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Supporting refugees and host communities in Sudan

Maedhbh McDonald | 27 June 2017 | 1 Comment

Persistent conflict and political unrest has forced almost two million people to flee South Sudan. Meyriam, a locality in the Republic of Sudan close to the South Sudanese border, is hosting almost 20,000 refugees. With support from ECHO and Irish Aid, Concern is there providing emergency assistance and helping families to meet their basic needs.

Boll in Concern’s ECHO supported nutrition centre in Meyriam. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

Fleeing to safety

Twenty year old Boll is from former-Warrap State in South Sudan. Boll and his family were forced to flee their village when fighting errupted between rebel groups and government forces. They managed to escape their village at night and set out on foot to neighbouring Sudan in search of safety. They walked through the jungle for days, without food or water, and risked encountering armed militia and land mines as they trekked.

When they reached Meyriam, Boll and his family were registered as new arrivals and found accommodation amongst the host community. Like other new refugees arriving with only what they could carry on their back, they were supported by Concern with a kit of basics which included kitchen utensils, household pots, a jerry can, mosquito nets, female sanitation kits and sleeping mattresses.

Boll with Concern emergency response team in Meyriam County distributing kits to meet basic needs. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

Deepened involvement with Concern

Soon after arriving in Meyriam, Boll began volunteering with Concern’s emergency programme and helped deliver 1,500 of these kits to South Sudanese families in February 2017. As an Arabic speaker, Boll acted as a translator for his fellow South Sudanese refugees, making him a real asset to the team.

Over time Boll’s involvement with Concern deepened, and he was selected as a community volunteer for Concern’s nutrition programme, funded by the UN’s Sudan Humanitarian Fund, which targets malnourished children. He received training on key nutrition messages regarding breastfeeding and the importance of malnutrition screening. By all accounts, Boll is thriving in his new role and he receives an incentive in return for his work which he uses to contribute to his family’s daily needs.

Boll with community volunteer colleague at Concern’s ECHO-supported nutrition centre. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

Working together for greater impact

With funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Irish Aid, Concern has been supporting South Sudanese refugees in Meyriam since 2016. Thanks to the continued support from ECHO and Irish Aid we provide refugee families with emergency supplies to meet their basic shelter, hygiene and sanitation needs. We are also engaged in rehabilitating wells, training water committees and building school and household latrines that benefit not only the newly arrived refugees but also the Sudanese communities hosting them.

Rehabilitated water yard with storage tank and drinking taps in Meyriam locality, West Kordofan State, Republic of Sudan. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

We continue to work together to reach the most vulnerable, to reduce suffering and to empower beneficiaries like Boll to help themselves.

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