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South Sudan: Improving infrastructure in Ruweng State

 

Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) in collaboration with the government of Ruweng state has rehabilitated and expanded Ajuong Thok airstrip through AAH-I's Infrastructure and Transit Centre component of the Humanitarian Logistics project. The project, implemented by AAH South Sudan, is funded by UNHCR.

 

As at June 2017, Ruweng state in South Sudan was hosting 51,418 refugees from the South Kordofan state in Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These refugees were previously hosted in Yida but were relocated to the new camps of Ajuong Thok and Pamir.

 

The reason for the relocation was to improve service delivery by humanitarian agencies to the refugees. It is with this in mind that the Ajuong Thok airstrip in Jamjang has been rehabilitated and expanded to ensure that all kinds of planes are able to land in Ajuong Thok rather than in Yida, a considerable distance by road to the refugee settlement. The runway of the airstrip was 1 km long and 20m wide runway and is now 1.5 km long and 40m wide, with a visibility clearance of 600m on both sides and a wider parking space. A drainage system and a waiting area with toilets and a fence are under construction.

 

UNHCR Program Officer for Jamjang Shiferaw Mekonnen commends AAH-I for their work in supporting UNHCR to deliver services to the refugees in South Sudan. “AAH-I has the expertise we need in logistics and construction which has resulted in a savings of about 800,000 US Dollars on this project. This is applaudable because it means doing more with less”, he said.

 

The completed Ajuong Thok Airstrip will offer numerous benefits. The humanitarian sector will enjoy easier delivery of supplies and the business community will be able to receive their goods in Ajuong Thok with travel costs to and from Yida will be eliminated, translating into overall reduction in prices of goods. It is also anticipated that there will be more commercial planes to Ajuong Thok.

 

Other AAH-I infrastructure projects in Ruweng State include constructing schools, hospitals and state buildings, and setting up water points at Yida.

 

 Ajuong Thok airstrip

Visibility clearance at Ajuong Thok airstrip

 

 

Ajuong Thok airstrip

Expanded runway at Ajuong Thok airstrip

 

Ajuong Thok airstrip 

First ever cargo plane to land in Ajuong Thok Airstrip

 

 

AAH South Sudan Ruweng State

Pamir police post constructed by AAH-I 

 

Ajuong Thok airstrip

State Offices renovated by AAH-I

 

 

Ajuong Thok airstrip

Man-Kuor Primary school in Panriang constructed by AAH-I

 

 

AAH South Sudan Water source at Yida transit center

Water source at Yida transit centre

 

Adopting new health delivery strategies for populations displaced by conflict in South Sudan

 

From 2009, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) has been working with various development partners in implementing a regional health care programme in South Sudan. 

 

The conflict and instability in 2016 in the Greater Yei River State covering Lainya, Kajo Keji, Morobo and Yei Counties not only resulted in ruining of livelihoods for the local communities, but also in destruction of health infrastructure and looting of health facilities. For example, solar panels installed in health facilities in Morobo, Yei, and Mundri West under the solar project funded by Bread for the World and water supply systems installed in some of the health facilities were all looted. Over 80% of health facilities became inaccessible and non-functional since health workers were displaced. Most of the population was displaced to the town and some trapped in the villages. With over 80% of health facilities closed there was essential no basic services to the displaced populations

 

 


Relocating displaced health workers, working with religious leaders, local chiefs and political leaders, using temporary and mobile clinics, establishing temporary cold chains in church premises, seeking alternative routes for delivery of supplies 


 

To respond to this challenge, AAH-I adopted new strategies for continuity of the delivery of health services to internally displaced people (IDPs). We strengthened the few remaining health facilities by relocating displaced health workers to functional health facilities. Working with religious leaders, local chiefs and political leaders, a new health services delivery model was adopted through the use of temporary and mobile clinics to keep up with the movement of population. Chiefs supported the mobilization of communities for services and delivery of supplies in areas that were inaccessible. Negotiations with political leaders and the military ensured delivery of health services for IDPs in rebel-controlled areas in Kajo Keji County. To ensure availability of immunization services, cold chains were also temporarily established in church premises especially in Lainya County. Alternative routes for delivery of supplies were explored and supplies for Kajo Keji were delivered via Uganda after negotiations with authorities in both South Sudan and Uganda. Additionally, positions within the health facilities have been filled with qualified cadres and workers trained in partnership with development partners – with the International Medical Corps in Yei Health Science Training School and with the South Sudan Ministry of Health at Kajo Keji School of Nursing.

 

The 2017 mid-year review of the health project highlighted how these significant investments and improvements continue to ensure that health facilities have basic equipment and infrastructure, and that minimum standards of quality health care are observed. In the period from November 2016 to June 2017, these innovations ensured access to health services for the population in need, especially through the 124 AAH-I-managed health facilities - 5 Hospitals, 28 primary health care centres and 91 primary health care units.  

