On 20 February famine was officially declared in South Sudan, the first time this has happened anywhere in the world for six years. In technical terms, this means that the situation has reached level 5 of the Integrated Phase Classification of Food Security. In practical terms, it means that people are actually dying of hunger.
Jersey Overseas Aid has been following the deteriorating situation closely. In 2016 JOA made eight emergency grants of £30,000 to agencies working to alleviate the crisis. The additional £200,000 announced today will be split between the British Red Cross and Plan International.
The money will pay for food rations, hygiene kits, water purification tablets, shelter items and essential medical supplies. Carolyn Labey, Chair of Jersey Overseas Aid, commented: “Jersey will not stand by while people die of starvation. We are in constant contact with the major relief agencies, and are directing our response to the places it is needed the most.”
A major cause of the situation is the past three years of conflict, which has led to widespread displacement of people, economic collapse and disruption to agriculture. However, the crisis is exacerbated by severe drought, which has ruined crops and killed millions of livestock in other countries in East Africa. As always, sickness follows in hunger’s wake: diseases such as cholera are joining acute malnutrition as a major public health emergency.
1.1 million people in South Sudan face imminent starvation; War-torn Somalia is also on the brink of famine; Kenya has declared a national emergency because of the drought; Ethiopia has 5.6m in need of food assistance and 435,000 children already suffering from severe acute malnutrition; and Uganda is struggling to cope with around 750,000 desperate S. Sudanese refugees, a number rising by 4,000 every day.
The modern humanitarian system has never had to cope with so many children needing treatment for hunger at the same time. Overall, more than 20 million people across the region need urgent assistance. As the UN Secretary General António Guterres warned, “The lives of millions of people depend on our collective ability to act. We have heard the alerts. Now there is no time to lose.”
Tanya Barron, CEO at Plan International UK, said “We are incredibly grateful for this grant from Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), which will go towards helping millions of people on the brink of starvation in the drought and famine affected areas of East Africa.”
Ben Webster, Head of Emergencies at the British Red Cross, said “Hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan are in a desperate situation without shelter, food or access to safe water. Families have been separated and many people who fled the fighting are now living in the bush. They are in urgent need of help. We would like to thank the people of Jersey and the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission for their support in reaching those in need.”
The announcement coincides with the launch of an appeal for East Africa by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Jersey residents who wish to help are encouraged to donate through the DEC appeal, which supports 13 major UK relief agencies.
This week Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of Overseas Aid took part in an evaluation visit to Nepal, accompanied by Richard Lewis of the Jersey Gurkha Welfare Trust and Dick Richomme, Team Leader for JOA’s 2017 Community Work Project to Nepal.
On Saturday, April 25, 2015 a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, just northwest of the capital of Kathmandu. It was the worst quake to strike the region in more than 80 years. The area was hit with a second 7.3 magnitude quake just 17 days later, on May 12, causing further damage and suffering for those who had survived the initial disaster. JOA has partnered with various agencies over the last three years, including the Gurkha Welfare Trust assisting Nepal in rebuilding schools, medical facilities and providing emergency relief to victims of the Earthquake.
The visit began on Wednesday with the team meeting staff from the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, the field delivery arm of the Gurkha Welfare Trust. In addition to its relief work for Gurkha veterans, the Trust supports Community Aid projects for the wider Nepalese population. It has built 137 new schools and runs an extensive renovation programme for dilapidated schools, improving access to education for over 550,000 Nepali children since the programme began in 1989.
The group, accompanied by Lt. Col. John White – deputy director of the Gurkha Welfare Scheme Earthquake Response Team, and Capt Bhakta Bahadur Rai then travelled to the Lamjung District where they inspected the Indrakamal Community Centre, Pyarjung and the Balkumari Community Centre, Ilampokhari to asses Community Work project options and establish wider links with the community.
On Thursday, Carolyn Labey was honoured to be invited to speak at the opening of Shree Gyanjyoti Higher Secondary School, one of the oldest learning institutions in Gorkha. Before the earthquake the school had been running 22 classrooms, teaching over 500 children from 24 villages. The school was destroyed during the earthquake but 14 temporary shelters were set up, so that teaching could continue. The Gurkha Welfare Trust raised funds for reconstruction, and a grant of £40,243 was approved by JOA to assist with the rebuild. Including the team in the opening ceremony was a great privilege, further strengthening links with Jersey.
During the visit Carolyn Labey was also able to attend some of the previous and ongoing projects funded by Jersey Overseas Aid including ‘growing communities – smart solutions for Nepal’s poorest farmers’, a Practical Action project.
