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Water and Sanitation Crisis Interventions

Friday, 16 June 2017 09:02 Written by

A Red Cross Perspective with the Emergency Response Module (M40) & Mass Sanitation Model (MSM).By Irene Nakasiita – Uganda Red Cross Society.

“Thirst nearly killed me. I drunk dirty water on the way together with my children. The sun was too hot; we had walked close to 80 kilometers without any food or water. I almost collapsed but we managed to pull it through to Uganda.” 38-year-old Julia Amer, mother 0f 5 children in Imvepi refugee settlement, West Nile, Northern Uganda. She’s now able to access clean and safe water. Thanks to water tap constructed by Uganda Red Cross in the community where she lives.

While Julia now smiles with access to clean and safe water, Water, essential as it is for human survival, remains one of the scarce resources that host communities continue to share with the growing number of refugees from South Sudan on a daily basis.  Severe water shortages in the West Nile contribute to high mortality due to disease outbreaks, hunger / malnutrition which have been named among the major humanitarian crises.

Uganda Red Cross with support from the federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent through partner National Societies (German Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Austrian Red Cross and British Red Cross) launched efforts to improve water access through the provision of the M40 (Emergency response Unit M40) and the Mass Sanitation Module (MSM) respectively.

(Top Photo)Water infrastructure installed by the River Nile to pump water (M40). (R) is one of the trucks ready to transport water to the camps. - Photo by Irene Nakasiita – URCS

An Emergency Response Unit is a standardized package of trained personnel and modules of equipment, ready to be deployed at short notice depending on health care needs in the most efficient way to mitigate the crisis.

 The Mass Sanitation Module (MSM) complements the M40. It exists to provide appropriate sanitation facilities for up to 20,000 people, with the aim of reducing sanitation and hygiene related mortality and morbidity. It comprises of a team of trained delegates and packed sets of standardized equipment that can be deployed to work with host Red Cross National Society to mobilize volunteers, providing rapid training for delivery of both hardware and software components of the module.

In summary, the sanitation services that the MSM aims to provide are safe excreta disposal; solid waste disposal; waste water disposal; medical waste disposal; vector control; provision of hand washing, bathing and laundry facilities; promotion of good hygiene practices; household water treatment; and advice on the management of dead bodies.With the M40, Uganda Red Cross is able to supply water to about 60,000 people per day, serving 15 litres per person, per day. The M40 is complemented with the promotion of good hygiene and sanitation practices under the MSM arrangements. URCS trained hygiene and sanitation volunteers ensure that there are communal latrines in place, hand washing tools, clean / sweep around the reception centers, train all refugees on good hygiene and sanitation promotion, move to the settlement camps to ensure the same practices are taken up, supply toilet construction materials and that all families are empowered with knowledge to keep healthy. (Photo top)URCS Hygiene promotion team at work – Imvepi reception center – Photo by Esther Kyokutamba.

The water from the river is not safe, but with the “M40 tools”, URCS is able to purify water to globally acceptable standards before being stored in the tanks for trucking. It is tested to ensure that it meets the acceptable standards for human consumption.

Agaba (on left)- URCS Volunteer samples a testing tool kit that is used to purify water. Photo by Tommy Trenchard

The Red Cross ensures that the water is made available through trucking as well as water taps which refugees and host communities benefit from.

While all the above is being done, there is more to be done. Water and Sanitation education Volunteers are strained in this exercise.  More deployments are needed to improve the volunteer to community ratios which is currently at about 1:500. Although volunteers are not paid, the Red Cross relies on humanitarian funding to facilitate them in field operations. More hygiene and sanitation tools are also needed to reach the bigger number of refugees that come into Uganda each day.

“The Red Cross continues to battle this emergency by expanding the water infrastructure and distributing water collection tools like clean jerricans, hand washing tools, buckets so that the beneficiaries are able to collect, store and keep water safe. We also train them in hygiene promotion but when new arrivals come, we have to continuously keep available to support them too. This requires resources which need to be funded for effective service delivery.” Says Kyagaba, Uganda Red Cross Wash Coordinator.

