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The Action Thread Part Two

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AGRICULTURE

Winner of the ‘alternative nobel prize’ turns desert to forest in Burkina Faso

25 September 2018 3:43PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Nellie Peyton, editing by Claire Cozens for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

A farmer from Burkina Faso who popularized an ancient farming technique to reverse desertification is among the winners of Sweden’s “alternative Nobel prize”, announced on Monday.

Yacouba Sawadogo shared this year’s award with three Saudi human rights activists and an Australian agronomist. The 3 million Swedish crown ($341,800) prize honours people who find solutions to global problems.

Sawadogo is known for turning barren land into forest using “zai” – pits dug in hardened soil that concentrate water and nutrients, allowing crops to withstand drought.

The technique has been used to restore thousands of hectares of dry land and in doing so reduce hunger in Burkina Faso and Niger since he began to teach it in the 1980s, according to the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Sawadogo said he hoped he would be able to “use the award for the future”.

“My wish is for people to take my knowledge and share it. This can benefit the youth of the country,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from his village in Burkina Faso.

The country dips into a semi-arid zone below the Sahara desert known as the Sahel, where climate change and land overuse are making it increasingly difficult to farm, experts say.

“Yacouba Sawadogo vowed to stop the desert – and he made it,” said Ole von Uexkull, executive director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

“If local communities and international experts are ready to learn from his wisdom, it will be possible to regenerate large areas of degraded land, decrease forced migration and build peace in the Sahel.”

Last year, erratic rains left nearly a million people in need of food aid across the country.

Sawadogo initially faced resistance for his unconventional technique, based on an ancient method that had fallen out of practice. Now “zai” have been adopted by aid agencies working to prevent hunger in the region.

Sawadogo told his story in a 2010 film called “The Man Who Stopped the Desert“.

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.

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7 DE MARZO DE 2019

 

6
 
NIÑAS Y MUJERES

La NASA acaba de anunciar su primera caminata espacial realizada por mujeres

La misión incluirá a Anne McClain, Christina Koch y la controladora de vuelo Kristen Facc

 

 

 

La agencia espacial estadounidense NASA ha confirmado que ha programado una caminata espacial que será realizada por mujeres astronautas por primera vez.

 

Una portavoz de la NASA dijo a CNN el miércoles: "Como está programado actualmente, la caminata espacial del 29 de marzo será la primera realizada solo por mujeres".

 

La caminata espacial, compuesta por los astronautas Anne McClain y Christina Koch, será la segunda caminata espacial durante la Expedición 59, que se lanzará el 14 de marzo.

 

Koch es miembro de la Expedición 59, mientras que McClain actualmente forma parte de la tripulación de la Estación Espacial Internacional.

 

Además de las dos mujeres en el espacio, se espera que otra mujer, la controladora de vuelo de la Agencia Espacial Canadiense Kristen Facciol, esté en tierra operando la consola del Centro Espacial Johnson en Houston, Texas, brindando apoyo en este paseo espacial de siete horas.

 

I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace

 
 
 
 

 

Los astronautas masculinos Nick Hague y David Saint-Jacques también participarán en el paseo espacial.

 

Aún no está claro qué se va a lograr en la caminata espacial. La NASA dice que se realizan caminatas espaciales para reparaciones, equipos de prueba y realización de experimentos.

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CITIZENSHIP

8 Photos of Badass Women Who Made Hatred Shrink in Their Presence

Inspiration to keep smiling in the face of hatred.

An image of Saffiyah Khan, a young woman from Birmingham, made waves as it reminded the world of the power of peaceful resistance in the face of grotesque hatred. Stepping into a circle of supporters from the English Defence League to defend a woman wearing a hijab, her expression is rebellious and dignified at the same time. Laidback and seemingly happy — everything the EDL assumes Muslim women not to be — her smile and her stance are the ultimate revenge to the pillar of rage in front her. 

Captured by photographer Joe Giddens, in her denim jacket and Specials t-shirt, Saffiyah has become a symbol of resistance in the 21st century (let’s hope Pepsi have learned their lesson). The moment it has immortalised is powerful in itself, representing the clash between a multicultural and a racist vision, but also because it offers a refreshing picture of a human being who simply has no more time for bigotry. It’s a reminder that hatred shrinks in the face of true humanity. 

Read More: This Woman Stared Down a Far-Right Racist With the Ultimate Act of Defiance

It goes without saying that the internet swelled with hope at the viral photo. After Twitter user @_Xas_ launched a thread labelled "Just a a wee thread of women who truly don't have any time for your sh*t," the Twittersphere responded in kind. Here's a selection of iconic women like Khan who have chosen to step out and bravely stand their ground. 

1/ Tess Asplund vs. 300 neo-Nazis 

 

Just a wee thread of women who truly don't have any time for your shit.

1) Tess Asplund, Borlänge, Sweden - 2016 (Photo - David Lagerlöf)

 
 
 
 

 

42-year-old Tess Asplund marched to face off 300 members of the Nordic Resistance Movement in 2016, an avowedly anti-Semitic and racist movement. “It was an impulse. I was so angry, I just went out into the street,” Asplund told the Guardian. “I was thinking: hell no, they can’t march here! I had this adrenaline. No Nazi is going to march here, it’s not okay.” 

In tribute to her courage, she was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in 2016 

 


2/ Jasmin Golubovska Fighting the Ugly Side of Power  

 

 

2) Jasmin Golubovska, Skopje, Macedonia - 2016 (Photo - Ognen Teofilovski, Reuters)

 
 
 
 

 

During a protest in Macedonia over allegations that the prime minister hid the circumstances around the death of a 22-year-old, Jasmin Golubovska’s stared straight into a policeman’s shield to… apply some lipstick. In an interview about the image that spread worldwide, she said: "In principle I do not use a lot of make-up, I wear red lipstick only when I need to repair the tired look of the systemic suppression of freedom" — an original response to the ugliness of oppression. 


3/ Ciara for Scottish Independence

 

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Just a wee thread of women who truly don't have any time for your shit.

1) Tess Asplund, Borlänge, Sweden - 2016 (Photo - David Lagerlöf)

View image on Twitter
 
 

 

Ciara was just 8 years old when she appeared in this photo on the occasion of a visit from Nicola Sturgeon before the Independence referendum in Scotland. To celebrate her boldness, a Just Giving campaign raised £500 for her 10th birthday


4/ The Woman with the Eagle Feather 

 

 

During an intense protest against potential fracking near Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, 28-year-old Amanda Polchies dropped to her knees in front of a wall of heavily armed police, raised a feather and began to pray. 

The image was shared more than 160,000 times in four hours, and became a symbol of the ongoing battle for Native rights over their home territories. 

Read More: Native Girls Rise — How a Generation of Native Women Are Standing Up and Fighting Back

5/ Ethiopian-Israeli Woman Against State Police 

 

 

After a video emerged of an Israeli police officer beating up a soldier of Ethiopian origin, thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest police brutality. More than 135,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but integration is a continuous challenge. 


6/ Iesha L. Evans Standing to Show #BlackLivesMatter 

 


Captured during the #BlackLivesMatter protest in Baton Rouge after the death of Alton Sterling, this image of Iesha L. Evans was celebrated around the world as a symbol of grace and resilience in the face of police brutality. Shortly after the photograph was taken, Evans was arrested, but she did not regret her actions, stating: “this is the work of God. I am a vessel.” 

 

7/ Two Women Kissing at an Anti-Gay Marriage Protest

 

 
 

 

Despite protests from conservative sections of society, gay marriage was made legal in France in 2013. However, those still opposed to the law see the upcoming election as an opportunity to repeal it. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has been accused of burying a pledge to  repeal same-sex marriage in her manifesto,  although she has received high-profile support from some members of the LGBT community. Whatever the results, the ongoing dispute is a reminder to persist. 


8/ A Palestinian Girl Who Just Wanted to Go to School 

 

In this devastating photo, a Palestinian schoolgirl walks past Israeli border police officers on her way home from school — a powerful reminder of the conflicts that prevent 75 million children worldwide from completing their education.

Read More: Millions of Kids Are Stranded Without an Education


A visual reminder of the power of resistance — these images capture the courage and radical charm of a person who stands her ground. 

