Profile of Egypt’s Executive Secretariat for the Demining and Development of the North West Coast

In 2006, the government of Egypt with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a multi-billion dollar initiative to develop the desert regions of the west of Egypt, along the Mediterranean.  The government’s plan would create 400,000 jobs and encourage more than a million Egyptians to move from the Nile River valley to the region.  At present, the area is undeveloped except for the resort town of Marsa Matruh and populated mostly by Bedouin tribes.  And landmines.  Millions and millions of landmines.

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The northwest coast of Egypt was the site of the tank battles of El Alamein from World War II between the German Afrika Corps under Rommel and the British Eighth Army under Montgomery.  The two armies laid so many landmines, estimated at 20 million, that the region came to be known as “the Devil’s Garden.”  The map on the right shows the main areas of landmine contamination, covering more than 200 miles of coastline: just west of Alexandria where El Alamein is; around Marsa Matruh; and near the border with Libya (additional minefields lie on the Libyan side of the border).  To address the landmine issue and make the region suitable for development, the government of Egypt created the Executive Secretariat for the Demining and Development of the North West Coast (Executive Secretariat).  Organized under the Ministry of International Cooperation in 2007, the Executive Secretariat is the coordination unit for the development project and is supported with national and international contributions.  The majority of funding derives from the Egyptian government, but in 2013 more than US $1.3 million came from UNDP and the governments of Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Great Britain.  In previous years, the European Commission, Japan, Norway and the United States also contributed to the Executive Secretariat.

The Executive Secretariat’s mission includes:

  • Coordination and monitoring the implementation of the development plan and related mine action activities;
  • The development of a communication strategy and resource mobilization strategy and coordination with donors, civil society and the private sector;
  • The conduct of demining activities based on clearly identified humanitarian and development needs; and
  • The conduct of mine risk education and victim assistance activities.

 

Demining

The Executive Secretariat serves as the mine action authority for Egypt and is responsible for coordinating landmine clearance activities.  Using a combination of technical and non-technical survey, the Executive Secretariat has been trying to determine the exact extent of the minefields in the country.  The estimates of 17 to 22 million landmines, representing more than 20% of the total landmines contaminating the globe, are based upon an extrapolation of clearance work conducted by the Egyptian army in the 1980s and 1990s; the true number may be higher or lower.  According to Fathy El-Shazly, the Executive Secretariat’s director, “the [landmine] contamination has been found to extend beyond the area suspected by the army. In some areas, such as Ras Hekma and Siwa, there are no mines indicated [on the Egyptian army’s maps], yet many accidents” have occurred in those places.  At the same time, landmine clearance work has been conducted by private companies seeking to exploit the oil and natural gas reserves along the coastline and their clearance work has not been integrated into national databases.

Clearance work has been ongoing since the creation of the Executive Secretariat with the pace of clearance increasing over time.  In 2010, 3 million landmines and over 9,000 acres of land were cleared and released for use; over a ten month period spanning 2012 and 2013, over 26,000 acres of land were cleared and released for use.  Another 200,000 acres of land remain to be cleared based upon requests from the ministries of agriculture, housing and environmental affairs.  The Executive Secretariat uses mechanical techniques for clearing and landmine clearance is complicated by the presence of a variety of anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines and the nature of the soil.  The desert sands are subject to flooding and erosion which have moved the mines from regular formations expected in military-laid minefields and may have buried some mines more than 6 feet below the surface.

 

Mine Risk Education

The Executive Secretariat has published a five year strategy (2010 – 2015) for its mine risk education (MRE) programming.  Most landmine victims in Egypt are adult males due to their high exposure in contaminated areas through shepherding and farming; the strategy also recognized that children in the contaminated areas help out with shepherding after school, exposing them to risk as well.  The main implementation of the strategy has been through targeted support to four local organizations, including the survivors association, Association of Landmines Survivors for Economic Development – Marsa Matruh, and through school-based campaigns.  To dates, two MRE campaigns have been conducted; the first campaign educated 15,000 primary and secondary school students, the second campaign focused on secondary school and college students.  The second campaign built support within the government of the Matruh governorate which has since encouraged churches and mosques to inform their communities about the risks of landmines.  This outcome of the second campaign ties into the MRE strategy’s goal of reaching adult males directly, rather than indirectly through children.