Other projects funded by JOA in Nepal include ‘Sustainable livelihoods for people with mental illness’ run by Basic Needs and World Vision’s project to ‘Improve livelihoods and nutrition’.
Jersey’s Chief Minister jet set to Africa last week to build trade links and strengthen relations – but now he’s milking the opportunity to see how Jersey cows have been giving Rwandan locals a helping hoof.
Senator Ian Gorst met with Rwanda’s Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, to learn more about how Jersey cows are boosting the economy and improving lives in one of the world’s poorest countries.
The Island cows’ presence on the African continent comes as part of the Jersey Overseas Aid-backed Girinka Programme, which has seen over 246,000 cows distributed to vulnerable families since 2006.
A new development programme designed to transform Rwanda’s dairy industry was announced today (Monday 9th January 2017) by Jersey Overseas Aid in partnership with the RJA&HA, with Jersey cows the centrepiece of the scheme.
The two-year project will be funded by Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), and implemented by the Royal Jersey Agriculture and Horticulture Society (RJA&HS), in partnership with the charity Send a Cow. It was formally launched at a meeting on Monday afternoon with a delegation from Rwanda, including Finance Minister Claver Gatete and the Rwandan Director General of Animal Resources, Dr. Théogène Rutagwenda.
In addition to transferring thousands of straws of Jersey bull semen, the project will train and equip 200 Artificial Insemination technicians, create a digital database for Rwanda’s dairy herd, and assist at least 12,000 smallholder dairy farmers with improved breeding and feeding techniques. By 2018 it will lead to almost 200,000 cows being inseminated annually, and the distribution of tens of thousands of improved animals to needy families.
The project is so large and wide-ranging that it will have also an appreciable impact on national milk production, boosting Rwanda’s efforts to develop its economy. Rwanda is still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, despite making remarkable progress in recovering from the devastating genocide in 1994, in which over a fifth of the population were murdered.
The project builds on existing cooperation between Jersey and Rwanda in dairy cow improvement, which began in 2005 and which has already led to the famous Jersey breed becoming widely known and highly valued in the landlocked African country. Jersey crosses produce up to eight times more milk than the native Ankole longhorns, and also require less feed.
Carolyn Labey, Chair of JOA, said ‘The Jersey cow is already serving as a wonderful ambassador for our island, thanks to previous work by JOA and the RJA&HS. As a result of this new two-year project, tens of thousands more families in Rwanda will benefit from owning an improved dairy cow, with higher yields and more nutritious milk. This is sustainable development at its best, and people in Jersey should be enormously proud of the fact that we are making a permanent improvement to the quality of an entire nation’s dairy herd, and in so doing assisting many people out of poverty with better nutrition and onto better lives.’
Ian Mitchell, President of RJA&HS, said ‘As guardians of the breed in its island home, we are delighted that Rwanda is embracing the qualities of the Jersey cow. The high yields and high quality of the milk will assist Rwanda with the development of a world-class dairy industry, as well as benefitting thousands of poor farmers and their families.’
In 2006 Dave and Betty Ellis were the leaders of a JOA Work Project to the village of Nyalkinyi in Western Kenya. During the project they were taken to the village of Pala. The village at that time was in a poor state, the only access was via a rough track too narrow in places for the land rover so they had to go cross country. In the village there was no health care, no secondary school, no clean water, no electricity and only a few run down huts forming the primary school.
Thanks to the support of JOA, Rotary International, All Saints Church, HFTR Committee members and of course the great Jersey public, Pala has now been provided with a new primary school, a secondary school, a health Centre and a borehole. Read more about this wonderful story by clicking the link below.
JOA is launching a new application form for local charities seeking a grant.
The new format may appear a bit daunting if you haven’t completed something similar before, but in fact it is designed to help! It breaks down into short sections all the information which Jersey Overseas Aid (or any other donor) would want to know before it could fund your project. The goal is to:
- Speed up applications. The form contains all the information the JOA Commissioners would need to make a decision, so we should prevent the ping-pong of follow-up questions, which sometimes takes months;
- Help you plan your project. The form tries to cover all the things you will need to have thought of to implement a good project.
- Help you raise additional funds from other donors. By putting things in a format familiar to grant-making bodies, you should be able to approach other donors for matching funds more easily.
