CWS assists families in Haiti's northwest following Hurricane Tomas; CWS coordinates to assist families affected by volcanic eruptions in Indonesia; Families in six villages in Vietnam work to improve community health; Providing clean water at a girls' school in Kenya improves life for students.
CWS response to emergency needs continues in the aftermath of flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas.
"We've addressed the immediate-term needs with tarps and kits, and the medium-term needs with food," says CWS Haiti Program Coordinator Aaron Tate, referring to CWS support for 13 agricultural cooperatives in the northwest part of the country, where the effects of Tomas were substantial. "Now we're assessing what else is needed and what we can do."
CWS pre-positioned humanitarian materials in the area before the storm, working with Haitian partner Christian Center for Integrated Development (known as SKDE in Creole).
Some 400 families that are part of the cooperatives have received tarps, hygiene kits and emergency food assistance through CWS and SKDE. The emergency food assistance includes beans, rice, pasta, flour, sugar and cooking oil.
The cooperatives are providing long-term food security and self-reliance in the Northwest and Artibonite regions, both for residents of the region and for family members who left Port-au-Prince for rural areas following the massive Jan. 12 earthquake.
Also, as Haiti’s cholera epidemic spreads, CWS continues to provide people with information about how to prevent the disease and how to respond.
Almost three weeks after the first eruptions of Mt. Merapi, which has killed at least 259 people, eruptions appear to be slowing down. Some of the 390,000 people who fled the mountain are now returning to areas where further eruptions appear to pose little risk. Sanitation and health are concerns for those who remain in temporary shelters and camps.
CWS is working with partner KYPA as it helps survivors of the Mt. Merapi eruptions, and is coordinating with ACT Alliance members, UN agencies, other non-governmental organizations and the Indonesian government.
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Families in six villages in Phuc Thuan community are working to improve the hygiene in their villages by constructing latrines and more sanitary pigsties. The people of the area have suffered a high incidence of water-related disease.
Through this program, families are learning about the benefits of the more hygienic structures, and are contributing labor and a portion of the cost of construction, including providing some of the materials. The villagers are also learning about the importance of environmental sanitation and good personal hygiene in relation to communicable diseases.
Says a leader from Dam Ban village, “When we learned that the latrine model was very suitable to our village sanitation needs, my wife and I decided to build one.
“After we completed the construction and have now used the latrine for some time, my family finds it a very good thing. My wife and I have guided and encouraged our relatives to build latrines, as well.”
Some 362 people are benefiting from the project, and are now using 61 new latrines and 21 new pigsties.
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As we approach Universal Children’s Day, Nov. 20, CWS continues to assist children and young people in many parts of the world. In Kenya, for example, the CWS-supported School Safe Zones project is helping young people get an education by improving conditions at their schools.
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For the students at A.I.C. Girls School in Kajiado, a public boarding school that is also home to many Maasai girls rescued from forced marriage, a lack of water was a consistent problem. There was never enough water for students to use while in school, and as a result, they spent many hours looking for water in nearby streams, which caused them to miss classes.
Says Sopiato, a student at the school, “Our head teacher announced to us that we had a friend, CWS, who would help us to achieve many things.”
One of the first projects was to harvest water at the school, and gutters and a water tank were installed. “Things have changed,” adds Sopiato. “Cases of ill health have drastically reduced as we are able to preserve our own water. We spend more uninterrupted hours learning in class and our school is much cleaner than before…”
Since the School Safe Zones program began at A.I.C. Girls School, there have been other improvements, as well. Overall academic performance has improved, along with enrollment, retention and completion rates.
“I like my school,” says Sopiato.
See also the video at www.churchworldservice.org/womenandwater.
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