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N°31 // January 2016

Patrick Verbruggen

By Patrick Verbruggen, co-director

"God laughs at those who curse the consequences of the causes they cherish."
This quote, attributed to Bossuet, seems more relevant than ever as those who take as an example our European models respecting human rights choose isolationism and fear of the other in the face of thousands of women, children and men who knock at Europe’s door because they have no other way out of fear, suffering and death ...

As we took the Balkan road to meet the migrants, but also those who try to facilitate their journey (NGOs, the police, volunteers, human right activists, UN agencies ...), we mobilized to understand, to act.

Whatever their origin (Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese ...), these migrants share a sense of security, even if their exile conditions are stressful. With the arrival of winter, very rough in these regions, and the screening operated at the borders according to nationality, acceptable or not for immigration, thousands of people will find themselves stranded in makeshift camps, as many replicas of the Calais nightmare.

Since 2011, only 4% of Syrian refugees have found asylum in European countries, while by December this year, Lebanon will have hosted one quarter of that population, representing more than one million people.

We probably do not have the legitimacy to give lessons, but it behooves us to ask ourselves about our duties towards these people wandering on our territories, as we strive to help them, day after day, through our mandates in Iraq and Sudan.

The support mission for refugees, which we have been implementing throughout the world since 1994, leads us to a single conclusion: the people who migrate due to war, stay, as much as possible, in neighboring countries, hoping to return to their countries and to rebuild it.
Humanitarian action can act on the consequences of war, but only a diplomatic dialogue between states involved in these regions have the power to dry up the source of migration.

While more than 4 million Syrians have found refuge in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, and 7.6 million are displaced within their own countries, it seems more urgent than ever that Europe, and beyond, all the states concerned, become aware that it is their responsibility to find the necessary resources to solve this dramatic situation, which has lasted for far too long.


A life story, by Julie Raulot, Agro trainee, Loukakou, Congo Brazzaville


Refectory at the Loukakou Center with trainees of the second promotion, the day of the delivery of installation kits, October 22, 2013
Photo : TGH ©

After her studies at the Institut Supérieur d'Agriculture of Lille, Julie Raulot started a Master 2 in Agricultural Development at the University of Cergy-Pontoise. She took part in TGH's mission in Congo Brazzaville by doing an internship in the field of rural development from June 26 to September 16, 2015.

The project in which Julie took part is a project supporting FOJEP-Développement, a Congolese Forum of Young Entrepreneurs and Producers for Development. This project supported by the European Commission (Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid), the World Bank and the French Embassy in Congo, intends to develop and support a rural resource center. TGH, alongside FOJEP-Développement, initiated the construction of this center for training and supply of installation kits in the agricultural sector.

Within this project, Julie has mainly worked on capacity building for the center staff and managers. She participated in the improvement of the administrative and financial management of the structure, as well as in the monitoring of logistics procedures and the establishment of appropriate tools. Julie has contributed to strengthening the capacity of the center's staff in the technical-economic analysis of different production workstations. She also provided training and developed teaching materials.


No, I will not spend my summer lying on a towel in the sun, on the sand of the Riviera!

I can remove the towel, the sun, and keep the sand, I have arrived: Loukakou.

"-Bus stop taabac au goudron please!

-I let you downhill, at the container, the driver tells me. Otherwise I consume too much fuel to restart the Coaster! "

Let's go for a 2h23 walk on a sandy and little shaded track. I passed through village after village, my walk following the rhythm of the greetings of the villagers 'Mbote Mom!’, expressing their surprise at seeing a ‘mundele’ (white person) walking as far from the capita cityl. It would seem that I am "badly parked". As the end of the trip is looming, my sneakers are saturated with sand and weigh 500 grams more than when I started! Anyway, I cannot miss the center. The road outside the village of Loukakou leads to a panoramic view of the site located downhill. From there one can see the five well aligned ponds and the progress of the construction of the sixth triangle-shaped pond, as a nod to the FOJEP-D / TGH partnership. At the same time, I can see the barn, and if I look carefully, I can even see Benette and Monique breastfeeding! Not so fast ... before going down to join all the trainees, I cast a last glance on the progress of Chief Abraham and Safoula's cultures. The pale green bean leaves show that they have not been watered over the weekend, which makes Safoula grumble.

The center is isolated, but it is a little paradise, away from the bustle of the city. There is no electricity and poor network coverage, so I put aside the computer and phone, and I rediscover the pleasure of living in a community, away from digital life. When night comes, I turn on my oil lamp and take a stroll through the village to catch up on the news. Only the bonfires in front of each entrance enable me to identify the different houses in the dark. Far from light pollution, I can observe a beautiful night full of stars. My Bertie was in the field all day today, and she promises to give me cassava tomorrow, "you have to taste everything!" The whole family is tired from its work day, and I often hear "aaah… Africa is hard!" It is true that we should not forget that it's hard, especially for all those people who are forced to live in difficult conditions throughout the year.


It's already September, the sun is back, and it is every day a little warmer. In a few days the rain will come, but I have to leave!

"You have to come back Julie, there is plenty to do for Africa".

I promise, I'm leaving, but it's to better come back. My last year of study will allow me to improve skills that I could use for development and inequality reduction.

Bayo Loukakou, bayo Congo!

Julie Raulot

East Timor

Assessment mission on the island of Atauro

I hold a Master 2 in humanitarian law and a higher education university diploma (DESU) in applied Human Rights, obtained from the Institut d'Etudes Humanitaires at the University of Aix-Marseille. I started an internship with TGH on September 1st. Assisting the desk officer in charge of the Central African Republic and East Timor, I was able to quickly become familiar with these extremely different intervention contexts.

