Veteran Diplomat vows to fight drought in the Horn

By George Okore

Mr. Abou Moussa, center, at his inauguration in Nairobi as Patron of Action Africa Help International. With him is the International Board Chair, Dr. John Tabayi (L), and the Executive Director, Dr. Caroline Kisia.

The Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) Board of Directors meeting in Nairobi has appointed veteran diplomat and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mr. Abou Moussa as the patron as it seeks to keep strong track record in humanitarian relief and recovery.

AAH-I is a Horn of Africa based NGO supporting communities in East and Southern Africa to sustainably improve their wellbeing and living standards . Its main focus areas are basic services (health, education, water, hygiene and sanitation). It also focuses on food and income security, environmental management and responsiveness to climate change, governance, civil society strengthening and peace building.

Moussa, a Chadian national said at his inauguration that he will strive to address challenges the region face including drought. Currently, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya are in famine and millions of their citizens are in dire need of support.

In its latest report, AAH-I predicts that at least 65.3m people are displaced – 90% of them hosted in developing countries. This has occasioned sustained humanitarian work, especially among refugee across the region. The report says for example in 2016, the number of refugees that entered Uganda from South Sudan surpassed the numbers that all of Europe received in the same year.

Furthermore, most of these refugees from South Sudan have ended up in northern Uganda. AAH-I has therefore developed humanitarian logistics programme in West Nile region in northern Uganda, supporting refugees in this region. It also runs refugee settlements in Kyangwali and Kinyarondo.

In Somalia, AAH-I has an education project that is meeting the need for basic education to children who have fled the war in Yemen. “In Mogadishu, we have rehabilitated a former militia hideout into a school that has at least 420 student attendances. Additionally, we are working with partner agencies to run a humanitarian logistics warehouse supplying non-food items”, the report says.

AAH-I also provide relief and humanitarian recovery and gas over 20 years’ experience working with communities in conflict and post conflict situations. International Board Chair Dr. John Tabayi (L) says the organization is also actively addressing the twin challenges of drought and population displacement. “The focus of our work is in basic services like health, education and water and sanitation, food and income security, governance and civil society strengthening, humanitarian relief and recovery and research.

Dr Tabayi says AAH being an African-led and African-focused organization, they provide solutions to solve the problems facing Africa, especially drought and population displacement due to conflict and famine. He says hundreds of people in East Africa and the Horn of Africa are currently facing acute hunger, with famine already declared a national disaster in Kenya and Somalia.

To help towards drought mitigation, AAH-I Executive Director Dr. Caroline Kisia says in Kenya, the organization supports use of irrigation for agriculture in Turkana County. “Our livelihoods project in Kakuma refugee camp in the county has seen the implementation of a pilot programme using drip irrigation to grow fruits and vegetables,” She adds. This has borne great success – 200 farmers working on a 3-acre farm are able to collectively make $4,000 per month from the produce.

Secondly, AAH-I has improved nutrition in a traditionally pastroralist community by encouraging and supporting refugees to be self-reliant and reduce a handout mentality. Within the African region, AAH-I has worked with communities in Kawambwa district in Zambia to mobilize the planting of at least 19,000 tree seedlings to address forest depletion and environment mismanagement that was rapidly leading to food insecurity in the district.

Mr. Moussa brings to this position many years of considerable diplomatic, political and humanitarian experience with United Nations system. Educated at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and at Sorbonne University in Paris, he quips “I thank the AAH board of Directors for this appointment and indeed pleased to join an organization that is passionate about communities, especially those that are livelihood-challenged.