(Kulto, 14th September 2017) - Today, Angola is still suffering the aftermath of a civil war lasting more than three decades and the heritage of colonialism. People in Need (PiN) decided more than 10 years ago to bring help to the inhabitants of this country. A permanent mission was set up in the province of Bié which was one of the regions most ravaged by war and poverty. In the first years PiN field workers concentrated on the renewal or improvement of the quality of elementary education and the development of agriculture and markets in the rural areas. Their main aim was to help the local people to be able to provide their own livelihoods and at the same time to contribute to the economic development and the renewal of the land. At the present time the organization helps also in Huambo and Huíla provinces, where besides education and securing livelihoods, it also concentrates on health issues concerning mothers and children, nutrition, access to water, sanitation, the protection of women and the development of the civil society. In this way PiN has, since 2006, helped more than 875 000 people in central Angola.
Even now, fifteen years after the end of the civil war, Angola has not yet recovered from the aftermath. „Neither the local economy nor the infrastructure is quite stable. The vast majority of the population live in poverty and have great difficulty in finding sources of livelihood for themselves and their families. illiteracy, malnutrition, high infant mortality and lack of access to quality education and health care still count amongst the problems that plague Angola today. Our presence and help in Angola is therefore still very much needed,“ describes Klára Jelínková, PiN Coordinator for its Angola programmes. „Due to the successful results of our programmes to date, we wish to continue our work. We have been instrumental in helping over 37 000 children overcome malnutrition, we have bulit 14 schools and 4 education centres, we have helped erect over 10 000 toilets and we have provided tools and training to over 3 000 farmers. We involve the local communities directly in all our projects and coordinate with local authorities,“ adds Klára Jelínková.
Besides its long-term development aid, PiN also tries to solve any emergency humanitarian crises faced by Angola. „At present we help with sanitation, hygiene and access to drinking water in the North of the country, where there are more than 33 000 people who have sought refuge from violence in neighbouring Congo,“ explains Klára Jelínková.
Improved Education for Half a Million Children
From the start, PiN has focused its activities in Angola on the education of local children and reducing the illiteracy among the adult population. Besides building new schools equipped with the necessary education materials, PiN places particularl emphasis on renewing and improving elementary education. Teachers and administrative staff in schools and school authorities receive specialized training, 1 850 teachers have already taken part, and they pass on their newly acquired knowledge to their students as well as their teaching colleagues. As part of the training programme for teachers and support of their further education, more than 25 000 teaching materials have been distributed. In recent years PiN has concentrated especially on working together with the Angolan education authorities at various levels, increasing awareness in the fields of management, planning, monitoring and development of tools, which will help make their work more effective. Since 2006 PiN have indirectly contributed to approximately 450 000 Angolan children and 1 200 illiterate adults learning to read, write and do simple mathematics. At the same time this elementary education supports the integration of other cross-section topics, such as healthy nutrition, basic hygiene or human rights.
More than 37 000 Children suffering from Malnutrition have been treated
Insuffficient hygiene and sanitation usually go hand in hand with malnutrition. In the Bié province of Angola the malnutrition among children under age of 5 was almost 20%. The Angolan PiN team, working together with volunteer social workers, organizes training sessions, where poor rural inhabitants – especially the young mothers – are taught about proper nutrition. “Thanks to the training I learned how to prepare soya, beans or pumpkin soup for my children so they would not lose strength,” describes Imaculada Chicemba from the village of Kaassuanga. “I always try out the recipes as soon as I can and cook what we learned in the course. Now I am trying, for example, to make a rehydration solution against diarrhea,” describes the mother of six. “As soon as I see that the children don´t feel well and they are getting weaker, I prepare a nutritious meal to make them strong again. Many people here had these problems. We had no idea how to deal with it, but since we started these nutrition courses, the number of complications has decreased,” adds Imaculeda Chicemba (find out more here) . PiN have tested for malnutrition more than 293 419 children in Angola and 40 045 of those have undergone treatment.
More than 10 000 new Latrines have been erected
For the people of Angola the access to drinking water is also important and PiN helps by repairing old wells or drilling new ones as well as facilitating access to other places where water can be obtained. Part of this is also education about hygiene, regular washing of hands with soap, using latrines and so on. Domingas Eyala lives in the village of Caliongue and has five children. She describes how, before PiN started its project, many local people did not know why there was such a frequent incidence of cholera and diseases involving diarrhea. “Due to this project I found out that going to the toilet outside on the land is one of the main causes of disease. I have learned to cover the latrine and to wash my hands,” says Domingas Eyala. Another participant in the courses, Eliseu Sipitali, from the village of Mbambi Mupa also describes how he eventually learned to understand that staying healthy was a priority. “Many of us had no idea about the importance of personal hygiene. We started to share this information and then we started to dig holes for future latrines. Originally, our toilets were only made of grass, now we build them with clay,” says Domingas Eyala (find out more here). PiN has been instrumental in building more than 10 000 new latrines in 200 villages.
More than 3 000 Farmers growing better Crops
Because of the war whole generations of Angolans have lost many of their farming skills. Agriculture however still remains the main source of livelihood for more than three quarters of all Angolans. Most of them are only able to grow a few crops and obtain their meat by hunting. PiN introduces the local population to new crops and provides training on how to grow and utilize them. More than 3 000 farmers have received practical training as well as seedlings, seeds, the necessary agricultural tools and, most important of all, practical advice from agricultural field workers. Instead of distributing tractors there is support in the rural areas for going back to breeding cattle and utilizing it also for farm work.
Thousands of Victims of Domestic Violence have received Help
Since 2003 PiN in Angola has also provided support to local women´s groups and non-governmental organizations in the fight against poverty and domestic violence. These organizations provide the victims of domestic violence with counselling services. And through educational campaigns this helps to bring this problem to the attention of the public. The subject of domestic violence and possibilities of protecting themselves against it were previously tabu to Angolan women. Now, they know how to define it and where to report it. More than 3 000 victims of domestic violence have thus been able to receive help. Local women are furthermore able to receive support when they wish to start up their own small businesses, already 23 have been able to do this and many others will follow soon. Twenty-eight year old Avelina Jamba had no regular income and it was a great struggle to find enough money each month to pay the rent. Avelina looks after six children, four of her own and two belonging to her sister. With help from the PiN programme she was able to buy a sewing machine and began to earn money as a seamstress. “I have bought a house with a bedroom and a living room. It isn´t large but it is mine and I don´t have to pay rent to anyone,” says Avelina. “Previously I did not consider myself to be a person in my own right, but now I am one at last,” she adds. The main aim of this project is to improve the position of women in society (find out more here).
People in Need is able to provide aid in Angola thanks to voluntary contributions by the Czech public through the Club of Friends of People in Need and the Real Present and Real Help initiatives. Institutions also providing help are: the European Commission, UNICEF, the African Innovation Foundation, Fundo Soberano de Angola and the Czech Development Agency. People in Need wish to thank all donors for their support.
For more information, please contact:
Klára Jelínková, People in Need Coordinator of Angolan Programmes, firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 777 980 560, +244 924 340 073
Richard Walker, People in Need Coordinator of African Programmes, email@example.com, +420 774 260 568