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World Bank Rep visits Juba Public Works project


World Bank Social Protection Specialist Nadia Selim visited the Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) public works project in Juba, South Sudan, from 23rd to 27th October 2017. She visited 4 quarter councils.



“We are very impressed and happy with the project implementation. The project is meeting the set objectives and achieving impact beyond our expectation, with just two and half months before the contract expiry date,” said Nadia.



World Bank in AAH South Sudan

Nadia with beneficiaries at Gbongoroki Quarter Council


AAH-I has been implementing Juba Public Works, a project of the Government of South Sudan, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The project is funded by the World Bank. The project objective is to provide access to income opportunities and temporary employment to the poor and vulnerable, and put in place building blocks for a social protection system. This is in line with AAH-I’s strategic objective of developing, promoting and implementing innovative entrepreneurial and sustainable livelihood programme. By the time of the visit, the project had transferred cash amounting to US$ 507,552 since August 2017 to 6,000 beneficiaries (72% female) who are engaged in cash for work activities.



World Bank in AAH South Sudan


Nadia using the tippy tap to wash her hands at the children’s shelter at Nyokuron South


During her interaction with the beneficiaries and her visit to two beneficiaries’ homes, Nadia received numerous testimonies from the beneficiaries on how the project has rescued them from extreme vulnerability to a level that they are now able to take care of themselves and their families.


During Nadia’s visit, project beneficiaries requested for extension of the project to geographically cover more quarter councils and extend the project duration because of the increasing numbers of vulnerable households in Juba.

AAH-I hosts partners from Bread for the World


Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) Kenya’s Mara project hosted donor representatives from Bread for the World. Programme Officer East Africa and Horn of Africa Monika Redecker and Head of the Regional Desk East Africa and Horn of Africa Martin Gross Bickel visited various project sites between 31 August and 2 September 2017.


The objective of their visit was to observe and to learn from approaches being used by AAH-I in implementation of livelihoods projects among the Maasai pastoralists community in dry land areas.


AAH Kenya BfTW

Left to right: AAH-I's Debra Kaigil, Martin Gross Bickel, Monika Redecker, AAH Kenya Country Programme Manager Dr. Githaiga Kamau and Dickson Ntika



AAH Kenya BfTW

Olabbura REFLECT class


AAH Kenya BfTW

Learning time at the Olkerdesi REFLECT circle


They visited Rimpa cooperative group in Olderkesi, whose members are utilizing linkages by AAH-I in tackling production and marketing of livestock and livestock products. The group is also harvesting water to mitigate effects of drought during the dry season. The second livelihoods projects visited is the Nkoilale community cooperative, which partnered with AAH-I in 2015 and 2016. The donors were able to witness the success of community groups and individuals supported by AAH-I, who are now becoming self-reliant running their own entrepreneurship ventures to address the needs of members and non-members in the community.


The last stops were to Naikarra Market and to REFLECT literacy circles for women in Olderkesi and Olabbura. 


A visit and experience of youth and women activities in Leshuta, new entrants in AAH Kenya project for 2017-2019 is planned for future visits. 

AAH-I receives medicine donation from the Italian Military Base in Djibouti


Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) Djibouti programme has received an assortment of medicines from the Italian Military Base in Djibouti on 7th September 2017. AAH-I Programme Director Basilio Okello received the donation.


Handing over the donation at the AAH-I Ali Sabbieh Central Pharmacy, Dr. Tembol Fabio Tomassini said that the donation is part of the military base’s corporate social responsibility of giving back to the people of Djibouti. “We see the need and are happy to partner with AAH-I to positively impact the lives of communities, especially refugees, in Djibouti,” he said. According to data from UNHCR, Djibouti is hosting at least 26,000 refugees, a majority of them from Yemen and Somalia. “We are open to further discussions to support AAH-I health project in terms of more medicine, medical equipment and infrastructure and to build the capacity of health professionals.”


AAH Djibouti medicine donation

Dr. Tembol Fabio Tomassini (left) with AAH-I’s Basilio Okello (centre) at the ceremony. Looking on is Massimo Franco Tesone.


Also present was UNHCR’s Programme Associate Oumalkair Moustapha Osman. “This partnership with AAH-I is combining the strengths and efficiencies of both organizations for the benefit of those who urgently need access to health services,” she said. AAH-I is also a UNHCR partner in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan and Zambia. 


“This is a timely donation, as we were almost depleting our stock. We appreciate the kind gesture from the Italian government,” said Basilio. The donated drugs are essential drugs not normally included in the package that AAH-I and UNHCR procure. It is a critical donation for treating refugees with special conditions.


AAH Djibouti medicine donation

UNHCR Programme Associate Oumalkair Moustapha Osman (left), Massimo Franco Tesone (2nd left), Dr Tembol Fabio Tomassini (3rd left) Basilio Okello (3rd right), AAH-I Field Doctor Dr. Abdi Oumar Hassan (2nd right) and a legal representative from the Italian Military Base.



From June 2017, AAH-I has been implementing a project to improve the health and nutrition status of at least 27,000 refugees in Obock, Ali Addeh and Holl Holl, and other vulnerable persons in Djibouti. We are doing this by supporting increased access to quality and comprehensive health services and strengthening chronic disease prevention and response to epidemics. Our approach is to partner with Community Representatives, the Ministry of Health, the Refugees Assistance Agency (ONARS), UNHCR and other stakeholders to ensure delivery of quality comprehensive health services to meet the health needs of this group. This work will with time be extended to include projects that improve the livelihoods of concerned communities.

