AVSI looks forward to starting this work with a new group of participants who, after 30 months, will be as resilient as Charlotte and her family. AVSI Foundation and its partners Trickle Up and IMPAQ International are grateful to the Mission Director for his visit to the project that is creating change in Kamwenge by helping participants move out of poverty and remain resilient.
The Islamic State (ISIS) caused havoc when they seized 40% of Iraq. They invaded the country in 2014 and ruthlessly destroyed basic infrastructures and businesses. The word ‘sad’ doesn’t really describe what I witnessed; it was heart wrenching! It has already been 4 years since ISIS was defeated, yet as you drive by the streets of Qaraqosh, there are still reminders of the destruction ISIS caused.
When they were one and a half years old, Moreen and Doreen were so small, frail, sick, and tired that they could barely sit up on their own. The twins’ chance of survival was alarmingly low.
Scovia Arinaitwe, their mother had experienced firsthand how quickly a child’s health can turn, but she did not realize what the cause might be. Florence Kabacwa, USAID Graduating to Resilience Activity nutrition coach took one look at the twins and knew what the problem was: malnutrition. As part of the USAID-funded Activity, thousands of families are visited by AVSI Foundation coaches in South Western Uganda every day.
In January, AVSI Foundation, in partnership with the Red Cross and the City of Milan, will distribute 68 tons of food to 12,000 people (4,500 families) who are going through financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is part of the project Building Hope: Emergency support for hospitals and vulnerable families in Italy affected by COVID-19, implemented by AVSI with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“With this project, we are bringing to Italy AVSI’s experience working in emergencies around the world,” says Giampaolo Silvestri, Secretary General of AVSI Foundation. “AVSI is accompanying the most vulnerable, those financially and psychologically exhausted by the crisis. In collaboration with the City of Milan and local partners, we have created a network to respond to the most urgent needs while working on restarting the Italian economy after COVID-19.”
AVSI Uganda staff members Arinda John Bosco and Ruth Ninsiima, were selected as SCALE Facilitators of the Year (2020), while Graduating to Resilience Activity received the SCALE’s Creative Adaptation Award for Strongest COVID-19 Innovations.
Alice’s favorite time of the day is sunset. She and her husband wait for their six children to come back from school. They sit together around a cup of tea and talk about their day. But Alice’s routine was not always so pleasant. Before joining AVSI’s Better Outcomes project, returning home at sunset was a nightmare. Everything she earned would be spent on alcohol by Robinson, her husband, leaving nothing to buy food for their children. When she tried to talk with Robinson, he would inevitably raise his hand at her.
“It was draining,” remembers Alice. “I couldn’t bear seeing my children starving.”
“This work was a great help. With the income, we paid part of the rent, and I sent some money to my mother in Venezuela so she can buy medicine and food.”
Marilú, a beneficiary of the “Activados” project, implemented by AVSI in the province of Manabí with funding from UNHCR.
Studies show that school closure during COVID-19 has adverse effects on children and adolescents. Young people are anxious and worried that they will never go back to school. Bernadetta Anieno, 18 years old, is no exception.
“They kept postponing the reopening, and I was losing hope,” remembers Bernadetta, who has been studying at AVSI long-term partner Luigi Giussani High School in Kampala, Uganda, since 2019. “I was just home doing nothing, not even reading. One day, I asked myself what I would become if I kept being home just watching TV?”
Like many other parents around the world, Giovanni Videa, 45 years old, has only one way to describe the routine of juggling work during COVID-19 while taking care of his three children, one with a learning disability and anxiety:
“It was tragic,” says Giovanni, an unarmed security guard who continued working during the pandemic. “Kids wanted to go out, have fun, spend at least five minutes on the playground, but they couldn’t because of the virus. As a result, they would fight all the time. It was a nightmare.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, amid many doubts and questions, Jolar Jarjess was certain that being close to people affected by crises is a fundamental principle for effective humanitarian action.
“Our role during a crisis like COVID-19 is not to avoid danger, but to manage it in a way that allows us to assist the affected communities,” says Jolar.