Action Africa Help International

You are here:

Newsletter Subscription

Follow Us

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Staff urged to support vision of country programme

 

Ezana Kassa, the AAH South Sudan Country Director makes his presentation

 

AAH South Sudan staff have been urged to make a positive contribution in their work for the different communities to meet the mission and vision of the organisation. 

 

Hon Khemis Benz, AAH South Sudan board chairman made the call during a two-day re-programming workshop that was attended by over 25 staff, drawn from all the four AAH South Sudan sectors. Hon Benz urged the staff to work towards improving the lives of the communities affected by conflict in the country. “I urge you to play a role in the organisation through effective contribution in terms of service delivery and ending south Sudan conflict, through peace building,” he said.

 

Neha Erasmus, a country programme board member, while presenting AAH-I South Sudan history and philosophy, urged the AAH staff to support communities to embrace self-reliance.  “Do not allow communities to be dependent, but teach them how to be self-reliant,” said Erasmus.

 

AAH South Sudan Country Director Ezana Kassa stressed the need for more input from staff. “Staff should know and understand communities focus as well as empowering them,” said Mr Kassa. The workshop gave sector staff an opportunity to freely discuss issues in their projects and look for ways of adjusting them, based on the current context.

 

AAH-I Programmes Director John Nyirenda thanked the different teams that devoted their time in coming up with a three-year strategic plan through the re-programming activities.  “I urge the different teams to continue with the spirit of coming together with a focus on development,” said Mr Nyirenda, adding that staff should constantly reflect on the strategic plan. The workshop was held at a hotel in Juba.

Community members in Mara trained on Saccos

 

 

Over 30 members of Mara Division Development Programme (MDDP) have been trained on formation and running of a Saving and Credit Co-operative Society (Sacco).

 

During the training in Narok town held on August 11, members of the Community-Based Organisation (CBO) from Mara, Narok County, were taken through the advantages marketing of their products through co-operatives. “It is difficult to sell your cows as an individual farmer, unlike when you sell as a group.  It is easier for middlemen to take advantage of individual farmers, but they cannot do that to a group,” said David Langat, a Narok County co-operative officer, as he elaborated on the enhanced marketing through cooperatives.

 

“We are ready to form a co-operative. We need to work together as a team,” said Wilson Kedienye, a community member from Mararianta sub-location. Participants were given a chance to raise questions that Mr Langat and Dr Kamau Githaiga, AAH Kenya country programmes manager, responded to.

 

The other advantages of a Sacco that the participants were informed about are easy access to veterinary services, ability to access loans from various organisations, such as banks.

 

AAH Kenya has in the past worked with MDDP on education and maternal health. Through the Mara Entrepreneurship and Market Development (MEMD) project that started in January 2015, AAH Kenya will build previous engagement with the communities and the county government. The two-year project, funded by Bread for the World (BftW), Germany,aims to develop an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ in community members in the Mara area, in order to strengthen their resilience and capacity to lead their own development.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.