Photo On the right. Julia (C) at one of the water taps shared by refugees and members of the host community in Rhino Camp. Photo by Irene Nakasiita.

While all the above is being done, there is more to be done. Water and Sanitation education Volunteers are strained in this exercise.  More deployments are needed to improve the volunteer to community ratios which is currently at about 1:500. Although volunteers are not paid, the Red Cross relies on humanitarian funding to facilitate them in field operations. More hygiene and sanitation tools are also needed to reach the bigger number of refugees that come into Uganda each day.

“The Red Cross continues to battle this emergency by expanding the water infrastructure and distributing water collection tools like clean jerricans, hand washing tools, buckets so that the beneficiaries are able to collect, store and keep water safe. We also train them in hygiene promotion but when new arrivals come, we have to continuously keep available to support them too. This requires resources which need to be funded for effective service delivery.” Says Kyagaba, Uganda Red Cross Wash Coordinator.

There is also need for more IEC materials to fill the huge gap of access to information for continuous education and behavioral change. These materials have to be replicated in various dialects and delivery channels for effective mobilization.    

URCS M20 Volunteer sharing hygiene message with a refugee (Choler leaflet). Photo by Irene Nakasiita

“For us to deliver on our key mandates as humanitarian actors, we need support to serve the growing number of refugees in a better way. For example, Water is very vital for human survival. Apparently, Uganda Red Cross serves the biggest portion of the different camps with water. We only serve each refugee with 15 litres of water per person per day. As per the sphere standards, one needs about 20 litres a day hence the need for support for us to increase water production and supply.” – Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General Uganda Red Cross Society.

 

 

REDCROSS Donates Scholartic Materials To Refugee Children as New School Term Opens

Thursday, 25 May 2017 10:01 Written by

In a bid to support refugee children living in camps in West Nile, Uganda Red Cross donated school kits to 2000 children in Paringa Zone 5, Bidibidi camp in Yumbe, Northern Uganda. This was done to support these vulnerable children and prepare them for new school term which is about a week away.

Each school kit donated had:

4 70-sheet notebooks, 8 in. x 10.5 in. (20 cm x 26.5 cm)

  • 1 pair of blunt scissors
  • 1 30-centimeter ruler
  • 1 pencil sharpener
  • 5 new, unsharpened pencils with erasers
  • 5 ballpoint pens
  • 1 eraser, 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)
  • 1 box of 16- or 24-count crayons
  • 1 cloth drawstring backpack to carry the supplies

On top of the scholastic materials, Uganda Red Cross also gave each child a Bedcover to use as beddings.

These donated items were worth 250,000 USD (Approx. UGX 800,000,000) and were donated to Uganda Red Cross Society by Lutheran World Relief late last year. The donations that included 160 Bales of Blankets and 220 cartons of school kits were handed over to the Secretary General of the Red Cross, Robert Kwesiga at their offices in Rubaga.  The donated items were donated at a time when Uganda is facing an influx of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict in South Sudan among whom children and mothers are majority.

While addressing the press during the handover of the items at the Uganda Red Cross offices in Rubaga, Kenneth Barigye, the Lutheran World Relief Country Director said, “We at Lutheran are happy that we are able to contribute even so little to help make the lives of those fleeing violence a little better away from their homes. Uganda Red Cross is our trusted partner and we are very sure they will deliver these items to the vulnerable people who are fleeing South Sudan as refugees into Uganda.”

While handing over these items to children in the Bidibidi camp, Red Cross Communications and PR Coordinator Ms. Irene Nakasiita said that the donated items came in so handy since the children in this camp needed them to start school “Our target is the most vulnerable and neediest of the needy. As much as all children in this camp are refugees and equally needy, there are those with unique cases and as we selected the beneficiaries, the most vulnerable were given priority. These donated scholartstic materials should aid these kids as they start school and give them a chance to be in school.” She also appreciated LWR for donating such relevant items because children have directly benefited from them. “We have been keeping the items and chose to distribute them this time since children are yet to start school and the items are needed at such a time like this. We thank LWR for this kind of support and trusting Uganda Red Cross as a partner of choice through which the items could be shared with the needy. ” Nakasiita added.

