Despite many odds, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) provided emergency assistance and durable solutions to more than 3 million people in the nine countries of the East Africa and Yemen programme.
In South Sudan, with more than 6 million people nationwide not having enough to eat, lack of access to food became the biggest crisis. In most parts of the country, people survived by eating wild fruits, cactus leaves, water lilies and other desperate survival tactics. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people continued to flee the country to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
The population of refugees in Uganda had risen to nearly 1.4 million people by the end of the year, with more than 1 million from South Sudan and 230,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Yemen, a staggering 22 million people required some form of humanitarian aid or protection last year. The key drivers of Yemen's crisis continued to be ongoing violence, the blockade of main ports, interference in aid delivery, the erosion of public services and rapid economic collapse.
"Conflict drove the crises in Yemen and South Sudan, leading to drastic rises in malnutrition and cholera in both countries. These crises are intolerable, and they drive NRC and our partners to continue our life saving work," says Nigel Tricks, Regional Director for NRC in East Africa and Yemen.
Achievements in the East Africa region In Kenya, NRC mainstreamed the use of technology in education in the programme through Instant Network Schools, an initiative implemented in partnership with UNHCR, Vodafone and the Safaricom Foundation.
The overall quality and acceptance of education services offered improved thanks to accreditation by the National Industrial Training Authority, as well as computer skills enhanced by the Computer Society of Kenya. More women attended trainings in motor vehicle mechanics and plumbing, which were traditionally for male students. This was 13% more than 2016.
NRC launched the inaugural programming on information, counselling and legal assistance for refugees living in Ethiopia in 2017. The national team supported people’s access to security of tenure by providing information about Ethiopia’s land tenancy law and leases.
During drought emergency and recovery operations in Somalia, NRC led an alliance of five international charity organisations in enhancing food security through cash support to half a million drought-affected individuals in the most affected and hard-to-reach locations. Working with the BRCiS Consortium (Building Resilient Communities in Somalia) NRC provided oversight in supporting an additional half a million people.
In South Sudan, NRC partnered with the World Food Programme through the Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to reach over 300,000 people with emergency food aid. The operation involved food air drops targeting some of the most food insecure locations in South Sudan.
The organisational food security programme in Yemen provided people with food, vouchers, cash and grants to help re-establish livelihoods and help people get back to work. We reached 377,000 people with assistance for emergency food needs.
Main challenges in delivering aid
Lack of adequate funding to provide more humanitarian assistance to vulnerable and displaced people. Some country programmes, such as Kenya, had no option but to down-size due to lack of funds. Access hindrances due to insecurity following ongoing violence, bureaucratic processes and blockades