Oxfam International Blogs - Conflict & Emergencies http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog-channel/conflict-emergencies Conflict, disasters and emergencies are frequent, but their devastating impact on ordinary people can often be avoided. es La operación de Oxfam en Ecuador http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-06-02-la-operaci%C3%B3n-de-oxfam-en-ecuador <div class="field field-name-body"><p>La semana pasada tuve la oportunidad de visitar con el equipo de Oxfam la zona de la respuesta humanitaria en Ecuador. A un mes después del terremoto era un momento clave, ya que pasamos de la respuesta inicial a la implementación de la estrategia acordada para los próximos meses. Ha habido más de 1,600 réplicas, incluyendo otro sismo de 6.8 grados que se sintió esa semana, generando mayor trauma para una población llevada al límite por el terremoto del 16 de abril. Muchas personas pasan la noche acampando en sus jardines por temor de nuevos temblores, y hay campamentos improvisados en parques y en los bordes de carreteras. Las familias que habían comenzado a abandonar los campamentos establecidos por el gobierno han regresado. Visité las ciudades de Pedernales, Jama y Canoa y la "zona cero" en la capital de la provincia de Manabí, Portoviejo, donde tiene su sede la oficina de operaciones de Oxfam.</p> <p>Oxfam ha sido muy rápido para responder en el suministro de agua, alcanzando ya 43.000 beneficiarios. Manuel Bedrán, ingeniero de agua, y veterano de operaciones complejas como la de Irak, me decía que era en su experiencia la respuesta más rápida que ha visto. La estrategia principal, aún antes de completar la evaluación de necesidades fue de proporcionar una reparación rápida a los sistemas de agua existentes en las ciudades, con la instalación de tuberías, la habilitación de nuevos pozos, e instalación de bombas, en coordinación con la Secretaria Nacional de Agua (SENAGUA) y las autoridades municipales. Los sistemas de agua se dañaron con el sismo pero eran reparables. Este enfoque ha permitido una respuesta inmediata de alto impacto, a un bajo costo. Manuel y Desiree Marin, otra ingeniera ecuatoriana experta en agua, lograron abrir las puertas en términos políticos en un gobierno receloso de las actividades de las ONGs internacionales. Compramos materiales localmente y en menos de una semana se había enviado más de dos toneladas de equipo para agua que pudo ser utilizado en la primera respuesta en las ciudades y en las áreas peri-urbanas alrededor de Pedernales, donde 22 puntos de agua han sido instalados, lo que permite el acceso al agua para las comunidades más pobres.</p> <p>Ha sido sorprendente ver como se ha llevado a cabo una masiva limpieza de escombros, y poco a poco, en las ciudades la actividad económica normal ha regresado. Supermercados, tiendas, bancos, restaurantes y puestos de mercado informales están abiertos, con el telón de fondo de los edificios destruidos. Los frentes de playa y las comunidades pesqueras están activos. Las escuelas han retomado actividades, y en las que hubo afectaciones se han instalado albergues con el apoyo de UNICEF.</p> <p>El principal problema va a ser el acceso a la vivienda que requerirá un programa de reconstrucción a gran escala. El gobierno está ofreciendo créditos e incentivos a las familias que acojan a otras personas mientras que se construyen nuevas casas. Muchas personas que quedaron sin hogar son reacias a aceptar esta solución, temiendo que una vivienda definitiva podría no llegar nunca. En el campamento en Portoviejo hasta un 80% de las personas (un poco más de 800 personas) habitaban viviendas alquiladas y por tanto no son los propietarios de las casas que fueron destruidas. El gobierno está ofreciendo créditos a bajo interés o sin intereses para construir casas. Más de 5.000 edificios han sido destruidos. La respuesta tiene el trasfondo político de las elecciones presidenciales el próximo año, a las que el presidente Correa no puede presentarse. La gestión de la respuesta será la clave para la suerte electoral. Hasta ahora, parece que el ejército, y diferentes autoridades gubernamentales están respondiendo bien.</p> <p>Después de un mes de acción sin parar del equipo Oxfam, la respuesta se está moviendo hacia la implementación de una estrategia más estructurada y planificada, con el compromiso de donantes identificados y confirmados. El principal reto de Oxfam ha sido definir la escala y el alcance de la intervención. ¿Deberíamos haber ido más allá? ¿Abarcado más sectores o más comunidades? Creo que hemos atinado, teniendo en cuenta el contexto en el país. Hemos decidido enfocar la respuesta a una intervención de emergencia en Agua, Saneamiento e Higiene, con un mayor énfasis en el desarrollo de las capacidades locales. Este sector es donde Oxfam tiene un claro valor añadido y esa fue la primera necesidad identificada en los primeros días después de la primera evaluación. Oxfam ha respondido donde se encuentra la necesidad real.</p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>La operación de Oxfam en Ecuador</h2></div> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 17:46:50 +0000 Simon Ticehurst 49132 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-06-02-la-operaci%C3%B3n-de-oxfam-en-ecuador#comments Promesas y sillas vacías: los resultados de la Cumbre Humanitaria Mundial http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-27-promesas-y-sillas-vac%C3%ADas-los-resultados-de-la-cumbre-humanitaria-mundial <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Los Gobiernos que han participado esta semana en la Cumbre Humanitaria Mundial tenían numerosos e importantes asuntos que abordar. Y cientos de personas de todo el mundo <a href="https://whs.oxfam.org/es/" rel="nofollow">prestamos nuestras voces </a>a las personas atrapadas en crisis humanitarias.</p> <p>En la cumbre se han obtenido importantes logros: algunos países ricos, como Noruega y Alemania, han incrementado sus compromisos de ayuda, y otros, como Dinamarca, anunciaron que renovarían su estrategia humanitaria.</p> <p><strong>¿Pero qué hay de las cuatro cuestiones clave por las que Oxfam luchaba?</strong></p> <h3>1. Ayudar a las personas a afrontar su futuro como ellas decidan</h3> <p><img alt="Strengthening local partners in delivering humanitarian aid." title="Strengthening local partners in delivering humanitarian aid." height="700" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/lahpai-local-partner.jpg" /></p> <em>“Para ir más allá de proporcionar ayuda y cubrir necesidades básicas, debemos reforzar a los actores locales. Es necesario proporcionarles espacio y apoyo. Debemos trabajar con ellos, no ‘entre’ de ellos”. Lahpai Seng Raw Metta Development Foundation.</em> <p>La cumbre contribuyó a promover el liderazgo local y en ella se escucharon las voces de organizaciones y activistas de la sociedad civil locales. Se realizaron progresos significativos en materia de educación, financiación humanitaria eficaz y el denominado "Gran Pacto" que dará más poder y fondos a las ONG locales en primera línea de las crisis.</p> <h3>2. Respetar los derechos de las mujeres y garantizar la igualdad de género en la labor humanitaria</h3> <p><img alt="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - UN Women tweet" title="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - UN Women tweet" height="378" width="642" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/un-women-whs-quote.png" /></p> <em>Tuit de Winnie Byanyima, directora ejecutiva de Oxfam Internacional: “Las mujeres no son víctimas indefensas. Son valientes, capaces y deben estar en la mesa de negociaciones”.</em> <p>Muchos países reconocieron el empoderamiento de las mujeres como un derecho e hicieron un llamamiento a favor de que dicho empoderamiento, la igualdad de género y los derechos de las mujeres sean un componente central de toda la acción humanitaria.