afford to pay school fees.

Aid Organizations

Various organizations have stepped up to provide relief and spread awareness about the disastrous effects of the storms, both in general and specifically for students. The Red Cross was among the first groups to arrive in areas of Mozambique severely affected, providing immediate aid to people in need. World Vision is another organization that has been active in its media coverage of what’s going on within Mozambique, in addition to its relief efforts. In Mozambique specifically, its focus is on providing food, water, child protection services and further education. It has also established two Child-Friendly spaces where kids are sheltered and given activities to do.

Save the Children, an organization based in the U.K., has consulted children and their families on their experiences with the storms. Affected children have shown varying sign of psychological stress, ranging from general anxiety that another storm will come to bedwetting. The organization has been in Mozambique since before the first cyclone made contact, and it has been providing child protection, emergency shelter and healthcare.

Overall, there is much to be done in terms of relief when it comes to Mozambique’s recovery. Much of the aid will go toward providing people with the essentials: food, water and shelter. However, attention should be paid particularly to the cyclone effects on Mozambican students. Access to education should be afforded to all children, regardless of socioeconomic status. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations that recognize that education needs to be prioritized in the aid they give.

— Emi Cormier
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cyclone Idai Health CrisisOn March 14, 2019, disaster struck southern Africa in the form of Cyclone Idai, a category 2 tropical storm that ravaged through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Idai made landfall in Beira, Mozambique, a large port city of more than 530,000 citizens. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies asserts that 90 percent of Beira has been destroyed in the wake of Idai. The subsequent Cyclone Idai health crisis continues to challenge Southeast Africa.

As Idai strengthened along the coast of Africa, Mozambique and Malawi experienced severe flooding resulting from heavy rainfall. The cyclone destroyed roads and bridges, with a death toll of 1007. Hundreds more are still missing. Sustained winds of over 150 mph damaged the crops, homes and livelihoods of thousands throughout southeast Africa. To top it all off, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are experiencing a major health crisis in southeast Africa in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

Cholera and Malaria

As of May, more than 6,500 cases of cholera have been reported. This intestinal infection is waterborne, commonly caused by drinking unsanitary water. In Mozambique, a country already vulnerable to poverty, the cholera outbreak exacerbates the adverse effects of Cyclone Idai. Cholera can be fatal without swift medical attention, though prompt disaster relief response and a successful vaccination campaign made significant strides in containing the outbreak.

In addition to cholera outbreak, cases of malaria are rising, with nearly 15,000 cases reported since March 27. Malaria is transmitted through Anopheles mosquito bites, insects that flourish in the standing flood waters of Idai. According to WHO, almost half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, with the majority of cases and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Relief efforts prepared for the outbreaks by arming health professionals with antimalarials and fast-acting diagnostic tests.

Cyclone Idai Health Crisis Relief Efforts

The health crisis in Southeast Africa following Cyclone Idai received swift aid response. Disaster relief efforts prepared vaccinations and medications beforehand, ensuring that medical response was efficient and effective. The total recovery cost for the damage inflicted on Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe is estimated at over $2 billion. The tropical storm affected upward of three million Africans.

WHO delivered 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine retrieved from the global emergency stockpile. Further, the organization plans to create multiple cholera treatment centers in hopes of containing the outbreak. World Vision is concentrating their efforts on the spread of this infectious disease. The humanitarian aid group is working alongside UNICEF to distribute cholera kits with soap and water purification tablets.

Rapid aid efforts also met the spike in malaria cases to combat the Cyclone Idai health crisis. WHO secured 900,000 bed nets treated with a strong insecticide to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease. However, children and infants are at major risk, as malaria is considered the third most deadly disease to this population. The hefty humanitarian response and support necessary to help Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has prompted UNICEF to launch an appeal for $122 million for the next nine months.

-Anna Giffels
Photo: Pixabay

 The Impact of World Vision in the Developing World
World Vision is an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development and advocacy organization. It has many recent success stories including helping 4 million sponsored children, disaster survivors and refugees, strongly impacting education, providing clean water and so much more.

