Dream dashed, lives on hold in Philippines quake zone


By Joe Lowry

Rita Elatabelo’s world has fallen apart twice in the last seven months.

Two years ago she retired after 44 years in the capital Manila, and moved back to her native village on the island of Bohol with her husband and one of her sons. Over the past ten years they had been building their dream retirement home, in the little village of Libertad, their corner of paradise. But just as they were getting settled, her husband passed away.

Now wash your hands, please


By Hussein Mohamed Hassan and Mary Sanyu Osire

The heat dulls my senses as I walk into Kabasa IDP settlement in Dollow, Gedo Region, Somalia. Spurred by community workers, residents flock in their hundreds to a makeshift shelter in the middle of the IDP settlement. Soon, the air is filled with laughter, as women twist their waists to enchanting Somali music. After speeches, hygiene sensitization poems, and hand washing demos, families queue to receive bars of soap, and water containers.

Here’s the thing: This is the second consecutive year that IOM is coordinating ‘Global Hand Washing Day’ activities across Somalia – but is our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program making a difference?

For the Love of a Mother – Nhial’s Journey to South Sudan


By Erin Foster

Nhial Malia was resettled by IOM from a refugee camp in western Ethiopia to Houston, Texas when he was 11 years old. He is now 26, a US citizen, holds a BA in Biology and minor in Philosophy from Bethany College, Kansas and recently finished three years of service as a water and sanitation volunteer with the Peace Corps in Ghana. 

Better a captive audience than an audience of captives


By Douglas Foskett

Landlocked, with six and a half million people living in 17 provinces surrounded by five countries (Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand), Laos is not exactly an isolated country. All of its 17 provinces have at least one international border, nine of them have two.  So while plenty of legal transit points are accessible, crossing illegally is not exactly difficult either. To cross legally people need a passport, and these are only available at one location in the capital Vientiane. That’s where the IOM TV and DVD player are installed.