LWR support came in at the time when Uganda Red Cross had launched an appeal to support the SSRO in August last year. The emergency operation was fundraising for 40,000 people. However, Bidi bidi refugee camp apparently has over 270,000 people and children and mothers constitute about 80% of the refugee population in this camp. This leaves URCS and other agencies supporting these refugees with a huge deal of work to support the ever growing number.

 

British Red Cross Suports URCS With a Mass Sanitation Module (MSM-ERU M20)

Thursday, 25 May 2017 09:24 Written by

British Red Cross Suports URCS With a Mass Sanitation Module (MSM-ERU M20) in Response to the South Sudan Refugee Operation in Northern  Uganda

Two weeks after the arrival of the M40 – Emergency Response Unit supported  by the Swedish, Austrian and German Red Cross societies, the British Red Cross joined the South Sudan Operation operation by supporting URCS with a  Mass sanitation Module –M20 to improve hygiene and sanitation of the South Sudanese refugees in west Nile –Parolinya camp.

The ERU has equipment worth 155,049.65 Pounds which is approximately 700million UGX and personnel to support / manage the equipment. The Emergency Response Unit comprises of water purifiers, personal hygiene kits, office furniture, ware house tents, warehouse generators, ware house electrics, tools, protective clothing, wheel barrows, chlorine spray, soap, water treatment, hand wash, latrine clean and HP tent, pump equipment, chlorine spray,  office stationery, personal field kits, kitchen ware.

The ERU can serve about 20,000 people per day. The consignment will support the South Sudan refugees whose number is growing bigger every day and needs to be served by Uganda Red Cross. The ERU items will enable URCS to purify water used by the refugees and members of the host community, provide disinfectants, and hand washing soap which will reduce the risk of them acquiring diseases like cholera and infections given the large number of people living in the settlements. 

While addressing the media upon arrival of the equipment, the URCS Secretary General appreciated the British Red Cross for extending this hand of support to Uganda Red Cross to enable the provision of better services to the refugees. “This is a good spirit of togetherness which the British Redcross have exhibited in this operation and with this support, we will make the lives of refugees better.” Kwesiga added.

 

Uganda Red Cross continues to be on ground in Northern Uganda, serving the health needs of the refugees from South Sudan in all ways possible. We appreciate the support from all our donors which makes this operation possible.

 

 

URCS Out Going President and Members Of The Interim Central Governing Board Appreciated

Thursday, 25 May 2017 09:03 Written by

The URCS outgoing President and twenty three (23) Members of the Interim Central Governing Board 2014/2015 were recently awarded with Certificates of Exemplary Service after their term of office expired, while the president scooped the Henry Dunant award. This was special appreciation from Uganda Red Cross membership and volunteers for the commitment, passion, resilience and zeal exhibited during the 2013 scandals that left Uganda Red Cross in ShardsThe interim central governing board was appointed in November 2013 to fill the gap after the leadership of the National  society stepped down to allow investigations into the allegations of funds misappropriation as well as abuse of office by senior officers of Uganda Red Cross together with the Central governing board then. In that regard, the president of the society played his over sight role and was supported by an interim board whose efforts laid a foundation upon which the stability of this institution is built. 

The recognition took place during the 2017 National Council meeting which took place on February 24th, 2017 at the Red Cross offices in Rubaga.

The Henry Dunant Award  

This was awarded to Retired Bishop Tom Okello who is the outgoing president of the National Society. This is the most prestigious award and he won for his dedicated service to the National society for over 18 years. He started his journey with the Red Cross in 1999 when he was elected Branch Governing board Chairman, Lira branch up to 2008 when his term of office expired. He was appointed President – Uganda Red Cross and served from 2011 – 2016. During his time of service, he has demonstrated strong leadership skills, with a high sense of integrity and impartiality.

