For this month’s project report for the Horn of Africa Drought and Famine Relief Fund, we would like to highlight one GlobalGiving partner organization that the fund supports: Merlin USA. Merlin USA has been delivering health and emergency assistance to people in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya throughout the famine and drought and continues to be active in the Horn of Africa.
With working partnerships around the region, some of which have been established for over ten years, Merlin USA was able to distribute food and supplies quickly and effectively when the food crisis began last year. Primarily focused on health outreach, Merlin USA partners with agencies such as the Kenyan Ministry of Health to operate or support health facilities and mobile clinics to reach rural communities. During the food crisis and famine, Merlin USA ramped up its medical presence in health facilities and outreach sites: screening almost 30,000 children under five for malnutrition, and offering therapeutic feeding programs to those with severe acute malnutrition (a “life-threatening condition requiring urgent treatment,” according to the World Health Organization).
Health education is a crucial pillar of Merlin USA’s efforts in the Horn of Africa as it builds local healthcare capacity to respond to community needs. Merlin USA has conducted health and hygiene information sessions for the general public and trainings for health staff and committees. Merlin USA has also conducted trainings on water management, creating local water associations and teaching community health workers about the safe storing and handling of water resources. As communities work together to learn more about healthy behavior and are better trained to cope with food (and water) insecurity, communities will be better equipped to face future droughts.
Going forward, below average and erratic rainfall is expected across much of the region this year as well, so food harvests will continue to suffer and many families and individuals will continue to need assistance to meet their basic needs. Merlin USA plans to remain active in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya until at least the end of the year, and will be expanding its services in the Sahel region in response to poor rainfall, continued conflict, and rising food insecurity there. Thanks in part to your donations, Merlin USA continues to save lives by promoting health and nutrition in the Horn of Africa and beyond.
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