 

 

AAH South Sudan Health

Attending to a patient during a mobile clinic outreach session 

 

Achieving impact

As at June 2017, 4,535 pregnant women accessed at least one antenatal care service and 1,065 pregnant women delivered in health facilities. Out of these, 818 were attended to by a skilled birth attendant. 3,895 children aged between 0 and 11months received the third immunization dose of DPT-HepB-Hib. Growth monitoring was conducted for 15,759 children under 5 years. 661 of them were identified as malnourished and attended to. Additionally, 37,713 children under 5 years accessed curative consultation services while 93,856 of population above 5 years accessed curative consultation services.

 

It has been difficult for my community to access essential health services since the beginning of the crisis in Yei. Now our disadvantaged population - children, pregnant mothers, elderly and the disabled can access health services in Kukango Static Clinic. Even people trapped in areas outside the town like Lun, Payawa and Alero come through the bushes to seek services in the clinic. The good news is that they always get services and go home with some medicine,” said Justin Diko, Ronyi Boma Chief, Yei Town Payam, Yei County.

 

Ensuring that we are on track: Monitoring projects in Turkana County, Kenya

 

To provide support to the Kakuma project implementing team, Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) Programme Officer Rose Muthama together with Finance Manager Martin Kabutu visited Kakuma in Turkana County from 24 to 28 July 2017. AAH-I Agriculture Project Officer Peter Cheptumo facilitated the tour.

 

The projects under review during the visit were the Kakuma Refugee Assistance project (KRAP) project and Support Protection and Assistance of Refugees in Kenya (SPARK), implemented by AAH Kenya. KRAP is funded by UNHCR and SPARK by UK Aid/DFID. Both projects are supporting refugees and host communities in agriculture farming and business activities for self-reliance and improved livelihoods. The team visited AAH-I-run Choro farm and the Social Services center.

 

At Choro farm, the team witnessed 120 farmers participate in a hands-on training on the installation, use and maintenance of drip irrigation systems. The farmers learnt how to instal a drip irrigation system and a pipeline, and how to elevate water tanks on stands. Farmers were also trained on protecting drip lines, connecting cut drip lines using drip connectors, regular cleaning of filters and regulation of water supply to farm blocks. Choro is a 9-acre farm owned by refugees and the local Turkana host community. It comprise 5 acres under KRAP and 4 acres under SPARK. The 5 acres under KRAP consists of 3 acres under 2016 funding  and currently under vegetable production, and additional 2 acres under 2017 funding and together with 4 acres under SPARK are under development stage for crop production. The training was facilitated by Joseph Muttundu, a technician from Sunculture. Sunculture have been contracted to instal the drip irrigation system at the farm. 

 

 

AAH Kenya Drip irrigation training

Farmers being trained on the use and maintenance of a drip irrigation system

 

 

During the training, Turkana County gender and social development officer Rugar P. H. Ronoh sensitized the farmers on climate change and its mitigation against crop loss and disaster.

 

 

Strengthening local community structures

The next stop of the monitoring visit was at the social services centre for the election of a management committee to oversee activities at Choro farm. The objective of setting up a committee is to strengthen and enhance sustainability of the agriculture project. The committee will be the umbrella group that will oversight and support management of the entire farm. Participants at the election were representatives drawn from the 20 beneficiary farmer groups working on the farm. Rugar P.H. Ronoh from the Turkana County government was invited to oversee the election. “The success of any working group lies on good leadership and support from members,” he said.

 

To kick off the voting, he briefed members on important aspects of group formation and related requirements of farmers’ group registration and the importance of having a Group constitution and by-laws. Participants also discussed group dynamics and leadership, conflict resolution and management, resource mobilization and formation of cooperative societies.

 

Farm management committee elections

Abdul Aziz Lugazo from Somalia was elected Chairperson. He is from Hari Mpya farmers’ group. Mary Asekon Engomo and Peter Ewesit, both Kenyans from Narongor farmers’ group were elected Vice-Chairperson and Secretary, respectively. Bernadette Chambikwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mapendo farmers’ group was elected Vice Secretary while Akuol Mading from South Sudan and Green Garden farmers’ group was elected Treasurer. James Adilan from Sudan, Ewoton Emoja from Kenya, Lochata Ekidor from Kenya and Sofia Makongo from DRC were elected Members. They are from Wadi Azom, Nyajokon and Umoja ni Maendeleo farmers’ groups.

