GHNI HELPS IDPs RE-ESTABLISH LIVES
A report on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council contains some interesting findings. There are at least half a million IDPs, mostly located in squatter settlements on the fringe of urban areas. Few wish to return to their place of origin, and the proportion that do declines with the passage of time. Over 90% of IDPs are classified as Extremely Vulnerable Individuals; women and children especially. In several villages GHNI is doing Transformational Community Development as a major part of the village is comprised of IDP’s who want to stay and re-establish their lives.
LOCAL VILLAGES GAIN INCOME AND RECONCILIATION
Clashes between pastoralists and settled agriculturalists in northern and eastern Burkina Faso are running at 600 per year and have taken at least 55 lives in the last four years. Under pressure of population growth, land grabbing by agro industries and the increase in artisanal gold mining, agriculture has spread into areas previously part of traditional transhumance routes. The consequent conflict between pastoralists seeking fodder for their herds and settled farmers seeking to protect their crops calls for solutions the government is seeking to implement. GHNI has the focus of helping local villages improve their incomes by whatever means they determine best. We use animal loan programs and agriculture lessons to get more production from less. We also focus on reconciliation between differing parties. We are starting small and building model villages which we hope will influence many other regions.
SYRIAN RELIEF COMMITTEE FORMED
The influx of refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria continues to grow. Despite some international help, the cost of supporting the refugees falls largely on the Jordanian authorities, which is both unfair and unsustainable. GHNI staff and partners in Jordan are working under a larger Syrian Relief Committee of several partners inside and outside Syria to provide immediate relief and plan to enter to help with the development of the destroyed areas of the country when peace returns.
EDUCATION LACKING FOR REFUGEES
Although 51% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are aged under 18, the majority of children face problems accessing education. Many children are headed for a second year of no school. Language is an issue because the Syrian school system uses Arabic exclusively. Also, older male children encounter the expectation that they should return to Syria to fight rather than continue their education. GHNI and partners are working with many refugee and poor children in the North especially to bring them help and hope via camps and relief.
BATTLING MALNUTRITION WITH PARTNERSHIPS
UNICEF is drawing attention to the problem of child malnutrition in Rakhine Province, which was already the second poorest even before the outbreak of conflict between the Muslim minority and Buddhist majority which broke out in June, and again in October, this year. In one location, Sittwe, 10% of children examined were found to be in a state of severe acute malnutrition, and a further 15% were suffering moderate malnutrition. UNICEF has expanded its therapeutic feeding programme in response to these findings. GHNI now has village work going in several areas and one of the fundamental works we focus on is health, nutrition and agriculture education of how to grow healthy crops. We are conducting training in several partner organizations in Rangoon and beyond.
PEASANT FARMERS HAVE HOPE WITH TCD
The vulnerability of peasant farmers to natural disasters is illustrated by the case study of Manbahadur Tamang; a farmer from Kolpata village, Sindupalchok district. Kalpata is 150km southeast of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Manbahadur Tamang’s entire maize crop was lost to heavy monsoon rains this year. With no cash from the harvest, life has become very difficult for this family of six. Two teenage sons have dropped out of school to look for work as day labourers. There is no help from the government and the family have been forced to borrow at high rates of interest from the landlords. Their entire future is at risk if they are unable to pay off the moneylenders at the next harvest. The GHNI assessment team who visited villages and schools in the southwest reports a great need for community based development to add resilience for poor families. A pilot project targeting poor villages that are victims of human trafficking is also planned; GHNI hopes to launch in 2013.
DISPLACED PEOPLE INCREASE
A UNHCR mission to Homs reports dire conditions in the city, with more than 250,000 displaced people being registered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Many people were staying in unheated communal buildings, but faced acute shortages of blankets, clothing and shoes. Half the city’s hospitals were said to be non-functional and 60% of the doctors had left. Many children had not been to school for the past eighteen months. Refugee reports to GHNI staff are horrendous with many major and permanent injuries that must be dealt with.