 

Victim Assistance

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The total number of landmine victims in Egypt is estimated at over 8,000 and while the Executive Secretariat has documented 759 in the North West region, UNDP believes that only half of all landmine incidents are reported.  Of the known, documented survivors, 94% are males. In 2012, 41 people were killed by mines and 5 others injured; of the 46 casualties, all but one were civilians.

The Executive Secretariat maintains a database of landmine casualties and adds known survivors to that database when they are identified.  In 2013, the Executive Secretariat provided prosthetic devices to 241 survivors as well as micro-credit loans to 39 women, but these services are limited to the Matruh governorate.  In addition to the direct provision of services, the Executive Secretariat supports non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Protection, the Arab Doctors Union, the Association of Landmines Survivors for Economic Development, which target landmine survivors.  These NGOs provide income generation projects, peer assistance and advocacy opportunities for survivors.  The support from the Executive Secretariat takes the form of capacity building focusing on financial and project management to help the NGOs more efficiently and effectively provide services to their beneficiaries.  Within the micro-credit programs, all loans have been repaid on time and in full.

Outside of the Matruh governorate, survivor assistance services are run by the national government and consist of a small financial compensation and little or no rehabilitation and reintegration services.  Because many minefields are in restricted areas, survivors are loath to report their injuries as that would be tantamount to admitting they were trespassing or participating in illegal activities.  Many survivors also suffer from psychological issues due to loss of income potential, discrimination against persons with disabilities, and the pervasive feeling they are victims of a “war they were never party to.”

 

Looking Ahead

The Executive Secretariat’s plans for 2014 include the development of an epidemiologic information system that will report new landmine casualties as they occur.  Such a system will allow the Executive Secretariat and its partner NGOs to target survivor assistance services and determine the possible extent of landmine contamination.  The Executive Secretariat will also work to bring new partners into the mine action fold including private sector actors and the international community, especially the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).  Of course, the Executive Secretariat will also continue to provide mine risk education services as detailed in its strategy document and victim assistance services to survivors.

 

Michael P. Moore

June 20, 2014

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The (Literal) Minefields of Children’s Television

As a parent, some of my proudest moments have come when my children express interest in the same things that I loved growing up.  Recently however, I have been conflicted about some of the images my children have been exposed to as they watch the Looney Toons cartoons I remember so fondly.  As an advocate against landmines, I have been alarmed at the sheer number of times I have seen landmines in Looney Toons cartoons as my daughter watches them.  As I’ve written here before, I stopped supporting Everton when they took money from a company that produces landmines and I have been wondering if Warner Bros.’s use of landmines in their cartoon represent a learning opportunity for my children or are they enough to cause me to re-think my love of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

On the plus side, Warner Bros. did license the use of Bugs and Daffy for a landmine awareness campaign in Cambodia funded by the US State Department (CNN) and to the best of my knowledge neither Bugs or Daffy has appeared in a cartoon with landmines.  Grenades, dynamite, bombs and other explosives have featured prominently, but no landmines.  Whew.

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On the negative side are at least six separate cartoons (three starring Foghorn Leghorn, one each featuring Sylvester and Tweety, Speedy Gonzales and the Roadrunner and Coyote) which feature landmines and their subsequent explosions.  Of the six cartoons, five are still in circulation and viewable on Cartoon Network where I have seen them in recent months (no Speedy Gonzales cartoons are broadcast anymore due to the racist depiction of Mexicans in the series).  Videos of these cartoons are online on YouTube for a fee, but descriptions and plot summaries are available more widely.