</p> <h3>3. Proteger a la población civil del horror de la guerra</h3> <p><img alt="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - Winnie Byanyima quote" title="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - Winnie Byanyima quote" height="432" width="861" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/yemen-whs-winnie-quote-logo.png" /></p> <p><em>"Tawfiq, un hombre de 35 años en Yemen nos dijo recientemente: "Dejamos nuestro hogar junto cientos de familias más al inicio de la guerra. Las bombas y los misiles caían como lluvia y no pude salvar a mi hija, de sólo 12 años. No pude sepultar a mi bebé. Yo siempre había soñado que ella se convertiría en una maestra exitosa, que llevaría el mensaje de tolerancia y paz". Winnie Byanyima.</em></p> <p>Algunos países, como España y Guatemala, se comprometieron a defender el derecho humanitario internacional en conflictos. Pero en la cumbre faltaron los líderes de países como el Reino Unido y los Estados Unidos, importantes actores en la venta de armas a naciones de todo el mundo envueltas en conflictos como el de Yemen.</p> <h3>4. Defender a quienes han tenido que huir de sus hogares</h3> <p></p><p></p> <p></p> <p><img alt="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - partner quote" title="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - partner quote" height="1080" width="1920" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/wyeahi_2-partner-forced-to-flee-quote-final.jpg" /></p> <p><em>“Acogimos en mi casa a 50 personas desplazadas internamente. Vinieron sin nada, solo con la ropa que llevaban puesta. Espero que esta emergencia acabe para que todas las personas puedan estar a salvo”. Aishatu Margima, Directora ejecutiva de la Iniciativa para el empoderamiento de la juventud y las mujeres para el avance y la salud.</em></p> <p>Muchos países defendieron la necesidad de ayudar a las personas refugiadas y desplazadas internamente. Pero el debate aún no ha finalizado y personal experto de Oxfam espera que los países asuman importantes compromisos para reasentar a personas refugiadas en la cumbre de las Naciones Unidas que tendrá lugar el 19 de septiembre y cuyo anfitrión será el presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama.</p> <h3>¿Y ahora qué sigue?</h3> <p>La propia Organización de las Naciones Unidas ha señalado que la Cumbre Humanitaria Mundial ha sido solo el inicio de un debate para lograr un sistema humanitario que haga más por las personas afectadas por crisis humanitarias. Aún quedan muchas promesas por cumplir y mucho por hacer, motivo por el que desde Oxfam pronto incrementaremos nuestra labor de campaña para contribuir a garantizar un acuerdo justo para las personas que buscan seguridad y protección. Síguenos este verano en<a href="http://www.twitter.com/oxfam_es" rel="nofollow"> Twitter</a> para saber más.</p> <p><img alt="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - Winnie Byanyima verdict" title="World Humanitarian Summit 2016 - Winnie Byanyima verdict" height="1080" width="1920" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/winnie-final-quote.jpg" /></p> <p><em>La verdadera prueba de la Cumbre es si logra o no resultados para las 125 millones de personas afectadas por las crisis alrededor del mundo. Winnie Byanyima.</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Promesas y sillas vacías: los resultados de la Cumbre Humanitaria Mundial</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_en first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-05-26-empty-chairs-and-hopeful-promises-outcomes-world-humanitarian-summit" title="Empty Chairs and Hopeful Promises: Outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Fri, 27 May 2016 19:49:06 +0000 Nigel Timmins 48568 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-27-promesas-y-sillas-vac%C3%ADas-los-resultados-de-la-cumbre-humanitaria-mundial#comments Lo que deberíamos saber sobre la crisis humanitaria en Centroamérica. http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-23-lo-que-deber%C3%ADamos-saber-sobre-la-crisis-humanitaria-en-centroam%C3%A9rica <div class="field field-name-body"><p>“Es urgente que los Estados reconozcan formalmente a Centroamérica como una región vulnerable frente al Cambio Climático y los riesgos recurrentes que año tras año deja grandes pérdidas (…) Es hora de despojarnos de los intereses particulares y trabajar como región centroamericana para que las políticas de Gestión del Riesgo se incluyan y estén alineadas a la política de los Estados”, fueron algunos de los mensajes que se dieron a lo largo del Foro Regional Centroamericano “Impacto del Riesgo de Sequía y otros efectos Adversos del Cambio climático” que se llevó a cabo la semana pasada en ciudad de Guatemala y que refleja la preocupación ante una crisis humanitaria que parece no tener un pronta solución.</p> <p>La situación de sequía que enfrenta la zona del corredor seco en Centroamérica, demanda una respuesta más rápida y contundente no sólo de los gobiernos nacionales, sino de la comunidad internacional, que se reúne en la <a href="http://www.un.org/es/conf/whs/index.shtml" rel="nofollow">primera cumbre humanitaria mundial</a> en Estambul a partir de hoy. Más de cuatro millones de personas, están sufriendo las consecuencias de una crisis humanitaria silenciosa en el Corredor Seco de Centroamérica y que en los últimos años ha ocasionado la pérdida de cosechas entre un 50% y 90%. Esta situación ha afectado a las familias más pobres, lo que ha incrementado los niveles de desigualdad en la región, reproduciendo el ciclo de pobreza y vulnerabilidad. Según Naciones unidas entre 1991 y 2010 de cada 100 dólares destinados a ayuda humanitaria internacional tan sólo se invirtieron 40 céntimos en reducción de desastres. De acuerdo con el plan de respuesta lanzado por el sistema, para atender a los 3.5 millones de personas afectadas por la situación de sequía en Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador, se necesitarían cerca de US$294 millones este año, a razón de USD$84 por persona, para garantizar asistencia alimentaria durante periodo más alto de la emergencia (4 meses comprendidos entre mayo y agosto).</p> <p>Desde Oxfam, respondemos con apoyos para cerca de 500,000 personas que han sido afectadas en la región de América Latina, pero se requiere una mayor atención y decisión por parte de la cooperación y por parte de los Estados para movilizar recursos que permitan el desarrollo de estrategias y programas que conecten el trabajo humanitario con el trabajo de más largo plazo de desarrollo y reducción de la desigualdad, sino seguiremos año tras año respondiendo a emergencias prevenibles.</p> <p>¿Dé dónde vendría la inversión pública? Es imperativo el diseño e implementación de reformas fiscales que eviten la fuga de recursos hacia los llamados “paraísos fiscales”, y sean utilizados en programas que contribuyan a mejorar la calidad de vida de las poblaciones. La evasión y elusión de impuestos sobre la renta personal y corporativa le cuesta a América Latina y el Caribe más de 200,000 millones de dólares al año, es decir un 4,1% del PIB, monto con el cual se podría casi duplicar la inversión pública en salud de toda la región latinoamericana. El Foro Regional Centroaméricano, más allá de definir una posición ante la Cumbre Mundial Humanitaria, ha sido un escenario oportuno para visibilizar la crisis y presentar ante la opinión pública y las autoridades de la región, la imperiosa necesidad de invertir en programas orientados a mejorar los medios de vida de las comunidades y recuperar sus medios de vida destruidos por la sequía, y el fortalecimiento en temas relacionados con la prevención del riesgo y adaptación a fenómenos derivados de la variabilidad climática o el cambio climático.