 

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Autism is not a mental health problem, so why is it defined as a ‘mental disorder’ under the Mental Health Act? 🙄

This puts people with autism at a greater risk of being sectioned instead of receiving support. 🚨

Sign and ask Government to make the change: bit.ly/2SPnD2r ✍️

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

These powerful activists are at the frontlines of gender equality

8 March 2019 8:48AM UTC | By: JANE EAGLES

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Take action for women everywhere

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This IWD, we’re passing the mic to African activists who are doing incredible work for gender equality. Together, they’re standing by a bold demand to world leaders, urging them to make real progress. Get to know more about the fantastic co-signers backing this demand, including our spokeswomen!

Spokeswomen:

Melene Rossouw

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Melene became an Attorney in the High Court of South Africa in 2009. In 2017, she founded the Women Lead Movement to educate, empower, and inspire women. They lead social change in their communities through human rights and leadership training. The movement also shows women how to publicly campaign and hold the government accountable for the promises they make to their citizens.

Dr Marlene-Joannie Bewa

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Dr. Marlene-Joannie Bewa is an accomplished HIV/AIDS advocate from the Benin Republic. She founded the Young Beninese Leaders Association, a youth and women-led organisation. This program has trained more than 3000 girls and women on sexual and reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is also a “Goalkeeper for the Goals” for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wadi Ben-Hirki

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Wadi Ben-Hirki founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation when she was 17 years old. The foundation seeks to impact marginalised and disadvantaged communities through humanitarianism and activism. The charity organisation runs many campaigns, mostly in Northern Nigeria. She serves on the African Leadership Institute Youth Advisory Board and was the Special Guest from Africa at the 2018 Y20 Summit.

Lola Omolola

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Lola Omolola is the founder of FIN, a private Facebook group that connects nearly 1.7 million women from across the world. She began the group in 2014, searching to create a virtual support network with other Nigerians after Boko Haram kidnappings. The group quickly grew into a hub for women’s issues, offering its members a safe outlet to discuss the struggles they face and connect with other women who share those experiences.

Samira Haruna Sanusi

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Samira Haruna Sanusi is a Sickle Cell Awareness advocate and WASH advocate. She is the founder of the Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation, which builds awareness and supports hundreds of people with medical bills. She’s also the co-founder of WAFSLI Nigeria (Water for Sustainable Living). She is the author of S is for Survivor, a memoir about her personal experiences with Sickle Cell Anaemia.

Togola Hawa Séméga

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Journalist Togola Hawa Séméga is on a mission to provide the young people of Mali with informative news and unite them. She achieves this with a creative mix of journalism, rap and humour. Kunafoni, her website and WebTV series, gets young people involved in social issues while also building their confidence.

Dieynaba Sidibe

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Dieynaba is Senegal’s first female graffiti artist. She uses her art to show solidarity and highlight the issues women face. Health and access to education are some of the issues she’s covered through her art.

Naomi Tulay-Solanke

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Naomi Tulay-Solanke is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Health Initiative. This non-governmental organisation in Liberia provides reusable and affordable health products for women and girls, empowering them to take control of their reproductive health. She’s also launched PADS4GIRLS, which trains women to produce sanitary pads.

Chmba Ellen Chilemba

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Chmba is the Founder and Executive Director at Tiwale, a youth-led organisation supporting Malawian girls and women. She started Tiwale at 17 to end the vicious cycle of child marriage through economic and educational opportunities. Tiwale has supported over 250 women so far!

Fridah Githuku

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Fridah Githuku is the Executive Director of GROOTS Kenya, a national grassroots movement led by women. The movement gives grassroots women visibility and decision-making power in their communities. They have invested in nearly 3,500 women-led groups across Kenya, sparking local, human-led change. As an Equal Measures 2030 partner, Fridah is passionate about the role of land rights in achieving gender equality.

Aya Chebbi

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Aya Chebbi is an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the founder of the Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring, coaching the next generation of positive change agents. She’s also the founder of the Afrika Youth Movement, one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements. She is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.

More Co-signers:

Lydia Charles Moyo, TV and Radio Presenter at Femina Hip TV
Elizabeth Wanja Ngeth, Kijiji Afrika
Olaoluwa Abagun, Founder of Girl Pride Circle
Mercy Abang, United Nations Journalism fellow
Karimot Odebode, ONE Champion
Dr. Stellah Wairimu Bosire, Executive Director of the Kenya Medical Association
Dolapo Olaniyan, Founder of The UnCut Initiative
Scheaffer Okore, Chief of Trade & Investment for the Pan African Chamber of Commerce
Diana Ninsiima, Senior Program Manager & Gender Lead at DOT Tanzania
Salimatou Fatty, a GPE youth advocate and founder of the Salimatou Foundation for Education
Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communications for FEMNET
Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director for FEMNET
Mama Koité Doumbia, Chair Member for FEMNET
Julie Cissé, Coordinator for GIPS WAR
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, one of the 120 under 40 for the New Generation Leaders in Family Planning
Mylene Flicka, a Women’s Rights Writer
Mercy Juma, Broadcast Journalist and winner of the Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Founder of the Stand to End Rape Initiative
Amina Abdulazeez, ONE Champion
Hauwa Liman, Founder of Inspire for Impact
Linet Kwamboka, CEO of DataScience LTD
Saran Keïta Diakite, President of Malian Advocacy Group on SDGs
Sagara Saran Bouare, President of Women in Law and Development
Maimouna Dioncounda Dembele, Human Rights Activist
Mariam Diallo, Director of the Association for Women’s Leadership and Development
Nana Toure, Secretary General of the Sahel Youth Network
Valérie Traoré, Executive Director of Niyel
Imameleng Masitha, Communications and Advocacy Officer for The Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Refilwe Ledwaba, Founder of the Girl Fly Programme in Africa Foundation
Martha Muhwezi, Senior Programme Coordinating Officer for the Forum for African Women Educationalists
Anta Fall Basse Konté, Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists Senegal
Danedjo Hadidja, President of APAD and an International Women’s Health Coalition partner.
Françoise Kpeglo Moudouthe, Founder of feminist blog Eyala
Nana Semuah Bressey, nurse

Want to stand in solidarity with these activists? Add your name to the open letter here.

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

25 facts that show the harsh reality girls face right now

9 October 2018 4:43PM UTC | By: MELANIE RHODES

SIGN THE PETITION

An open letter to leaders

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What does your future hold? University, your own business, fame and fortune? Whatever your hopes, you will not have imagined a future in which you got married off as a child, were denied an education, or infected with HIV by a husband that’s twice your age. But this is the reality for millions of girls living in extreme poverty. And it’s time to call it out for what it is: Sexist.

Nowhere on earth do girls and women have the same opportunities as men. But for girls living in extreme poverty, sexism can be a death sentence. This is unacceptable.

If we don’t fight for every girl to have the future she deserves, we’re limiting all of humanity’s potential. We need to demand that those with power and resources put women and girls at the heart of their investments.

Here are 25 shocking facts showing why #PovertyisSexist  →

Child Marriage

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  • Globally, girls are being married off at a rate of 33,000 a day.
  • Girls from poor families are more than three times more likely to marry before 18 as girls from wealthier families.
  • An estimated 650 million women alive today were married as children. That’s double the population of the United States.

Education

  • 130+ million girls are out of school.
  • Half a billion women can’t read.
  • Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Burundi expel pregnant girls from school and deny adolescent mothers the right to study in public schools.
  • Attacks on schools increased 17-fold between 2000 and 2014, and girls’ schools were targeted three times more often than boys’ schools.

Female Adolescent HIV and HIV death rates

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  • Globally, 340,000 girls and young women are infected with HIV every year.
  • Girls make up three out of four new infections among children aged 10-19 in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • A young woman in sub-Saharan Africa is twice as likely to be infected with HIV than a young man her age.
  • Globally, only 3 in every 10 adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years have comprehensive and accurate knowledge about HIV. The lack of information on HIV prevention and the power to use this information in sexual relationships, including in the context of marriage, undermines women’s ability to negotiate condom use and engage in safer sex practices.
  • In 2017 29,000 girls aged 15-24 died due to AIDS-related illnesses.

