Ethiopia: fighting exploitation in situations of dependence

by Thomas Adelsberger/SHU, 2012/05/24

For a period of two weeks, Thomas Adelsberger from Kassel has been supporting the relief measures of humedica at the Ethiopian refugee camp of Melkadida. Together with his wife Deborah, who is a paediatrician and has offered reinforcement to the medical mission team, he will stay at the reception camp for Somali refugees for a period of six months. In his report Thomas Adelsberger describes the experiences and impressions he has gained during his first days:

By means of a role play, the participants in the workshop learned how to see things from the perspective of needy women in a difficult situation. Photo: humedica/Thomas Adelsberger

“Often the Somali refugees reach the Ethiopian camps without any possessions that are worth mentioning. Furthermore, they have no possibility of providing for themselves and their families. The structures of the refugee camps in the south of Ethiopia are designed for the needs of the refugees. Therefore, the refugees are provided with water and food, they are given accommodation and receive medical treatment if necessary.

This is also the case at the Melkadida refugee camp, where humedica runs a health station with support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Here, medical treatment is offered not only the 40,000 inhabitants of the refugee camp, but also to the local Ethiopians, who can draw on the medical aid offered by the humedica doctor team.

This support – in whatever form it is granted – is good, right and essential for survival. But there also is a downside to it, as the refugees are existentially dependent on relief aid extended by the organisations. This circumstance creates the preconditions for potential abuse of power by the relief assistants or other persons who dispose of particular goods which are often urgently needed by the refugees.

This is also the case at the Melkadida refugee camp, where a short time ago humedica organised a workshop in cooperation with IMC (International Medical Corps), which was attended also by entire humedica team at Melkadida. The focus of the event was set on the prevention of gender based violence (GBV).

By means of role plays, question times, case studies and presentations the difficult situation of the women in particular was pointed out to the 28 local and three international team members. Due to the women’s existential dependence on the provided relief goods, they can become victims of gender based violence – above all, if they have children and in their emergency situation would do anything to ensure their relative welfare. Often they neglect their own wellbeing.

In the framework of the workshop, the humedica team members were sensitised in particular to dealing with those women who confide in us with their sorrow. Furthermore, the workshop participants were shown several possibilities of offering help. The doctor teams take action themselves in the medical field, but humedica can also help these women to find the right contact persons when it comes to legal issues.”

Your cooperation is urgently needed, in order for humedica to be able to assume commitment for the people at the Horn of Africa also in future! Please make a targeted donation to support the relief measures at the Melkadida refugee camp, where doctor teams and coordinators offer aid to people in need day by day.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference „Famine Relief Africa
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

You can also make great achievements by means of sending a short text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. Your mobile bill will be charged with 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work.

Also the humedica mission team members took part in the special workshop that focussed on dealing with women in need and received a certificate in the end. Photo: humedica/Thomas Adelsberger

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