HOTLINE - week of January 3, 2011

CWS provides water for displaced Indonesian families; Displaced families in Pakistan continue flood recovery; Microcredit loans help women in the Dominican Republic; Clean water brings joy to a community in Kenya

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Water officers in Indonesia
A response team uses CWS equipment to pump water into a bladder for transport to families displaced by the Oct. 25 earthquake and tsunami.
Photo: Andreas Sinaga/CWS


Church World Service continues to assist families affected by the Oct. 25 earthquake and tsunami that struck the Mentawai Islands, in western Indonesia.  In response to the disaster, which originally displaced more than 23,000 people, CWS has distributed axes, machetes, CWS Blankets, waterproof tarps, plastic mats, baby care packages, cooking and eating utensils, and a warehouse tent used as a health center.  CWS is also working to establish water and sanitation access as the communities rebuild away from the tsunami flood zones.

CWS’s longer-term recovery program is focusing on water and sanitation needs using rainwater harvesting, water pumps, tanks and bladders for a sustainable source of clean drinking water for the whole community.

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The winter season is now upon the northern areas of Pakistan, with below-freezing temperatures and snow in some areas, making recovery for families displaced by the severe floods that started in July all the more difficult.

CWS has distributed 24,200 family food packages (each package of staples weighs about 100 lbs.), benefitting 137,400 people, as well 2,010 tents and 1,000 plastic sheets, benefitting 88,000 people, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

CWS also continues to provide health services through health centers and10 mobile health units.  By mid-December 2010, the health teams had conducted more than 100,000 consultations.

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Dominican Republic

Graciela is a single mother who has borrowed $45 through a microcredit loan from CWS-supported partner, Caminante. Graciela makes and sells women’s undergarments in her community at a lower price than can be found in stores.

Graciela’s daughter attends Caminante’s afterschool program.  And, through her microcredit support group, Graciela learned of an adult literacy class that will help her learn to read.

Caminante’s microcredit program provides more than just money; it also targets skills development and community support, and focuses on helping children, youth and adults in Boca Chica, especially those at risk of sexual exploitation.  Its microcredit program helps women who do not have other economic opportunities.  Women who receive loans meet together twice a month as a support group, where they receive training and guidance on repayment and other financial skills.

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"I was among the few elders who came from the forest and settled in this village," says Nabeyei Naposi, a resident of Loitanit village, Turkana district.  "Water has been a big issue in our village since we settled here."  The community has grown from 30 to some 300 families, and they have used the River Turkwel as the only source of water for domestic and livestock use.

"When the Anglican Church of Kenya [a CWS partner] came and informed us that our community would be supported with a water program, and that we would dig a borehole, we could not hold our joy.  Water has been a great challenge and more so for our wives and children who would walk up to 9 miles round trip to collect water from the river," Naposi says.  "The forest between the village and the river is a battle ground and often harbors Pokot warriors as they go to collect water.

"The new water source is a symbol of relief to women and children in the village," says Naposi.  "In addition to improved security, the water is plenty and the pump has never failed.  The women now get water when they want and return to other domestic chores including small business, since they have more time.

"One more beauty of this water is, it is very clean… It’s very clean and tastes good as compared to water from the River Turkwel and other seasonal rivers," Naposi explains.

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