</p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Lo que deberíamos saber sobre la crisis humanitaria en Centroamérica.</h2></div> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:56:08 +0000 Simon Ticehurst 48161 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-23-lo-que-deber%C3%ADamos-saber-sobre-la-crisis-humanitaria-en-centroam%C3%A9rica#comments De Portoviejo a Pedernales, recorrido de incertidumbre http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-03-de-portoviejo-pedernales-recorrido-de-incertidumbre <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Escribo este texto a una semana del terremoto en Ecuador. El equipo de Oxfam está estacionado en Portoviejo, ciudad capital de la provincia de Manabí, en la costa noroeste del país. Planeamos ir a Pedernales, a 180 kilometros de aquí, para conocer las condiciones de vida y principales necesidades de los damnificados. <strong>Todos los reportes oficiales indican que Pedernales es una de las poblaciones con mayores pérdidas en daños materiales y también en vidas</strong>, por ello en los medios locales se refieren a esta área como la “zona cero” del terremoto.</p> <p>Pedernales es un municipio costero de 50.000 personas y mucho verdor. Para llegar hay que atravesar el bosque tropical y rodear las montañas que salen a la playa. El camino está repleto de ceibas majestuosas y árboles de teca a los que descienden las nubes llenas de rocío. Llegamos con la lluvia esta mañana y el escenario de destrucción es impresionante, muy pocas edificaciones en pie y las que quedan, con daños sin remedio. Según las cifras oficiales 173 personas murieron aquí en Pedernales.</p> <p>En el albergue 31 de marzo conocimos las historias de cuatro mujeres que se refugian con sus familias desde el día siguiente al sismo. <strong>Cristina, Eulalia, Santa y Cecilia se quedan en este colegio improvisado como albergue temporal</strong>. Llueve hace horas y el lodo lo rodea todo. Las aulas de esta escuela son dormitorios de noche y cocinas de día. La mayoría de los hombres se van durante el día a cuidar lo poco que les quedó de su casa, sacar los enseres que sean salvables y a buscar jornal o provisiones. Mientras tanto, las mujeres cuidan de sus hijos, nietos y administran la comida que les llega de las donaciones y del gobierno, que en su gran mayoría consiste en agua embotellada, latas de atún, arroz y plátanos.</p> <p><img alt="Eulalia Obando, Santa Arroyo y Cecilia Márquez en el albergue 31 de Marzo" title="Eulalia Obando, Santa Arroyo y Cecilia Márquez en el albergue 31 de Marzo en Nuevo Pedernales, Ecuador" height="259" width="400" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/eulalia_santa_cecilia_edit_2_0.jpg" /></p> <p>Todas nos cuentan que viven bajo continuo estrés y duermen poco. Se han sentido muchas réplicas que tienen nerviosos a todos y recuerdan el sábado pasado con angustia. Cristina perdió su casa recién construida, Eulalia y su familia se preparaban para ir a misa e inicialmente sus hijos y un nieto quedaron atrapados entre los escombros, Cecilia, como muchas, trabajaba limpiando camarones en una de las plantas de Pedernales “con el temblor las redes de las piscinas se cayeron y los camarones se han ido, ya no hay trabajo”. Santa dice que a pesar de las dificultades seguirán luchando por sacar a sus hijos adelante. <strong>Ninguna sabe cuál será el futuro de su familia, a ninguna le han dicho como el gobierno les ayudará a acceder a una vivienda digna</strong>. No saben cuánto tiempo estarán aquí.</p> <p>Los mismos testimonios se repiten en los otros albergues que visitamos, la incertidumbre reina. Quienes no cuentan con suerte de dormir bajo el resguardo de una edificación, han sufrido los estragos de la tormenta la noche anterior. Las colchonetas llenas de lodo, la ropa y los niños sucios y sin un lugar en el cual asearse. <strong>Agua hay en tanques, lo que no tienen es un sistema de distribución que facilite el consumo seguro.</strong> En el momento, se abastecen con recipientes que meten dentro de los tanques. Tampoco hay baños ni lavaderos.</p> <p>El equipo de Oxfam ha decidido que su atención humanitaria se enfocará en mejorar la distribución de agua, tanto en los albergues, como en otros puntos de acopio, y también en implementar un programa de sanidad e higiene que incluirá la distribución de kits de primera necesidad y educación sanitaria para prevenir infecciones y otras enfermedades.</p> <p>De vuelta en Guayaquil la vida parece transcurrir con total normalidad. Caminando por el Malecón 2000, me asombro al ver a un trabajador de la ciudad limpiar las baldosas con agua a presión. Miles de litros de agua saliendo por minutos de la máquina, mientras algunos turistas recorren locales comerciales.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/es/accion-humanitaria/terremoto-en-ecuador" rel="nofollow"><strong>Respuesta de emergencia de Oxfam en Ecuador</strong></a></h3> <p>Ahora nuestro objetivo principal es proporcionar ayuda a las personas más vulnerables ante posibles enfermedades ya que los servicios de saneamiento han resultado gravemente afectados y, en algunos casos, destruidos. <strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/es/accion-humanitaria/terremoto-en-ecuador" rel="nofollow">Necesitamos urgentemente tu ayuda. </a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>De Portoviejo a Pedernales, recorrido de incertidumbre</h2></div> Tue, 03 May 2016 22:21:54 +0000 tania escamilla 46132 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/16-05-03-de-portoviejo-pedernales-recorrido-de-incertidumbre#comments Why women refugees must be involved in the decisions that affect their lives http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82006 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>My name is Susan Grace Duku. I am 33 years old and I have spent 21 of those years as refugee.</strong></p><p>Last week we learned that the number of people in situations like mine - forced from their homes because of violence or persecution – <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2019/6/5d03b22b4/worldwide-displacement-tops-70-million-un-refugee-chief-urges-greater-solidarity.html" rel="nofollow">has passed 70 million worldwide</a>. In responding to this unprecedented challenge, it is paramount that refugees ourselves participate in the decisions that directly affect us and in efforts to find solutions.</p><p>Refugees are often victims of the conflicts they flee from. They also face challenges leaving their home countries, finding asylum in a new place, and in living alongside host communities.</p><p><span>Here in Uganda, many have sought refuge in the country for the second or even third time due to repeated conflicts in their home countries, including my native South Sudan. I first came here in 1992, when I was only seven years old. I came again in 2016.</span></p><p>Being repeatedly uprooted and seeking protection has given us years of experience in how to live harmoniously with host communities, how to find creative ways to make ends meet and how to support each other. The pain and sorrow we have endured also drive our commitment to peace - the most durable solution.</p><p><strong>Global Refugee Forum</strong></p><p>In December, world leaders will come together at the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/global-refugee-forum.html" rel="nofollow">Global Refugee Forum</a>&nbsp;and commit to concrete steps to improve the lives of refugees.</p><p>If I had the chance to address those delegates, I would urge them to ensure that refugee girls are able to realise their full potential.</p><p>I would use the example of the prominent women delegates in the room and ask whether these women would be seated among us if they had not been supported through education, reproductive health services and other related support.