H.E the Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda visits Mahama Refugee Camp

On 29th November 2017 at Mahama Refugee Camp, Kirehe District, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UNICEF Rwanda, Global Humanitarian and Development Foundation (GHDF) and other NGO’s welcomed His Excellency Takayuki Miyashita, Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda as he visited the camp for the second time. The ambassador was accompanied by a delegation from the Embassy of Japan in Rwanda as they toured the camp and the host community to observe various program activities and infrastructures funded by the Government of Japan.

GHDF Chief Executive,Mr. Karangwa(Right) welcomes the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Miyashita(Middle) along with UNICEF & UNHCR representatives(left)

After visiting Paysanat L School, where an ICT room and two generators have been donated, and a Child Friendly Space constructed in Mahama Camp, H.E. Ambassador Miyashita and the delegation visited UNICEF and GHDF’s hygiene promotion activities to which the government of Japan are contributing.
Arriving on Mahama Camp’s football grounds, visitors were welcomed by GHDF’s Chief Executive, Mr. Patrick Karangwa and directed towards one of the Improved Latrines built by GHDF on which a Hand washing mural has been painted thanks to funding from the People of Japan. Mr. François Yeo, GHDF’s Engineer and WASH Expert briefly explained the functioning and advantages of these improved dischargeable Latrines. The guests were then accompanied to witness various Hygiene Promotion strategies employed by UNICEF and GHDF as part of the Communication for Development (C4D) and Hygiene promotion program.

Mr. Yeo Konkou, GHDF’s WASH Expert explains the functioning of the Improved latrines.

Improved dischargable latrine built by GHDF and Hand washing mural.

Refugee children demonstrated appropriate hand washing with soap behavior, which is promoted through murals and posters throughout the camp to encourage refugees to engage in this crucial practice for good hygiene and for a better health.

Hand-washing demonstration by refugee children.

After a short dance and song performance from one of the hygiene clubs, the visitors interacted with Community Health Workers, who articulated their role in promoting health and hygiene using “talking books”. These innovative electronics, procured with support from the Government of Japan, are pre-programmed with important health messages and songs for children in Kirundi, which community health workers are using to strengthen their sensitization efforts. The daily sensitization activities of the 365 health workers include door-to-door visits, organizing and supporting community hygiene clubs, and participating in weekly community events.

Jacqueline, a refugee and Community Health Worker (CHW) trained by GHDF, explains her role and the utility of "Talking Books" in Mahama Refugee Camp.

Talking Book being used by CHWs as part of the Communication for Development program(C4D).

In order to promote key family practices and prevent diseases among the large refugee population in Mahama Refugee camp, hygiene clubs have been formed in every village, engaging children and adults alike to learn more about sanitation and hygiene. On the day of the visit, GHDF and UNICEF brought a mobile stage with a large LED screen on which key family practices and hygiene messages were displayed. This strategy was very effective to attract large crowds and convey messages in an entertaining way.

The MC and dancers attract the crowd close to the mobile stage.

The MC reminds the crowd about Key hygiene practices while messages appear on the large LED screen.

A famous Rwandan artist, Danny Vumbi was also invited to entertain people, along with other performances from refugee artists. On stage, the Master of Ceremony (MC) also repeated the key hygiene messages and practices throughout the ceremony.

Popular Rwandan singer Danny Vumbi entertains the crowd with his musical performance.

In his speech the ambassador said he is very grateful for the UNICEF’s team tireless and tremendous efforts to make this project a success and for their efficient use of the funding. He also extended his gratitude to the Government of Rwanda and MIDIMAR for their continuous support to make the lives of refugees more convenient and comfortable.

H.E Ambassador of Japan, Mr.Takayuki Miyashita giving his speech.

UNHCR’s Representative, Mr. Ahmed Baba Fall, thanked the Government of Japan for their contribution to improving the lives of refugees in Mahama, and recognized the work of UNICEF and other implementing partners. He also reminded that life in a refugee camp should be a temporary solution and he prayed for peace in Burundi so that refugees can return to their homeland.

UNHCR’s representative, Mr. Ahmed Baba Fall

As for UNICEF’s Representative, he thanked the Government of Japan for their generosity and later on explained that the People of Japan’s funding contributed to a holistic package of interventions including child protection, health promotion, Early Childhood Development (ECD) and education. He added that this integrated approach to child development ensures that children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

UNICEF’s Representative, Mr. Ted Maly

Mr. Jean Claude Rwahama, Director of Refugee Affairs for MIDIMAR.

MIDIMAR’s representative concluded the remarks by recognizing the positive impact all of these programs are having on the living condition of refugees, and thanked the Government of Japan for their collaboration, mentioning their support in regards to returnees to Rwanda since 2010.

To view more photos of the event click : https://www.flickr.com/photos/139003263@N07/albums/72157663573316798

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