First impression of Rethink Relief 2014

Ana Laura Santos, a Rethink Relief organizer give a small overview of her experience in this year event in Pader Uganda,
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I just came back from Pader, Uganda, after the intense Rethink Relief workshop

Map situating Pader in the north of Uganda

Pader belongs to the district of Gulu in Northern Uganda and it’s about 10 hours drive from Kampala through Lira. This region was devastated by a long war between the Lord Resistance Army and the government.

This war harmed many Acholi communities, disrupted families and their homes. After several years living in displaced camps the Acholi people could go back but faced a difficult return and resettlement as coming back meant facing the devastation and the past fears.


Hall room at CCF House

View from the house

Our host, Caritas Gulu Archdiocese received all participants with a warm welcome and helped making this a great week! Rethink Relief brought together 16 nationalities and people with the most various backgrounds to focus on problems that communities face when returning from camps. We formed 5 teams, each with at least a design facilitator from the international organizers all black new balance trainers, an international participant, a local resident and a south sudanese refugee from Ayilo camp in the district of Adjumani, Northern Uganda. The teams were divided in the topics of agriculture, rainwater harvesting, cooking, preventive healthcare and lighting.

Amongst the many activities:
..we heard six speakers representing different perspectives who came to tell us about their experience with the war and peace process in Northern Uganda.

..we visited the Technology centre in Pader.

..we had fun activities to open our minds and use our hands.

..we worked in teams.

..and we had a final ceremony with presentations and dance!

Preventive Healthcare
I worked on the Preventive Healthcare team. We worked on a broad concept to support the healthcare of refugees during the future period of return to their communities. Within this broad idea we designed something specific for safeguarding healthcare records of a refugee household. We designed a packaging to be distributed to everyone at a camp containing for example hand sanitizer and mosquito repellent for babies. This package should be beautifully illustrated with “positive living”* messages and can be used to store the healthcare records of everyone in the household.

One of our considerations was to care for the HIV diagnosed patients. There is a tremendous stigma created around HIV. If you are diagnosed positive you will leave the healthcare facilities carrying a huge box containing some condoms, a tiny leaflet of “positive living” some water tablets and a white jerrycan. A white jerrycan will condemn you to be looked at and be segregated.

The package we designed should replace the need to carry this differentiated equipment home. It can be hung like a poster at home and can be transported when necessary. Everyone should have one.

* Positive living messages we though of include: how to make your own hand sanitizer, how often to feed your baby, how to wash hands and why to use a mosquito net

Thank you everyone!