What is World Vision?

World Vision emphasizes its sponsorship program — a $39 a month service that provides essentials including clean water, nutrition and education to a sponsored child and his/her community. Sponsors receive photos, letters and updates of the impacts made.

World Vision focuses on fragile states by developing new approaches to enable transitions out of fragility. Its strong program areas include water, sanitation, hygiene, health, livelihoods, food assistance, child protection and education.

The organization partners with churches, donor governments, corporations and individual supporters across the globe, in addition to local communities, faith bodies, civil society and public institutions to help refugees.

World Vision addresses barriers to education and works with communities and local governments to improve the quality of education for children.

Who Are its Partners?

The organization works with WFP, World Food Program and USDA in Rwanda to improve children’s literacy.

World Vision also partners with Home Grown School Feeding Program to provide a suite of complementary literacy and health interventions to the school’s feeding project. The literacy intervention guides schools, parents and communities in supporting the development of the five core reading skills: letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

According to World Vision, nearly 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene.

What’s the Organization’s Goal?

The organization’s goal is to solve the global water and sanitation crisis by providing clean water and sanitation to every man, woman and child in every community it works in, including the most vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach places.

World Vision is bringing its World-Class Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programming with their health sector work in an effort called BabyWASH. 

Effective approaches include training volunteer community health workers where these volunteers teach families about critical water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviors, counsel mothers to facilitate hygienic delivery of babies in health care facilities, and learn to identify and treat common childhood diseases while referring more serious cases to a health care facility.

What is the BabyWASH Model?

The BabyWASH model combines three life-saving interventions:

  1. Provides clean water directly into health care facilities along with handwashing stations, toilets and bathing facilities
  2. Trains medical staff and community health workers on prenatal and postnatal healthcare and nutrition, including the importance of breast-feeding immediately after birth
  3. Uses corporate donations to fully equip and supply health facilities with medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and safe delivery kits

There are continual efforts and success stories of lifting people out of poverty thanks to the World Vision staff and volunteers,.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in NigerA landlocked country in West Africa, Niger has struggled with development for many years. It is the largest country in the region, but 80 percent of its land lies in the Sahara Desert, making it almost impossible to cultivate agriculture there. Consistently ranked low on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, it faces serious problems related to its low education levels. 71 percent of its citizens are illiterate.

Because of its desert terrain, known as the Sahel, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, agriculture is a difficult way to cultivate a living, and yet only a small percentage of the population does not use it. But because the 12 percent of arable land in Niger is found along the southern border, most farmers and citizens focus on subsistence farming, which means they only grow enough to feed themselves and their families. With increasing periods of drought and desertification, this is becoming more difficult.

With that in mind, sustainable agriculture in Niger focuses on projects that will counteract unpredictable climate issues such as droughts. By doing so, Niger and other groups hope to create a more resilient agricultural sector. For example, in 2014 the United Nations coordinator for emergency relief, Valerie Amos, estimated that in the Sahel region, 20 million would face hunger that year. In a region where so many go hungry, innovation is a necessary way to combat this and every success counts.

Consider the concept of agroforestry that Niger and the NGO World Vision have successfully implemented. Instead of using excess resources to plant new trees, Niger farmers have protected the trees that spontaneously grow on their lands, and as a result, have added five million trees to the landscape in the past 20 years.

Trees provide numerous benefits such as increased soil fertility, firewood and fruits for human consumption. In 2009, a report stated that this new style of sustainable agriculture in Niger increased food production by 500,000 tons, enough to feed 2.5 million people.

In 2011, the World Bank approved $111 million in finances to improve sustainable agriculture in Niger. Called the Climate-Smart Agriculture Support project, which is the first in Africa to assist specifically with climate-smart agriculture, will directly benefit 500,000 farmers in 44 communities in the country.

