Andrew is passionate about the work he does, helping to feed thousands of South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Uganda. Photo by Ilana Rose, World Vision
Andrew Iraguha leads the World Vision team distributing food amongst more than 138,000 refugees from South Sudan who’ve fled to northern Uganda. I spoke to Andrew during a field trip to Uganda about the work involved in feeding so many people. He also reflects on the importance of donations to the Multiplying Gift Appeal, which help make this work possible.
“My typical day is very busy. I coordinate a number of activities. I make sure trucks are in place to distribute food to beneficiaries.
We move 1,200 metric tonnes of food in one month. World Vision works closely with the UN World Food Programme on the logistics side of things to ensure there is enough stock to meet these food needs.
Refugees are crossing as a result of the conflict that is taking place back home in South Sudan. We have our staff at the border to meet them. Some refugees have travelled many kilometres on foot and are extremely weak. As they cross they are registered in coordination with the United Nations. We initially give them high-energy biscuits that have a lot of calories, to help them regain energy. Then they are put on trucks or buses to go to the transit centre.
Once they reach the transit centre, a partner agency prepares hot meals for them. They are generally in the transit centre for between two and four weeks while the Ugandan Government is negotiating to get land for them to settle on.
We are extremely grateful that the Government of Uganda is negotiating with local community members for land, which means the refugees are not in a camp enclosure. It means they get some land where they can actually stay and settle. After the refugees are relocated to their plot, World Vision staff ensure they are on the food distribution list for the following month.
When the beneficiary gets to his plot he can rebuild his home. Seeing people trying to put up rudimentary shelter can be very emotional. Sometimes you ask yourself, what if it was you. You spend your entire life trying to make a home and here you’ve been displaced.
For me as a representative of World Vision, I really have to thank our donors. We are extremely grateful. You may not think you are having a lot of impact, but it’s life-saving. The support that we get from donors is creating a huge difference for these people. If you get closer to one or two of these people then you will get to see the value of what you are giving them. Just imagine, some of them crossing from South Sudan. They come running, they don’t have anything in their pockets. They are absolutely stuck.
It’s very difficult and sometimes you look at the work you are doing and say thank God that we are touching somebody’s life.
We work so closely with the community members and the refugee representatives and we try to ensure that we put heart into the food that we give.”