As soon as war broke out in 2011, we began distributing food and other essentials to vulnerable families in the areas in which we operated. Farmers were also given seeds to plant and feed for their cattle. Provisions were made for clean water in villages and early learning centres were set up to help young children retain some sense of normality during the crises.
Today, over 10,000 metric tons of food aid have been delivered, over 1.5 million litres of managed water storage capacity installed, over 4,000 expecting and new mothers provided with essential medicine and natal care, nearly 1,500 children supported with early childhood development services and over 6,000 crop farmers supported with inputs.
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) continues to deliver food and nutritional support to vulnerable households alongside the UN World Food Programme. This includes food baskets, nutrient supplements for girls and boys between six and 23 months, and e-vouchers. AKF has also delivered cash assistance to the most vulnerable households to meet basic needs and health and education requirements.
Speaking in London at the conference organised by the Government of the United Kingdom on supporting Syria in February 2016, His Highness the Aga Khan stated that the goal of the AKDN is “peace, stability and reconstruction”. He also committed the Network’s support to the country. “Since the onset of conflict in 2011, AKDN has dedicated $50 million towards these endeavours in Syria and is now committing to increasing this investment to $200 million over the next four years.”
AKAH continues to support local communities in Syria through its humanitarian programme. We have established and trained 28 crisis response teams in selected areas of Salamieh, Tartus and other priority areas. These teams have been trained on crisis planning, emergency response, communication and coordination to support emergency evacuation. Likewise, 14 volunteer Community Emergency Response Teams have been established in Salamieh and Tartus by training community members on disaster preparedness and response to natural hazards. The volunteers have been trained on emergency first aid, fire safety and basic search and rescue. To support a comprehensive disaster risk reduction programme for the country, AKAH is also conducting hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments (HVRAs) and mapping of hazardous villages. So far, HVRAs have been conducted for 25 villages from Salamieh and Tartus.
AKAH’s School Safety Programme focuses on training school teachers in disaster management, including fire safety, first aid and emergency evacuation. We also supply fire extinguishers and first aid kits. We have given over 150 schools from Salamieh, Tartus and Hama school safety training and kits.
We are also conducting Explosive Ordnance Risk Education to raise awareness of mine risks at community and school levels, in coordination with UNMAS. Over 12,000 people have attended sessions across Salamieh District.