It hopes to enhance productivity and provide resilience against greenhouse gas emissions. More specifically, it will focus on distributing and using improved, drought-tolerant seeds, and expand the use of agroforestry to combat climate issues. With this action, the World Bank and Niger hope to combat climate shocks, particularly droughts. With stability on its mind, Niger continues to find innovations and projects that will make its agricultural sector a more profitable and sustainable endeavor.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

8 Things to Know About Poverty in El Salvador
El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America. After a 12 year civil war and years of unstable leadership, poverty in El Salvador is a concern that greatly affects the over 6 million people living there.

 

Top 8 Facts on Poverty in El Salvador

 

Over 25 percent of children below the age of 5 experience extreme poverty in El Salvador and 36 percent of the rural population lives in poverty. Urbanization is a problem developing countries face as cities grow and become a hub for economic, medical and commercial activity. This causes problems for those in rural areas as they have less and less access to resources. Currently, 60.3 percent of citizens live in urban areas, which results in greater poverty for the remaining people outside of cities.

The people of El Salvador are also constantly at risk of facing greater challenges due to natural disasters. World Vision reports that the country “experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity, making it known as the ‘land of volcanoes.” In December of 2013, the Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador erupted and caused the evacuation of 5,000 people.

Leaf rust has caused problems for the coffee industry in El Salvador, which is an important source of income for the country’s economy. Heavy rain and wind carry rust spores from plantations to other plantations miles away. Bloomberg reports that the 2015 coffee season projections fell from 920,000 to 613,333 60-kilogram bags.

Ninety percent of the population has access to safe water and 96 percent of children are enrolled in school, though this education may not be effective in preparing children for their future. The U.S. Agency for International Development reports, “Many children and adolescents living in El Salvador face enormous vulnerabilities associated with high rates of crime and gang violence including poor quality education.”

El Salvador has the highest homicide rate in the world for youth under 19, reports USAID. InSight Crime cites progress in El Salvador’s mission to reduce the number of violent deaths to a rate more in line with international statistics. In September of 2016, 13.3 percent fewer homicides occurred than the previous year. USAID launched programs whose focus is to stimulate and increase productivity in areas that are at risk, such as rural populations.

The national strategy entitled Plan El Salvador Seguro “addresses security and education opportunities in high crime municipalities.” The strategy involves programs such as Education for Children and Youth at Risk, as well as USAID Bridges to Employment to care for those who are not enrolled in education but need to provide for themselves and their families.

UNICEF Goodwill ambassador and former professional soccer player David Beckham’s new fund “7” launched a campaign in 2015 to end violence against children and poverty in El Salvador. This program is Beckham’s commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children globally.

Beckham said, “Every day, violence affects thousands of children and adolescents in El Salvador. It’s an outrage – violence in their homes, schools and streets. El Salvador has the highest rate in the world of homicides of children and adolescents and, together, we can change this.”

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr

PepfarLiving in the depths of AIDS-plagued Rwanda, Jacqueline, a single mother of five, was faced with the task of providing for and feeding her family alone. Shortly after losing her husband on the battlefield, she also lost her teaching job. Just when she thought all was lost for her and her children, Jacqueline was provided with a loan and business training by a PEPFAR-supported program called World Vision.

World Vision is just one of 30 organizations supported by PEPFAR, or the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This program, implemented in 2003, is the world’s largest donor responding to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children overseas that are affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Because of the loan, my children have food to eat. They have clothes. They go to school. Our community is really happy,” Jacqueline told Word Vision. More than $52 billion PEPFAR funding goes to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs. In the past year, PEPFAR has provided care and support for more than 5.5 million orphans and vulnerable children worldwide.

The program has successfully reduced vulnerability in AIDS-plagued communities. PEPFAR has supported 15,000 savings groups in over 15 different countries. It has been able to strengthen household economic stability of at least one million children affected by the HIV virus.

