By Maggie Farrand
“Chadians let’s stand up
Chadians we stand up
And build our country
Let’s go and build our country
Let’s go and vote the right person to lead”
In the United States, it’s “Rock the Vote” – a national effort to engage and build political power for young people through celebrity endorsements and mainstream media. Or it’s the many visits politicians take to colleges and universities during their campaign that excite and rally the youth to vote and make the change they want to see in their political system.
In Chad, no such initiatives exist. With past elections producing little change in their country, youth in Chad do not feel like their vote will make a difference. Even though they are often ignored and excluded from political participation, they are beginning to realize their potential to bring about change.
February 2011 marked the beginning of a five month election period in Chad – parliamentary, presidential, and local elections. The Promoting Elections, Accountability and Civic Engagement (PEACE) Project in Chad - a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project implemented by Counterpart International – promotes the participation of youth in the elections and encourages the public to vote peacefully.
In preparation for the elections, PEACE released a song titled “In Peace.” Featuring the voices of ten Chadian artists, the song uses local popular culture to manage and mitigate election-related conflict and to promote peaceful elections and youth activism.
“Using media that directly appeals to the young people in Chad is the best way to get them to vote. We want them to realize their potential and use it a constructive way. When they hear this song, ‘In Peace,’ they will be reminded of their role and power in the political process,” says PEACE Acting Chief of Party, Dr. Yusef Jedian.
In addition to releasing “In Peace”, Counterpart works closely with youth-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) and informal youth associations in Chad to encourage their members to learn about their rights as voters and the importance of their participation in the upcoming elections. The activities of PEACE help increase the visibility of youth, their participation in elections and influence on Chadian decision makers.
“In Peace” has been aired by national radio stations in the three most commonly spoken languages in Chad – French, Chadian Arabic and Sara – to ensure broad outreach. Private radio stations, such as Harmonie FM, have aired the song as well.
“For the first time in Chad, musicians from different backgrounds and of different ages gathered for one cause. It gives hope to Chadians that they can dream of peace,” says Djasra Ratébaye, PEACE Monitoring & Evaluation and Communications Manager.
In Chad, Counterpart International's Promoting Elections, Accountability and Civic Engagement (PEACE) Project released "In Peace" - a song sung by local Chadian artists meant to encourage the youth vote in the spring 2011 local and national elections. The song uses local popular culture to manage and mitigate election-related conflict and to promote peaceful elections and youth activism.
By Maggie Farrand
Meet Fassouma. She’s 18 years old, married with three children. She and her husband grow millet and beans on their land to support themselves. With five mouths to feed, however, they often do not have enough food for everyone. Recently, Issa, her youngest child – only 1½ years old – began to show signs of malnutrition.
The family lives in Gassafa, a large village in the Zinder region of southern Niger, about 60 miles from a paved road. Luckily, Gassafa has the only functioning health clinic in the area. Counterpart International works closely with this health post, helping identify and treat cases of malnutrition and providing much-needed food aid.
Fassouma was able to bring Issa to the health center to be seen by a community health worker. She was told that Issa was severely malnourished. He was immediately put on a rehabilitation program: each week, he was fed packets of PlumpyNut, a therapeutic peanut paste. In addition, Fassouma was provided with a corn and soy mixture to provide nourishment to the other members of her family.
Even with weekly allotments of PlumpyNut, Issa did not recover. After three weeks, he was referred to the district hospital in Gouré, 60 miles away.
Counterpart, as part of the Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP) funded by USAID, initiated a free transportation program for severely malnourished children and their caregivers to travel to the Gouré District Hospital. Prior to Counterpart, the only way to get to the hospital was by way of trucks that came for the weekly market day, provided one could pay their high fare. If not for Counterpart’s intervention, Fassouma would not have been able to get her son to the hospital.
Once they arrived in Gouré, Issa was placed in an intensive rehabilitation center at the Gouré District Hospital. Counterpart partners with the Gouré health district to provide care for severe cases of malnutrition at this hospital. This partnership has allowed the hospital to offer more resources to its patients and caregivers, in the form of care and education, and thus can welcome more patients into its doors.
Issa was quickly admitted into the first phase of treatment: Stabilization, where he was given antibiotics and anti-malarials to treat his accompanying illnesses. Five times a day, he was fed F75, a starter formula designed especially to treat the most extreme cases of child malnutrition. It includes a digestible amount of protein and carbohydrates, the two most important nutrients Issa was lacking. Once Issa reached a stable level of nutrition, he moved into the Transition phase, where he was fed F100, the next level of formula, five times a day for three days.
