Postcards from the field – for World Humanitarian Day

Conflict, Disasters, Humanitarian

For World Humanitarian Day 2015 we share insights from some of Oxfam’s humanitarian staff in Sierra Leone, Nepal and Yemen. They reveal the challenges they are facing in the field, the successes they have experienced, and their messages for the world.

Michelle Farrington – Public Health Promotion Coordinator, Sierra Leone

My role: Supporting internal and external coordination for Oxfam’s public health promotion work, and giving technical support to our field teams.

Challenges: The spotlight is fading from Ebola, both in Sierra Leone and within the world at large. The people of Sierra Leone, our dedicated staff and so many others responding to the epidemic have done incredible work to bring the number of cases down, however, the country still has ongoing transmission. People are becoming tired and complacent, which is making our job of mobilising people to take action to prevent ebola extremely difficult, and the levels of poverty in some areas like Magazine Wharf (picture below) mean people struggle for the basic resources they
need to keep themselves healthy.

Successes: Oxfam has been successful in working with communities to enable them to take the lead on prevention and preparedness measures from the start of our work here. Although we have now started to scale back some work, our former Social Mobilisers in a community called John Thorpe have decided to continue their work and form their own community based organisation. They recently became registered as ‘New Phase for Development, Sierra Leone’ focusing on social mobilisation and community cleaning campaigns. It has been amazing to work with communities engaged
to tackle Ebola and now looking to address the wider issues in their communities.

Michelle Farrington

Magazine Wharf Sierra Leone

Message to the world: Ebola is not over! Don’t forget about Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia who all need ongoing support to build back what they have lost during this epidemic.

Abdullah (Duoi) Ampilan – Public Health Promoter, Nepal

My role: Public health promotion capacity building and training.
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal for the Earthquake Response. These are the participants who came for our public health promotion training, with their completion certificates.
Challenges: Difficult terrain because of the monsoon season.
Successes: We have reached more than 400,000 people.
Message: We thank you to all the supporters, volunteers and donors for your support. We are reaching more people because of your generosity.

Abdullah AmpilanParticipants for our PHP Training coming from different district offices, Nepal. Credit: Oxfam

Syed Yas – Public Health Engineering Team Leader, Yemen

Challenges: More than 21 million people (approx. 80%) of the population of Yemen is in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. One of the biggest challenges is access to water and sanitation for marginalised communities. Internally displaced people who have moved from the war zones are living in the open without access to facilities. This picture shows a meeting being held between IDPs and landlords.

Syed Yas, Public Health Engineering Team Leader, Yemen. Credit: Oxfam

Successes: The camp where I am working now has 10m3 of water delivered daily through water trucking, and eight latrines have been built – separated male and female. The future plan is to provide eight more latrines and increase the water trucking.

Message to the world: Don’t forget the people in need and donate generously to enable Oxfam to respond to the needs of marginalised communities.

Read more

1.Tundhikel IDP camp, Kathmandu. Credit: Aubrey Wade/Oxfam
2. Magazine Wharf, Sierra Leone. Credit: Michelle Farrington/Oxfam
3. Participants for public health promotion training from different district offices, Nepal. Credit: Abdullah Ampilan/Oxfam. 
4. Syed Yas, Public Health Engineering Team Leader at a meeting wbetween IDPs and landlords, Yemen. Credit: Oxfam

Author: Oxfam
Archive blog. Originally posted on Oxfam Policy & Practice.