Représentation cartographique de l’île d’Atauro

Mapping of the island of Atauro

TGH started working in East Timor in 2005, with a program focusing on access to drinking water and sanitation facilities. Today, TGH is recognized as one of the major international actors in that field. Based on our experience, we thus considered last June to conduct an assessment on the needs for access to water and to hygiene and sanitation facilities on the island of Atauro. Located about 25km north of Dili, Atauro is a small island of 9,000 inhabitants. Historically isolated from the main island of Timor, Atauro was used, both under Portuguese and Indonesian rule, as a place of exile for resisters. Today, the island is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the country, crossings from Dili being unusual.


Arrival on the island of Atauro, Beloi
Photo : TGH ©

This first assessment mission, carried out last June, confirmed the existence of significant needs in water hygiene and sanitation. But we lacked time to precisely assess those needs. After numerous exchanges with the head of mission of TGH in Timor-Leste, who ended his mission at the end of October 2015, the desk officer in charge of East Timor offered me to take part in a further assessment to complement this first evaluation. A few days later, on October 27, 2015, TGH's head of mission in Timor and I arrived on the island of Atauro.


Central tank supplying two of the four hamlets of the village of Macadade
Photo : TGH ©

The preliminary phase focused on meeting with various local actors, including the Head of the Public Department of Water and Sanitation, a delegate of the international organization World Fish, as well as representatives of two local NGOs in Vila, the main town of the island of Atauro. With additional information, we took the road to the mountain village of Macadade, 2,400 inhabitants, considered the least developed village of the island. Macadade has a water system whose effectiveness is particularly low during the rainy season, and only about 15% of the population has access to sanitation. We therefore analyzed the water distribution network, but also the habits and customs of the people.

We also visited the sub-village of Birao (attached to the village of Macadade), located at the seaside, to assess the situation of fishermen.

After five days of evaluation and discussions with local authorities and the population, we were back in Dili, the capital of East Timor. The last days of my field visit were spent on monitoring TGH's project aiming to strengthen civil society for a better protection of women and children victims of violence. This 3-year project is funded by the European Commission (Directorate General for Development and Cooperation- EuropeAid), the Raja Danièle Marcovici Foundation and the French Embassy in Indonesia and East Timor. TGH works together with four local associations that I had the opportunity to meet during my stay.


Meeting with fishermen in Birao
Photo : TGH ©


Awareness-raising of civil society for the protection of victims of domestic violence
Photo : TGH ©

This visit allowed the further assessment of the situation in the village of Macadade, in terms of water, hygiene and sanitation, but also food security, for a future project proposal. It also allowed the evaluation of the implementation of the project on the protection of women and children victims of violence. The results are particularly compelling.

Amélie Squercioni


TGH's emergency response in Algeria after the floods


In mid-October 2015, five Sahrawi refugee camps located in south-western Algeria, near Tindouf, have in turn been affected by torrential rains, causing severe flooding.

Although no victim was reported, the material damage was substantial. The earthen houses and traditional tents (jaïmas), little resistant to heavy rainfall, were severely damaged. The available food was lost.

TGH, present in Sahrawi camps since 2001, conducted a first aid mission in the Dakhla camp (the most isolated and hardest hit) through the distribution of water and bread, and the purchase and installation of an electric cable for the National Hospital in Rabouni, which had a part of its services no longer powered. TGH was also actively involved in the crisis unit set up in the early days.


Flooding in the wilaya of Ausserd, after the first night of rain, on October 18, 2015
Photo : TGH ©

Secondly, thanks to the support of the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Service of the European Commission (ECHO) and a primary emergency funding, TGH implemented a program aiming to build new and more weather-resistant houses for 370 families counting a person with disabilities or a dependent elderly person. Support was also provided to all the families present in the camps, through the distribution of 25 tons of dates in addition to the basic food basket.

Furthermore, in partnership with UNICEF, 74 emergency tents were installed during the month of November in the various camps, to allow the resumption of educational activities (57 tents for schools and kindergartens) and health activities (17 tents for clinics and 1 tent for the central pharmacy). An assessment is underway to determine the list of schools to be rebuilt first.

For more information about our projects, see Programmes on TGH's website.

In Brief

October 6th, 2015:
Advocacy note concerning the “Resurgence of violence in Bangui: people trapped, humanitarian workers targeted” signed by 19 NGOs, including TGH.

October 16th, 2015:
Very heavy rains and strong winds hit the refugee camp of Ausserd near Tindouf. On Sunday, October 18th, in the morning, a field visit organized by the TGH team allowed us to identify emergencies and to act accordingly. An appeal for donations was launched by the consortium of NGOs present in the field, including TGH.

October 21st, 2015:
Patrick Verbruggen, co-director of TGH, spoke at the 10th National Forum of Associations & Foundations, which took place at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.

October 31st, 2015:
TGH presented its action on the occasion of the World Food Day, but also of the visit to the Central African Republic of Annick Girardin, the French Secretary of State for Development and Francophonie.

November 2-3, 2015:
Serge Gruel, desk officer in charge of the missions in Algeria, Kurdistan and Sudan, participated in the Conference on humanitarian action organized by Humacoop in Grenoble.

November 20th, 2015:
On the occasion of the International Day of Children's Rights, the Central African radio N'Deke Luka highlighted TGH's project “Protection device for street children”, funded by UNICEF.



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