IOM Celebrates World Water Day with Displaced Persons in Wollega, Ethiopia
Nekemte – To mark World Water Day this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) prepared a series of colourful events in Nekemte, Western Ethiopia that passed COVID-19 messages to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
As part of the commemoration, IOM organized a school drama for students in Sasiga Woreda, which highlighted the basic themes of World Water Day 2021, COVID-19 preventive measures, as well as a training and awareness-raising session for women in Getu Geda Woreda of East Wollega.
“Finding basic information on COVID-19 to provide to students is such a challenge in our school,” says Zelalem Adissu, School Director for Kenaf School in Getu Geda Woreda. “As our school does not have running water, we ask our students to bring water bottles from their homes to clean up. We have been noticing that interest in COVID-19 preventive measures is fading away and such interventions by IOM give us good refreshers,” he added.
Appreciation of COVID-19 preventive messages by community members is something Kejela Teshome, a health bureau expert from Kiltu Kara Woreda, is also concerned about. “In the beginning, when COVID-19 was announced in Ethiopia, people were protecting themselves well. However, they are now slowly neglecting preventive measures,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 20 women community leaders from Kilu Kara district who were provided with COVID-19 awareness-raising also received training on leadership to help them engage with the community better.
IOM is one of the first organizations responding and supporting the government to assist IDPs in the two districts.
“Our support includes the construction of shelter, cash-for-rent, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), construction of water wells and latrines and school rehabilitation,” said Mr. Moniruzzaman A.T.M. IOM Shelter Officer in Nekemte Sub Office, Ethiopia.
In East Wollega, particularly in Sassiga and Getu-Geda Woreda, where displaced persons have been settled, IOM installed five handpumps, three new spring construction and also rehabilitated six handpumps in 2020 to alleviate the situation of over 1,700 househlds, with the support of USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and Japan’s Supplementary Budget (JSB). In 2021, IOM is constructing four new springs in East Wollega under the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funding.
Vedharaniyam Karuppiah, IOM’s Head of Nekemte Sub Office in Ethiopia stressed on the importance of these partnerships and interventions: “ We are grateful to all the government departments which are always available to support to make our efforts successful. It is a great collaborative effort to ensure the needy get the assistance.”
Ever since the pandemic was announced in Ethiopia in April 2020, more than 185,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 with over 2,600 fatalities.