Violence Against Women

  • Almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.   
  • Globally, 44% of girls aged 15-19 think a husband is entitled to beat his wife.

Domestic labour inequities

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  • Globally, girls aged 5–14 spend 550 million hours every day on household chores, 160 million more hours than boys their age spend.
  • 104 countries around the world have laws stopping women from doing certain jobs.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls spend roughly 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire workforce in France.

Access to Finance/Financial Inclusion

  • Over one billion women do not have access to a bank account.

Maternal Mortality/dying in childbirth

  • 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Sexual exploitation of women and girls

  • Women and girls make up 96% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Health

  • Anaemia, a condition strongly connected to iron deficiency and poor nutrition, afflicts twice as many women as men – nearly one in three women and girls worldwide.

The good news:

  • 70% fewer mums could die in childbirth – if all girls had primary education.
  • 66% fewer child marriages could happen globally – if all girls had a secondary education.
  • US$28 trillion could be generated – if all gender gaps in work and society were closed.

If you believe that ALL girls should be able to build the future they want, then turn your outrage into action this International Day of the Girl!

An open letter to leaders

Dear World Leaders,

We’re putting you on notice.

For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 33,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work.

There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty.

Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked.

You have the power to deliver historic changes for women this year. From the G7 to the G20; from the African Union to your annual budgets; we will push you for commitments and hold you to account for them. And, if you deliver, we will be the first to champion your progress.

We won’t stop until there is justice for women and girls everywhere.

Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

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MARCH 7, 2019

 

 
 
HEALTH

Mali Is Providing Free Health Care to Pregnant Women and Children Under 5

“We needed to do this a long time ago.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
All people, regardless of their age, deserve access to healthcare. We need to lower infant and maternal mortality rates to end extreme poverty. You can join us and take action here

The Mali government will now deliver free health care for children under 5, pregnant women, and elders. 

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced the new health care reforms on Feb. 25, under which contraceptives will also be available free of charge, according to the Guardian. 

Take Action: It’s Time to Deliver on the Promise of Universal Health Coverage

 

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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The effort to revamp the country's system comes after the country sufferedsome of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world for decades. Tens of thousands of community health care workers will help support the initiative by offering localized services. Keïta increased the country’s health care budget to include an extra $120 million to help fund the reforms, but they won’t be implemented nationwide until 2022. 

 

Yesterday, Mali’s President made a historic announcement: Mali’s national health care system will undergo a complete re-boot. The government committed to user fee removal for vulnerable groups, with paid, professionalized CHWs at the forefront. Read more: http://bit.ly/2IzBntw 

 
 
 
 

“We needed to do this a long time ago,” Mali’s health minister, Samba Ousmane Sow, who is helping spearhead the reforms, told the Guardian. 

“Mali also has very weak health indicators when you talk about malnutrition, poor family planning, poor sexual reproductive health, and primary health care like pre- and post-natal consultations, simple deliveries, and routine immunizations,” Sow said.

For the past 30 years, pregnant women and children in Mali, where 50.4% of people live on less than $1.25 per day, have had to pay for their own health care costs. Neighboring West African countries adopted similar pay-your-own models.

Read More: Child Deaths from Preventable Causes Have Been Cut in Half Since 2000

Living in poverty presents a challenge to treating the preventable diseases like malaria and pneumonia that often causes 1 in every 5 children in Mali to die before reaching the age of five. Children who do survive cases of malaria still put their communities at risk by spreading the virus, and if left untreated, might have a harder time getting through school. Providing pregnant women with preventative treatment like mosquito nets is key to stopping the disease. 

Vice President of Global Health at the organization Save the Children, Robert Clay, met with Sow on Thursday to dicsuss Mali's new pledge.

"This commitment to the health and wellbeing of women and children will improve entire societies on the social, economic and human rights levels," Clay said in a statement to Global Citizen. 

"This announcement comes at a time when there is a strong push for Universal Health Coverage which promises a world in which all people have access to the health services, vaccinations and medicines they need, without risk of financial hardship," Clay explained.

Introducing community health workers has already proven to lower child mortality rates by 95% in Mali’s Bamoka district, according to Dr. Ari Johnson, a science professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-founder of the Mali health NGO Muso. 

“This is an incredible moment for Mali,” Johnson told the Guardian. “The ministry of health has taken a very brave and bold political move to make real, evidence-based health care change.”

As the country rolls out health care resources nationwide, there can only be even more progress from here. 

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MARCH 8, 2019

 

1
 
GIRLS & WOMEN

London Mum Gets 11 Years in Jail After First-Ever FGM Conviction

The jury heard she had sought help from a prophet to cleanse her daughter.

By Emma Batha

LONDON, March 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The first person in Britain to be convicted of female genital mutilation was sentenced to 11 years on Friday for cutting her three-year-old daughter.

"Let's be clear: FGM is a form of child abuse," Justice Philippa Whipple told the Ugandan mother-of-two. "It is a barbaric practice and a serious crime."

The conviction last month came more than 30 years after the practice was outlawed.

Take Action: Help Global Citizen End Female Genital Mutilation

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Police and anti-FGM campaigners have said it will send a strong message that FGM will be prosecuted.

The maximum sentence for FGM is 14 years.

The judge told the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, there were "particularly sickening features" of the case, including that the cutting was done at the girl's home, where she should have felt safe.

"As (her) mother you betrayed her trust in you as her protector," the judge said, adding that the psychological impact could become a "significant and life-long burden".

Commenting on the sentence, Britain's interior minister Sajid Javid tweeted: "A welcome reminder, on #InternationalWomansDay, that we will never tolerate this barbaric medieval practice."

London's Central Criminal Court heard how police launched an investigation after the girl's parents rushed her to hospital on Aug. 28, 2017, following severe bleeding and doctors found three cuts to her genitalia.

The mother, 37, said her daughter had hurt herself falling from a kitchen worktop at their east London flat.

But the girl told police she had been held down and cut by a "witch".

Four doctors, including leading FGM experts, testified that the cuts had been made with a sharp implement and could not be explained by a fall.

 

WITCHCRAFT

The jury heard how the mother turned to witchcraft to try to silence investigators and the director of public prosecutions.

Police found cows' tongues with nails embedded in them in her freezer and limes containing slips of paper bearing the names of people involved in the case and messages such as "I freeze your mouth".

The former care worker said she did not come from an ethnic group that practised FGM, and no motive was given in court.

However, the jury heard she had sought help from a "prophet" to "cleanse" her daughter, via an online contact in Nigeria.

The woman was also sentenced to two years to run consecutively after she admitted distributing pornographic videos, one involving children.

The girl's Ghanaian father was acquitted of FGM, but sentenced to 11 months for possession of pornography.

 

Police and prosecutors have faced mounting pressure to secure a conviction for FGM, which was outlawed in 1985. Two previous trials ended in acquittals.

The Crown Prosecution Service's Lynette Woodrow said outside court the sentence underlined that FGM was "an extremely serious form of child abuse".

She expressed hope the conviction would encourage others who have had FGM, or have suspicions about FGM offences, to come forward.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM, which affects diaspora communities from many countries including Somalia, Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Sudan.

The internationally condemned practice typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia.

Campaigners say the ritual - often justified for cultural or religious reasons - is underpinned by the desire to control female sexuality.

World leaders have pledged to end FGM, which affects at least 200 million girls and women, according to U.N. data.

(Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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GIRLS & WOMEN

NYC Will Add 4 Statues of Trailblazing Women to Help Close a Little-Known Gender Gap

There are currently only five statutes of historic women in New York City.

 


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Women play a vital role in shaping history, and celebrating female historic figures helps to promote diverse representation. Gender equality is the fifth UN Sustainable Development Goal, and creating equal representation can help to reduce gender discrimination around the world. You can help encourage women and girls to follow their dreams by taking action here.


While there are about 150 statues of historic figures scattered across New York’s outdoor public spaces, only five of them are of women.

But the city announced on Wednesday, as part of Women’s History Month, that this disparity will soon change, starting with the installment of four new female statues throughout the city.

Take Action: Encourage Women and Girls to Follow their dreams

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En asociación con: HP Inc.

