World Concern

World Concern provides life, opportunity and hope to suffering people around the world through disaster response and development programs. Motivated by our love of Christ, we bring hope and reconciliation to those we serve, so they may in turn share with others.
Dec 12, 2012

Starting over in the Horn of Africa

A young Somali girl in the Horn of Africa.
A young Somali girl in the Horn of Africa.

Sometimes leaving is hard. But in the case of Dadaab, Kenya, the hub for the Horn of Africa famine response, it’s a good thing. This is not a place anyone would want to stay for long – especially the families who fled Somalia’s famine last year.

The Dadaab refugee camp is the largest in the world, and at the height of the famine, it became home to nearly half a million people. It is not a place to start over. But for many, it was the only place to go to try and survive the crisis.

When World Concern arrived in Dadaab in July 2011, we decided not to work in the camp itself – there was an ample response by aid organizations already working there. Instead, we chose to reach people who were en-route to the camp, or had stopped along the way in “host” communities on both sides of the Kenya-Somalia border. These villages became inundated with refugees and displaced families, and were stretched beyond their capacity to help. There wasn’t enough water. There wasn’t enough food. And the people arriving were in dire need of medical care and emergency assistance.

With your help, we set up a voucher system to feed families with food from local markets, thereby helping support the economy in these communities. More than 130,000 people were fed through this system, saving many lives. We also provided medical care to 24,500 people in a joint response with partner Medical Teams International. We were one of the only international relief agencies able to work in parts of southern Somalia at the time.

We rehabilitated water pans, fixed wells that were broken from being over-used, and installed rainwater catchment tanks, bringing clean water to 41,450 people. We built latrines, and trained people to keep their families healthy with good hygiene. More than 100,000 people received emergency supplies, such as cooking pots, blankets, tarps, and mosquito nets.

Most importantly, people received hope that they could survive and, eventually … start over. And that’s why we’re leaving Dadaab to continue our work in areas where families are resettling and rebuilding their lives. We’re moving from disaster response to building resilient communities, helping them plant crops and learn better farming techniques. Some will start businesses, and children can get back in school. This is the goal of helping – equipping people to sustain themselves and have a better life.

Thank you for joining us in this challenging response. We couldn’t have done this without the support and generosity of our donors.

For more information on how we’re serving communities long-term, and to join us in transforming lives in other areas, please visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/one-village.

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We're helping farmers grow better crops.

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Dec 5, 2012

Families in Haiti receive new homes

Mr. Maxi (center) outside his temporary shack.
Mr. Maxi (center) outside his temporary shack.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the island nation of Haiti on Oct. 24, it took the lives of more than 50 people, destroyed more than 6,000 homes, and damaged another 21,000 homes. According to the U.N., nearly 2 million Haitians were affected by the storm, which made landfall on the island nation as a category 1 hurricane before spiraling through the Atlantic and slamming into the East Coast of the U.S. on Oct. 29.

As families braced for the hurricane in Southern Haiti, a struggling farmer named Mr. Maxi did all he could to protect his home in the rural village of Marc-Cavaillon. He feared for the safety of his wife and two sons as fierce winds and torrential rains battered their home. Their lives were spared, he believes, by God and a few trees on their property as their home collapsed during the storm.

“We were so sad to see all that we possessed disappear in a brief moment,” he said.

The family gathered up the scraps of metal and wood from their home and pieced together the one-room shelter you see in these photos, which is where they’re living, “while waiting for God’s help,” Mr. Maxi said. The family is supported by his crops, but his income is barely enough to survive. His two children are not able to attend school, and can only write their names, he said.

With your donations, help has arrived for this family and others in Marc-Cavaillon and surrounding villages. Mr. Maxi and his family will soon have a new home, thanks to support from people like you. Because of the remote location of this village, families here say they never receive any government assistance, even after major catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy. Residents said they consider World Concern’s help a “response from heaven.”

Thank you for helping us reach families like this who lost everything in this disaster. We are working to repair or rebuild more homes damaged by the storm in this area. We’re also giving families small cash grants to buy food, restart businesses, and get back on their feet earning income again.

Helping U.S. families recover

In the U.S., we’re working through partners who were on the ground on the East Coast within days of the storm, assessing needs, providing spiritual support, and organizing opportunities for cleanup teams. One partner your donations are helping support immediately dispatched rapid response clean up teams to communities in Northern New Jersey, such as the town of Little Ferry, which was heavily damaged by the storm surge.

As we maintain these relationships with our partners and assist with long-term recovery, we will continue to walk alongside families on the East Coast and in Haiti who lost so much. With a disaster of this magnitude, it will take time before life returns to “normal.”

Thank you for standing with us as we help families rebuild their lives.

Another view of the damage to Mr. Maxi
Another view of the damage to Mr. Maxi's property.
Nov 14, 2012

Using technology to reach hungry families

Sahara Aden receives a ration card for food.
Sahara Aden receives a ration card for food.

You’ve read in previous reports how we’ve used vouchers to ensure emergency food gets into the hands of those who need it most in the Horn of Africa. This method has been extremely effective, even in dangerous and hard-to-reach places. More than 30,000 vouchers have been distributed so far. But this system has recently gone high tech with the help of mobile phone technology. It’s pretty amazing!

Over the past month, your support has helped us distribute another 5,000 vouchers—each providing two weeks’ worth of food for a family of six. With this latest round of vouchers, World Concern piloted a new mobile app that tracks beneficiaries and the food they receive by scanning a bar code. This new technology ensures a smoother, more efficient process, and enables merchants who are providing food to families to get paid more quickly.  

"This technology will enable our staff to report on their life-saving distribution in real-time, increasing our ability to respond to immediate needs as they arise," said Chris Sheach, deputy director of disaster response for World Concern.

The long-term effects of such a severe drought and crisis will be experienced for many years to come. As we shift our response from disaster to development — teaching pastoralists who lost their herds to farm and other forms of livelihood diversification — there are still many hungry people to feed. This new technology enables us to do this even more quickly and efficiently. It can also be used in other types of disasters, particularly in cash-for-work programs.

Thank you for partnering with World Concern throughout the Horn of Africa crisis. Your support has saved lives and provided hope for a life beyond famine and drought to desperate families.

A mobile phone app is helping feed people.
A mobile phone app is helping feed people.

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