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The Action Thread Part Two

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CITIZENSHIP

New Zealand's PM Called for a Global Fight Against Racism. What Would That Look Like?

It starts with acknowledging the deep roots of racism.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United Nations’ Global Goals call on countries to promote inclusivity and tolerance. The recent terror attack in New Zealand shows how deeply entrenched xenophobia remains around the world. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Following the Mar. 15 terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for a global effort to root out racism and bigotry, according to the BBC.

She said that the background of the terrorist, who was born and raised in Australia and traveled the world, shows that bigotry is an international threat that requires international coordination to overcome.

"What New Zealand experienced here was violence brought against us by someone who grew up and learned their ideology somewhere else,” she said in the interview. “If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries."

Take Action: This Inequality Cannot Go On. Ask the World’s Richest People to Help End Extreme Poverty

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En asociación con: Move Humanity

Since the shooting, Ardern has repeatedly condemned bigotry and she announced a ban on assault rifles on Thursday.

Defeating racism at a global level is another matter altogether — but Ardern could instigate progress.

“I hope she’s serious, because her representatives at the UN could call on both the General Assembly and Security Council to have a special session on the matter,” Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston who has written numerous books on the history of racism in the US, told Global Citizen. “Experts could be brought on, and an action plan could be developed if she’s serious.”  

The United Nations has long campaigned to eliminate racism and xenophobia, and recently adopted a new resolution that outlines a strategy for achieving this outcome. The global organization releases reports on the various forms of xenophobia, invites everyday people to fight racism in their daily lives, and advises governments on policies that promote tolerance and inclusivity.

Read More: The New Zealand Terror Attack Is an Urgent Reminder There's No Room for Hate in This World

As the UN acknowledges, defeating racism, wrapped up as it is in nearly every aspect of society, is no easy feat. But there are broad steps that can be taken in the short and long term to get there.

The first step, according to historians who spoke with Global Citizen, is to actually acknowledge the depth of racism in modern life and its historical precedents.  

Ardern was right in pointing out how the terror attack in Christchurch reflects the pervasive nature of bigotry, according to Kari Winter, professor of American Studies at the University of Buffalo.

“It’s so clear in New Zealand that the problem is not a local problem,” she said. “This is a terrorist from Australia who’s heavily influenced by a Norwegian terrorist and who also cites people like Donald Trump. We’re not looking at an isolated locality, we’re looking at a global phenomenon that touches on global conditions.”

Racism has deep roots in modern society and it’s up to governments and people to reckon with this history on a regular and ongoing basis.

Read More: Women Who Wear Headscarves Are the Most Frequent Targets of Anti-Muslim Attacks: Survey

Horne used the US, where white supremacist violence has surged in recent years, as an example.

“The US was the first apartheid state,” Horne said. “We should not see it as incidental or accidental that Africans were enslaved, that Native American land was taken, that immigrants fresh off the boat from Europe got benefits and there only recently has been a global struggle to change that.

“Until we face the mirror and confess to our own sins, with regard to the ugly history of this country, I don’t think we can move forward,” he added.

Acknowledging this history also means recognizing how it actively shapes the present moment.

All around the world, racial and other inequities take many forms.

Racism on a structural level means that marginalized communities are more likely to face poverty, environmental pollution, violence at the hands of the state, and discrimination in health care, the workplace, and education.

On an interpersonal level, racism shows up all across social media and in the daily real-life interactions people have. The terrorist who killed at least 50 people in New Zealand was heavily influenced by white supremacist subcultures online, according to the New York Times.

YouTube, in particular, has become a clearinghouse for white supremacist and other bigoted views, and demands for the social media channel to more effectively regulate hate speech have increased recently. Other social platforms such as Facebook have been shown to fuel real-world violence, including the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, and Twitter is often accused of being slow to remove hateful language.  

Read More: What You Should Do If You Witness an Internet Hate Crime

While social media often creates opportunities for hate, it can also be used to challenge racism by calling out overt acts of bigotry and highlighting instances of discrimination.