“We cannot tell the story of New York City without recognizing the invaluable contributions of the women who helped build and shape it,” saidNew York’s First Lady Chirlane McCray in a statement. “Public monuments should tell the full history and inspire us to realize our potential – not question our worth. In honoring these four trailblazers today, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see powerful women who made history receive the recognition they deserve.”

The new statues will be of civil rights leader Elizabeth Jennings Graham, medical advocate Helen Rodríguez Trías, jazz singer Billie Holiday, and lighthouse keeper Katherine Walker. The city plans to commission female artists to create the statues, construction of which is set to begin in 2021.

The city also previously announced it commissioned a statue of Shirley Chisholm in Brooklyn, creating a total of five new female statues. Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to Congress and the first to run for president in a major political party.

Over the past nine months, women.NYC has tried to combat disproportionate gender representation through She Built NYC, an initiative that pushed for the creation of the statues. The city solicited input from the public for ideas about which figures to select for the project, and received over 2,000 suggestions.

Read More: NYC’s ‘Fearless Girl’ to Stare Down Wall Street Bull for Another Year

“It's long past time we honor the great women who helped shape this city," said women.NYC Executive Director Faye Penn. "We are tremendously proud to be recognizing this diverse and dynamic set of women with monuments celebrating their accomplishments and thank the public for answering the call to help make us a fairer city for all women."

The five preexisting statues, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein, are solely in Manhattan. However, the new statues will be placed throughout the city's five boroughs. 

These are the five women who will be honored as part of the new initiative. 

Billie Holiday

Jazz singer Billie Holiday moved to Queens, New York, when she was 13, which is where her statue will be placed. She was one of the first black women to sing with a white orchestra. Her music not only amazed audiences around the world, but it also helped challenge racial discrimination and the status quo. She is best known for her song “Strange Fruit,” which protests lynching and racial injustice. The song later became a key component of the Civil Rights Movement and continues to fuel activism today.

Helen Rodríguez Trías

 

As part of #SheBuiltNYC, @NYCFirstLady announced that a statue of Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías will be placed #intheBronx. Dr. Rodríguez Trías was head of #Pediatrics at @NYCHealthSystem Lincoln and the 1st Latina Pres. of @PublicHealth: http://bit.ly/2BZUJlT  #WomensHistoryMonth

 
 
 
 

Helen Rodríguez Trías worked with children who survivied sexual abuse and those affected by HIV and AIDS. She also became the first Latina director of the American Public Health Association. Rodríguez Trías created programs for families affected by HIV and advocated for improved family health care. She previously worked as the head of pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, where her statue will be located.

Elizabeth Jennings Graham

 

Elizabeth Jennings Graham sparked the desegregation of NYC's public transportation #WomensEqualityDay

 
 
 
 

In 1854, Elizabeth Jennings Graham boarded a street car that refused service to African Americans while on her way to church. The conductor tried to remove her from the car, but she refused to leave, causing a policeman to throw her off the vehicle. She wrote about the experience in the New York Tribune, sparking protests throughout New York. She also sued the Third Avenue Railroad Company and won over $200 in damages. This paved the way for the desegregation of the American transit system. By 1860, all New York City transit lines served black passengers. Graham’s statue will be placed near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, which is a significant area for public transportation.

Katherine Walker

Katherine Walker became a keeper for the Robbins Reef Lighthouse north of Staten Island after her husband died in 1890. For more than 30 years, she led the way for ships passing between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey.  She raised her children in the lighthouse, taking them to school on Staten Island in a rowboat. Lighthouse keepers were typically men at this time, but Walker showed that women are obviously just as capable. In her role, she helped to save the lives of more than 50 people. Walker's statue will be placed at the Staten Island Ferry landing.

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DEC. 7, 2018

 

37
 
ENVIRONMENT

Luxembourg to Be First Country to Offer Free Mass Transit

Other countries have experimented with free mass transit in recent years.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Free mass transportation helps to reduce car use, which in turn reduces air pollution. The United Nations’ Global Goals calls on countries to improve air quality both to lift health outcomes and mitigate climate change. You can join us in taking action on these issues here.

Traveling across Luxembourg is about to get a lot easier for people without cars after Prime Minister Xavier Bettel signalled on Dec. 5 that his ruling coalition will soon make free public transportation the law of the land, according to the New York Times.

Although the measure will be great for the environment and helps people tight on money, the primary reason for the action is the country’s vexing levels of traffic, the Times reports.

Luxembourg has the highest car per capita rate in all of Europe and its rate of international commuters doubled over the past decade. The country’s population swells by a third during the week because of workers from abroad, the Guardian notes. As a result, rush hour roads teem with cars, becoming a constant headache for urban dwellers and people who live in border villages, and costing drivers upwards of 33 hours of their lives per year.

Take Action: Demand Health: Raise Your Voice for Our Global Future

 

The country has been moving in this direction in recent years by allowing people under the age of 20 to ride mass transit free of charge. Fares will no longer be collected on trains, buses, and trams for all people by the summer of 2019, and the measure will be fully phased in by 2020 when the specifics are thought through, the Guardian reports.

For example, the country hasn’t figured out what to do with first- and second-class compartments.

Currently, the country recovers only around 3.3% of the amount it budgets to mass transit through ticket sales, the Times notes. Consequently, the removal of fares will likely be easy to absorb. Other changes may be harder to cope with, according to one study that examined universal travel programs, including a potential rise in vandalism and slower service.

Free public transportation in Luxembourg 🇱🇺 https://t.co/IawsK8VII9pic.twitter.com/10cVvGEBgZ

— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) December 7, 2018

 

Read More: Why Cities May Be the Key to Stopping Climate Change

Luxembourg isn’t the only country to experiment with free mass transit. Estonia has offered free mass transit in its capital Tallinn since 2014 and plans to expand the model countrywide in the years ahead.

Cities in Europe like Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin have eased mass transit fares to fight air pollution, which causes 400,000 premature deaths and leads to $24.7 billion in health care costs each year across Europe.

Adopting free public transit also mitigates climate change by prioritizing sustainability in the transportation sector, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, even exceeding the coal-dependent electricity sector.

Read More: These 6 Cities Are Trying to Give Up Cars Entirely

Germany, for example, is planning to offer free public transit to meet European Union air quality regulations.

“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” German ministers wrote in a letter to the European Commission in February. “Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany.”

Although Luxembourg is framing free mass transit as a way to fight traffic, air pollution is likely a major factor as well. The country has some of the worst air quality in Europe.

Read More: 8 Ways Cities Are Fighting Climate Change and Environmental Decay

Regardless of the motivation, the move has been celebrated on social media.

Luxembourg becomes first nation to make all train, bus travel free. A big idea from a small placehttps://t.co/3cFx3rpjxJ

— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) December 6, 2018

 

BAM! Who’s next? Luxembourg set to become the first country in the world to make all public transport free: https://t.co/Y1HUSbJJwn#ActOnClimate#ClimateChange#AirPollution#cdnpoli#cop24pic.twitter.com/IMcGf3oeqy

— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) December 6, 2018

 

A day to dream about in London: “Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free” https://t.co/KaESJokZzk

— Helena Rivera (@helerivera) December 5, 2018

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HEALTH

You need to know about the bold fund fighting HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria everywhere

5 February 2019 2:25PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

ADD YOUR NAME

Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

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Fact: Every day, nearly 1,000 young women are infected with HIV.

Fact: Globally, there are 37 million people living with HIV — more than 15 million of whom can’t get life-saving treatment, which puts them at risk of developing AIDS-related symptoms — and another 1.8 million people are infected with HIV every year.

Fact: Over 2,500 people die from AIDS-related causes every day.

Fact: AIDS isn’t a disease of the past. It’s a modern-day crisis and it’s impacting people and communities around the world right now.

Enter, the Global Fund — a 21st-century partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria as epidemics.

Nigeria-Global-Fund-EDIT_151104.jpg

A child being administered malaria screening with Global Fund supported medical supplies at the Nduo-Eduo community Health Centre in Nigeria.

Formed in 2002, they work in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria to put an end to these epidemics by investing in and funding all kinds of health resources and interventions, like doctors, nurses, innovative technologies and education programs.