In the Recuperation phase, Issa was monitored and continued to be fed F100 until he met the necessary criteria for adequate weight and nutrition. While Issa was undergoing treatment, health workers at the hospital, trained by Counterpart, worked with Fassouma so she could identify the causes and signs of malnutrition. She learned what is needed for sufficient nutrition in adults and children, and important foods to include in her children’s daily diet.
Issa and Fassouma have since returned to Gassafa, healthy and with a better idea of the importance of a nutritious diet. Counterpart continues to provide comprehensive care to both malnourished children and their caregivers, helping to create a system to improve lives and communities in Niger, with an eye toward long-term self-reliance.
Learn more about Counterpart's Multi-Year Assistance Project in Niger.
A beneficiary expressing her appreciation, on behalf of the local population, to Mr. Zurab Arsoshvili for renovating and equipping the clinic.
On January 25, 2011, Counterpart International’s Georgia Country Program Director, Irakli Saralidze, and Project Manager, Guram Gurashvili, joined others in celebrating Counterpart distribution of medical supplies that complemented the opening ceremony of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded renovation of the Nikozi Outpatient Clinic in the Shida Kartli region of Georgia.
During the opening ceremony, Zurab Arsoshvili, the State Governor of the Gori, Kaspi, Kareli and Khashuri Municipalities, declared that the clinic will begin providing health care services free of charge.
Mr. Arsoshvili hopes that in the near future the people of Tskhinvali city will also be able to use the outpatient clinic for medical services: “Our priority is coordinating infrastructure in the villages bordering the occupied territories and especially opening new medical stations.” The Georgian Government has promised to provide better infrastructure to this area because during the 2008 civil conflict between Georgia and Russia, this area’s infrastructure – roads, water supply and hospitals – was destroyed.
Counterpart’s medical supplies totaled nearly $3,500 and will be used by the medical personnel to provide comprehensive care to their patients. Counterpart will continue support to the medical clinic under the scope of its current Humanitarian Assistance programming funded by the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia.
UNDP implemented and monitored the renovations to the clinic from October to late December 2010. They were able to replace the water and heating systems and rehabilitate the warehouse and storage buildings. The Ministry of Health Care of Georgia equipped the renovated clinic with medical/office equipment and furniture.
The Nikozi Outpatient Clinic is staffed by a strong team of doctors and nurses, including a pediatrician and gynecologist. Now that the renovations to their clinic are complete, they are planning on expanding to hire a dentist and open a diagnostic department and an outpatient hospital.
Please read more about Counterpart's Humanitarian Assistance Program.
This first-person account is part of a regular series of how Counterpart works in the field. This story is by Russell Bernstein, Senior Program Manager for Humanitarian Assistance.
Each year, Counterpart’s Humanitarian Assistance practice area receives and ships millions of dollars’ worth of donated items to serve the most at-risk populations worldwide. We partner with US- and
international-based partners to acquire and distribute these donated items. Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a faith-based organization committed to feeding the world’s starving children, is one such organization.
Over the last year and a half, Counterpart has shipped eight containers of FMSC’s MannaPack Rice,worth $468,000, to Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Senegal. MannaPack Rice is composed of a mixture of rice, soy
nuggets, vitamins, minerals and dehydrated vegetables that is fed to malnourished children.
On January 28 - 29, I attended the annual FMSC Partner Conference in Miami, Florida. This conference brought together many of FMSC’s 90 partner organizations to share successes from the past years, and learn about n
ew initiatives and products for the upcoming year.
On the second day of the conference, I had the opportunity to hear presentations directly from a few of FMSC’s partners. Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization’s (ECHO) discussion on small farm agriculture drew the largest response from attendees. ECHO researches new ways to grow food under difficult conditions – on rooftops, in extreme heat or extreme drought. Their web site serves as an online portal to house all their research and findings.
The two-day event was a great opportunity to learn and network with organizations that have similar humanitarian initiatives. Donor organizations, like Feed My Starving Children, are an integral part to Counterpart’s Humanit
arian Assistance work for the world’s most at-risk populations.
Learn more about our Global Humanitarian Commodities Distribution.
February 3rd, 2011 | Tags: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Humanitarian Assistance, humanitarian commodities distribution, malnutrition, MannaPack Rice, partnership, Russell Bernstein, Senegal, Tajikistan, trip report | Category: From the Field | Leave a comment