 

 

AAH Kenya Choro Farm management

From L to R: Peter Ewesit, Bernadette Chambikwa, Sofia Makongo, Abdul Aziz Lugazo, Lochata Ekidor, Akuol Mading, Mary Asekon Engomo, Ewoton Emoja and James Adilan 

 

 

“The community’s own leadership is an important foundation for project sustainability and self-reliance,” concludes AAH-I’s Peter Cheptumo.

AAH-I at Refugee Solidarity Summit

  

Uganda held the first Solidarity Summit on refugees in Kampala from 22nd to 23rd June 2017. The Summit was hosted by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. At the end of the 2-day Summit, the international community had pledged $358.2 million of the $2 billion that the Summit hoped to raise to support the nearly 1.3 million refugees, out of which 900,000 are from South Sudan

 

Uganda Solidarity Summit logo

 

The Summit, which intended to fundraise for the refugees and showcase Uganda’s settlement approach to the refugee crisis, fell short of its funding agenda but attracted the attention of the international community to the plight of refugees. Uganda is second to Turkey in the world and number one in Africa in hosting the largest number of refugees. 

 

International nongovernmental organizations played a part in the Summit. The Uganda Red Cross was the lead organizer of the NGO participation. The theme of the NGO side event was “The role of humanitarian and development NGOs and the civil society in addressing the humanitarian development nexus in supporting refugees and host communities”. The event largely focused on investing and building the capacity of local, national actors, NGOs and civil society, to become better positioned to support refugees and the communities they live in. The NGOs raised some concerns about the support they receive to implement activities and recommended several reforms to the refugee response. They recommended:

 

  1. That support to the NGO responders should be more predictable to enable better planning and preparedness
  2. Multi-year financing is essential and should be considered. The average stay of a refugee is 15 years, while some refugees stay for much longer or become nationals. During the past 2 years, only a small number of refugees in Uganda have repatriated back to their countries. Therefore the refugee crisis ought to be seen in the longer term perspective than it currently is, hence the need for multi-year financing.  
  3. Better collaboration and coordination between the various actors.
  4. Recognition that NGOs, just like the UN, need their administration costs covered.
  5. Local organizations to increase their visibility
  6. International NGOs to include in their plans and budgets aspects of building the capacity of local organizations

 

AAH Uganda Country Director Dr. Daraus Bukenya represented AAH-I at the event. 

AAH South Sudan Board visits Maban 

 

The Chairman of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) Board Dr. John Tabayi and the Chairman of AAH South Sudan Board, Mr. Leonard Logo Mulukwat visited Maban County for three days from 14th to 16th June 2017. They were accompanied by Innocent Asiimwe, the Project Manager of AAH-I/UNHCR Humanitarian Logistics Project. 

 

During the visit they had the opportunity to meet key stakeholders working closely with AAH-I in Maban. They also met and interacted with AAH-I staff in Maban and visited various project sites.

 

First stop was at the Gendrassa warehouse, run by AAH-I, where core relief items and pharmaceuticals for distribution to internally displaced persons are stored. The visitors commended the good organization of the warehouse. In 2016, the AAH-I warehouses in Maban and Malakal were recognized by UNHCR as the most compliant in South Sudan.

 

 /stories/images/AAH South Sudan visits Maban - June 2017

From left to right: Maban Warehouse Manager De’Mello Bageni, Board Chair AAH South Sudan Board Hon. Leonard Logo Mulukwat, Maban Area Coordinator Paul Sawo. Warehouse Assistant Chol Aguer and AAH-I International Board Chair Dr. John Tabayi 

 

The delegation also held a staff meeting with AAH-I staff in Maban. Staff were encouraged to utilize their time well by upgrading their skills through different learning opportunities, including online-based learning. The session was crowned with the presentation of Certificates of Merit for exemplary performance in Warehouse Management in 2016. The occasion was presided over by the Board Members and UNHCR Officer in Charge, Mr. Andreas Fiadorme.

 

AAH South Sudan Maban staff during Board visit - July 2017

Maban staff pose with AAH-I International Board Chair Dr. John Tabayi (4th left), Board Chair AAH South Sudan Board Hon. Leonard Logo Mulukwat (5th left) and Project Manager Innocent Asiimwe (6th left).

 


In 2016, the AAH-I warehouses in Maban and Malakal were recognized by UNHCR as the most compliant in South Sudan.

 


 

The team paid a courtesy call to UNHCR where they met the Senior Protection Officer, Andreas Fiadorme and the Programme Officer, Antonius Kamerika, and to the County Commissioner and the South Sudan Relief & Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) offices where they met County Coordinator Alex Bala and SSRRC County Security Focal Point Yohanes Bol.

 

AAH South Sudan, in partnership with UNHCR, is implementing logistics interventions supporting refugees, internally displaced people, host communities and other persons of concern to UNHCR in South West, North East Maban and Malakal Counties in South Sudan. 

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.