The Global Fund is one of the world’s most powerful tools in the fight against these diseases. In 2017 alone, regions and countries where the Global Fund invests treated 108 million cases of malaria and 5 million people for TB, plus 17.5 million people were on ARV therapy to treat HIV. In the same year, 197 million mosquito nets were distributed, over 79 million HIV tests were completed and HIV prevention services and programs reached 9.4 million people.

Ong%E2%80%99ielo-Health-Center-Kenya-EDI

A team of mobile community health workers trained with Global Fund support on their way to rural Kenyan homes to provide health checks and care.

This is what progress looks like. But there’s still work to be done, particularly for young women and girls.

To make sure the Global Fund can continue with their critical work, they will be hosting their sixth replenishment conference in October. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by meeting their replenishment goal of US$14 billion.

This investment is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of these diseases — and it’s why we’re calling on world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

Add your name now to tell world leaders they must back this bold initiative this year.

Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Dear government and business leaders,
We're urging you to show ambition in ending AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This is a fight we can win – but only if we all do our part. I’m in, are you? Please fully finance the Global Fund to help save another 16 million lives and bring us closer to eliminating these diseases for good.

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SEPT. 18, 2018

 

18
 
GIRLS & WOMEN

Gender Inequality Is Bad for Men’s Health, Report Says

Traditional gender stereotypes may reinforce behaviors that increase health risks.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender inequality is not just harmful for women, it also negatively impacts men. By challenging stereotypes and working to advance gender equality, we can improve the world for all who live in it. You can take action here to champion global gender equality.

Advancing gender equality isn’t just the right thing to do to end poverty and discrimination — it’s also good for health.

Analyzing data from 41 European countries, a recent study of gender and health in Europe by the World Health Organization found that men’s health was worse in countries with low levels of gender equality, Quartz reported.

While men tend to have shorter life spans than women worldwide, the report found that the discrepancies between men and women’s health outcomes were even greater in countries with higher levels of gender inequality.

Take Action: Sign this petition to #LeveltheLaw and empower girls and women around the world!

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Among European men, the majority of males die from injuries and non-communicable diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases and injuries are the two leading causes of premature male deaths in Europe, according to the WHO — and this could be exacerbated by gender inequality and stereotypes.

Traditional gender stereotypes that keep men in the role of breadwinner and systematic discrimination preventing women from equally contributing to their households and participating in the workforce can put additional stress on men, increasing their risk of health issues, according to the study.

Such non-communicable diseases as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes are often linked to unhealthy diets, stress, substance abuse, and other habits, which the report connects to behaviors often stereotypically seen as masculine behaviors like heavy drinking and smoking. 

Similarly, men, bolstered by cultural norms, tend to take more risks and engage in interpersonal violence more often than women, which could result in fatal injuries, the report found

And yet, despite these potentially life-threatening behaviors and habits negatively impacting health outcomes, gender stereotypes frequently discourage men from seeking the help they need.

Read More: Air Pollution Particles Discovered in Mothers' Placentas: Study

While the report stops short of saying gender inequality causes worse health outcomes for men, the data speaks for itself.

“Living in a country with gender equality benefits men’s health, producing, for example, lower mortality rates, higher well-being, half the chance of being depressed, a higher likelihood of having protected sex, lower suicide rates, and a 40% reduced risk of violent death,” the authors wrote in a report summary.

The report underscores the need for both men and women to fight for gender equality and to dismantle harmful gender stereotypes. 

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MARCH 12, 2019

 

 
 
ENVIRONMENT

Sir David Attenborough Backs Decision to Double UK Aid for Plastic Recycling

Recycling is vital for cutting down on waste, improving health, and generating green jobs.


Why Global Citizens Should Care 
There are multiple benefits of recycling in terms of impact for the UN’s Global Goals — including Goal 3 for health, by limiting the spread of disease as a result of rubbish pileup; Goal 5 for gender equality, by supporting female waste collectors in generating income; and Goal 14 for protecting life below water. Join the movement to end extreme poverty by taking action here in support of the Global Goals. 

Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has condemned the “hideous consequences” of plastic waste “to both humanity and to life in the seas, upon which we depend” during a speech in the UK parliament.

He was there for the announcement on Monday that UK aid support for plastic recycling in Commonwealth countries would be doubled — in response to the UK public’s “passionate response” to the issue of plastic pollution. 

Attenborough’s 2017 series Blue Planet II really brought to light the extent of the plastic pollution crisis, and encouraged some 88% of viewers to make changes to their lifestyles to limit their plastic use. 

Take Action: Encourage More Plastic Manufacturers to Incentivise People for Recycling

Actúa: Compártelo

 
 
 
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En asociación con: Coca-Cola Africa

During his speech, Attenborough made clear that there is also a great deal of work to be done in the UK, mentioning the “shame” in the amount of plastics we produce and questioning where this waste is ending up.

The announcement was made by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt at the parliamentary event on Commonwealth Day. 

 

Huge thank to Sir David, @britainleads @theodoraclarke @plasticoceans and everyone attending today’s event. We must tackle #plasticpollution now. Pleased to unveil latest announcements from @DFID_UK on an issue the public really care about #DoubleTheBudget 🐡🦐🐠🐟🐬🐋

 
 
 
 

“Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans,” Mordaunt said, highlighting the UN estimate that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 — unless we act now to reduce plastic use and improve how waste is managed. 

Related StoriesMarch 11, 2019This UK Charity Uses Recycling to Create Healthier, Greener Lives in Kenya

“That’s why I am doubling UK aid’s support to projects in developing countries to increase plastic recycling,” she said. “This will create jobs and reduce the harmful impact of plastic waste in our oceans. Cleaning up our environment is a win for us all.” 

The funding, which will increase from £3 million to £6 million, will really be focusing on pilot schemes that work to improve plastic recycling in some of the world’s poorest countries — some of which have already begun. 

One of these schemes, in Bangladesh, works with the country’s industry to increase the quality and volume of plastic recycling, particularly in clothes manufacturing. 

Another in Ghana, led by the Association of Ghana Industries, focusses on improving waste management and increasing recycling by encouraging investment from the private sector. 

Related StoriesJune 14, 201810 Facts About Plastic Pollution You Absolutely Need to Know

And a pilot in Uganda, due to be launched soon, will work by setting up partnerships between key businesses, the government, and the charity sector to boost the number of plastic bottles being recovered and recycled. 

So much of the ocean plastic pollution problem is a direct result of the mismanagement of waste on land. Some 2 billion people have no access to basic waste collection, meaning that their litter just piles up in the streets — or makes its way into the ocean.

Both of these outcomes can have devastating results on people’s health and the planet. Piles of rubbish encourage the spread of disease, and mismanaged waste can cause devastation for life on land and life below water. 

Meanwhile, people who make a living collecting waste are often women living in poverty, according to the Department for International Development (DfID). In Kampala, for example, some 80% of the 6,000 waste collectors are women.

Related StoriesJuly 23, 2018Plastic We Think We've Recycled Could Still End Up in a Landfill. Here's How.

By connecting these waste collectors with responsible businesses, UK aid and the International community can help improve their incomes as well as generating jobs, alongside the environmental benefits. 

The parliamentary event was co-hosted by the Coalition for Global Prosperity, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Prevention for Plastic Waste, and Plastic Oceans UK. 

The APPG on the Prevention of Plastic Waste is a group of cross-party politicians who monitor the progress of the 25-year environment plan in relation to plastic waste. 

Related StoriesNov. 1, 201888% of People Who Saw 'Blue Planet II' Have Now Changed Their Lifestyle

And Mordaunt also highlighted that she wants to be hearing from scientists, tech entrepreneurs, and business leaders for ideas in solving the plastic pollution crisis. 

Last year, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged £66.4 million to boosting global research into plastic pollution, and to help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. 

Mordaunt also announced during the event that she will be co-hosting a meeting with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastics Action Partnership, major brands, waste management companies, and investors, to get the conversation rolling on how the global plastic supply chain can become more sustainable. 

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French President Emmanuel Macron presents the first ever Simone Veil Prize to Aïssa Doumara, an amazing Cameroonian women’s rights activist.

Simone Veil International Prize

On International Women’s Day, President Macron launched the new International Prize to honour Shoah (Holocaust) survivor Simone Veil. Simone introduced the right to abortion in to French law in 1975 and was the first female president of the European Parliament. She passed away in 2017 and has become a real icon in France for women’s rights.

