Photo Story: A day in the life of a Member of the WASH and Maintenance Committee in Al Rebat camp, Yemen
Meet Abdu, a member of the Al Rebat WASH and Maintenance Committee. He started his work as WASH and Maintenance Committee four years ago, helping to improve the living conditions for his community.
Posted on 28 Feb 2023
Written by Nuha Haider
In March 2023, the conflict in Yemen will enter its ninth year since its escalation in 2015. About 4.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the start of the conflict, making this the sixth largest population of internally displaced persons in the world. The Danish Refugee Council continues to support communities affected by displacement across Yemen, by providing the needed services safe, dignified shelter and, in the long-term, a durable solution to their displacement. In Tuban district, Lahj governorate, DRC manages one of the 77 IDP hosting sites, the Al Rebat camp. This camp hosts 569 households, where 51% of the population are under 18 years old.
IDPs in Yemen are particularly vulnerable. Due to the ongoing conflict, many IDPs have been forced to move multiple times as they seek to find safe, dignified shelter and are now trapped in protracted displacement, unable to return. Hosting sites in Yemen often lack basic services, including access to safe, clean drinking water. A recent report from the Yemen Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster showed that 96% of hosting sites lack adequate WASH services.
With support of the European Union, DRC as the lead partner of the Yemen Displacement Response (YDR) Consortium, facilitated the establishment of a WASH and Maintenance Committee in Al Rebat camp comprised of members of the IDP community living there.
Abdu, 54 years old, is a member of the Al Rebat WASH and Maintenance Committee. He started his work as WASH and Maintenance Committee four years ago, helping to improve the living conditions for his community.
Abdu supervises 14 members of the WASH and Maintenance Committees in the camp, including four women. The Committee members are responsible to monitor the WASH services and facilities in the camp, maintain and upkeep small-scale infrastructure (such as latrines and water points), solid waste management, and hygiene promotion.
The WASH and Maintenance Committee fixes broken taps in the camp. In addition to his supervisory role, Abdu also supports the team by getting involved in the work of repairing the taps.
When Rebat site was first established, only seven latrines were available for all the families. The situation was very bad; so much so that some families allocated a space in their tent for women and children to use as bathroom, so they did not have to go outside their tents at night. Now, Al Rebat camp has 183 bathrooms divided between females and males. The WASH and Maintenance Committee carries out regular maintenance of latrines to ensure they are functional, safe, and clean.
Every week, the WASH and Maintenance Committee conducts a cleaning campaign with the community members living in Al Rebat camp. The cleaning campaigns encourage community members to participate in collecting and disposing garbage to maintain hygiene standards and environmental cleanliness as well as prevent the spread of diseases in the camp.
Al Rebat camp has 263 solar street lights. Through the YDR Consortium program DRC supports the WASH and Maintenance Committee to fix and reinstall the solar power lights to ensure all areas in the camp have light in the night. Provision of latrines and solar lights ensures the safety and dignity of the community members helping residents feel safe when leaving their shelters after dark.
Abdu collects feedback on WASH needs from his team and IDP community members. He shares the feedback with DRC’s CCCM team to improve the WASH services in the camp.
In 2018, Abdu fled Hodaydah governorate escaping the conflict and arrived in Al Rebat camp in Lahj with his wife and five children. He left behind four older sons and a daughter who were married.
Abdu wishes for a better life and future for his children. He hopes that one day he can return to his life and home in Hodaydah.
A day in the life of a Member of the WASH and Maintenance Committee in Al Rebat camp, Yemen
Photos by: Mahmoud Fadel. Yemen, January 2023.