The three Foghorn Leghorn cartoons are “The Slick Chick,” “A Broken Leghorn” and “Strangled Eggs.”  In 1959’s “A Broken Leghorn,” Foghorn tries to lure a rival rooster into a minefield and ties a fake worm to a landmine with the intention that the rival rooster would pull on the worm and detonate the mine.  The rival rooster ignores the lure and so Foghorn demonstrates how to pull on the worm with the result that he is injured by the blast himself.  In 1961’s “Strangled Eggs” Foghorn comes up against his frequent foil, the chickenhawk, and while the widow hen who Foghorn fancies tries to adopt the chickenhawk as her child, Foghorn launches a number of schemes to eliminate the chickenhawk.  One such scheme has Foghorn and the chickenhawk pecking for insects in a minefield laid by Foghorn himself, again with Foghorn coming out the worse for wear.

A Chicken Laying Landmines

In 1962’s “The Slick Chick” Foghorn is trying to woo the widow hen by babysitting her son, Junior, who is terribly behaved (“That boy makes Dennis the Menace look like an angel”).  Junior contrives to launch Foghorn into orbit and provides him with a “safe” place to land, a landmine, which explodes in an off-screen detonation.

The Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, 1956’s “Tree-Cornered Tweety,” Tweety tries to avoid Sylvester by hiding in a tree in the middle of a minefield.  Sylvester demonstrates good landmine awareness by using a metal detector to pick a safe path through the minefield only to have his good work undone by Tweety’s introduction of a powerful magnet that pulls all of the mines out of the ground and to Sylvester who is holding the magnet.  After the massive blast, Sylvester walks away from the tree and sets off a couple more mines.

Sylvester after landmine blast

“Mexicali Shmoes” received an Academy Award nomination in 1959 for best animated short subject and features Speedy Gonzales, his cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez and two cats, Jose and Manuel.  Jose and Manuel try to capture Speedy and in one sequence, set out a minefield to trap Speedy. Speedy lures the two cats into the minefield with predictable results for the cats.

1958’s “Whoa, Be-Gone!” pits the Road-Runner against Wile E. Coyote.  (I do have to say I was surprised that Foghorn Leghorn had triple the number of episodes with landmines as the Coyote…)  The end gag of the cartoon sees the Coyote set out Acme “Tornado” seeds for the Road-Runner to eat which he obligingly does with no resulting tornadoes.  Seeing this, the Coyote proceeds to eat the entire bottle before spying, in very small print, a notice on the bottle that “Tornado” seeds have no effect on roadrunners.  The Coyote proceeds to spin around the desert and crosses an old army minefield (less surprising to see one in the deserts of the Road-Runner and Coyote films than the urban landscapes of Sylvester and Tweety’s world).  The explosions from the Coyote crossing the minefield are cut short by the Road-Runner bringing down the “That’s All, Folks!” banner and ending the cartoon.

None of the cartoons accurately reflect the fear or damage landmines have upon communities, nor should they – they are cartoons after all.  In the event, the one part I can take to heart is the fact that none of these cartoons were made after 1962 and when the cartoons were broadcast by the ABC television channel, the landmine sequences in “The Slick Chick” and “Tree-Cornered Tweety” were completely edited out, although they were left in for the other four cartoons.  One day I will need to explain to my children what landmines are and I hope, for the sake of all fathers, that soon we will only be referring to landmines as fictional devices and not actual ones.

Michael P. Moore

June 19, 2014

moe@landminesinafrica.org


The Month in Mines, May 2014

The ongoing conflicts in Tunisia, Somalia and Mali provide regular reminders of the fact that despite the near universal ban on landmines, mines are still in use in warfare.  Rebel movements are the most frequent users of mines, with only a couple of countries (none in Africa) still admitting use.  In addition to the three countries mentioned, rebels in Nigeria have also been accused of using landmines.  However, landmines are also part of the long shadow of war as we shall see in reports from Zimbabwe, Angola and Somalia.

