In our plans to expand our outreach and advocacy efforts in local communities, UMR announced in 2015 a celebrated acquisition and merger with Peaceful Families Project (PFP). This transition is intended to sustain the work PFP has been conducting, while expanding the reach of PFP’s services to a broader audience.
Over the past 15 years, Peaceful Families Project (PFP) has been committed to building and supporting healthy Muslim families by increasing awareness of the complex dynamics of domestic violence. They have managed to accomplish this by facilitating workshops for Muslim leaders and communities, providing training and technical assistance for professionals, conducting research, and developing resources. Many have supported these efforts and achievements, including the highly sought-after ‘Imam Trainings.’ These trainings have provided a platform in which PFP trains hundreds of Imams and community leaders on the issue of domestic violence from both a religious, as well as a clinical, perspective in the United States, South Africa, and Sudan. These efforts reflect Peaceful Families Project’s unique position as the only Muslim voice combating domestic violence during national and international governmental and non-governmental summits and conferences. In 2015, PFP provided their services to 240 people and served as a strong launching pad for the new Advocacy and Outreach Department UMR plans to establish in 2016; where local community members, national volunteers, and university chapters are able to gain the necessary skills and resources to successfully campaign and advocate on the grass-roots level.
UMR responded to the deteriorating health crisis in West Darfur, Sudan in 2015. In an effort to contribute to the reduction of mortality and morbidity in the region, we provided outpatient clinic to the IDPs, immunization coverage to children under five years old, and health education to 76,872 beneficiaries.
UMR has a heightened focus on the humanitarian situation in Somalia and displaced persons residing in Kenya. More than two million Somalis have been displaced, facing severe food insecurity. Six years of devastating famine led to more than a quarter million deaths, half of them children. The severe drought is pushing malnutrition and diseases up to a critical level.
UMR is focusing our resources to assist those suffering from starvation and disease through innovative methods that allow population in drought-stricken camps to grow their own food, thus decreasing their dependence on food distribution. By training the camp population on new techniques on household horticulture farming in drought-hit areas provides them with knowledge required to leave the camps and eventually return back home.
In Refugee Camps, bringing back traditional household farming methods with modern understanding of organic soil improvement is key to food security. UMR educates Somali families in Kenyan refugee camps in on Permaculture Gardening, composting, seed saving, and rainwater harvesting. Women Harvesting vegetables from their own gardens behind each tent minimizes dependence on low nutritional value food distribution with visible health results.
UMR is training select members of each household in the camp on land improvement through composting, and watering through proper use of household gray water.
Aim of the program is to decrease dependence on food distribution, improve nutrition value, promote innovative land reclamation solutions that returnees can use in their ancestral homelands.
After spending many years living in refugee camps, gardening can provide a safe space to establish identity, rebuild lives and attain happiness.
Al-Zarqa is home to a very dynamic and diverse population set composed of native Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, Yemenis, and Iraqis. Given the historical and economic differences among Jordanian citizens and resettled refugees, these tensions are at risk of exacerbating community tensions and barring access to healthcare. A multifactorial study carried out by REACH Initiative found that 66% of Syrians vs. 57% of low-income Jordanians reported access to health services in their community and both populations reported uneven access to healthcare as a reason for communal tensions.
By offering treatment to patients regardless of nationality and instead based on location (it is anticipated that patients will be residents of Zarqa), the UMR Zarqa Clinic is in a position to help mitigate communal tensions while increasing access to universal healthcare.
The Clinic’s location was chosen specifically for its reachability. Located on the near the main street of New Az-Zarqa area, ease of access lowers patient transit costs and raises the visibility of services.
In Jordan alone in 2018, UMR served 6300 patients from low-income backgrounds, including refugee populations. This was accomplished through medical missions that included simple surgeries (such as cataract removal), and free primary care provided through volunteer physicians. UMR is in a unique position with its ability to leverage in-kind donations. UMR has partnerships with medical equipment and pharmaceutical providers who will be utilized to stock the Clinic with supplies that meet the needs of Al-Zarqa residents.
The water crisis is a severe issue in Somalia with just 45% of Somalis having access to sufficient water sources. 75% of the population don’t have access to improved sanitation or hygiene practices, which can lead to diseases such as cholera among women and children 5 . Below average rainfall in 2016 paired with El Nino-induced weather extremes which had a serious impact on the livelihoods, as well as the food and water systems, across the Horn of Africa. The water shortage led to a humanitarian crisis in these countries, including Somalia. UMR WASH Project focuses on improving the availability of clean water and sanitation to 2,500 vulnerable households located in IDP camps and host communities in the Gedo Region, Somalia.
