Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Testimony of Shannon Scribner, Humanitarian Policy Manager, Oxfam America. Hearing on "Usaid's Long-Term Strategy for Addressing East African Emergencies"

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Testimony of Shannon Scribner, Humanitarian Policy Manager, Oxfam America. Hearing on "Usaid's Long-Term Strategy for Addressing East African Emergencies"

Article excerpt

Mr. Chairman, Congressman Payne, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the humanitarian situation in East Africa and the importance of a coordinated and sustainable US strategy. Oxfam is grateful for the work this committee has done to address the humanitarian situation affecting 12 million people today living in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. We are also grateful for the leadership role the US government has played as the most generous donor, providing $600 million since the beginning of the year. Oxfam America is an international development and relief agency committed to developing lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice. We are part of a confederation of 15 Oxfam organizations working together in more than 100 countries with over 3,000 local partners around the globe.

In my testimony today, I will be outlining the humanitarian crisis in the region and providing recommendations for the US government's response based on the situation on the ground.

OXFAM'S RESPONSE TO THE EAST AFRICA CRISIS

Oxfam teams and partners are rapidly scaling up activities to provide lifesaving assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia through water and sanitation and food security and livelihoods interventions. Working with our partners, Oxfam is rehabilitating wells and boreholes, building latrines, providing sanitation and hygiene services, providing cash transfers and cash- for-work assistance and supporting livelihoods through activities such as rehabilitating livestock. We are currently reaching over 1 million people and aim to reach 3.5 million with emergency relief, while at the same time addressing long-standing threats to livelihoods and further building the resilience of the communities.

· In Somalia: Oxfam has worked with Somali partners for over 40 years with programs that focus on building the capacity of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and Somali civil society to carry out both development and humanitarian activities. Through this network, Oxfam is able to support our partners in reaching hundreds of thousands of people in need throughout the country. Our partners have scaled up programs and seek to assist around 1.5 million people in 21 of south central Somalia's 45 districts. Our partners' programs include the single largest nutrition program in south central Somalia, which treats more than 12,000 severely malnourished children and pregnant and lactating mothers per month. We are also supporting the single largest public health program in Somalia, providing water and sanitation services to more than 250,000 displaced people in the Afgooye corridor and cash relief to over 16,000 vulnerable people.

· In Kenya, Oxfam's work combines development, campaigns and humanitarian response to contribute to the rights of communities in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) and in urban informal settlements. We also provide water and sanitation services in the Somali refugee camps of Dadaab in Kenya. In response to the current crisis we have scaled up our programs and aim to assist around 1 million people in Kenya. A key component of our work is providing cash to people affected by the drought so that they can buy food available in local markets. Our teams are drilling boreholes, rehabilitating water points and pumps, servicing generators that pump water from wells to communities and, where necessary, trucking water in and doing public health promotion work both for local communities in Turkana and Wajir and in the refugee camps of Dadaab.

· In Ethiopia, Oxfam has been working with local NGOs and Ethiopian civil society since 1962, building the capacity of local organizations in the effective planning and management of both development and humanitarian programs. In the current crisis, Oxfam seeks to reach over 1 million people with water and sanitation services, health care, and cash relief to buy food. Our teams are providing income and livelihoods support through cash for work programs and livestock feeding and vaccinations, so that people can protect their most important productive asset - their animals. …

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