1. War in Syria: half a decade and counting
At the end of 2016, we were overwhelmed with news of the devastation in Aleppo, but that’s just one part of the tragedy unfolding in Syria. More than a quarter of a million people have lost their lives in the conflict so far, over 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, 6.5 million are displaced inside Syria, and another 4.4 million have fled the country. Concern is working with many of these refugees in Turkey and Lebanon — here are some of their stories.
2. Sierra Leone’s lacking loos
Every day, thousands of people gather, shop, and work in Sierra Leone’s bustling Waterloo market. Along with the crowds come serious health risks, as open defecation has long been the only option when nature calls. Beyond the social discomfort of it all, open defecation threatens everyone’s health, especially children. Diarrhea-related illnesses are responsible for more child deaths than HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. In addition, a lack of privacy for women and girls can increase the risk of sexual violence. So what did we do about it? We built the best darned loo in Waterloo, of course!
3. Battling drought in Ethiopia
Scattered across a vast and often dry landscape, the people of Ethiopia are particularly vulnerable to climate shocks. Early last year, many parts of the country were struggling with the effects of insufficient rainfall the year before, a situation that was only compounded by the arrival of the hot, dry El Niño weather pattern. Together this spelled potential disaster for millions of Ethiopians, 80% of whom are dependent on rain-fed agriculture. Concern provided emergency nutrition support, distributed drought-resistant seeds, and trucked thousands of gallons of water to remote communities, where some people have to walk five hours a day just to get water.
4. Conversations for change in rural Kenya
Our Community Conversations model is a way of getting people together to talk about — and agree on — their needs and priorities, which is the first step to achieving those goals. It’s a simple but powerful idea, as shown by this community in rural Kenya that used its collective voice to influence those in power and get its list of proposals included in the local government’s 2017 budget. See how it happened!
5. Racing the rain and building a city in South Sudan
Over just three months, the population of the Protection of Civilians site on a UN base in Bentiu, South Sudan ballooned from 50,000 to over 100,000, as people sought refuge from the conflict that has plagued the world’s youngest country since its independence in 2013. Although they’d escaped the violence, families faced new misery as the camp could not support shelter and sanitation for all. The impending rainy season would surely bring flooding and increased risk of water-borne diseases if major changes weren’t made to the camp. So, the Concern team joined forces with the camp’s residents to build an amazing 150 shelters per day, for a total of almost 10,000 in just a few months! By population, the camp is now South Sudan’s fourth largest “city.” See how they did it.