 

Nigeria

Nigeria declared itself landmine-free several years ago but the emergence of Boko Haram as a rebel group in the north and east of the country may herald new landmine use in the country.  In April, Boko Haram kidnapped over two hundred girls from their school in Borno state and continue to hold them despite the internet campaign, #BringBackOurGirls.  Boko Haram was rumoured to be holding the girls in Sambisa Forest and the kidnappers have used landmines to protect their positions in the forest. In response, the Nigerian army has mobilized its engineering brigades in addition to combat units (All Africa; All Africa).

 

Tunisia

The battle for control of Mount Chaambi and the Kasserine region on the Tunisia-Algeria border continues with little end in sight.  An operation begun in April concluded early in the month of May and “several landmines were discovered and destroyed” in the process (All Africa).  However, later in the month, two soldiers were killed and four others injured by a landmine on Mount Chaambi as their convoy travelled along a mountain path (All Africa; All Africa).  The mines in use on Mount Chaambi are not the mass-produced landmines commonly seen in military stockpiles but artisanal mines or booby traps which, because they are victim-activated, are also banned by the Mine Ban Treaty.  Because these artisanal mines are low in metal content, they cannot be detected by normal mine-sweeping equipment so the area will require some time to fully clear of all mines once the Tunisian government has full control (All Africa).

 

Senegal

Landmines in Senegal’s Casamance region are contributing to food insecurity despite the Casamance’s history as the nation’s breadbasket.  Farmlands not polluted by landmines have become salinized due to overuse and ongoing insecurity due to the 30-year rebellion in the region hampers transport of humanitarian aid (All Africa).  In response to the loss of agricultural land, many former farmers have turned to illegal logging of the hardwood forests in the Casamance.  Illegally harvested wood is transported to the Gambia for export to other countries, of which China is suspected to be one of the largest buyers.  Illegal logging operations also brave landmines as many of the forests have been mined to protect rebel encampments or simply to hamper movement (All Africa).

 

Angola

In Angola’s Cunene Province the Angolan army and mine action center are increasing their efforts to clear landmines to promote housing and enable the free flow of goods and livestock.  Already 1.3 million square meters of land has been cleared in the province, but much more is to be done in this heavily mine-affected region (All Africa).  In Huambo Province, 11,000 square meters of roads and their shoulders have been cleared of mines so far this year.  In the process, deminers found anti-personnel and anti-tank landmines including one which prevented access to the local television station (All Africa).

Landmine clearance is a priority for development projects in Angola.  With plans to repair and rebuild 4,500 kilometers of roads (enough to travel from Washington, DC to San Francisco, California; or Maputo, Mozambique to Mogadishu, Somalia), deminers must first survey and clear the right-of-ways of any landmines to ensure the safety of construction crews and travellers (Macau Hub).

 

Somalia

With the improving security situation in portions of Somalia, one of the greatest risks of landmine injury comes from returning refugees and displaced persons who are not aware of the locations of minefields.  The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the office of the mayor of Mogadishu have partnered to raise awareness about landmines and other explosive remnants of war through billboards and mine risk education sessions at schools, markets and hospitals with half a million Somalis receiving mine risk education to date (RBC Radio).  UNMAS is also working with the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force to train the peacekeepers on mine clearance and disposal in areas where the peacekeepers are deployed (All Africa).  In a very busy month for UNMAS, the UN agency also convened a Victim Assistance and Disability Working Group meeting in Mogadishu to assess the needs of landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities in Somalia. Among the recommendations from the meeting was increased advocacy to reduce the stigma against disability as well as assistance for socio-economic reintegration (Somali Current; Somaliland Sun).