</p><p>I would advocate for peace and for governments to embrace tolerance, accountability and reconciliation to prevent conflicts that result in refugee situations.</p><p>I would ask them to support refugees to be agents of peace.</p><p><strong>Refugees must be able to&nbsp;<span>contribute to decision-making</span></strong></p><p>But refugees should not only participate in international discussions – they should also contribute to decision-making at the local level.</p><p>In Uganda, refugees have platforms through which they can express their challenges and ideas. They democratically elect members of community leadership committees, who raise their voices about any recommendations or grievances. There is also a forum of refugees that engages in debates with the Government. I have set up an organization, called Refugee Women and Youth Aid, that brings together 17 groups of women to share knowledge, skills and experience.</p><p>There are lessons here for other countries, but there are also challenges. It is still too rare for refugees to address leaders at the highest levels, who are in a position to change our lives.</p><p>As a woman refugee leader, I have often been left out of important meetings within the settlement. The male folk still hold women in low esteem due to long-standing cultural beliefs that discriminate against women. Because of such patriarchal beliefs, refugee women and girls need extra support to effectively participate in the design, implementation and review of refugee programs.</p><p><strong>Re<strong>fugees need e</strong>ducation and job opportunities</strong></p><p>As a leader, I call on the Ugandan Government and its humanitarian partners to prioritize proper education at all levels for refugees.</p><p>Having large numbers of displaced young people frustrated or bored because they can’t go to school is a recipe for continued conflict, violence and under development.</p><p>Refugees also yearn for work opportunities so they can supplement humanitarian aid and sustain themselves. Some women are forced to trek large distances to find safe water, firewood and construction materials, and sometimes there are conflicts with host communities over these resources. These problems could be solved through tree planting and proper use of natural resources such as land for agriculture and alternative sources of fuel like briquettes.</p><p>There should be more initiatives to bring refugees and host communities together, to help reduce tensions and suspicions that can trigger violence.</p><p><strong>Women must be included</strong></p><p>None of these challenges can be solved without the active participation of refugee, including women.</p><p>We refugees are not responsible for our displacement. We did not choose to become refugees and we face many difficulties.</p><p>We need to be included in spaces where our voices can be heard, and we must be equally represented in decision-making processes.</p><p><em><img alt="Photo: Susan Duku" title="Photo: Susan Duku" height="200" width="200" style="float: left; margin: 0px 20px 20px 20px" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/susan_duku-200.jpg" />This entry posted on 24 June 2019, by Susan Grace Duku, who is head of our partner agency Refugee Women and Youth Aid in Uganda, and is a refugee. She writes about the importance of refugees participating in decisions that affect their lives - one of Oxfam's key asks ahead of the Global Refugee Forum in December.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Cousins Betty and Florence with their children at the reception center at the Imvepu refugee settlement, Uganda. Credit: Coco McCabe/Oxfam</em></p><p><em>Refugees from South Sudan have been fleeing conflict and hunger in their country, and seeking safety across the border in Uganda. Currently, Uganda is hosting more than 1 million refugees - 82 percent are women and children. Across four districts in settlements like Imvepi and Bidi Bidi, Oxfam and our local partners have reached more than 283,000 refugees with assistance that includes the provision of clean water, sanitation services such as the digging of pit latrines, hygiene promotion, emergency food and livelihoods support, and attention to gender and protection issues. In the last four years, Oxfam has also invested in helping more than 15 local and national organizations build their capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies such as this one.</em></p><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong>Read more</strong></p><ul><li><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/refugees"><strong>Blogs on refugees and migration</strong></a></li><li><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/refugee-and-migrant-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam's humanitarian work on the refugee/migrant crisis</strong></a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why women refugees must be involved in the decisions that affect their lives</h2></div> Mon, 24 Jun 2019 14:29:43 +0000 Guest Blogger 82006 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82006#comments Hope For Yemen as UK Arms to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82004 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>The UK Court of Appeal <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/20/uk-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-for-use-in-yemen-declared-unlawful" rel="nofollow">has ruled</a> that the sale of UK arms being used by Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen are unlawful. The <a href="https://www.caat.org.uk/" rel="nofollow">Campaign Against Arms Trade</a> began this case three years ago. Oxfam has supported it as an intervenor, providing witness testimony about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and expert evidence about the protection of civilians under International Humanitarian Law.</strong></p><p>This is more than just some legal wrangle in London.</p><p><strong>Deadly hypocrisy</strong></p><p>Calling for peace while selling weapons that allow Saudi Arabia to continue bombing Yemen is an utter hypocrisy that is having deadly consequences for the people of Yemen. This Appeal Court ruling is a victory for them.</p><p>The suffering of people of Yemen is getting worse as the fighting and bombing continues.</p><p>The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees says there have been <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2019/3/5c8121734/100-civilian-casualties-week-yemen-2018.html" rel="nofollow">more than 17,000 verified civilian deaths and injuries</a> during the war.</p><p>The number of incidents in which children have been killed or injured have more than tripled between the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of this year.</p><p>Every month there are around 600 strikes against civilian infrastructure, with more than 100 hospitals, <a href="https://www.savethechildren.org/us/about-us/media-and-news/2019-press-releases/seven-killed-in-hospital-bombing-yemen" rel="nofollow">health facilities</a> and schools hit just last year alone. These are war crimes.</p><p><img alt="Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana&#039;a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam`" title="Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana&#039;a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb_117167_dsc_9761-bedroom-1240-credit.jpg" /></p><p><em>Photo: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana'a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>The effects of four years of war</strong></p><p>More than 3.3 million Yemenis have been displaced, 10 million are on the brink of famine and 24 million need aid. The world’s worst cholera outbreak in happening in Yemen. All this is being caused by four years of war being fuelled by arms sold from outside Yemen including those by British companies.