That’s a step in the right direction, according to experts. Contending with racism means seeing the connection between everyday instances of discrimination and racist rhetoric and larger acts of violence. In New Zealand, for example, Muslims are routinely subjected to discrimination and racist insults.

But fully tackling racism requires legislative action at all levels of government in all countries, according to Horne.

The United Nations calls for numerous policy changes to combat racism. Oftentimes, these suggestions involve improving the material conditions of people living in poverty — improving access to education, health care, and nutrition, for example. They also include much stronger protections for marginalized groups and greater law enforcement against hate crimes.

In the US, for example, Horne said that a congressional hearing could be opened up to investigate the infiltration of white supremacists into police departments and the military. Better oversight of law enforcement, meanwhile, could end the seeming impunity of officers accused of killing unarmed black men, he said.

Throughout the US, progressive district attorneys have been working to end racial inequities in the criminal justice system.

Read More: How South African Students Woke the World to the Brutalities of Apartheid

Although racism takes different forms in every country, bigotry everywhere shares key features. As a result, it’s important for countries to draw lessons from each other.

The fight against apartheid in South Africa, for instance, showed how a system of extreme racial hierarchy and state-sanctioned violence can end when countries around the world come together to demand change.

Racism is still pervasive in South Africa, but a pernicious system was dismantled.

Today, countries need to once again step up and declare that white supremacy and xenophobia have no place in modern society, experts say. But this time, according to Horne, they have to mean it.

“I don’t think we have a deficit in ideas," Horne said. "The problem is a lack of political will and political strategy to unflinchingly face the ugly reality."

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We are at a turning point in the fight against disease. Each of us has an enormous opportunity to take charge of our lives using food to transform our health.

Buy bestselling book by @drwilliam li to learn how 👉http://amp.gs/4wZH

 

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CITIZENSHIP

5 Powerful Tributes to Love and Acceptance in the Wake of the New Zealand Terror Attack

Art therapy transforms pain into beauty.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
A noticeable rise of Islamophobia in recent years has manifested into far-right terrorism and extreme acts of violence against innocent people. Global Citizen works to support the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call on all nations to promote peace and justice and fight hate wherever it exists. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

On Friday, 50 people were shot to death across two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a white supremacist to spread fear and ignite hatred. The terror attack is the worst mass shooting in the nation's history.

 

In the days following the attack, the initial sense of horror soon gave way to an outpouring of grief. Mourners worldwide stood in solidarity with Muslim communities, with vigils and flowers left at places of worship across the globe — proving time and again that diversity, kindness, and compassion trumps racism and bigotry.

Many mourners have also begun processing the trauma through art.

Read More: The New Zealand Terror Attack Is an Urgent Reminder There's No Room for Hate in This World

Below, check out five powerful and artistic tributes that have gone viral from people attempting to heal and make sense of last week's horrendous attack. 

1. 
 

this is the only way i know how to cope with this world, i draw. i love you all and am here for anyone who needs anything at all 💛

 
 
 
 

 

Twenty-five-year-old New Zealand artist Ruby Rose drew this stunning depiction of two women hugging. The illustration has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media, including by model Gigi Hadid and New Zealand-born director of the Thor: Ragnorak film, Taika Waititi. The illustration has also been left on the steps of mosques throughout New Zealand and portrayed on vigil messages across the world.  

 

2. 

New Zealand cartoonist Shaun Yeo decided to draw a cartoon of a kiwi crying just 30 minutes after hearing the news of the attacks from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, according to Stuff News. The image was initially shared to Yeo's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account. The Facebook post has been shared — as of Wednesday — 42,000 times.



3.

 


Across the pond, Australian illustrator Rebel Challenger drew a koala hugging a kiwi, representing Australia consoling New Zealand. The image has been shared by thousands of Australians, many of whom consider the relationship between New Zealand and Australia to be that of siblings.