Geoffrey Matiya is one of these children. A 14-year-old boy diagnosed as HIV-positive, Geoffrey lives with his great aunt and uncle in Zambia. He was orphaned at a young age by the AIDS epidemic.

Yet through all these hardships, Geoffrey is a lively and happy teenage boy. He thrives amidst an AIDS-populated community and shows no signs of illness. His spirits remain high thanks to a successful program supported by the funding of PEPFAR and implemented by World Vision.

Twice a week, a caregiver visits Geoffrey to ensure his physical and mental health. This caregiver is a part of a network of 40,000 healthcare workers that are supported by the Ministry of Health.

Each caregiver makes bi-weekly visits to households such as Geoffrey’s. They also provide counseling, psychosocial support to AIDS orphans and testing for HIV and malaria. Thanks to their commitment and care, children like Geoffrey are able to thrive.

Programs like these are made possible by the significant amount of funding set aside by the PEPFAR budget. Partners receiving funding include organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Academy for Education Development, the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Cross International, the Foundation for Reproductive and Family Health, World Relief and Food for the Hungry.

It is the goal of PEPFAR to continue to help organizations build upon their successes. There are over 13.3 million children living without one or both parents due to the AIDS virus, with 95 percent of these children living without their extended family as well. It is the hope of PEPFAR that with continued support and funding, an AIDS-free generation can and will one day be achieved.

Katie Grovatt

Photo: World Vision

Literacy Boost ProgramSince 2000, many victories have been made in the educational area, from increasing primary school enrollment by 8 percent in developing regions to the global literacy rate rising to more than 80 percent. But there is still a lot that can be accomplished in terms of improving literacy.

Through World Vision’s Literacy Boost program, educators, parents and community members are incorporated into children’s reading and writing education. The program is split into three categories: reading assessment, teacher training and community action.

The reading assessment is meant to establish a baseline of learning for students, giving teachers a better grasp of where their students are and giving them the ability to tailor curriculum to be the most effective.

In the classroom, Literacy Boost provides teacher training that ensures all teachers are fully literate and have a firm understanding of good teaching practices, and it stresses the value of teachers making learning fun for students. Studies have shown that children learn more effectively when they’re invested in course material and enjoying what they’re learning.

The Literacy Boost program also stresses the importance of continuing learning outside of the classroom. To do this, the program gives parents the tools necessary for helping their children read and write at home. Parents are also encouraged to use whatever is available to make reading a daily focus.

In Burundi, where only 64 percent of the population is literate, Literacy Boost volunteers have created necklaces with a piece of cardboard attached to the end with vowels written on it. The necklace is meant to help children whose parents are illiterate to practice their reading skills in the community with their literate neighbors.

This is where the community gets in on the action. From volunteering to create story books that are from the region of the children reading them to facilitating after-school activities, such as book clubs, the third pillar of community action ties everything together. In India, these book clubs have produced increased literacy levels among its members.

Since its start back in 2014, World Vision India has reported that the program has helped nearly 600 children in the program’s city of Lalitpur, with nearly 500 of them participating regularly in the book clubs.

Part of the success of the Indian book clubs is due to their 21 Book Banks, allowing children to borrow books to take home, teaching children to view reading as a fun pastime rather than a difficult school activity.

Linda Hiebert, senior director of Education and Life Skills at World Vision, emphasized the importance of reaching children early on in their education, establishing a solid foundation of literacy.

To do this, Literacy Boost has created a pre-primary school reading camp to give children a jump-start on their studies before they even step foot in a classroom. At the camp, children learn letters and vowels, preparing them to study a variety of subjects.

Thus far, the overall results have been promising. After a single year of the program, Bangladesh has achieved an improvement rate of reading comprehension of 40 percent, with other countries experiencing doubling and tripling of reading comprehension.

Through World Vision and Save the Children’s Partnership for Literacy campaign, the organizations are hoping to impact 1.5 million children in 15 sub-Saharan and South Asian countries by 2016, improving the lives of children today and future generations.

