Relief International

RI provides emergency relief, rehabilitation and development assistance to victims of natural disasters and civil conflicts worldwide. RI's programs bridge the gap between immediate and long-term community development. This orientation promotes self-reliance and the peaceful reintegration of populations. RI's programs are designed with the input and participation of target beneficiary groups such as women, children and the elderly, whose special needs are often neglected in disasters.
Aug 21, 2007

Progress Report August 2007: Livelihoods for Families through Livestock, Sudan

In partnership with donors from Global Giving, RI has been working with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the Sudan Ministry of Animal Resources to improve the care of livestock in North Darfur.

Today, RI is running 7 Animal Health Care Centers that on average treat 12,000 animals each month, including donkeys, chickens, goats, horses, and camels. The support RI receives has provided for training 2 Community Animal Health Workers and 1 para-vet in each clinic (21 staff total). This year local vet staff received essential training on vaccination and outbreak response to combat newly emerging diseases. Since 2006, 30,000 animals have been vaccinated.

Donations have also helped to make the Animal Health Care Centers into permanent fixtures. In 2007, Centers evolved from temporary 3-walled shelters to 4-walled cement buildings. By the end of 2007, all 7 Centers will have new roofs.

RI’s agricultural interventions in North Darfur focus on access to basic veterinary care, sustainable farming techniques, and educating local service providers to meet the long-term needs of their villages.

Aug 21, 2007

August 2007 Progress Report: Providing Access to Water for Families in Niger

Relief International has been working in Niger since August 2005, helping to rebuild the livelihoods of more than 14,000 nomadic herders devastated by the famine of that same year. Since arriving, RI has seen how home gardens have great potential for improving household food security and alleviating micronutrient deficiencies, provided communities can access sufficient water. It is clear that gardening can enhance food security in several ways, most importantly through: 1) direct access to a diversity of nutritionally-rich foods, 2) increased purchasing power from savings on food bills and income from sales of garden products, and 3) fall-back food provision during seasonal lean periods.

In partnership with local government in the north of the country, a local herders association, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), Relief International has identified some 79 hectares of land in the arid north of the country which could be used by local communities to create home gardens. Consequently, RI is in the process of digging 132 shallow garden wells (each maximum 15 metres deep) to provide semi-permanent water resources for up to 14,000 agro-pastoralists in order that communities can develop home gardens and diversify their diets. Previously, they have relied solely on animal products and just two staple crops (millet and sorghum) for all their nutritional needs.

RI also provides agricultural extension training, seeds, and tools so that community members can create small plots for their families. During the cooler dry season in November/December, these plots will be prepared with animal manure and sown. These dry-season crops are those that usually grow in temperate climates, such as tomatoes, onions, cabbages, potatoes, and carrots.

Aug 21, 2007

August 2007 Progress Report: Shelter, Schools & Livelihoods for Quake Survivors, Indonesia

Rebuilding Houses

The Indonesian earthquake of May 2006 hit the province of Yogyakarta hard, and left more than 600,000 people homeless. More than a year later, hundreds of thousands of people are still living without proper shelter. The Yogyakarta government has only been able to provide housing to 30% of residents with destroyed homes.

In response to this crisis, Relief International launched an innovative Shelter Emergency Loan Fund (SELF) in late 2006. Now, the program is coming to fruition, allowing earthquake-affected families to rebuild their homes and livelihoods for themselves.

During RI’s initial assessment of the disaster, the organization became aware of a strong tradition of microfinance in the region of Yogyakarta. Through the SELF project, RI funds and supports indigenous microfinance institutions (MFIs), which then disburse small loans to clients. The exchange allows earthquake victims to rebuild more quickly and effectively on their own, rather than waiting for government support that may never come.

The SELF program aims to make low-interest shelter reconstruction loans available to approximately 200 households (about 1200 individuals). Early this year, RI made a thorough assessment of competitors, and gave loans of $50,000 to two local microfinance institutions (MFIs) on May 31, 2007. Those institutions then began disbursing funds to clients on June 1, and had disbursed 30 loans to families and households by June 30. In July, RI re-opened the competition and selected a third MFI. That institution began providing loans to clients in August. RI will continue its search for a fourth and final MFI.

The MFIs are supported and trained by RI, and RI oversees the process to ensure efficiency and transparency. Upon request, households can request technical and building assistance from RI’s partner organization, the University of Gadjah Mada Architecture School.

In providing access to loans and financial advice that are not normally available to the poor in Indonesia, RI supports the economic self-sufficiency of individuals, as well as the wellbeing of their community infrastructure.

Livelihoods Program – Ceramic Industry

Kajen, a tiny village on the island of Java, hosts a vital ceramics industry that makes up 10% of the surrounding region’s economy. The 2006 shook the area and crippled many of its businesses.

In response to the emergency, Relief International is rebuilding artisan workstations and teaching villagers technical skills to help bring businesses back onto their feet. All of this will soon happen at a Common Service Facility (CSF). The CSF will be a local meeting place where artisans and producers will come together to solve problems and find solutions to everyday issues facing their villages and families.

And because of the success of RI’s SELF program, the two programs are being linked. RI is giving no-interest loans to local Indonesian micro-finance institutions to provide micro-credit loans to home-based businesses. The synergy created by the combination of these two programs will help to propel the target population to self-sufficiency.

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