He is so passionate about the sustainability of branches. During his speech in the 2016 National Council meeting, he encouraged URCS management and board to work tirelessly to bring the branches to a level where they can sustain themselves. This justifies his love for branch growth and self-sustainability.  Through the thin and thick moments the National Society has gone through, Bishop Tom remained a strong pillar and gave wise counsel, direction and above all, has seen the National Society to greater glory.

During the 2013 crisis, Bishop Tom remained the sober voice and a stabilizing factor for the National Society. He presided over the situation, and created sanity amidst tough circumstances. During the meeting that evicted the former board, he upheld the notions of the National Society and exhibited strong charisma when he was determined to move the National Society to another level despite the challenges at hand. What a courageous leader! It is from background that the members and volunteers of this National Society considered recognizing his efforts with a Henry Dunant Award.

Certificate of Exemplary Service

This was awarded to the 23 members of the Interim Board. These included: Hon Stephen Tashobya,  the Chairman, Dr Lali Mundrugo-Ogo, Vice Chairperson, Ms. Alice Ndide, Hon. Treasurer, Counsel Alex Luganda- Legal Advisor, Mr. Eria Kironde- Chairman NYC, Ms. Charity Kutegeka - Vice Chairperson NYC, Mr. Ken Odur Gabelle - Interim SG and members including Dr. Halid Kirunda, Dr. Taibu Azah, Awadh Chemangei, Elikanah Turazooka, Mr. Joseph Nzukwa, Mr. John Lokwang, Mr. Tom Bolojja, Ms. Grace Goro, Hon. Henry Peter Makumbi, Ms. Judith Turyaganyirwa, Mr. Patrick George Okol Ms. Teopista Samanya, Mr. Christopher Oballim, Mr. Godfrey Kaganda, Ms. Patience Ojok and  Dr. Josephine Birungi.

During their tenure, they laid a foundation for transitioning Uganda Red Cross from Crisis to a potentially stable National Society. Their efforts in this process were vividly felt and put the Institution at a leveled ground. Although the period was short, the fruits of their service are worth recognition.They presided over the restructuring of the National Society, Saved the National Society from fore-closure by the creditors, Some of them used their personal property as security for URCS indebtedness. For example, Ms. Alice Nidide, the Hon.

Treasurer gave her house as security in the process of managing the crisis with the debtors. They engaged with the various government departments and partners / stake holders to minimize the negative impact of the crisis, and for the period of their tenure, they served as full time volunteers without any facilitation. This exceptional heart of service was worth recognition and won the team this award. The out-going president was the guest of honor and awarded the team their certificates.

During the handover of the awards, the Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Robert Kwesiga, cited among other things the special role played by the out-going president as well as members of the  interim board that makes them an outstanding team worth the recognition. “Through their work, they laid a foundation for stabilizing the institution. Uganda Red Cross ably recovered from the crisis because of this team’s efforts and therefore, we take the honor to applaud them the heart of service, love and commitment towards securing Uganda Red Cross and ushering it to the glory we see today.” Kwesiga cited. 

During the same meeting, National Council ratified the revised constitution and all the URCS revised policy documents, including the Strategic plan 2020. The revised policies include: the Youth and Volunteer engagement Policy, Branch and membership policy, supply chain & procurement policy, the ware housing policy, fleet management policy, Finance policy, and the cost allocation policy.

All these were revised to facilitate the development phase which URCS is undertaking for better service delivery. The chairman central governing Board Mr. Joseph Omilmot appreciated members of the National Council for turning up in good numbers and encouraged them to continue working together to get Uganda Red Cross to the desired level. He also encouraged the URCS management, staff and volunteers to continue working hard to ensure that the objectives laid down in the new strategy 2020 are achieved. These policies have been shared with all implementing partners including branches and all staff, and are already being adhered to. 

 

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URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org
Facebook: Uganda Red Cross Society
Twitter: @ugandaredcross

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