Claire Colby

Sources: Canada News Wire, Our World in Data, World Vision 1, World Vision 2

Photo: Flickr

Hunger_FreeWorld Vision has launched a new initiative to raise funds for a hunger free world. Through the #hungerfree movement, people can “double up” the cost of their meal and donate the money to fight global hunger.

Presently, more than 795 million people are food insecure, usually as a product of poverty. Food insecurity can mean not knowing where one’s next meal is coming from, not having access to foods with necessary nutrients or not being able to intake enough calories to maintain health.

For individuals facing food insecurity, it affects all aspect of daily life. Food insecurity affects the ability to focus in a school or workplace environment, have healthy physical and neural development and functioning. For mothers, pregnant women and children, these effects are compounded.

Fighting food insecurity and world hunger is a critical component to fighting global poverty. By ensuring people have enough to eat, they can have more energy and ability to be healthy, productive individuals, citizens and communities.

The mid-September launch of #hungerfree by World Vision is timed well for World Food Day 2015 on October 16. The #hungerfree program targets people in Kenya and South Sudan, countries whose food production is dependent on subsistence farming.

Furthermore, the prevalence of hunger in Kenya and South Sudan is also exacerbated by the disproportionate amount of unemployed young people, who are often displaced by conflict and/or climatic shocks.

The #hungerfree initiative works to promote agricultural development in order to implement technologies and provide support to increase food production. By promoting sustainable, long-term development, World Vision hopes to reduce the amount of food aid sent to combat hunger in Kenya and South Sudan and create circumstances that empower communities.

To support #hungerfree, all individuals and groups have to do is “double up” the cost of their meal. The extra funds would be donated to #hungerfree. So, if a meal costs $10, an individual would match the cost of their meal as a donation to World Vision.

The program runs until World Food Day 2015 on October 16. #hungerfree is being run through a partnership between World Vision and the Misfit Foundation, which works to promote donor participation via social media and technology. Currently, World Vision sends aid to 8 million people in 35 different countries annually.

Priscilla McCelvey

Sources: Hunger Free, World Vision
Photo:  World Vision

 

Nonprofit Helping Reduce Child Labor in Cambodia-TBP

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor estimated that about 28% of the Cambodian national population ages 5 to 14–nearly 900,000 children–participated in child labor practices.

World Vision is a nonprofit organization working to reduce the prevalence of Child Labor in Cambodia by providing educational and household assistance to low-income families. The organization is operating a four-year child labor reduction project known as EXCEL, which has already assisted over 20,000 children and receives annual funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

When asked how the organization plans to continue to reduce child labor rates within Cambodia, World Vision administrator Imelda Ochavillo responded, “If you want to reduce it significantly we should have very comprehensive interventions that would include continuous poverty alleviation, provision of alternative sources of income, decent employment for youth, and education should be made accessible.”

U.N. findings report that, of the 430,000 Cambodians under the age of 18, nearly half participate in roles that the International Labor Organization regards as “the worst forms of child labor.” These practices include agricultural production, construction, brick-making, fishing, street vending and illegal child solicitation.

Cambodia maintains one of the highest incidences of child labor practices within Asia and the Pacific, as a U.S. Department of Labor Study estimated the average frequency of child labor for this global region rested at 9.3% in 2013.

Researchers argue that significant disparities within Cambodia’s educational infrastructure and economic development programs have fostered a national environment that encourages child labor practices. In many rural areas of Cambodia, access to educational opportunities is limited and requires children to travel long distances despite a lack of public transportation systems. The persistence of children not accessing educational institutions due to limited infrastructural systems and safety concerns has led many low-income families to allow their children to enter the labor force.

Veng Heang, Director of the Child labor Department in Cambodia, explained recently in an interview that despite decreasing child labor by nearly 50% within the country since 1999, his administration remains determined to have less than 375,000 Cambodians under the age of 18 participating in the national labor force by 2015.