</p><p>The court rules that the British government should have suspended its sales as soon as the scale of war crimes and human rights abuses became clear. In refusing to assess the scale of attacks on civilians, the court says the UK government rendered its export licensing process unlawful.</p><p><strong>These arms are a 'clear risk'</strong></p><p>The ruling hinged on the definition of “clear risk”, the words in the consolidated criteria that the government uses to assess its decisions to grant arms exports.</p><p>Was there a “clear risk” that Saudi Arabia would use UK arms to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure? Even after multiple attacks on hospitals, markets, mosques, and aid projects including several Oxfam water projects, the UK government deliberately made no attempt to determine whether there had been a pattern of breaches of international humanitarian law, which should have informed them about the likelihood of future violations.</p><p>The British government has ignored years of such warnings and evidence. Why? Because the UK government has licensed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/20/uk-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-for-use-in-yemen-declared-unlawful" rel="nofollow">over £4.7 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia</a> since they went to war in Yemen, with unknown amounts of bombs additionally being sold through secretive “open licenses.”</p><p><img alt="Photo: Ibrahim, 43, with his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, Yemen. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam" title="Photo: Ibrahim, 43, with his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, Yemen. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam" height="800" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/114830lpr-family-1200-credit.jpg" /></p><p><em>Ibrahim, 43, and his children fled the fighting in Hajjah governorate, and now live in a one-room house made of wood and threadbare cloths, with no access to food, water, education, or health services. One of Ibrahim’s children died from cholera infection. Credit: Sami M. Jassar/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Conflict causes poverty</strong></p><p>In Oxfam’s experience, we need to tackle the root causes that keep people locked into cycles of poverty and suffering in order to have a truly lasting impact on their lives. We not only <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">deliver life-saving water and aid</a> to people affected by the conflict in Yemen, we’re also doing everything possible to end the conflict as soon as possible.</p><p>This ruling offers real hope for the people of Yemen.</p><p>The British government must now immediately halt its arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and create a new process for licensing arms exports. This must comply with the UK’s obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty, the EU Common Position on Arms and its own domestic law to uphold human rights.</p><p><strong>An international trend</strong></p><p>This win is part of an international trend. Just last week the <a href="https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/05/10/foreign-ministers-calls-for-an-end-to-belgian-weapon-exports-to/" rel="nofollow">Belgian Council of State</a>, their highest court, ruled that continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia are illegal, forcing changes in Belgian arms licensing procedures.</p><p><a href="https://thedefensepost.com/2019/03/29/germany-extends-saudi-arabia-arms-export-ban-september/" rel="nofollow">Germany</a> has suspended some sales to Saudi Arabia.</p><p>The US Congress has voted repeatedly to end weapons transfers to fuel the war in Yemen, however the Trump administration has overruled it.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/saudi-arabia-arms-embargo-weapons-europe-germany-denmark-uk-yemen-war-famine-a8648611.html" rel="nofollow">Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark</a> have all suspended transfers to Saudi Arabia. A legal case is being prepared in Spain.</p><p>These legal processes are slow but they are beginning to force governments to do what they should have done voluntarily years ago – stop selling arms that are fuelling a terrible war in Yemen and killing women, men and children every day.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 19 November 2018, by Martin Butcher, Oxfam's Policy Advisor on Arms and Conflict.</em></p><p><em>Photos: Airstrike destruction of civilian houses in Sana'a, Yemen. Credit: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more:</strong></p><ul><li><em><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/yemen"><strong>More blogs on Yemen</strong></a></em></li><li><strong><em><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">Support Oxfam's humanitarian response in Yemen</a></strong></em><br></strong></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Hope For Yemen as UK Arms to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful</h2></div> Fri, 21 Jun 2019 14:19:07 +0000 Martin Butcher 82004 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82004#comments On World Refugee Day, Like Every Day - We See People, Not Refugees http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82002 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong><span>Refugees are people who have left everything behind - escaping from war, violence or persecution. But they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children - who still have dreams and ambitions. On World Refugee Day - like every day - we pause to honor&nbsp;</span></strong><strong>Humankind above all the figures. Being a refugee is not a choice.</strong></p><p>This week the UNHCR announced that, in 2018, there were nearly <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/6/5d03b22b4/worldwide-displacement-tops-70-million-un-refugee-chief-urges-greater-solidarity.html" rel="nofollow">71 million people</a> across the globe who were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced.</p><p>That's 2.5 million more than in 2017.</p><p>That's 37,000 people forced to leave their home every day.</p><p>People that left everything behind - escaping from war, violence or persecution, fearing for their lives because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, political opinion, ethnic background or other.</p><p><strong>Being a refugee is not a choice</strong></p><p>Extreme violence in <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/19-03-26-seven-things-you-need-know-about-war-yemen">Yemen</a>, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/hunger-crisis-south-sudan" rel="nofollow">South Sudan</a>, Afghanistan, Syria, DRC, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Iraq or the <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-08-24-working-women-rohingya-refugee-camps-make-toilets-safer">Rohingyas exodus</a> from Myanmar, among others - have meant millions and millions of people forcibly displaced over the past years.</p><p>Each refugee’s story is different, but in all cases, life changes drastically. In many cases it means leaving all their loved ones behind, hoping they will see them again, at some point in the future.</p><p>They leave their professional lives behind, in many cases moving into the black market or having no options for employment at all.</p><p><img alt="Photo of Za&#039;atari refugee camp: We see people, not refugees. Credit: Oxfam" title="Photo of Za&#039;atari refugee camp: We see people, not refugees. Credit: Oxfam" height="512" width="1024" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/see-not-refugees-see-people.