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Lusaka workshop offers refugees tips on positive living

 

Participants during the two-day workshop on HIV and positive living 

 

“It is important for an expectant and HIV-positive woman to attend an antenatal clinic because the likelihood of her baby being born HIV-positive is reduced and the baby will receive the correct treatment on time,” says Mbombo Jujani, 55.
 
Jujani, a Congolese refugee living in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, recaps lessons she learnt during a two-day positive living awareness workshop, organised by AAH Zambia from 10-11 February.
 
She also participated in a similar workshop, last year, and could not hide her joy at the benefits of such sessions. “We learn a lot from these workshops. Just take a look at me, can you tell that l am living with HIV?,” she poses, adding that the workshops are informative.
 
Another participant, John Kayembe, 52, encouraged more refugees to come on board in the fight against stigma and discrimination in the refugees' community. “I commend the work, which AAH  Zambia is doing to help refugees and other disadvantaged communities,” Kayemba said.
 
Twenty refugees, who live positively with HIV, participated in the workshop. It sought to impart them with knowledge and understanding on HIV and AIDS and Family Planning. The participants were tipped on how to live positively, the impact of HIV and AIDS, how to manage it and the availability of support systems. AAH Zambia is implementing HIV and AIDS activities aimed at sensitising the community on the disease, and in supporting efforts for reduction of HIV infections.

A new way of making jewellery for Mara women

Naisenya weaves beads into a bracelet design during the training workshop in Mara, Narok County of Kenya

 

Sixteen women from Olderkesi and Olposimoru, in Mara, Narok County, have undergone a training on bead-making. The five-day training ran between 22-27 February 2016 at Olposimoru Training Centre, about three kilometres from the Kenya-Tanzania border.

 

Margaret Nukeini, 39, the group’s chairperson and also a beneficiary of the training, said the exercise was helpful as the women had learnt new skills. “At first we thought we could not make it; but now we know how to make good designs. We were used to making the traditional jewellery but now we have ventured into a whole new area of designs,” Margaret,  a mother of seven, happily remarks.

 

According to AAH-I Project Officer, Ms Caroline Jepchumba, the training was aimed at assisting the women view bead-making as a business. “The Maasai community is known for its bead-making, but mostly for pleasure and custom,” said Jepchumba. She said they are now introducing a new concept to the bead-making that is driven by market demand. “We will be assisting the women here to make beads that are unique and that in turn fetch better prices. Through this change,  they can make better incomes to support their families.”

 

“We are positive that  these women will produce the best beads in East Africa that will compete even at international markets,” said Dr Kamau Githaiga, AAH Kenya Country Programme Manager.

Another year of booming businesses in Kakuma, Kenya

 

Women at the Kakuma Refugee Camp that have been financed to start a salon business. The group makes about $300 per month from their hairdressing shop. 

 

AAH Kenya has signed the second phase of the UNHCR-funded Kakuma Refugee Assistance Project (KRAP). The funding grant is worth $250,000.  In this new funding period, the project aims to cultivate self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods among 2,560 refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County, through development of replicable standards in entrepreneurship and agriculture that will uplift their living standards.

Being the lead livelihood agency at the camp, AAH Kenya envisions to carry out activities such as scaling up of the agriculture production to enable Persons of Concern (PoCs) produce more food. AAH Kenya will also train farmers on modern farming methods.
 
Other activities to be carried out include developing a business centre to nurture potential entrepreneurs, link the businesses to a revolving fund for capital and training of  2,160 PoCs on entrepreneurship and business skills.

Youth undergo vocational training in Uganda

 

Thirty students will graduate this month after an eight-month vocational training in Adjumani Refugee Resettlement, in Northern Uganda. The trainees are youth from both refugees and the host community.
 
The ceremony is set to take place on December 17. This is will be the first training on motor vehicle mechanics, implemented by AAH Uganda in the settlement.
 
William Chandiga, 24, is among the motor mechanics trainees. He left his home in Kazokeji, South Sudan, 15 years ago, aged only nine. Chandiga fled with his family to Maaji Camp before settling in Adjumani. His mother is a teacher, while his father is a farmer. “I am glad for the training. I have acquired skills that were merely a dream,” he says, adding that through the support of AAH Uganda, he now has skills in vehicle servicing and repair, among others.
 
Chandiga has been able to help the community in repairing their mills and in the process earn some money. He has also undertaken a driving course, and is in the process of obtaining a driving permit. “My life is better after the skills I have acquired. I will be able to earn some money and support my parents and siblings,” he said.

AAH Uganda plans to make the training continuous and include courses in electrical installation, plumbing, metal fabrication. The trainees were assessed by the Directorate of Industrial Training, a Uganda government agency.

AAH Uganda operates a mechanical workshop at Adjumani that services vehicles fleet belongs to UNHCR and implementing partners.

 

 

 

Empowering women through bead-making skills in Mara, Kenya

 

Twenty one women have acquired skills on making diverse and unique bead designs in Mara, Kenya. Previously, the women made designs that were only marketed locally, and this limited their customer reach.

AAH Kenya has trained the women to acquire skills in order to make designs that are appealing to the international market. The beneficiaries are excited about the skills they have acquired. “Our trainer has taught us on how to make unique designs, which are simple but fetch better prices, than before,” said Naneu Kirokkor, 42, a mother of seven.

Kirokkor said she would now sell her products to customers around the world. “I will target buyers in countries such as the Netherlands. I hope to fetch good returns that will enable me pay school fees and buy food for my children,’’ she says.
 

The training stemmed from a market survey carried out by AAH Kenya early this year. Findings showed that women in Mara are keen in beading-making business, but face marketing challenges. 


Furthermore, these bead-makers would seek finished products from the famous Maasai Market in Nairobi. Following the training, they will not need to travel to Kenya's capital city, more than 250 kilometres away from their homes.

AAH Country Programme Manager Dr Kamau Githaiga said the women are entrepreneurial, but needed capacity-building. The 21 women went through a five-day training session, with a second group of ten women expected to go through a similar training in 2016.

The survey recommended that the women needed to adapt to the market trends and tastes, especially for international tourists, whose tastes can change with seasons. The training emphasised on use of market colours and not necessarily the commonly used community colours; red and yellow. This will ensure that the diverse designs and colours have wide range of customers, and create resultant good returns for the designers.

Kenyan jewelry enthusiasts prefer junky pieces while western world prefer lighter trinkets. The training sessions focused on the need to be able to derive inspiration from the traditional Maasai elements to modern style jewelry pieces in order to maintain authenticity.

AAH-I Kenya is implementing Mara Entrepreneurship and Market Development Project (MEMD). The project’s goal is to strengthen the community’s resilience and capacity to lead their own development through supporting an entrepreneurial mind-set among community members.

The two-year project works with livestock keepers, women and youth in Mara division to address their economic development issues that are aimed to increase their income. The project is funded by Bread for the World.

 

 

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.