As news of the Friday attacks unfolded, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced: "Australia and New Zealand are not just allies, we’re not just partners, we are family.”



4. 

 

 

Schoolchildren in the New Zealand capital of Auckland expressed their condolences and sorrow by using their bodies to form a large heart on the oval of their school. Above the heart, students arranged themselves to form the words “kia kaha,” which translates to “stay strong” in Maori — the language spoken by the Indigenous population of New Zealand.

 

5.

 

New Zealand artist Paul Walsh painted a mural of teacher Naeem Rashi to honor the victim who was killed as he attempted to take down the gunman and protect his son. The painting, located in Christchurch’s Avondale Art Park, features the words “remember the heroes." Rashi was originally from Pakistan, and Walsh explained in the copy of his Facebook post that the murals green and black coloring represents Pakistan and New Zealand "united in mourning." 

"I wish I didn't know who Naeem was. I wish he were back at his job as a teacher today, and I wish I were painting something else,” Walsh further stated in the caption. "But some coward changed everything, and I have had to respond in the only way I know how; by honoring the lives of my fellow New Zealanders who didn't make it home on Friday. We will not forget you.”

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Nepal Officials Reaffirm Goal to Destroy Deadly 'Period Huts'

Punishment for forcing women to live in poor conditions while menstruating is becoming more severe.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Societies around the world attach shame to menstruation. Nepal is tightening its laws around menstrual huts to protect women from life threatening gender discrimination. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Nepal’s government is going to great lengths to protect women and girls of reproductive age.

The country is implementing new tactics to stop ”chhaupadi,” a long-standing tradition that banishes women and girls to huts while they’re menstruating, the Guardian reports.  

Take Action: Urge Leaders to Step Up for Women’s Rights and Health

 

The country’s Supreme Court first criminalized the act in 2005, and in 2017, it became punishable with three months in prison and a 3,000 rupee fine. But many Nepalese families continue to take the risk out of fear that women who experience the bodily function are impure and bad luck. Just last week, 35-year-old mother Amba Bohara and her two sons were found dead in a menstrual hut in Western Nepal’s Bajura province — a reminder of the country’s ongoing issue. 

“It’s been a year and we are trying to make people aware about chhaupadi,” Janak Bhandari, ward president for Bhandari’s village in Achham district toldthe Guardian of the newly enforced fines.

The government is also cutting off state support services for anyone who is caught honoring the tradition. One Nepalese woman named Dilu Bhandari told the Guardian she was outraged to learn the news, but since destroying her menstrual hut can now safely stay in her home during her period.

Read More: A Nepalese Mother and Her 2 Children Suffocated in a 'Menstrual Hut'

Bhandari reported 20% fewer women are putting their lives at risk by sleeping in menstrual huts since the country tightened up its laws. 

But advocacy groups say progress is moving slower than authorities are letting on. Pasupati Kunwar, president of the women’s rights advocacy group Sama Bikash Nepal, told the Guardian chhaupadi has only declined among 60% of the country’s population, versus 95% when she first started campaigning against it 10 years ago. 

 

Last week, Parbati Bhuda died in Nepal while in a Chhaupadi hut, a practice meant to keep girls away from the community while on her period. She is one of more than a dozen girls who've lost their lives going through this menstrual exile.

 
 
 
 

“People who make policy and run programs — and even human rights advocates — often don’t fully understand the impact a woman’s monthly period may have on her ability to go about her life if she doesn’t have what she needs to manage it,” Amanda Klasing, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said on the obstacles facing menstrual hygiene.

Communities around the country are trying to find their own solutions. Ramaroshan, a rural municipality in Achham district, built a temple to create a safe space for worship that allows women and girls to stay home while menstruating. However, this fix doesn’t destigmatize menstruation and further perpetuates the cultural norms that stop women from participating in their society. Between 10% and 20% of girls around the world stay home from school because they lack the ability to manage their periods safely, according to the World Bank.