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Leaving dreams behind</strong></p><p>They leave many of their dreams, hopes, plans and ambitions behind.</p><p>In many cases they entrust their life to smugglers, and undergo long and <a href="https://missingmigrants.iom.int/region/mediterranean" rel="nofollow">dangerous journeys with uncertain ends</a>. Some people do not even make it, and <a href="https://twitter.com/Refugees/status/1140545618240319488" rel="nofollow">die in the journey</a>.</p><p>They might be threaten, sexually abused or exploited, raped, humiliated, demonized, regarded with suspicion, denied their rights, feel like a stranger, uprooted even hopeless.</p><p>Amid and despite all of it, refugees find the necessary courage and determination to get on with their lives, seeking ways to rebuild their lives.</p><p>And they have so much to offer, <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/19-06-19-face-kindness-welcoming-refugees-lesbos-greece">enriching and contributing to society</a> in many different ways, they bring their cultural heritage, their experiences, knowledge, skills and energy to create.</p><p><strong>I cannot even start to imagine</strong> what it means to undergo such a traumatic experience. But what I know is that humankind is central to the answer. Refugees and displaced people are not numbers and statistics.</p><p><span>Some host governments, some citizens and political parties, even some of the media - have dehumanized them and turned them into statistics.</span></p><p>But “refugees” are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children. They are teachers, small farmers, nurses, musicians or taxi drivers with names, faces, stories - and the same right for a dignified future and fearless tomorrow, as we all have.</p><p><strong>It is time for solidarity, humanity and compassion</strong> - and also time for governments and the international community to take responsibility for the root causes that fuel and force millions of people to flee.</p><p>We have a legal, but most important a moral obligation. Being a refugee is not a choice.</p><p><em>This entry posted 20 June 2019, by Franc Cortada, Oxfam International Global Program Director.</em></p><p><em>Photo: The train station is also a transit camp for refugees trying to cross the border between Macedonia and Serbia. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more</strong></p><ul><li><strong>Blogs by <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/franc%20cortada">Franc Cortada</a></strong></li><li><strong>Blogs on <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/1857">Oxfam's humanitarian work</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>On World Refugee Day, Like Every Day - We See People, Not Refugees</h2></div> Thu, 20 Jun 2019 15:45:06 +0000 Guest Blogger 82002 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/82002#comments The Face of Kindness - Welcoming Refugees in Lesbos, Greece http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81998 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>People fleeing war and persecution still have dreams, ideas, ambitions and experiences, just like all of us. Latest UN figures show there are now over 70 million people forcibly displaced around the world. This World Refugee Day, we're highlighting how refugees are working to rebuild their lives, while also helping develop their host communities.</strong></p><p>For Lena, a Greek native, the most important thing is to bring people together. That’s why she has opened “Nan Restaurant” with three other local women, a restaurant on the Greek island of Lesbos. She wants people “to create, to cook together, to share ideas, talents, recipes, tastes, aromas.”</p><p>Her final goal? “To prove that they can coexist and create something new together," she says.</p><p>The food at “Nan” is simply delicious – but that is only one reason why people come here.</p><p>“Nan” is not only a restaurant, it is also a place where local Greeks and people from other places meet, cook together, share ideas for recipes, and prove that they can create something special with each other.</p><p><strong>“We are one family,”</strong> says Abdul, one of the chefs from Pakistan.</p><p>Lena’s initiative is one of the many examples of Greek entrepreneurs in Lesbos, who – together with volunteers from all over Europe and with refugees – create and sustain a friendly, active and kind community. A community, which is a mosaic of diverse groups and individuals who work, learn and exchange, while getting to know and appreciate one another.</p><p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RbnTSRuc3ZE" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p><strong>The importance of sharing experiences</strong></p><p>The belief that sharing experiences will bring people closer together is what local parents had in mind when they set up Mikros Dounias.</p><p>They created an educational space where local and refugee children play and learn together in the small forest of PIKPA refugee camp, run with the contribution of the organization Lesvos Solidarity.</p><p>The learning process is organized collectively, respecting the needs and desires of each person and encouraging inclusion, freedom of choice and self-regulation. When building tree houses, taking turns on the swing and listening to campfire stories, they have an important learning experience: how values such as love, hospitality and kindness are universal – no matter where you come from.</p><p><strong>A safe place for women</strong></p><p>The Bashira Center for Displaced Women is built on a similar foundation: here, women from Greece and from all over Europe are providing a safe haven for women who were forced to flee their countries. Their journeys have been very different, but at Bashira, they become sisters.</p><p>Initiatives like these ones on the edge of Europe can be found everywhere on the continent. With often only small contributions, the people in Lesbos and beyond display the best of Europe – a Europe we can be proud of. They show us that something special happens when ordinary people come together and are simply kind to each other.</p><p><strong>The power of kindness</strong></p><p>There are many faces of kindness all over Europe. On this World Refugee Day, we invite you to share your own experiences of kindness.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 19 June 2019, by Marion Bouchetel, Advocacy Officer for Oxfam in Greece.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Lena, owner of Nan Restaurant, Lesbos, Greece. Credit: Oxfam</em></p><p><em><span><strong>Oxfam would like to thank the organizations</strong> which kindly contributed to the realization of this video. Oxfam is not supporting the initiatives highlighted in the video with any financial means. The purpose of the video is to merely highlight initiatives in Lesbos working around the important values of solidarity, kindness, community sense and resilience.&nbsp;</span></em><em>For more information about these initiatives, please visit:</em></p><ul><li><a href="http://en.mikrosdounias.eu/" rel="nofollow"><em><span>Mikros Dounias</span></em></a></li><li><em><span></span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/nanrestaurantlesvos/" rel="nofollow">Nan Restaurant</a></em></li><li><em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/SAOassociation/" rel="nofollow">SAO Association Hellas</a><br></em></li></ul><p></p><p><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The Face of Kindness - Welcoming Refugees in Lesbos, Greece</h2></div> Wed, 19 Jun 2019 08:06:03 +0000 Guest Blogger 81998 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81998#comments Families in Southern Africa urgently need more support after cyclones http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81978 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>On 14 March, Cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with high winds and flooding.