By Phillip Walker, Chairperson, AACES Project Steering Committee
As the Chairperson of the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES) Program Steering Committee, I am proud to tell you about the release of the inaugural AACES Annual Report 2011-12 this month. It is clear from the report that the program is emerging as another community development success story.
Naatena Lenayora of Maralal, Samburu, Kenya, Photo by Jay Maheswaran
AACES is unlike typical grant/donor relationships; it is a partnership agreement between AusAID, ten Australian NGOs and their African partners. All parties value and support one another to get the best development outcomes in the African countries where we work.AACES recognises Australian NGOs’ positive record of working in Africa for some fifty years. Australian NGOs provide unique skills, have a strong base within the communities they work with and are there for the long haul.
Our partners work in eleven African countries, delivering projects that improve access to water and sanitation, food and nutrition, and improve maternal and child health outcomes.
School meals from the UN World Food Programme feed more than 11 million children in Africa each year. One of those children is a teenager called Molly Achieng, a 13-year old schoolgirl from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
We in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) first got to know Molly when she agreed to take part in a filming project designed to give viewers an insight into the life of a teenager in Mathare, one of the capital’s largest shanty towns. The idea was that she would take a small video camera around with her and shoot whatever she liked: her classmates, her home, the place where she lives.
By Richard Towle, UNHCR Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific
The theme for World Refugee Day “One refugee without hope is too many” is a poignant reminder of the fragile and often dangerous situation faced by millions of people forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution all around the world.
This week the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, released a report which showed that
2011 was a record year for forced displacement across borders around the world,
with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.
Paralysed by polio, Muktar, a 31-year-old father of five, is relocated by donkey cart from a temporary settlement into a new tent in a UNHCR Refugee Camp in Ifo Extension. Photo: UNHCR
UNHCR’s 2011 Global Trends report details for the first time the extent of forced displacement from a string of recent humanitarian crises in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere. And in 2012, the deteriorating situations in Mali and Syria are placing the lives and human security of tens of thousands of people acutely at risk.
By Claire Ireland, Senior Environment Specialist, AusAID
Collective action towards protecting the environment has a powerful impact, and the possibilities to make a difference are endless.
Today, people around the world will be celebrating World Environment Day in a multitude of ways. Colleagues have told me about a variety of plans—riding to work; making a special effort to recycle or switch off lights when not needed; or getting outside to join in community tree planting events.
For Faith Nyati in Zimbabwe, her day will be very different. She and her daughter Ellen will be up at 5am to collect water for the day. They will queue for up to an hour, depending what time they arrive at the communal well. After breakfast, Ellen’s older brother will go off to school but Ellen will stay behind to help their mother collect firewood—roughly a two-hour task. Faith says it didn’t always take so long but firewood is becoming scarce and the trees aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. Once the firewood is collected, they’ll head to a small plot of land to prepare it in the hope that the rains will come and their crops will grow. Ellen says she would like to go to school but helping out at home is more important. The family need water, firewood and food before she can get an education, she tells me.
A community worker talks to a group of women who are waiting to collect their food aid, including from Australia, at a World Food Programme food distribution point at Epworth in Harare, Zimbabwe in April 2009. Photo: Kate Holt/Africa Practice
I met Faith and Ellen in 2009 when they were queuing for food rations. The rains had failed to come and their crops had not grown. An estimated 6.9 million people received international food aid at the height of Zimbabwe’s ‘hunger season’ that year.