Unfortunately, the continuing need for landmine clearance and victim assistance in Somalia was underscored by several landmine incidents.  In Bakol region, two people were killed and many others injured by a landmine that targeted government forces.  Security forces also opened fire immediately after the blast which may have increased the number of casualties (AMISOM Media Monitoring / Radio Goobjoog).  In the Galgadud region of central Somalia, a boy was killed and two others injured while playing football in the open ground near the border between Ethiopia and Somalia.  The boys, all between 7 and 10 years of age, were mourned by the national, regional and continental football federations and the commissioner of the town where the blast occurred called for landmine clearance (RBC Radio; All Africa; All Africa).  Also in Mogadishu, the Commander-in-Chief of the Somali National Army escaped an assassination attempt when a landmine damaged two cars traveling in his convoy on the way to the Ministry of Defence.  While the Commander-in-Chief was not injured, some of his security detail sustained minor injuries (All Africa; All Africa).

Meanwhile, the presence of landmines in Somalia has hindered past attempts at gaining an accurate census of the country’s population (All Africa); the extent of landmine contamination in some parts of the country is so great that a mine detonated in a pile of trash outside a government building when the sanitation service set the garbage on fire (AMISOM Media Monitoring, Somaliland Sun; All Africa).

 

Western Sahara

In Madrid, Spain the International Campaign against the Wall of the Moroccan Occupation in Western Sahara was launched.  The wall or Berm divides the Western Sahara territory and has an estimate 7 million landmines, approximately 15% of all landmines on the African continent, which have killed or injured hundreds of people over the last three decades (All Africa).

 

Zimbabwe

The HALO Trust has cleared its 1,000th landmine in Zimbabwe after less than six months of work in the country.  With an estimate 1.5 to 1.8 million mines, much work remains, but this is an excellent start (Star Africa).

Last year an anti-tank landmine exploded in a Harare suburb killing six people including the traditional healer who tampered with the landmine.  At the coroner’s inquest into the incident, one of the witnesses blamed the blast on the healer’s efforts to extract red mercury from the mine.  Two stories, one in the Zimbabwe Herald and the other from Nehanda Radio both wrongly and recklessly reported this as fact.  There is no such thing as red mercury and by continuing to write about it without correcting this hoax, these media outlets are missing the opportunity to educate the public.  Too many people have died in Zimbabwe from attempts to extract this mythical substance and it needs to end.  We hope that the coroner correctly identifies red mercury as a hoax in his report and discourages future attempts to tamper with landmines and other pieces of ordnance in the false pursuit of the substance (All Africa; Nehanda Radio).

 

Djibouti

The United States signed a long term lease with the government of Djibouti to extend the presence of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, part of the US Army Command Africa (AFRICOM), at Camp Lemonnier.  Among its activities, the Task Force does provide demining training to African militaries (All Africa).

 

Mali

In separate incidents, three United Nations peacekeepers from Senegal were injured by a landmine in the northern town of Kidal; a French soldier was killed by an undetermined explosive, also near Kidal; and near Timbuktu two employees of the Norwegian Relief Council were killed by a landmine.  All of the devices were recently laid in the roadways by “militant Islamist groups” in northern Mali “to hurt opposition troops” (Reuters; Global Post).

 

Michael P. Moore

June 11, 2014


Profile of Ethiopia’s Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization

Background

Founded by two landmine survivors, Mr. Bekele Gonfa and Mrs. Yemariamwerk Debela, the Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization (SRaRO) seeks to provide peer support services to landmine survivors and other persons with limb loss and severe injuries.  As survivors, Mr. Gonfa and Mrs. Debela recognized the need to additional support beyond the standard medical and rehabilitative care available in Ethiopia.  They valued the peer support approach as a means of providing holistic recovery and reintegration support to survivors of severe and disabling injuries and in the absence of any other providers, created SRaRO which just became operational in April 2014.