Reflections from Somaliland


Establishing community leadership structures in a hostile environment 


AAH-I is implementing the ‘Integrated approach to increase social self-reliance, livelihood opportunities, peaceful coexistence among Persons of Concern (PoC) and refugee hosting communities in Hargeisa, Somaliland’ project. The project is funded by UNHCR. The goal of the project is to promote social self-reliance and livelihoods by diversifying livelihood opportunities, protecting assets, and promoting local population receptivity towards refugees (peaceful coexistence) for refugees from Yemen, Ethiopia and Djibouti.


From June 2017 to date, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) has grappled with divisions, hostility and unrest by the Ethiopian refugee committee as a result of a leadership vacuum. After consultation, UNHCR approved a snap election that was received with resistance from the current Ethiopian leadership whose tenure was due to end on 20 June 2018. 


Ethiopian snap election 5

Voters cast their vote during the snap elections


Initially, the three common responses from the Ethiopian community to address the challenge were the 3 Fs: Flight, Fight and Freeze. Faced with this unpleasant situation, AAH-I proposed a fourth option: dialogue.  


For three years - in 2014, 2016 and 2017 – AAH-I has been facilitating credible elections for communities within the project, including recent refugee returnees from Yemen that now boast of 60% women leadership. Using this past knowledge and experiences to achieve the communities’ reason, AAH-I appealed to the heart of the Ethiopian community elders. The approach presupposed the basic trust in the goodness of human nature itself, that the elders were capable of reasoning and feeling just as AAH-I adhered to the values, vision and humanitarian principles.


How did we do this? Our three-step strategy involved:


Step 1: Dealing one-on-one with individuals. The step upholds dialogue. It is time-consuming and often demands deep courage, skills in rationale and empathy. This worked for only a section of the individuals. Step two was used where there was no success.


Step 2: Involving close associates This entailed including representatives from the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Resettlement and the UNHCR Protection team. After 6 hours of deliberations, a decision was made to allow at least 1,245 eligible voters to make a decision on the Ethiopian refugees leadership vacuum. 


Step 3: Bringing it before the community As a last resort, the decision on the refugee leadership was left to the community. In this step the procedure becomes public and official. The community had three options to choose from:


 Option 1: Election of new candidates. (Candidates who have never held a leadership position within the refugee community). 85% voted for option 1

Option 2: Election to be conducted and should allow ALL people irrespective of previous positions to vie for the position. 3% voted for option 2

Option 3: Leaders elected in 2016 to continue until their tenure comes to an end, a replacement for the chairman position and one additional position to be agreed and provided with right kind of support. 12% voted for option 3


Ethiopian snap election 6

A voter casting her ballot 


Sometimes there is injustice in the principle of ‘do-good’. Power is held by the few (gatekeepers) and distributed to another select few (2016 refugee leaders). But now there’s hope that the vulnerable and marginalized (84% of 1,245 refugees from Ethiopia) will benefit from this process and have their concerns in livelihoods, health, education, security, sexual and gender based violence and legal addressed.


Indeed, whatever decision made by the community is to be accepted; whatever option rejected by the community is also rejected.


Ethiopian snap election 3

Counting the votes

AAH-I International Board visits Djibouti



A high-level team of the AAH-I International Board (IB) Members and Executive Director visited Djibouti from 13th to 19th August 2017. The visiting team consisted of AAH-I Founding Member and IB Chairman Dr. John Tabayi, AAH-I Founding Member and IB Member Prof Vinand Nantulya, Chairman AAH-I Audit and Governance Committees Mr. Sultan Amri and AAH-I Executive Director Dr. Caroline Kisia. They were hosted by AAH-I Djibouti Country Programme Manager Mr. Meltanan Gommitan.


AAH-I IB visits Djibouti

L to R: Madam Fayek Moussa Mohamed, Deputy Director NGO Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Caroline Kisia, Dr. John Tabayi, Guelleh Idriss Omar, Director Multilateral Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prof Vinand Nantulya and Mr. Sultan Amri.



The objectives of the visit were to:

  1. Familiarize with AAH-I operations in Djibouti including meeting AAH-I staff on the ground.
  2. Raise the profile of AAH-I within Djibouti and enhance our visibility.
  3. Strengthen partnerships and communicate that AAH-I is in Djibouti and is ready to support Government efforts and to collaborate with partner organizations to serve challenged communities, both refugees and host communities.


The team met with teams from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Office for Assistance to Refugees and Displaced Persons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, World Health Organization, World Food Programme and United Nations Children's Education Fund. They also met with AAH-I staff at the Country Office, the Ambouli clinic and at the Ali Shabei, Ali Adde and Holl Holl field locations.


AAH-I IB visits Djibouti

Prof. Vinand with refugee children in AAH-I-run Holl Holl health centre



From June 2014, AAH Djibouti has been implementing a health project to provide health care services to the local community, urban refugee and refugees referred from camps. AAH-I is running health centres and providing health and nutrition services.


In spite of initial teething problems AAH-I has been well received in Djibouti. It is appreciated that AAH-I is bringing value based on our experiences and long track record in other countries. We will benefit from embracing the spirit of partnership with government, our principle partner UNHCR, and other partners.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.