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NGCamp_Welcoming (11) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

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A song to welcome refugees

As the mothers and their children are sitting on wooden benches under a shed made of twigs, the community worker grabs a megaphone. She explains the mandate of Action Against Hunger and the aid that the teams provide to fight malnutrition. Numerous are those who don’t have the basic information about how the camp functions. Information is provided on where to find safe drinking water, where to obtain material for their shelter, how to obtain their refugee ID card, and other processes concerning the many organizations working in the camp.

NGCamp_Welcoming (9) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Welcoming session

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_Welcoming (10) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Welcoming session

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_Welcoming (5) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Welcoming session

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_Welcoming (2) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Welcoming session

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

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Action Against Hunger’s song rises from the crowd, leaded by the community worker who jumps in front of the eighty people. “We designed this song because music makes things easy to remember for most of the people. Everybody knows that feeling of a heady music that will not leave your head. Plus, it is in their mother tongue and singing together brings a bit of joy. The lyrics are about how Action Against Hunger can help you if your child is sick from malnutrition and it gives advices on good care practices like exclusive breastfeeding,’ adds Nyaluak.

Nguenyyiel camp is one of the seven refugee camps established in Gambella region, near the border with South Sudan. Since December 2013, the civil war that rages in South Sudan has displaced thousands of people, with more than 2 millions of refugees and asylum-seekers in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya mostly. Gambella region currently hosts more than 405,000 people, mainly women and children, which equals the local Ethiopian population.

NGCamp_General (18) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Ethiopia

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_General (19) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Ethiopia

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_General (23) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Ethiopia

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After the welcoming session, mothers and their children line up in front of one of the semi-permanent metal sheet buildings where food rations are distributed. The Gambella area was flooded two weeks ago and the soil became muddy. To take a step is to carry a heavy load of mud that spills over the thin plastic sole of flip-flops, which most people wear, wrapping your feet in a warm, damp coat.

Children under five are screened for malnutrition. Those suffering from malnutrition, but not affected by other diseases such as malaria or diarrhea, are taken in charge through the out-patient therapeutic program. They can be treated at home: after the medical team has completed the tests and given nutritional and care advices to the caregiver, they return home with a quantity of ready-to-use therapeutic food for one week. The thick paste contains all nutritional inputs that they need to recover. “They have to come back in a week’s time for the health workers to check on the child’s health, explains Lemma, the Nutrition program manager for Action Against Hunger, we will see if the treatment works and whether the child is gaining weight. Otherwise, we will try to understand why the child does not react to the treatment. Sometimes, this leads us to visit the family. Often, the mothers understand how it works but the family is willing to share the treatment with other children in the household. In these cases, we explain to the family why it is important for the sick child to receive all the treatment. We indicate how they can find other sources of food and we can find other malnourished children that we send to our center.”

NGCamp_OTP (4) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Ethiopia

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

NGCamp_OTP (1) © Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

Ethiopia

© Léa Vollet pour Action contre la Faim

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The outpatient therapeutic program is designed for malnourished children who can be treated at home. Children with medical complications such as diarrhea and malaria go to the stabilization centre, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Signature-Lvollet

Léa Vollet
Communication Officer

In Gambella region, Action Against Hunger works both in refugee’s camp and within the local Ethiopian communities to prevent and fight malnutrition. Our activities are supported by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Commission (ECHO), the Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migrations (BPRM), Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

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