 

SRaRO's Executive Director and Co-Founder, Bekele Gonfa, describes the work of the organization

SRaRO’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, Bekele Gonfa, describes the work of the organization

 

Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization builds upon the peer support modeled implemented by Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) in Ethiopia and LSN’s former Ethiopia country director, Mr. Gonfa, will serve as SRaRO’s founding Executive Director.  Mr. Gonfa is also a researcher for the Landmine Monitor and an advocate for humanitarian disarmament as an active campaigner and victim assistance focal point, most recently participating in the meetings to ban nuclear weapons in Mexico earlier this year. Mr. Gonfa also serves as the board chair for Ketar Developmental Association (KDA), the board vice chair for the Ethiopian Center for Disability Development (ECDD) and as a board member for Cheshire Service Ethiopia (CSE). With the connections and knowledge from LSN as well as the support and guidance of a five-person Board of Directors, SRaRO is launching an ambitious program in Addis Ababa and Oromia to enable survivors practically back to life.

Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization has applied for membership in the Ethiopian National Disability Action Network (ENDAN). SRaRO participates in relevant international coalitions including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munitions Coalition (ICBL-CMC) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  Bekele Gonfa is an active campaigner for the ICBL-CMC and frequently represents the landmine survivor community on behalf of the ICBL-CMC. He has been serving as a technical advisor for a government of Norway-funded Survivors Network Project being implemented by Yitawekilin Yeakal Gudatagnoch Mehiber (YYGM, “Recognize our Disability”).

What is Peer Support?

Peer support is a simple and effective way to empower persons with disabilities and provide psychosocial support. SRaRO’s peer support program connects recent landmine victims and other persons with traumatic limb loss with survivors who have had time to reflect, convalesce and reintegrate themselves as productive, contributing members of society. Recent victims share their stories, have their emotions validated, receive practical advice and, through their interaction with fellow survivors, realize that successful recuperation is possible. The peer support approach is efficient and broadly applicable across the Ethiopian context.

Peer support is not limited to counseling. In practice, peer support starts with the identification of persons with disabilities and landmine survivors who are traumatized and live in isolation, followed by provision of peer counseling. The number of peer counseling sessions depends on the condition of the beneficiary; a person who is newly disabled may need three to six peer counseling sessions and a person who was disabled many years ago and lives in isolation need over 10 peer counseling sessions to regain his/her self-confidence.  If necessary, SRaRO will refer survivors to professional psychological centers for treatment.  Once a beneficiary has received peer counseling and realized that reintegration into society is possible, he/she will be referred to available educational, vocational, health, orthopedic services based on the needs and demands of that beneficiary.  Recipients of peer support who themselves demonstrate successful rehabilitation and reintegration may be recruited as peer supporters for other persons with limb loss.

 

Rationale of the Project

Survivors Corps (originally, Landmine Survivors Network) closed its landmine survivor assistance project in Ethiopia in 2009.  The project enhanced the recovery and rehabilitation of hundreds of Ethiopian landmine survivors and amputees, through the application of a peer support approach, during its decade of operation. By bridging the gap between survivors and service providing organizations in Ethiopia, Survivor Corps provided Ethiopian amputees with links and referrals to services that would have otherwise been under-utilized.  When the project closed, no other entity was able to meet the demands of the amputee population for access to service providers.

 

Ethiopia is one of the mine-affected countries in the world with significant numbers of landmine survivors as well as other persons with disabilities from all other causes, especially traffic accidents, who are badly in need of support for recovery and rehabilitation. Cancer and infection are other major disabling factors whose survivors need access to rehabilitation services. In order to reach out and address the needs of these survivors and enable them stand on their feet we have established an organization, SRaRO, which promotes the recovery and rehabilitation of this group. Hospitals may provide necessary medical treatment and professional counseling, but we have found the peer support approach, one survivor teaching another, to be most effective for trauma recovery.

 

Goal and Objectives

SRaRO’s goal is to empower survivors of disabling injuries to be self-sufficient citizens of Ethiopia.

Specific Objectives

  • To increase awareness of the psycho-social needs pf survivors of traumatic limb loss;
  • To improve the recovery and rehabilitation of survivors through application of the peer support approach;
  • Facilitate hospital and home visits by peer support workers;
  • To increase the awareness of service providers about national and international laws and policies related to disability; and
  • To increase the capacity of some service providers in order to serve more survivors.