“Not only in 2015, but after 2015–we have to work very carefully on quality of education, food security and especially income generation for the poor,” Heang insisted.

Along with nonprofit organizations such as World Vision, the government of Cambodia has continued to demonstrate strong dedication to reducing the frequency of child labor at a national level. The country completed a National Child Labor Survey in 2013 to study the relative occurrences of child labor practices within sub-national areas and lead multiple operations to combat forced labor and child sexual exploitation, showing that Cambodia recognizes the necessity for further progress within this issue.

With Cambodia continuing to record high annual rates of child labor practices, efforts by both the national government and foreign aid entities to improve infrastructure, educational opportunities and regulatory services are essential in advancing the fight.

– James Thornton

Sources: United States Department of Labor 1, Learning English, United States Department of Labor 2
Photo: World Vision

child_soldiers

After decades of unrest and civil war, South Sudan gained its independence from the North in July 2011. This was heralded as a resolution that would hopefully put an end to the ethnic fighting that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, the hopeful optimism was short lived, as the South Sudanese government has once again found itself in a state of turmoil. This newest onset of fighting erupted in December of 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of attempting a coup. This has resulted in many rival militias and factions vying for control.

UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 750,000 children who have been displaced, separated or orphaned by the conflict. As over 60 percent of the country is under the age of 18, there has been an increase of recruitment for child soldiers. Despite both Kiir and Machar jointly signed a law prohibiting the use of child soldiers in 2008, all sides have been accused of abusing this rule. Based on UNICEF estimates, there are over 12,000 children fighting for government forces and various other rebel groups. Seeking belonging and protection, these children are often the most susceptible and are in the most danger. Militant groups target children and manipulate them to work in a variety of capacities such as soldiers, messengers and spies.

Much of UNICEF’s current efforts in South Sudan are focused on negotiating with the various factions toward the release of child soldiers. Since January, the Cobra Faction, a rebel militia, has agreed to free almost 2,000 children. It is estimated, however, that this group still holds around 3,000 child soldiers. However, the Cobra Faction is one of many of a multitude of groups, and while this is an instance of success, their reintegration into civilian life presents an entirely new challenge altogether.

The physical destruction and loss of life in South Sudan is substantial. However, a perhaps more discrete damage can also be inflicted, and is especially prevalent among children.

“When one thinks of health needs in a conflict situation – and this applies to children and adults – there is a tendency to think of war injuries… But it’s important to recognize the threat posed by psychosocial trauma,” says Dr Robin Nandy, a Senior Health Advisor for UNICEF.

UNICEF, in collaboration with other nongovernmental organizations, is working to develop reintegration programs. For example, World Vision is working in South Sudan to identify the needs of these children and determine how best to serve them. World Vision finds that there are five crucial aspects of reintegration: safety, skills training, education, basic needs such as shelter, food, and water, and healthcare. An additional component of reintegration is an emotional outlet where children can be heard and tell their story.

In 2014, World Vision conducted 11 discussion groups with 160 children in three different age groups. The age groups were 5-8, 9-13, and 14-18. While the sample size was small, common themes quickly emerged among the interviews. The responses consistently mentioned a return to school, to their families and to a state of normalcy, absent of fear or violence. After committing terrible atrocities, acceptance back into their families and society can be an obstacle.

“When talking about a whole person, you need to address everything a person needs. They need food, counseling, to be accepted back into their community, economic development…” insists World Vision’s Jackson Omona.

Omona is a peace building and protection expert stationed in South Sudan. Between 2003 to 2005, he oversaw the rehabilitation of 1,500 Ugandan children formerly involved with Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. In over two decades, Omona and his team have worked to rehabilitate over 15,000 African children. The combined efforts of UNICEF, World Vision and many other like-minded organizations can hopefully continue to make a similar impact in the volatile new country.

-Frasier Petersen

Sources: Al Jazeera, World Vision 1, BBC, World Health Organization, World Vision 2,
Photo: New York Post