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UNHCR gives USD 580,000 for two projects in Mogadishu


AAH Somalia has received USD 584,934 from UNHCR for implementation of two short term projects to support livelihood of Yemeni refugees and Somalia refugee returnees from Kenya.


One hundred Yemeni refugees will be supported through cash-based interventions for self-reliance and primary education in Shangani and Bexani Districts of Mogadishu, Somalia through funding of USD 275,347. Fifty Yemeni refugee children of primary school age in the same area will also benefit from the three-month project that started in October.


At least 100 primary school age children will be going to school, while 100 Yemenis (and their households) will have increased livelihood opportunities, through interventions of the project. This is through business start-up or job placements to reduce their dependency on humanitarian assistance.


Another project seeks to improve the livelihoods of at least 100 adult Somali returnees from Kenya and 150 Somali returnee children of primary school age in the two districts. The support is provided using cash-based interventions for primary education and self-reliance. The project has received USD 309, 587.


At least 90 per cent children will be going to school, and up to 100 Somali returnees (and their households) will have increased livelihood opportunities. The beneficiaries will get business start-up or job placements aimed at reducing their dependency on humanitarian assistance.



AAH South Sudan staff work to save lives



 Medics assess victims of the blast at Maridi County Hospital. On the left is Job Arita, AAH South Sudan Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. Photo credit: ICRC/Layal Horanieh


AAH South Sudan staff are among several aid workers who responded to an emergency and saved lives after a tanker blast near Maridi Town, in Western Equatoria State.

According to South Sudan's Ministry of Health, 203 people have died in the blast, which occurred on September 16, with 150 injured. Medics at the AAH South Sudan-run Maridi County Hospital have been working around the clock to save lives. Most of these medics are trained at Maridi Nursing Training School - run by AAH South Sudan.


"The number of injured people is overwhelming, but we are providing the best medical assistance," said Dr. Chandi Saviour, AAH Medical Officer in charge of Maridi County Hospital. Dr Saviour added that majority of the severe cases were stabilised and evacuated to Juba Teaching and Referral Hospital (JTRH) for further management, through the support of International Committee of the  Red Cross (ICRC).

AAH staff and  those of other NGOs assisted to move the victims from the scene of the fire to hospital. “We responded immediately to the emergency and moved the injured to the hospital,” said Job Arita, a AAH South Sudan staff, adding that they have been working up to 18 hours  a day.


The Maridi County Hospital that has been run by AAH South Sudan since 1993, treats an average of 24, 000 patients, annually.

Restoring dignity, hope to vulnerable women




Uuuihoreye Donatira, an HIV positive refugee living in Uganda battled stigma and came out victorious. Today, she is the pillar of hope for hundreds of expectant mothers and couples in the camp.


Article written by Mercy Njoroge and first appeared on People Daily, September 12-13, 2015.  


Read more about how she is inspiring her community to battle the stigma around HIV/AIDS

Press release: Drought in Somaliland, 17 September 2015 


September 17, 2015: More than 240,000 people in Somaliland are severely food insecure due to a continuing drought in the region.


Somaliland is currently experiencing an acute drought that has affected more than 240,000 people (40,000 Households) due to the shortfall of the Gu (April-June) rains in 2014 and 2015. The most affected regions are Awdal, Maroodijeeh, and Gebiley, which are traditionally the main food producing regions. Other regions affected include Selel and Sahil.


Read more: Press release: Drought in Somaliland, 17 September 2015 

An adventurous up-and-down trip in ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’



Uganda has hit the headlines for some weeks now, owing to the controversy surrounding the scantly detailed sugar deal between the two neighbours. So, when I received a travel grant to the Land of a Thousand Hills, I suffered some bouts of excitement and anxiety in equal measure. And as preparations for the reporting trip to Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Hoima District, Uganda got underway, pressure was mounting to quickly check off my to-do list ahead of a one-week absence from the office. 


On Saturday morning, in the company of Linda Ongwenyi, the Communications Officer of the sponsoring organisation — Action Africa Help-International — we set off for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. After the routine checks, we were airborne and in an hour-and-a half, Entebbe received us. Naturally, I am very observant and detailed. On our way to the hotel, I found it rather unusual that every private guard manning a forex bureau, mall or any other establishment was armed with an AK47. Never mind the rifles, casually suspended on the gaunt-looking guards, seemed to outweigh them. 


Arriving at the beachfront hotel (do not squint with disdain, Uganda has a beachfront) we were welcomed by waitresses who bowed as they shook our hands as a gesture of respect. I had heard of such stories but here I was, being treated as some doyenne. 


It made me uneasy, but hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. 


For the doubting Thomases, back to beachfronts. Geographically, Uganda is a landlocked country. But not with the creative minds behind the artificial beaches, complete with sand, shingles and coconut trees, to create an illusion of the seashore. Of course, this is nothing compared to the vast white Coastal beaches we enjoy here at home, but they sure are making good use of Lake Victoria. 


Famous for matoke (cooked bananas), my taste buds were dying for a steamy platter of the indigenous delicacy, accompanied by a distinctly tang Nile Perch and peanut sauce. 


During my stay, this was my menu: fried cassavas, potatoes and porridge for breakfast;matoke, ngwaci (sweet potatoes) and nduma (arrow roots) with Ankole beef (very tender and tasty) for lunch; and matoke accompanied by freshly sauced kienyeji chicken for dinner. I could not have enough of the jackfruit too. If I would ever go back to Uganda, I would only do it for food! The next day at noon, we set off for the 300km drive South West of Uganda. For adventure freaks like myself, the sweltering heat made the long trip a worthwhile experience. 


The ‘Thousand Hills’ sprung from the horizon and the thick rich vegetation was simply breathtaking. By the time we got to Hoima town, the sun was setting. We had reached mwisho wa lami (end of the tarmac) and it was time to tackle and 84km trip on murram. 


As we switched to a Land Cruiser, I got goose bumps in anticipation for the adventurous rough-pitted earthroad trip. Every mile of the way steadily quenched my thirst for adventure. I enjoyed every jolt, every joggle, twist, turn and golden oldies music from the stereo. 


Our skillful driver Dickson ensured we had a ‘smooth’ ride as he tackled the road like the expert he is. 


And as we drove deeper into Uganda, I savoured the sanity with which the bundus life presents — a much needed break from the hectic city life. My nerves calmed as we moved further from ‘civilisation’ and we lost network signal, Internet connection and power — it was time to adjust to solar-powered lighting. 


At 11pm, we arrived at the Mary Immaculate Bed and Breakfast facility of a Thousand Hills’ in Rwemisanga, run by the local Catholic Church. Father Paul and his team were at hand to receive us. 


For the next four days, we were engaged in field reporting traversing the vast refugee settlement in Buganda kingdom. It was a lot of hard, but rewarding work under the scotching sun. 


Thursday night we hang loose. 


We joined the traditional ‘stress management’ weekly fete for all humanitarian staff in the settlement. 


Happy-go-lucky characters like myself danced the night away. Cold fizzy drinks were in plenty and so was nyama choma. The disk jockey did not disappoint, playing oldies which evoked nostalgic moments. For me, the experience of dancing under the moonlight simply stole the show. 


On Friday, we made our trip back to Entebbe through the exotic Bugoma Forest and on Saturday, we were back in the city. When all was said and done, I learnt some Buganda words. 


Banange, sebo, nyabo, webale!


The writer is a senior sub-editor at People Daily.


Article written by Mercy Njoroge and first appeared on People Daily, September 5-6, 2015. 







Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.