 

Criteria for Target Selection

Research will be conducted to identify service providers for persons with traumatic limb loss including hospitals that conduct orthopedic surgery, prosthetic and orthotic centers, micro-finance institutions and vocational training centers. Our assessment will determine which service providers reach the greatest number of target beneficiaries and which are receptive to partnering with SRaRO.  Expansion of activities will be based upon the ability of service providers to reach underserved groups of survivors.

Area of Operation

SRaRO will start its operation in Addis Ababa City Administration (with hospitals and other service providers) and Oromia Regional State. We hope to expand to other regions based on needs assessments and availability of resources. We have chosen Addis Ababa and Oromia to start with because of the presence of large numbers of survivors in these two places as well as the presence of referral hospitals and other hospitals in Addis Ababa and the high traffic density in Addis Ababa and Oromia that results in high numbers of disabling road accidents.

What We Do

Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization (SRaRO) uses four basic approaches to promote rehabilitation:

 

1)      Recovery and Role Modeling: SRaRO employs peer support workers who have faced trauma, recovered and are living independently.  Peer support workers have “been through it” and serve as role models to others and the co-founder, Yemariamwerk Debela serves as SRaRO’s first peer support worker.  SRaRO’s executive director, Bekele Gonfa, also serves as a role model and can share his experiences and success whenever appropriate. Peer support workers visit hospitals with orthopedic surgical units and offer peer counseling to patients who have recently suffered trauma or are facing surgical amputation. Once contact is made with the survivor, the peer support worker will conduct home visits after the survivor is discharged. SRaRO provides peer support workers with the necessary training and tools to provide peer counseling and referrals to psychological services if needed.

2)      Physical Mobility and Accessibility: The peer support worker the survivors with information on rehabilitation service providers and the types of service they render. Armed with this knowledge, the survivors can move forward to receive the necessary physiotherapy services and appropriate rehabilitative appliances which, depending upon the nature of the survivor’s injuries, could include prostheses, orthotics, crutches, wheelchairs, brace, neck collars etc.  SRaRO raises awareness among the service providers and encourages them to supply these appliances for free to the survivors but also hopes to have the funding to cover some or all of the cost depending on the income of the survivors and availability of funds.

3)      Economic Independence: For survivors to be self-sufficient, they must be able to support themselves financially, either through wage labor or the proceeds from a micro or small business.  SRaRO provides survivors with information about vocational training opportunities, microfinance institutions, and employers who have expressed an interest in hiring SRaRO’s clients. If possible, SRaRO will subsidize training fees for clients at vocational training centers and will organize self-help groups of clients with an interest in establishing their own businesses.  These self-help groups double as credit circles and serve as an informal peer support mechanism.

4)      Enabling Environment: In addition to the direct services provided to survivors through the peer support approach, SRaRO will increase awareness within the community and among the relevant service providers to educate about national and international laws and policies such as Ethiopia’s Employment Opportunity Proclamation and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

Expected Outputs

If successful, SRaRO expects to see the following changes in the working areas:

  • The Clients (survivors) will recovery from the trauma and be ready to reintegrated with the society.
  • Awareness of service providers increased and they have started proving service to the survivors
  • Survivors will be rehabilitated physically, empowered economically and strive to be a self-supporting and independent citizen.

 

At the ceremony celebrating the establishment of SRaRO

At the ceremony celebrating the establishment of SRaRO

Immediate Needs

As with all start-ups, Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization is seeking donations.  Members of the organization are expected to contribute 2,000 Ethiopia Birr (roughly US $100).  SRaRO’s management and board are sourcing office equipment and materials from partners and the Charity and Society Agency.  Otherwise, SRaRO has started its operation with the labor and financial generosity of the founders and volunteers. Once funds are available, experienced staff will be hired to conduct the activities described above.

 

For more information, contact:

Bekele Gonfa Oba, Executive Director

Email: bekele818@gmail.com

Skype: Obabekele