2017: Supporting the Red Cross in Africa

Africa is currently facing a food crisis of unprecedented proportions.

According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET), 70 million people across 45 countries will require food assistance in 2017. Famine was formally declared in parts of South Sudan by the UN in February 2017, and Nigeria and Somalia are also facing the risk of famine this year.

After years of droughts and conflicts, East Africa in particular is bearing the brunt, with 24 million people affected. Water shortages mean people are using unprotected water sources, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, poor sanitation and hygiene. And the lack of access to health care has led to several epidemics across the region including measles, malaria and cholera.

In response to this, Ramboll has donated 66,172 EUR to the Danish Red Cross – with half being contributed by the Ramboll Foundation and half by employees. The money is enough for the Red Cross to feed 13,234 children or 2,206 families for a whole month or provide 6,931,252 litres of water to those in need.

The image above shows Abebech Ayanu and her family fetching water from the Red Cross water distribution truck.

Abebech Ayanu and her family have been severely affected by the drought. Their livestock have died, crops have failed and she mostly uses the water she receives to wash her children, albeit without soap as she can’t afford any.

“The drought affected my family, my children and my husband. My husband went to work on road construction as a labourer because there are no crops to cultivate. There is no rain and there is nothing to grow. Before, we used to sow maize but there has there has been no rain for more than a year, so this hasn’t been possible. My livestock have already died. My children are now starving and there is no water. This drought has severely affected my life.”

2017: Improving Water Hygiene in Zanzibar

The Ramboll Foundation has a long track record supporting Engineers without Borders (EWB), a global organisation which partners with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through education and implementation of sustainable engineering projects.

In 2017 EWB received funding for much-needed renovation and upgrading of the sewer and rainwater system at the SOS Children’s Village in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa.
Ramboll engineers joined other volunteers to use their expertise in wastewater engineering to help develop a long-term maintenance plan that will improve health for residents as well as reduce damage to buildings and roads in the village that have been subjected to erosion.

One of them was Mustafa Makhukhi, an engineer in Ramboll’s Wastewater Management department.

His experience with wastewater engineering proved invaluable in helping develop a new sewerage and water system for the village. “Volunteering is extremely rewarding,” he says. “I think that everybody should go out and volunteer if they can. You get a good feeling helping others and people are happy to see you help.”

Image credit: Kathy Mueller, Canadian Red Cross