Kunse is a 20-year-old disabled woman living in the Kobe refugee camp in the Dolo Ado complex in Ethiopia where International Medical Corps has been working since 2009. Originally from Southern Somalia, Kunse was forced to make the dangerous journey into Ethiopia to escape the famine and conflict; a trip made on donkey cart, as she is unable to walk, across difficult terrain, lasting more than ten days. Once she reached Kobe, the immediate danger may have passed, but Kunse remained particularly vulnerable to disease in the crowded camp conditions; today nearly 140,000 live in close quarters in the complex. Due to her disability Kunse was unable to easily access the communal latrines and hand washing facilities in the camp.
Immediately following the outbreak of famine nearly six months ago, International Medical Corps immediately expanded services in the Dolo Ado complex to include critical nutrition, sanitation and hygiene programs, including constructing latrines, showers and hand washing facilities.
Our assessment teams in the camps recognized the unique circumstances that Kunse faced and directed a team of sanitation specialists, in consultation with the young woman and her family, to assess her needs and take immediate steps to provide her with appropriate facilities. Kunse now has access to her own adapted latrine and hand washing facility.
“The effort made by International Medical Corps has had a remarkable effect on the lives of me and my family.’’ says Kunse.
International Medical Corps also provided Kunse with soap and detergents, as well as training for her husband on how to maintain the facilities.
In addition to our programs at Dolo Ado, International Medical Corps is also working in drought-affected regions throughout Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, as well as in the Dadaab complex in Kenya which is the largest refugee settlement in the world. Our relief programs include nutrition, water/sanitation/hygiene, primary health care, gender-based violence and protection, among other services.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.