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ALGERIA (Sahrawi refugees)

Improve the Living Conditions and Restore Basic Livelihoods
of Disabled People in Saharawi Refugee Camps






FROM 02/2008 TO 10/2008




This project thus includes the following actions:

In the Saharawi refugee camps, the most vulnerable people are the disabled. For the past three decades, extremely precarious conditions, lack of medical care and absence of understanding about disability, have created a situation of vulnerability and distress among the disabled refugees in the camps. 

The Saharawi authorities and the various partners working in the camps have made true efforts to help disabled people: construction of a centre for disabled people, implementation of income-generating schemes (small shops and bakery, etc), better support and care networks, distribution of specific disability equipment...

In 2008, aiming to pursue an approach dedicated to improving the lives of disabled refugees, TGH launched a pilot project on food safety for this category of the Saharawi population.

Specific objective: Improve the living conditions and the livelihood means of disabled and elderly people identified among the Saharawi refugees living in Aoussert, El Ayoun, Dakhla, Smara and 27 février camps, by supplying goats to their families.

In past projects, TGH mainly focused on improving the living and hygiene conditions of disabled people in terms of equipment and care structures. It built care centres for the disabled, for instance, created income-generating projects (small shops, bakery, etc), distributed disability equipment and accessories to promote independent living, strengthened the care and support networks of the Saharawi social services and provided hygiene kits.

When running these programmes, TGH performed considerable field work in partnership with the Saharawi authorities. Interaction with disabled people allowed the teams to better recognise their needs and situation. It became clear that a great number of disabled people have great difficulties absorbing solid foods and consequently suffer from animal protein deficiency.

To respond to these needs, TGH offered to implement a goat distribution programme for disabled people. Indeed, possessing a goat means the families can benefit from food diversification thanks to daily rations of goat milk (during the lactation period). From a social point of view, this breeding activity helps to integrate the disabled person both within his/her family and inside the district. To guarantee the project's long-term sustainability, a training and awareness scheme will be implemented encouraging the beneficiaries to preserve part of their livestock from one year to the next and thus ensure regeneration.  

Thanks to support from ECHO and in partnership with the Saharawi authorities, TGH will distribute 1,880 nanny goats to 940 beneficiaries identified in Smara, Aoussert, El Ayun, Dakhla and 27 février camps.

In addition, to significantly improve the living and hygiene conditions of the disabled, 1,393 mosquito nets will be distributed to disabled people listed during the various programmes carried out by TGH in the area.

The first phase of the programme consisted in identifying the 940 beneficiaries among all the people listed by TGH during its previous programmes. For the sake of equity and transparency, it is the families themselves who chose the people most in need. This self-selection process took place locally, in the 27 daïras of the refugee camps, supported by the authorities and with the precious help of the social workers.The goats distributed are of the « sika » race. Reputed for its reproductive and milk-providing potential, this race comes from the Laghouat region, in central Algeria. Prior to distribution, numerous veterinary examinations took place, verifying the goat's state of health.

Before distribution, the families followed a training course provided in collaboration with the Saharawi veterinary department. Information was given about goat breeding along with practical advise about the goats' adjustment to the desert environment. Training also helped to raise the families' awareness concerning long-term sustainability of this programme, encouraging renewal of livestock from one year to the next.

The goats were distributed to each beneficiary individually between August and November 2008.

A few weeks after the distributions, a veterinary visited each home to check on the goat's health. TGH's team also observed that most of the goats had adapted well to their new environment.

Feed-back :

" Distribution benefits the people most in need and this help is well-adapted because Saharawi people know about goat breeding. In addition, this project comforts and raises people's spirits. "
Salama Mohamed Muailid (Smara camp)

"It is a good project because it benefits disabled people in need and because milk is appropriate food. "
Aisha Belali Seid (Smara camp)