August 1, 2017
By Janice Biehn
For three months starting today, South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia will have better access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. Approximately 285,809 of the 1.8 million South Sudanese refugees are living in refugee camps in Ethiopia, as a result of the devastating famine and conflict. Despite efforts, the minimum standard for water consumption per person is not being met, so the Ethiopian Government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees appealed to international non-government organizations for help.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund recently raised $379,000 for famine relief. PWRDF has allocated $38,600 to a project to improve water access at two refugee camps and two transit centres in the Gambella region. Jewi camp hosts 58,114 people and Neguneyyiel camp hosts 54,296 people while the two transit centres serve 750 refugees a week. The project implementer, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), has had experience distributing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in the Gambella region, and is partnering with a local NGO, Action for the Needy in Ethiopia.
The work includes: providing water, six water tanks and 800 jerry cans; procurement of water pipes and associated components; strengthening the water monitoring system by involving technical staff; providing hygiene education on water handling, storage, and use through community-based health volunteers and by hiring, training, and incentivizing 15 community-based health promoters.
IOCC is the humanitarian organization of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States. Since its inception in 1992, it has provided more than $600 million in humanitarian relief and development assistance to families and communities in 60 countries around the world.