Jersey Overseas Aid and St John Ambulance, Jersey, have joined forces to pay the total costs of a specialist eye nurse at the St John Ophthalmic Hospital in East Jerusalem.
The St John Ophthalmic Hospital in East Jerusalem is one of the busiest eye treatment centres in the world and covers patients from Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group (SJEHG) was established in 1882 and is the only charitable provider of expert eye care in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In 2016 they treated over 125,000 outpatients (including 42,000 children) regardless of race, religion or ability to pay, including performing over 4,800 major operations. It costs £8.3 million annually to run the hospital
Each St John Ambulance Commandery has responsibility for the two charitable foundations; St John Ambulance and the Ophthalmic Hospital. Until 2004, support from St John Ambulance, Jersey was restricted to funds collected at church services but in that year a decision was made to partially fund the salary of a nurse. The nurse is Muyasser Ghaneh, who wears a Jersey badge on her uniform
St John Ambulance, Jersey contributed £13,000 in 2017 which only partially covers her costs and the Jersey Overseas Aid has now matched that funding and a little more to cover the entire costs of the nurse for 2017.
Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of Jersey Overseas Aid, said “JOA is delighted to continue its support for the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, and particularly pleased to do so in partnership with St John Ambulance, Jersey. By matching these heroic local fundraising efforts, Jersey Overseas Aid is able to magnify the wonderful generosity of Islanders. In this case, Team Jersey will have contributed to saving thousands of people’s eyesight.”
A party from Jersey spent three days in Lebanon last week, visiting activities supported by Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) and meeting project staff and beneficiaries.
The Jersey Overseas Aid delegation consisted of Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of JOA, and Simon Boas, its new Director. They inspected eight Jersey-funded activities in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley, including schools, training centres, counselling sessions, water trucking and a clinic. They met specialists from UNICEF in education, child protection, water, health and sanitation, and held interviews and focus groups with women and adolescents who had benefitted from different projects. They also interviewed staff from numerous local and international organisations, including Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Caritas and the Knights of Malta.
With a population of only around 6m, Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, hosting more than 1.5 million Syrians, as well as large numbers of Palestinians, Kurds and Iraqis. This huge influx threatens the stability of the delicate sectarian balance, which is composed of 18 different religious groups. It also puts huge pressure on employment, housing, education and natural resources. The World Bank estimates that Lebanon has incurred losses of US$13.1 billion since 2012.
In October 2016, Jersey granted £475,000 to UNICEF for projects focused on needy children in Lebanon. Intervening at an early stage in people’s lives is often extremely cost effective, and with traumatised refugees it is even more so. Targeted education and health support for poor children affected by the crisis can help reduce their future needs, and increase the chance that they can be productive members of their society when they eventually return home.
Jersey’s donation has assisted over 110,000 children return to formal education, and helped provide safe water for drinking and domestic use for almost 100,000 people, many of whom live in crowded makeshift camps. The Island’s money also contributed to vocational training for older children and breast-feeding and vaccination interventions for infants.
Carolyn Labey commented: “It is humbling to see the fantastic work being conducted by UNICEF and its partners with funding from Jersey. For the price of a few pounds each, the people of our Island have helped transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Furthermore, by helping refugee families in this region, we are increasing the chance that they will one day participate in the reconstruction of their tragic country. I’m incredibly proud of what we’re achieving here, and I’m sure the people of Jersey are too. We have not stood idly by, during one of the worst humanitarian crises since the war.”
The JOA team also received a special briefing from the Director of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) inside Syria, who came from Damascus to meet them. He outlined the main challenges facing the UN and NGOs operating in Syria, and analysed how the situation is likely to evolve in 2017. Through OCHA, Jersey has been able to support emergency projects inside the war-torn country, including air-drops of food to besieged areas.
Simon Boas, who spent his career running aid programmes in developing countries before joining JOA, said “Trips like this are terrifically useful, as they give donors – and the taxpayers they represent – the chance to monitor and verify the activities they have funded. They also help us target future assistance more effectively. In fact, by enabling us to build connections with staff inside target countries, we become able to fund programmes like UNICEF’s directly, rather than through their UK umbrella organisations, which can actually save us money.”
The Syrian civil war has killed around 316,000 people since 2011 and displaced over 11 million, of whom around 5 million have fled abroad. JOA’s response to this appalling humanitarian crisis has been to focus assistance on Jordan, Lebanon and within Syria itself, to provide lifesaving assistance and to help people stay in or near their homes.
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.
- Dairy for Development
- Conservation Livelihoods
- Financial Inclusion
- Jersey Charities
- Community Work Projects
- Rotary Bursary Award
- JOA Bursaries
- Jersey International Development Network
- Overseas Aid Internship