</strong> More than 1,000 people were killed across the three countries, with many more missing and millions of people left without clean water, food or other basic services.</p><p><strong>Mozambique was the most severely impacted by the cyclone, leaving around 1.8 million people in need.</strong> The World Bank has said Cyclone Idai has cost Mozambique some $773 million – a crippling amount of damage. O<span>n 25 April, <strong>l</strong></span><strong>ess than 6 weeks after Cyclone Idai made landfall, a second disaster struck the country.</strong> Cyclone Kenneth struck in northern Mozambique. This is the first time a storm of such intensity has been recorded in this region.</p><p><img height="734" width="1100" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="6" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb116757scr_0.jpg" alt="" /></p><p><span>On Wednesday, May 15,&nbsp;<strong>Nellie Nyang'wa, Oxfam’s Regional Director for Southern Africa was invited to brief experts at the United Nations about the humanitarian crisis caused by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth</strong> and Oxfam’s response in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Nellie was one of the few at the meeting who was able to bring personal stories and reflections to the discussion:</span></p><p>"Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,</p><p>Virginia Castigo from Beira lost everything to Cyclone Idai, including her husband – she said: “<em>l would like to return one day but what home do you want me to return to?</em>”</p><p><strong>Our partners and teams on the ground have biked, canoed and walked to get assistance to where it is needed most in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Needs are being met, people reached, but we are not able to do enough.</strong></p><p><img height="617" width="1100" style="vertical-align: middle;" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb116709scr.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>One month ago, Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children warned that we were <em>already</em> having to scale down emergency and life-saving interventions in Mozambique; <strong>we warned we couldn’t help a quarter of a million people due to lack of funds.</strong> Today, we are not in any better a position.</p><p><strong>I am particularly concerned at the lasting impacts on women and girls.</strong> Girls as young as 12 are walking up to 10 kilometers every day to collect clean water, and the lack of livelihood opportunities exposes them to further exploitation and Gender-Based Violence.</p><p><img height="733" width="1100" style="vertical-align: middle;" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb116873scr.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>In Mozambique, we’re helping partners set up community feedback committees - a solution proposed by local populations – to ensure accountability and find out what people need, particularly around returning home and rebuilding livelihoods. As one example, people have already told us that food is not easily available for the elderly and pregnant, and that “those who have power can eat.”</p><p>I appeal to you for increased funding to meet these basic needs.</p><p><strong>The devastation of Cyclone Idai, followed by Cyclone Kenneth, reminds us again of the injustice of climate change.</strong> Countries that have contributed the most to it, and have benefited from the emissions that have led to this climate emergency, could do so much more. Is it because Southern Africa just doesn’t matter?</p><p><img height="733" width="1100" style="vertical-align: middle;" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb_116920_dscf8479-scr.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>And as always, it is the poorest people who suffer the most: living in flimsy tin shacks, with nowhere to escape to - even if they received a warning - and with no safety nets to cushion the shock and start to rebuild. Will they be forgotten now? <strong>Without clear actions, poverty and inequality will increase</strong>.</p><p><strong>We cannot abandon these people to dirty water, long-term hunger, exploitation or abuse.</strong> We cannot abandon them to cyclone after cyclone, year after year, that takes away everything they’ve worked for. We must support them and their governments to build back now and build back better.</p><p><img height="733" width="1100" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="5" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/ogb_116175scr.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>l leave you with the words of 54-year old Daina Zhuwao from Beira: “<em>We have to pick up the broken pieces and slowly build our lives. My biggest worry is nothing was left standing and I am now an old woman to restart again</em>.”</p><p>Thank you."</p><p></p><p>Currently the overall UN appeal is <a href="https://fts.unocha.org/emergencies/808/summary/2019" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">less than 40% funded</a>. Next week the Government of Mozambique will be holding a pledging conference in Beira to raise much-needed funds for the longer-term reconstruction and recovery efforts that are needed following the two disasters.</p><p><strong>We are working with partners to respond in all three countries with a focus on providing clean water and safe sanitation, shelter kits, and we are working to support farmers recover with seeds, tools and training. <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/cyclone-idai-malawi-mozambique-and-zimbabwe" rel="nofollow">Please&nbsp;support our response to Cyclones Idai and Kenneth</a>.</strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Families in Southern Africa urgently need more support after cyclones</h2></div> Mon, 27 May 2019 13:13:27 +0000 Nellie Nyang’wa 81978 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81978#comments How to Build Community Trust to Fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81952 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>The world’s second-biggest Ebola outbreak is still raging in DRC, with more than 1,200 cases and 800 deaths. Research has shown that distrust is one of the biggest obstacles in this Ebola fight. Oxfam's Andrea Vera outlines three ways to work with local communities to build their trust and increase the success of an Ebola response in a conflict context.</strong></em></p><p>On April 19, 2019, an epidemiologist deployed by the World Health Organization in the Ebola outbreak response was <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/04/23/716121928/the-doctor-killed-in-fridays-ebola-attack-was-dedicated-but-also-afraid?t=1556284340775" rel="nofollow">killed in an armed attack</a> and his colleagues injured. Just a few days earlier, other attacks had taken place in Beni territory on an <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/drc-ebola-treatment-centre-attacked-killed-190309135835087.html" rel="nofollow">Ebola treatment center in Butembo</a> where armed men were engaged in a gunfight with security forces for about half an hour before the situation was contained.</p><p>Terrified patients fled the hospital, despite suffering the painful symptoms of Ebola. It took weeks for response teams to find them. The message of those who fled was clear: their fear of dying from an attack was greater than their hope of being cured in the Ebola treatment center.</p><p>In a country where communities build their own health clinics, it is a rare thing to see these precious resources destroyed. However, this is now happening all too often in Butembo city; leaving people afraid to go to Ebola treatment centers and their local health clinics.