Simone Veil

Simone Veil

Each year, the Prize will recognize the courage and resilience of an individual or organization advancing women’s rights, upholding Simone Veil’s values.

A jury, including Friederike Röder, ONE’s EU and France Director, considered over 100 proposals for this year’s prize.

First winner – Aïssa Doumara

Cameroonian activist Aïssa Doumara is the first winner. President Macron presented her with the Prize at the Elysée in Paris, France.

Aïssa Doumara with President Macron and other members of the judging panel.

Aïssa Doumara with President Macron and other members of the judging panel.

Originally from the far north of Cameroon, Aïssa Doumara has been fighting against child marriage and sexual violence for more than 20 years. She was forcibly married herself at the age of 16, but fought to finish her studies before having three children.

“My own experience of gender discrimination has propelled me to become the activist for girls and women I am today” said Aïssa Doumara.

Today, Aïssa is Coordinator of the ALVF – an organisation combating violence against women, supporting girls from local communities. Aïssa works with women and girls that have been forced to flee their homes because of violence in Boko Haram on Cameroon’s border with Nigeria. She fights to ensure that they have access to the same services and support as others.

Aïssa Doumara accepts the Prize at the Elysée in Paris, France.

Aïssa Doumara accepts the Prize at the Elysée in Paris, France.

ALVF has also worked in partnership with organizations such as the World Bank and UN Women in Cameroon, making sure that any interventions and funding take account of displaced women and girls.

Winning the Simone Veil Prize means that the ALVF can keep working with young girls in northern Cameroon. They can strengthen the amazing work they do lobbying for change locally, nationally and internationally. And excitingly, they now have the possibility of extending their incredible work to other regions, supporting even more vulnerable communities.

Today, we admire Aïssa who shows undeniable resilience and courage, and has never stopped fighting for what she believes. We also pay tribute to Simone Veil whose struggles continue to inspire generations.

You can join the fight for women’s rights by adding your voice to our open letter for equality, co-signed by more than 40 activists from across Africa.

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54258031_10157328694408714_2068438524423569408_n.png?_nc_cat=1&_nc_ht=scontent.fmad3-8.fna&oh=a80a70acbc382e7a3d19b80a093b2b47&oe=5D196AF9

 

There are more ways than ever before to be an activist — and that’s why we're highlighting an#ActivistoftheWeek, every week. 
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This week, we're celebrating Cedric Asiavugwa. Asiavugwa was among the 157 people killed on Sunday in the Ethiopian Airlines Crash, in which we lost a dedicated champion for social justice. Among his many accomplishments, he worked on issues such as refugee settlement and food security. He even served as the assistant director of a free high school in Nairobi for orphans with HIV/AIDS. And that is just the start of it. Asiavugwa is an example of a true activist and we are inspired by all he has done.

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APRIL 9, 2018

 

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CITIZENSHIP

14 Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees Now

The Syrian conflict is entering its ninth year and your help is more needed than ever.

Why Global Citizens Should Care:
Over 6.1 million people in Syria are internally displaced, according to the World Bank, and about 2.5 million of them are children. The Syrian conflict has now entered its ninth year and millions of people are still trapped in the atrocities of this war. You can help by taking action here.

As the Syrian conflict enters its ninth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the humanitarian catastrophe that has now killed at least 370,000people since 2011. However the true number of lives lost could be much higher as the United Nations says the conflict has made it incredibly difficult to keep accurate count.

Take Action: Call for Education of Syrian Refugees

Actúa: Tuitea ahora

 
 
 
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En asociación con: HP Inc.

Over the last year, the war and its civilian casualties have shown no signs of letting up. The Syrian government, with help from Russian forces, have laid siege to residential areas of Aleppo, and captured rebel-held territories in the south.

Aided by Russian warplanes, the government carried out extensive airstrikes this week. Among the many targets, was a makeshift tent camp that provided shelter for displaced families east of the city of Idlib. Two women were killed and at least 10 children injured in the strike.

Read More: At Least 29 Syrian Refugee Children Have Died This Winter

The United States has been reluctant to get involved, but last year US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the US “remains prepared to act if we must.

On Jan. 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The order called, “Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” banned people from Syria indefinitely, and started a 90-day ban on visas for people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen — predominantly Muslim countries.

Read More: Mr. President, We Don’t Support Your Policy on Refugees

This included children, mothers, and families who were separated from one another. Fortunately, companies like Airbnb, Starbucks, and others stepped up, offering free accommodation for those stranded as a direct result of the policy.

You can step up, too. Here are 15 ways to help refugees NOW.


Syrian-Refugees-Ways-To-Help.jpgA Syrian displaced young girl who fled Raqqa city with her family carries a baby carseat on her head upon her arrival at a refugee camp, in Ain Issa town, northeast Syria, July 24, 2017.
Image: Hussein Malla/AP

Donate or Volunteer With the International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee works globally and has been providing critical humanitarian aid to Syrians since 2012. They provide services from cash vouchers for Syrians to purchase food, legal assistance, employment, and education.

In 2018, the IRC announced that it assisted 853,000 people in need of primary, reproductory and trauma care. Across Syria, the IRC provides lifesaving support to around 1 million people.

In the United States, you can sign up to volunteer at a local resettlement office. Learn more here.

Donate to International Red Cross

The International Red Cross is standing at the ready to help Syrians still trapped in Eastern Aleppo. You can support their efforts to treat the wounded, make sure children are properly fed and cared for, and to get people to safety as quickly as possible by donating here.

Donate to the White Helmets

The Syrian Civil Defence, also called the White Helmets because of their headwear, are on the ground helping Syrians in Aleppo. Donate here.

16 ways you can help syrian refugees now b1.jpgImage: Flickr: Freedom House

Work for refugees when they can’t

Double up your support by donating your time and money to refugees. Fear that refugees will take jobs, and lack of economic opportunities for refugees contributes to a difficult environment for refugees to generate income. Combine this with the lengthy time it takes to process work visas for refugees and it can be hard for refugees to feed their families.

This is part of what inspired #WorkforRefugees. A project from World Vision New Zealand where students contributed a portion of their earnings to charities supporting refugees. You can do this too. Donate a small portion of your effort to show support for refugees and #WorkforRefugees to show your efforts.

Translate for a Syrian refugee

Lend your time in any way you can with the skills and tools you have. If you’re awesomely bilingual, especially in Arabic, you have a great opportunity to help. Donate your time by translating for Syrian refugees. Being in a place where you don’t speak the language can be intimidating. Signing up to translate is a great way to help refugees understand their rights and surroundings in a new environment.

Help with legal support

Law students and practicing attorneys need to gain experience to master the law. One option to do this while helping refugees is by taking action. Use your budding legal skills toward those who need help the most. 

Refugees need help navigating complex laws around immigration status too. A group of law students realized that both could benefit from working together and created an organization that pairs law students and professionals with refugees (15% are Syrian) in need of legal assistance. If you have experience, or are looking to gain experience in the legal field you can join the International Refugee Assistance Project or learn more about it here.

Support doctors and medical needs

Doctors without Borders, also known as MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), provides support in Aleppo, and has doctors working in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. You can donate your time and efforts in many ways, Click here to learn more.

Voices_for_Refugees_Wien_2015_11.jpgImage: wikimedia: VolkshilfeÖsterreich

Airbnb your apartment or room with refugees

Through Refugees Welcome you can sign up to provide shelter to refugees by renting to them or offering to invit ethem in and room with them. The organization will even help you pay your rent and cover extra utilities.

In this story from NPR about Refugees Welcome, an asylum seeker and German roommates share their positive experience. German host Kakoschke says, "I think I just asked when we met the first time if it's OK for him that I drink alcohol. He said, 'Yes, of course, it's your life, do what you want with it.'"

Be like these adorable Canadian kids

 

While world leaders argue about what to do with the growing number of refugees fleeing Syria, these Canadian kids are excited to welcome new friends into their classrooms and communities. Adopting this attitude toward refugees is one more way to help.

Or 6-year-old Alex in the US, who pleaded to Obama to help bring Omran Daqneesh to safety. 