This program will be achieved through the rehabilitation of existing water sources, providing water treatment systems and the provision of adequate hygiene facilities including latrines. Hygiene promotion sessions will also be carried out by trained hygiene promoters to push for positive behavioral change.
To create access to safe water opportunity for students and communities in Gelealo Woreda, Ethiopia, UMR constructed a Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) system. Constructing water schemes and availing access to water in the school compound will significantly increase the attendance of girls and reduce their absence from class and dropout rates. Until the summer (rainy season), the reservoir will be filled with water via water trucking from other areas. This project also raised hygiene and sanitation awareness to students and the community surrounding the school through workshops and trainings on best sanitation and hygiene practices. In addition, to help girls improve their hygiene practice, sanitary pads were procured and delivered to each girl.
More than 14,400 beneficiaries have benefited from this project.
When West Africa experienced the biggest outbreak of the Ebola virus of all time- causing thousands of deaths, destroying fragile healthcare systems, and damaging the economies of countries (some of which were still post-conflict areas) – UMR responded by shipping three 40ft containers of medicine, medical equipment and supplies to sixteen hospitals and health centers in Sierra Leone. The medical equipment comprised of first class quality items such as metal spring beds, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, bed tables, leg exercisers, and examination tables. The medicine included Doxycycline, Ringers Lactate, and Multi-Vitamins for adults and children, Typhoid tests and HIV/AIDS tests, assorted medical and toiletries supplies for 593,700 pediatrics and maternity patients.
Orphans and vulnerable children are under serious threat of health, education, and social exploitation. From 2015 until 2018 UMR served approximately 6,000 orphan beneficiaries who received assistance through monthly sponsorship programming. The programming assistance included a small cash stipend, clothing, health insurance, and seasonal food packages. This intervention acted as a preventative measure to keep children out of orphanages, early marriages, and preempt any health concerns that would otherwise remain untreated due to lack of funds or insurance. In total, over $1.3 million in cash was delivered to orphans in need across several countries.
Starting in 2019, UMR will evolve its Orphans Protection program to better suit the children we were serving and be more comprehensive of orphans and children facing adversity. UMR’s new Child Protection program will still meet the needs of each previously sponsored orphan while incorporating additional benefits to the orphan such as- vocational training, psychosocial support, health insurance, and health education programs. In addition, UMR will continue to distribute school supplies to orphans, comprehensive ‘Winterization Kits’ of heaters, blankets, and jackets to orphans and their families, healthcare to orphans in Bangladesh, water to orphans in Somalia and Kenya, and food and health education to orphans in places like Yemen and Jordan.
Through donor-led capacity development, UMR is dedicated to identifying and filling the gaps in education aid. Our goal is to increase the technical skills and expertise of our beneficiaries by delivering and administering education, both in the classroom and in the education ministry – a key part of a more systemic approach to improving education.
This low enrollment mainly attributes to absence of access to education at all levels. In partnership with KELEM, we successfully constructed a school with five classrooms, provided short term training for teachers, delivered scholastic materials to ensure effective teaching-learning processes, and conducted WASH training to teachers, staff and students. This school is the first of its kind in its community and supports more than 200 beneficiaries per year.
In 2016, our major education campaign was the Creating Sustainable Access to Quality Education Facilities for Drought Affected Pastoralist School Children in the Afar region of Ethiopia. The Afar region has one of the lowest education net enrollment ratios (NER) at 32%, far below the national average of 85%. More rural and remote Woredas within Afar have an even lower NER of 20% (Ministry of Education (MoE), 2011).
The existing poor access to education combined with the drought facing the pastoralist has severely affected the teaching learning activities. Tens of thousands of students are already out of school due to lack of access to education and majority of students who were attending their education have already dropped out of their school due the effect of drought. Continued and unresolved lack of access to water has aggravated the problem. School aged and enrolled female students are forced to miss class and drop out of school to fetch water from a very distant place. Sometimes the distance takes a whole day on foot travel for round trip highly affecting the participation of girls in education.
UMR boasts a strong medical gifts-in-kind supply chain. We work with private medical providers to procure medical supplies ranging from disposables such as gloves, bandages, and prescription medications to equipment critical to the success of a healthcare institution such as x-ray and ultrasound machines. This is a critical tool for capacity building of hospitals as it frees up monetary resources to hire new doctors and reduce the cost burden on patients.
UMR has provided medical shipments containing life-saving medicine and supplies to Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, and continues to send containers to countries in need.