</p><p><strong>The consequences are severe</strong></p><p>Most patients now only arrive at treatment centers once they are already very weak and showing several symptoms of Ebola. At this phase of the disease, treatment is far less effective, and chances of survival are <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/04/worlds-second-biggest-ebola-outbreak-still-raging-heres-why-hot-zone/" rel="nofollow">drastically reduced</a>.</p><p>Some doctors and nurses have now closed their private clinics because the work has become too dangerous. They do not want to run the risk of being associated with Ebola teams because it could damage their reputation, as many people think the response is a money-making business and <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/congo-s-ebola-response-threatened-conspiracy-theories-rumors-n994156" rel="nofollow">do not trust</a> that those who work with the response really want to help.</p><p>Likewise, people are increasingly reluctant to get vaccinated or receive other help to protect them from Ebola, such as decontaminating houses, safe burials and <a href="http://news.trust.org/item/20190424203556-g95c7" rel="nofollow">food distribution</a>.</p><p><img alt="Bora, who works as a public heath promotor assistant for Oxfam, installs a chlorinated hand washing point outside a church in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam" title="Bora, who works as a public heath promotor assistant for Oxfam, installs a chlorinated hand washing point outside a church in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam" height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/113738lpr-oxfam-washstand-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>Bora, who works as a public heath promotor assistant for Oxfam, installs a chlorinated hand washing point outside a church in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Oxfam’s work on Ebola in DRC</strong></p><p>Oxfam has worked on this latest Ebola epidemic, the tenth in DRC, since August 2018. We have focused on public health promotion and supporting communities to design and carry-out their own action plans to break the chain of transmission.</p><p>We are also providing safe, clean water in affected communities, constructing latrines and waste disposal incinerators at health centers. In addition, Oxfam is leading on advocacy and communication efforts to make the response more inclusive and community-focused.</p><p>From our DRC experience, and from working in Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, we have learned some valuable lessons on how to fight the disease more effectively:</p><p><strong>1. Draw on local health capacity</strong></p><p>“In Butembo we have doctors… we want them to be the ones who treat us.”</p><p>Since the beginning of the outbreak, people have constantly asked health and aid workers to respect their culture and tradition, provide consistent information, deliver services on time, follow and respect vaccination lists, and to be treated by their own local doctors.</p><p>But, these requests have been often ignored, which has broken essential trust. Rather than support local health clinics and work with local health workers in a response, agencies have often created a parallel system to treat Ebola. This has only further frustrated people, and increased their reluctance to accept services that could treat many patients in their own communities.</p><p><strong>2. The response must be adapted to the local context</strong></p><p>The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is different, because it is happening in a conflict zone with a long history of violence where state security forces do not have full control. Many people in Beni, Mangina and Butembo blame the state for the lack of security.</p><p>This context of conflict has not been effectively included in designing the response, and feedback from the community has been ignored. The result has been to repeat previous mistakes.</p><p>Recently the Ministry of Health and international organizations, like Oxfam, have set up a response-wide mechanism to track and deal with people’s concerns. If the system is fully implemented it has the potential to correct the ways of working according to people’s recommendations.</p><p><strong>3. Ownership by the community is essential</strong></p><p><em>“Why are you talking about community engagement, and bringing people from other countries who do not speak our language?” </em></p><p>The vaccination and decontamination teams that go out into villages cannot effectively engage with the local communities because they often do not speak the local language. They don’t have the same capacities as local people to explain the risks of not getting vaccinated or not decontaminating their homes, or the need to get treatment early.</p><p>Community engagement means treating communities as equal partners, and recognising their capacity and experience to stop Ebola. It means respecting and involving local leaders and training local people to decontaminate, carry out safe burials and manage effective community-based surveillance to isolate cases, and refer people to clinics as early as possible.</p><p><img alt="A medical practitioner administers the Ebola vaccine to an Oxfam worker in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam" title="A medical practitioner administers the Ebola vaccine to an Oxfam worker in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam" height="826" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/113723lpr-oxfam-staff-vaccination-1240.jpg" /></p><p><em>A medical practitioner administers the Ebola vaccine to an Oxfam worker in Mangina, DRC. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Moving forward</strong></p><p>In recent weeks, we have observed positive movements with decontamination activities organized in collaboration with community groups, an initiative that we find very encouraging. Involving communities in developing action plans to solve challenges is as critical as medical expertise when it comes to effective prevention of Ebola.</p><p>Oxfam is working side-by-side with highly qualified health workers and technical experts from different organizations and the Ministry of Health who are working in harsh conditions and unsafe environments. Their daily efforts and invaluable support needs to be complemented with more community owned actions to end the current outbreak.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 2 May 2019, by Andrea Vera Nava, Oxfam Humanitarian Campaigns and Advocacy Manager. Andrea has worked in several countries in Latin America, Middle East and Africa. She has been working on the Ebola crisis in North Kivu and Ituri since October 2018, moving between the main epidemic hotspots.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Medical workers administer the Ebola vaccine in Mangina, DRC. Oxfam was one of the first organizations to respond to the Ebola outbreak in North-Kivu and Ituri provinces. Photo: John Wessels/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/18-06-11-oxfam-10-lessons-working-communities-fight-ebola"><strong>Oxfam's 10 lessons for working with communities to fight Ebola</strong></a></li><li><strong>Download <a href="https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620139/gd-community-engagement-wash-031116-en.pdf" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s Guide to Community Engagement in WASH, based on lessons from Ebola</a></strong></li></ul><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>How to Build Community Trust to Fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo</h2></div> Thu, 02 May 2019 14:23:33 +0000 Guest Blogger 81952 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81952#comments