New Country Launch
Megan Beck, CoFounder and Chief Operating Officer.
Last week, Monday 24th July, I shared why The Unmentionables’ senior leadership started providing “Dignity Through Hygiene” in Greece, of all places. Today, on behalf of our Board of Directors, I’m elated to announce that we are expanding to a second country… Uganda!
You’re hearing from the pioneer scout, who has the privilege of representing The Unmentionables in Uganda this month. For one month, I’ll be in-country developing a strategic plan to adapt our smart aid model to an entirely new continent, system, refugee crisis, culture, and context.
- Uganda hosts more refugees than any other African country. Most recent numbers count over 1.3 million people from 13 countries.
- Recent days have seen over 3,000 people cross into Uganda on a single day.
- It accepts more refugees than those granted asylum by the whole of Europe in 2016.
- The largest refugee camp in the world, Bidibidi, hosts 270,000 people.
- Inside South Sudan, more than one thousand children have been killed or injured since the conflict first erupted in 2013, while an estimated 1.14 million children have been internally displaced.
- Nearly one in five children in South Sudan has been forced to flee their home.
- Nearly three quarters of the country's children are out of school - the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world
- UNICEF's appeal for South Sudanese refugees in the region - which calls for US$181 million to address the acute needs of refugees until the end of the year - is currently only 52 per cent funded.
- The UNHCR funding appeal for South Sudan of US$ 781.8 million is only 11 per cent funded.
- While the national Ugandan government leads the world in comprehensive, inclusive refugee rights policies (including land parcels, healthcare, education and work access), an exodus fueled by what many are calling genocide in South Sudan, strains a system now serving double the refugees it served last year.
This is where we come in, and why I’m spending August building partnerships there. Our approach to serving people is collaboration-centric, so I’ll be meeting with:
- Regional product suppliers: to continue our commitment in supporting local economies over-burdened by influx of displaced people.
- Like-minded organizations: to flesh out resource mapping, learn from the experts, and develop best practices.
- Political entities: we’re scrappy and creative, but adhering to legal limitations within the political system maximizes our impact.
- Transportation leaders: thousands of undies can’t be levitated (really hoping I get an email from a devoted magician claiming otherwise), so we need multiple strategies to maximize time and budget.
- Leaders within the refugee community: dignity through hygiene takes many forms, and we won’t provide resources without hearing from the populations we serve on what they want and need most.
This is just the beginning. Join us as we plan to equip thousands who are still fleeing famine, war crimes, torture, rape, burned homes and property, and indiscriminate killings.
If you're interested in finding out more about the refugee crisis in Uganda here is a useful reference: http://www.refworld.org/country,,UNHCR,,UGA,,5911a88c4,0.html