LEB_20160120_WFP-Abeer_Etefa_6770.JPGImage: Abeer Etefa World Food Programme ©

Read their stories

Refugee’s stories know no boundaries. Their experiences range from overcoming all odds to put together a team for the Olympics, to a cat that travelled hundreds of miles to be with the girl who saved him to tragic stories from families who lost loved ones in addition to their previous lives. It takes courage to tell your story, and the rest of the world can help by reading. Refugees what the world to know #IamSyrian, and the stories are powerful. Taking the time to learn what refugees are currently going through makes a difference.

Share their stories

Incredible stories of the perilous journey family members, children, and even cats make to find one another inspires and connects humanity in understanding where refugees are coming from. Sharing these stories allows more people to see Syrian refugees want the same things in life that all global citizens need — acceptance and their basic needs met.

8726792558_e76659e6ab_z.jpgImage: Flickr: Bread for the world

Write a letter to a refugee

So you’re not a doctor, or lawyer but if you’re reading this you can still lend your support by letting Syrian refugees know they’re not alone. Send a letter to a refugee through CARE. Find out more here.

Support businesses run by refugees

One of the biggest challenges refugees face is the economic challenge of finding work, and making enough money in a new country to support a family. There’s plenty of kickstarters and Go Fund Me campaigns to help support refugees like this man who began by selling pens to feed his family.

Think about what you would take

Share your empathy and stand in solidarity with Syrian refugees by sharing a tweet telling everyone #WhatWouldYouTake if you had to leave your home behind. Learn more check out how you can take this action here.


Maybe you’re not able to take on all of these ideas for how to help refugees, but by putting yourself in their shoes, reading stories, and talking about the Syrian conflict with friends and family you can expand the conversation and work towards ending this global humanitarian crisis. 

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MARCH 15, 2019

 

 
 
ADVOCACYEDUCATION

Rachel Brosnahan Wants Us to Put Girls' Education First

“Women are limited only by the possibility of what they can achieve.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Girls who receive a quality education have the power to stop climate change, strengthen the economy, and promote peace. To end extreme poverty, every girl must get a chance to learn. You can join us and take action on this issue here

Actress, activist, and Global Citizen Ambassador Rachel Brosnahan is showing just how fired up she is about girls’ education. 

The Emmy Award-winning star of the hit show The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselurged world leaders to ensure crisis-affected girls and women can learn on Wednesday night, in the opening speech of a celebration for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

Co-hosted by the Government of Ireland, the event highlighted Global Citizen’s #SheIsEqual campaign and invited leaders to commit to ending gender inequality.

Take Action: Keep Crisis-Affected Girls in School

 

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
 
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Brosnahan shared her recent experience visiting Venezuelan refugees in Peru. In February, Brosnahan joined Global Citizen to meet with young children and resilient women in the border town of Tumbes whose lives were devastated in the aftermath of an El Niño event in 2017, and who fled Venezuela’s current humanitarian crisis (more than 3 million people have fledviolence, poverty, and hunger in the country since 2015). 

“Women are everyday heroes — so many do extraordinary things each day to make life a little better for their families, their communities, their countries, and the world,” Brosnahan said.

Read More: Rachel Brosnahan Used Her Emmy Speech to Deliver an Important Message: Vote!

 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

Massive thanks to @USAID and US Government staff for meeting with me last week to reflect on my time with @glblctzn in Peru. We discussed the urgent need to support education through @educannotwait to help kids, esp. girls, heal & rebuild from trauma. See you at #CSW63 tonight!

 
 
 
 

She remembered two women in particular: a mother and grandmother of two young children named Evans and Kauri, who are encouraging the girls in their family to follow their dreams and prioritize education. Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund set up to deliver education in emergencies, is supporting UNESCO to rebuild schools that were destroyed by mudslides in their community.

Graham Lang, education senior adviser at ECW, said on Wednesday that the organization needs more funds — and fast — to stand up for girls.

Brosnahan introduced a video by Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, and asked the Irish government to follow through with the €250 million commitment to girls education that was made on stage at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival. In the video, Coveney noted the country’s international development policy “A Better World,” launched in February. Gender equality and women’s empowerment make up one of its top four priorities, “because, as everyone in this room knows, when women succeed, we all succeed,” Coveney said. 

Esther Ngemba, a former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congoalso took the stage to deliver a speech on how she’s learned from experience that education is the only solution to end war. Brenda Madumise-Pajibo, who helped launch South Africa’s biggest citizen movement #TotalShutdown in 2018 to fight against gender-based violence, reminded attendees how important it is to protect women and girls.

 

.@ENgemba, a former refugee from DRC, says education is the most important thing. As a refugee of war, she knows education and knowledge is the one thing that no war can take from her.

“I didn’t choose to be a part of a war, but I choose to be part of a solution to end it.”

 
 
 
 
 

.@NoraFyles, Head of United Nations Girls' Education Initiative @UNGEI says we must ensure that schools are safe and free of gender based violence and textbooks allow girls to see themselves as being successful in any career. #CSW63 #SheIsEqual

 
 
 
 

 

 

Brenda Madumise-Pajibo of the #TotalShutdown says that if we hope to achieve gender equality for women and girls, we must stamp out gender based violence and patriarchy.

 
 
 
 

 

There are 420 million children living in conflict-affected areas around the world, according to Save the Children, and 130 million of them are girls. Girls living in conflict-affected areas end up suffering the most –– they are 90% more likely to miss secondary school and lose out on a chance to reach their full potential. Young refugee girls are especially vulnerable when they lack opportunities to learn. Dropping out of school leads to higher rates of child marriage, exploitation, and trafficking. 

“Because women are limited only by the possibility of what they can achieve, it is critical we empower them as much as we can,” Brosnahan said.  

“And central to that is the need to educate every girl, everywhere, and make sure every woman has the full support of her government, of big businesses, and of institutions in addition to community support to reach her full potential.” 

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CITIZENSHIP

6 Myths About Cash Bail Reform, Debunked

Eliminating the cash bail system does not mean that communities will become less safe.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
About 2.3 million people in the United States are incarcerated — and nearly half a million of them have not even been found guilty yet. Instead, they remain in jail because they cannot afford to make bail. The cash bail system hits people living in poverty the hardest and reforming the system is crucial to tackling the issues of poverty and discrimination in the US. You can take action here.

Approximately 465,000 people in jails across the US have not yet been convicted of a crime, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. And many of them remain in jail for days, weeks, or even years simply because they cannot afford their bail.

In order to avoid spending long periods in jail — unable to go to school or earn income — many people plead guilty. And while they may get out of jail faster, they also go home with a criminal record. But even just a few days in pretrial detention can cost people their jobs and housing, and takes them away from their families and communities, which can have long-lasting effects.

Take Action: Tell New York's Governor to End Cash Bail and Set a Nationwide Precedent for Bail Reform

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Today, cash bail, initially intended to ensure that defendants appear for their court dates, is instead perpetuating poverty cycles in the United States, and further disenfranchising poor communities of color, who are arrested and incarcerated at disproportionate rates.

Still there are many misconceptions about what reforming the cash bail system would look like. Below, we clear some of those up.


MYTH 1: There's no need to reform the cash bail system because bail is set at fair and affordable amounts.

Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack in 2010. He was arrested and his bail was set at $3,000, a sum he and his family could not afford. Browder, then 16, spent three years in jail on Rikers Island in New York City without ever being sentenced. He died by suicide in 2015 not long after finally returning home.

In 2017, a senior citizen in San Francisco, California, had his bail set at $350,000 for allegedly stealing a bottle of cologne and $5 from his neighbor. He remained in jail for more than 250 days before being convicted because he could not afford his bail.

Randall McCrary, a mentally ill man in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested that same year for disorderly conduct and his bail was set at $500. Unable to afford that amount, McCrary languished in jail for over two-and-a-half months, during which time the government discontinued his disability support, the New York Times reported.

These stories are far from uncommon. 

The median bail set for felony charges is $10,000, despite the fact that 4 in 10 Americans would not be able to come up $400 in an emergency, according to the Federal Reserve.

In 2015, the median annual income of a person in prison prior to being incarcerated was about $15,000, which reflects an even greater issue: Americans born into families living in poverty are more likely to be incarcerated.