It may appear to be overkill for a ‘small’ grant, but if you have planned your activities carefully it should not take long to complete. We are here to help! Jersey Overseas Aid actively wants to fund Jersey-grown projects abroad (if we can justify doing so to Jersey’s taxpayers). If there are parts of the form you need help with, let us know. This can be an iterative process – have a first stab at completing the form, then we can discuss it in person or on the phone, and together produce a final version to submit for formal consideration.
To download the form, please visit https://www.joa.je/grants/for-grants-to-jersey-charities-working-overseas/
Sightsavers’ Nigeria Sokoto State Neglected Tropical Disease Elimination project, which JOA is currently supporting with a multiyear grant from 2016-18, was featured in the Guardian online.
Guardian photographer Graham Robertson travelled to Nigeria and was taken by Sightsavers’ Nigeria Country Director Sunday Isiyaku to see trachoma elimination activities taking place. The photos tell the story of the everyday lives of the people that are helped through the project.
We are seeking volunteers to take part in our 2017 Community Work Projects.
Please come along to the launch evening on 3rd November at St Paul’s Centre, St Helier, to find out how you can spend time next year helping communities in Rwanda (Summer) or Nepal (Autumn).
A short presentation will be given on each project and members of Jersey Overseas Aid will be available to answer questions.
Volunteers may submit applications by email or on the Registration page.
JOA Press Release – Syria Funding
A meeting of Jersey Overseas Aid Commissioners on 4th October agreed to provide emergency funds for the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria.
With the conflict deep into its sixth year, a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and a million more have been injured. An estimated 13.5 million people inside Syria, including 6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. Almost 5 million others have been forced to leave the country, placing great strain on neighbouring countries and leading many refugees to make perilous journeys in search of new lives further afield.
In response to what the EU calls ‘the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II’, Jersey will once again join virtually every other developed country in the world in providing assistance to alleviate immediate suffering and prevent additional displacement of people. In 2015 Jersey provided £650,000 to agencies working with Syrian refugees in Jordan. This year, recognising the increasing desperation of civilians in war-torn Syria itself, Jersey will direct the bulk of its assistance to humanitarian relief inside that tragic country.
Following discussions and meetings with agencies’ frontline staff, and analysis of project documents and needs assessments, Commissioners have selected three programmes to support:
- British Red Cross: Provision of winterisation and food items within Syria. With its network of 7,000 volunteers and over 80 branches in country, the trusted Red Cross movement is the main provider of humanitarian relief across Syria. Jersey’s donation will buy food parcels and vital winter items such as tarpaulins and mattresses.
- UNICEF: Provision of emergency assistance in Lebanon. Over 1 million Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon (representing a quarter of the country’s population), almost 185,000 of whom are under 5. They have settled in more than 1,700 locations throughout Lebanon, often in poor mountainous areas. Jersey’s donation will provide items to help them face the upcoming winter.
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): Syrian Emergency Fund. Managed by UNOCHA under the leadership of the senior UN official in Syria, this pooled Fund will direct assistance to urgent projects where it is needed most inside war-torn Syria, ensuring the highest standards of coordination, oversight and risk assessment.
The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Simon Boas to the new role of Executive Director of the organisation. He took up his new post at the beginning of October.
Simon has over a decade of experience designing, implementing and evaluating aid projects in developing countries. He has managed UN Offices and Programmes in the Middle East and South Asia, and has selected and overseen scores of grants to NGOs. His experience runs from long-term development policy-making (in which he has a Master’s Degree) to humanitarian programming and immediate post-disaster relief. He is also an experienced Civil Servant, until recently on a senior leadership programme in the UK Government.
His appointment comes as part of a programme of modernisation and reform of JOAC, begun by the Commissioners in 2015. As the organisation’s 50th birthday approaches, it will focus on improving its accountability to taxpayers and maximising the effectiveness of the assistance Jersey provides to the world’s poor. Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chairman of JOAC, commented “The employment of a dedicated development expert like Simon marks an important step in the evolution of JOAC into a professional aid organisation. The people of Jersey, and the people to whom their generosity can make such a difference, deserve to know that every penny spent on overseas aid achieves the maximum possible impact on poverty and suffering.”
Simon Boas, the new Director, said yesterday “Jersey’s overseas aid has changed hundreds of thousands of lives all over the world since 1968, and I am honoured and delighted to be a part of this amazing story. I look forward to meeting the many people who have been involved with JOAC over the years, and to contributing to the next stage of its development.”
- Dairy for Development
- Conservation Livelihoods
- Financial Inclusion
- Jersey Charities
- Community Work Projects
- Rotary Bursary Award
- JOA Bursaries
- Jersey International Development Network
- Overseas Aid Internship