Simply put: the American cash bail system makes it a crime to be poor.

 

MYTH 2: "Violent offenders" will be free to "roam the streets."

Cash bail has not been proven to keep communities safer; in fact, it may do the opposite.

In a recent letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, more than a dozen prosecutors from around the country urged the state to end cash bail, saying “research shows that people who spend even a short period in jail, as opposed to being released pretrial, are more likely to commit a future crime.”

“This makes sense. Jail is traumatizing. Jobs are lost. Families can’t pay rent. For reasons big and small, people who are away from their family, their job, and their community become more vulnerable and less stable. That makes all of us less safe,” the letter says.

The cash bail reform proposals currently under consideration in New York include measures like individualized hearings and expanded pretrial services that would help ensure greater safety and fairness.

While eliminating the cash bail system would allow most people accused of a crime, though not yet found guilty, to be released until their trials, reform proposals do include safeguards.

Governor Cuomo’s proposal, for instance, recommends the use of pretrial detention only when their release would pose “an identifiable risk to another person’s safety,” according to the Vera Institute of Justice.

Other states that have ended or are shifting away from the use of cash bail — including New Jersey, Kentucky, and Arizona — have replaced the system with various risk assessment tools. Judges can use this tool to decide whether to “remand” higher-risk defendants, meaning hold them in jail until they are arraigned, or release them with supervision. Defendants released under supervision are typically subject to requirements like GPS-monitoring ankle bracelets and drug tests until their hearing, but no bail.

However, these tools are not without flaws. While they rely on data to determine a defendant’s risk of skipping their court date and their “dangerousness,” critics of these tools, including the ACLU and NAACP, point out that they can produce racially discriminatory and gender biased results because they rely on flawed data.

For example, in Broward County, Florida, risk assessment algorithms were more likely to rank black defendants high risk than white defendants — not because the algorithm factors in race, but because of the deeply rooted bias and systemic inequality that leads people of color to be arrested at higher rates, the New York Times reports. And it’s this history of arrest, whether ultimately found guilty or not, that the algorithm considers.

Instead cash bail reform advocates emphasize the need to hold individual hearings to determine whether to release or remand those accused of violent crimes and to incorporate input from communities into the development of risk assessment tools.

Governor Cuomo’s current bail reform proposal moves away from the more controversial uses of risk assessment tools, toward establishing a more equitable and effective pretrial system, and has been praised by criminal justice advocacy groups like the Vera Institute.

Read More: Why It's a Crime to Be Poor in America

 

MYTH 3: People are more likely to skip their court dates without bail.

Washington, DC, largely moved away from the cash bail system nearly three decades ago, and yet the overwhelming majority of defendants have shown up for their appointed court dates, the Washington Post reports.

The city released 94% of people arrested without bail in 2017 — and 88% of those people made every one of their court dates, DC Judge Truman Morrison told NPR. That’s likely because many people who miss their court dates in the first place aren’t “on the run,” according to the Appeal, a criminal justice-focused media outlet. More often, defendants who “fail to appear” at their hearings are unable to afford transportation, child care, or simply forgot.

 

MYTH 4: Crime rates will increase if cash bail is abolished.

Since eliminating its cash bail system in 2017, New Jersey has actually seen crime rates plummet. While experts can’t say for sure if the bail reform measure directly caused the decrease in crime, the data shows eliminating cash bail has not led to an increase in crime as some opponents of cash bail reform had predicted, WNYC reported.

 

MYTH 5: Eliminating cash bail will put crime victims in danger.

Critics of bail reform have said that overturning the system will particularly endanger victims of these alleged crimes; however, crime victim advocates have also joined the call for cash bail reform.

In New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged to end cash bail, victim advocates have been included in the New York State Justice Task Force’s efforts to reform the system. The group has suggested measures for reform that would also help protect victims, including giving judges discretion to consider the safety of specific groups or individuals — for example, victims of domestic violence — when determining whether or not a defendant should be released without bail.

Crime victims in the US are also more likely to come from low-income communities and be people of color — the same demographics that disproportionately feel the negative effects of the cash bail system. Pretrial detention and cash bail place an incredible strain on the family members of defendants, so reforming cash bail could also have positive effects on these communities as a whole.

Read More: Usher Calls on New York to End Cash Bail and Set an Example for the US

 

MYTH 6: Bail reform will be expensive and cost taxpayers large amounts of money.

While it’s true that cash bail reform won’t come cheap, if done well, it should save state and local governments money over time.

About $14 billion of taxpayer money goes toward supporting pretrial detention every year, the Pretrial Justice Institute reports.

Most reform measures include establishing better pretrial services and reducing pretrial detention. While increasing and improving pretrial services will cost money, such services are far less expensive than the cost of pretrial detention, according to the Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program.

In Los Angeles County, pretrial detention costs about the city about $177 a day per person, while releasing the defendant, even with conditions, costs $26, at most — meaning cities could save millions of dollars every year by eliminating the cash bail system.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz reported that Philadelphia could save over $75 million a year by reforming its cash bail system. Bail reform measures in Ohio could similarly save the state an estimated $67 million, the Washington Post reported.


What You Can Do

You can help advocate for cash bail reform by calling your state and local legislators to let them know you support reform measures and advocate for the elimination of discriminatory policies.

You can also help those in pretrial detention by donating to a bail fund. These funds are nonprofit organizations that help bail those who cannot afford their bail out of prison. Because bail money is typically returned to defendants after they meet court requirements, bail funds are able to use donated money over and over again to bail more people out jail. Find one in your state (or elsewhere) here.

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HEALTH

Infectious 'Kissing Bug' Disease Could Be Cured in Just 2 Weeks With New Treatment

Chagas disease affects an estimated 6 to 7 million people around the world.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
In addition to the well-known diseases of poverty, such as HIV/AIDS, cholera, and malaria, there are others that are much less well-known yet just as threatening — neglected tropical disease (NTDs). These are diseases that we know how to treat or prevent, but without adequate attention, they cause severe disfigurement, disabilities, and social stigma. You can take action on this issue here.

Victims of a neglected tropical disease (NTD) called Chagas disease can now be cured in just two weeks, according to research published Thursday.

The study, by Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), revealed that a new two-week regimen of the drug benznidazole, which is currently used to treat Chagas via a 60-day program, was just as effective as the longer treatment — but caused fewer side effects.

Chagas disease is an infectious disease caused by a parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) that is transmitted by the triatomine bug. The bugs bite exposed skin, generally around the lips — which is how they get their nickname "kissing bugs."

Take Action: No Woman Should Suffer From Diseases We Know How to Treat or Prevent

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Chagas disease has two phases: the acute phase and the chronic phase. The initial phase shows little to no symptoms, but if the disease develops into the chronic phase, it can lead to heart disease, which can lead to death or progressive heart failure.

Chagas is most common in Central and South America, but the disease has spread to other parts of the world, too.  

“There’s a few problems with the current treatment regimen in that, at the current dosage schedule, the toxicities are quite high,” said Dr. Peter Hortez, professor and dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

 

Because of its intense side effects, like rashes, fever, vomiting and sleeping issues, 20% of patients do not finish the current treatment course of 60 days.

“It’s being used in resource-poor areas in Latin America predominantly, and so ensuring follow up and access to patients for long a period of time is also very challenging,” Hortez told Global Citizen.

He believes the new two-week regimen could be beneficial, as it will make it a more viable option and reduce side its toxicity.

Related StoriesJan. 18, 2018Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical DiseasesNeglected Tropical Diseases: The Most Dangerous Diseases You’ve Never Heard of

No severe adverse side effects occurred in any patient participating in the two-week trial, according to the study.

“We can change history,” Sergio Sosa Estani, DNDi’s head of of the Chagas clinical program and one of the study’s researchers, told Global Citizen. “Because we can improve certainly the compliance of the patient, [and] the compliance of the doctors, because the doctors will be more comfortable to prescribe the treatment.”

Estani believes that their research will significantly improve access to treatment for people most in need. He also believes that by targeting women with treatment, they could prevent congenital transmission of Chagas worldwide.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s certainly a welcome one for a disease that affects an estimated 6 to 7 million people around the world.

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