“This ill-practice has to end soon and we are working on this,” Kaushila Bhatta, a Dadeldhura district chairperson, told the Guardian.

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ENVIRONMENT

A Plastic-Eating Robot Shark Was Just Deployed off the UK Coast

The shark can gather 15.6 tons of waste per year.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Plastic pollution is causing immense harm to the world’s ecosystems, and governments around the world are beginning to curb plastic production in accordance with the United Nations’ Global Goals. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

A marine drone called the WasteShark is busy cleaning up plastic waste off the coast of Devon in the United Kingdom, according to the Independent.

The “shark,” an electric vehicle that traverses waterways, can autonomously gather up to 132 pounds of plastic waste at a time. If it’s deployed five days a week, it can remove 15.6 tons of plastic waste from a body of water per year, according to the machine’s creator, the Dutch technology company RanMarine.

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 4.42.16 PM.pngRanMarine

“WasteShark is cheaper, greener, more effective, and less disruptive than other methods of dealing with marine litter,” said Oliver Cunningham, chief commercial officer at RanMarine, told the Independent.

“We hope to see our drone in cities and towns — wherever humans live on water — around the world,” he added.

Take Action: Protect Our Oceans! Prevent Ocean Plastic Pollution

The WasteShark has been deployed in five countries already and the first iteration in the UK was spearheaded by the environmental nonprofits World Wildlife Fund and Sky Ocean Rescue.

The two groups have long advocated against plastic waste in marine ecosystems and see the WhaleShark as a useful tool in preventing animals from being injured and otherwise harmed.

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 4.42.48 PM.pngRanMarine

Each year, at least 8 million tons of plastic waste enter bodies of water, and more than 5 trillion pieces of microplastic currently contaminate the oceans. All of this plastic waste has been shown to harm everything from turtles to whales to coral to tiny amphipods that live at the bottom of the deepest marine trenches.

Read More: Why You Should Probably Never Use a Plastic Straw Again

“The marine protected areas in north Devon are home to some of the country’s most incredible coastlines and marine life, but plastic is having a devastating effect on our oceans,” Jenny Oates, UK seas program manager at WWF, told the Independent.

“The WasteShark will help us fight the rubbish that enters the harbour, snapping it up before the tide takes it out to sea and it ends up threatening wildlife in other precious marine areas,” she added.

WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue hope that the WhaleShark gets deployed in other bodies of water throughout the UK, but regard the machine as a minor player in a much broader effort to rid the oceans of plastic.

 

 

Today we launched #WasteShark 🦈 with @WWF_UK, An autonomous robot that can swallow up to 60 kg of floating debris every outing; reducing the risk of harmful rubbish entering our seas and threatening wildlife. ⛔️ Do you live near a seaside town that could use one of these?

 
 
 
 

 

Read More: Why Global Citizen Is Campaigning to Reduce Plastic Waste in the Oceans

The most important component in that effort, the groups argue, involves governments taking action to restrict how much plastic is produced in the first place. After all, if plastic had never entered bodies of water in the first place, then the WhaleShark wouldn’t need to exist.

So far, more than 60 countries have restricted plastic production and companies around the world are working on sustainable alternatives. For example, major consumer good brands are trying to revolutionize the takeout cup, transition to a “milkman model” of containers being returned and cleaned after use, and eliminate plastics altogether.

Other organizations are working to clean up the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes. Massive beach clean-ups have been staged by everyday citizens in India, Norway, and Thailand. An ambitious project to eliminate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been spearheaded by a college dropout. And companies like Ikea are deploying their own plastic-collecting machines.

As news of the WhaleShark spreads, it will likely be deployed in rivers, lakes, and coastlines around the world.

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Cyclone Idai: Death toll passes 500 in southern Africa
REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Stranded.
DEVASTATION

Cyclone Idai has left 500 people dead and devastated southern Africa’s most vulnerable

By Lynsey ChutelMarch 22, 2019

Cyclone Idai has devastated the Mozambican city of Beira and turned it into an inland lake. The city of 500,000 people is at the epicenter of one of the worst natural disasters to hit southern Africa in decades.

Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe are still coming to terms with the immediate impact and aftermath of the storm, a week after it made landfall on southeast Africa’s coast, ripping through the region at speeds of up to 194 km (120 miles) an hour. An estimated 1,6 million people are believed to be affected, towns and villages remain submerged, and the death toll in the three countries has surpassed 500.

Idai’s timing and target could not have been worse, hitting already vulnerable communities in some of the continent’s poorest countries just before harvesting season.

Floods_imaged_by_Copernicus_Sentinel-1.j
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY/COPERNICUS SENTINEL 1
The extent of the inland flooding from Beira.

Floodwaters spilling out from the region’s Pungue and Buzi rivers now cover a massive 2,165 sq km-area (834 square miles), according to the UN, far exceeding the width of the initial storm. The water levels created inland islands, marooning hundreds of people across the region, and stretching rescue operations.

Flooding from Idai has almost completely submerged Beira, cutting it off from the rest of the country. The emergency wing of its central hospital is non-operational, a major grain terminal has been damaged, and dam has collapsed outside of the city, according to the UN’s Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

“Beira is pretty much paralyzed, with many…going hungry, and without food and shelter,” resident Samuel Fenis told the UN Environment agency. At least 242 people have died in Mozambique alone. As the extent of the damage unfolds, it’s becoming clear that president Filipe Nyusi’s estimate that as many as 1,000 people are dead could be confirmed.

AP_19080597552204.jpg?quality=75&strip=a
AP PHOTO/TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI
Cut off in Mozambique.
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AP PHOTO/TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI
Destruction in Beira.

After making landfall in Mozambique, Idai travelled more than 300 km (186 miles) to Zimbabwe, killing at least 139 people, with dozens more still missing. It travelled across Sofala and Manica provinces, leaving behind flooding so severe that entire villages have been wiped out. The area remains inaccessible, with an estimated 100,000 people stranded, according to the UN, making it difficult to ascertain the true extent of the damage. As rescue workers wade through the disaster zone, there are reports of people still huddling on rooftops, waiting to be rescued. Families have resorted to digging through mudslides to find their relatives still trapped.

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared two days of national mourning. Already facing a protracted economic crisisand food shortages, Zimbabwe has issued desperate calls for aid and assistance in rescue missions.

“Whatever crops that were being grown despite the drought have now been destroyed in the floods, and these districts will need the help of the international community now more than ever,” Paolo Cernuschi, Zimbabwe country director at the International Rescue Committee, said in a statement.

The cyclone did not cross into Malawi, but the resulting floods killed at least 56 people, and displaced 82,700.

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AP PHOTO/TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI
A family dig for their son in Zimbabwe.
AP_19078550612873.jpg?quality=75&strip=a
AP PHOTO/TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI
Rescuers in Zimbabwe.

Aid agencies have made desperate appeals for funding, revealing the extent of the devastation. The World Food Programme says it needs $121 million to help those affected in Mozambique alone. The UN aid agency’s operations in Malawi will require $10.3 million for just two months of assistance. In Zimbabwe, $5 million will be needed to provide food, logistical support and a response in the affected districts where 90% of property has been damaged.

UNFPA and Unicef have also dispatched teams to the region to assist women and children, whose vulnerability is exacerbated in disasters such as this.

RTS2DY60.jpg?quality=75&strip=all&w=940
REUTERS/CARE INTERNATIONAL/JOSH ESTEY
Most vulnerable.

The storm’s impact shows the need for better preparedness and warning systems, the UN environment agency has said. As the extent of the damage wreaked by Idai is revealed, state and non-governmental agencies are flocking to the affected region to help, and discovering that Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will need far more than expected.

Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

This Ethiopian entrepreneur is breaking tradition to empower women

24 October 2018 4:48PM UTC | By: ABLE

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In this series, we’re introducing you to strong and savvy female entrepreneurs from Ethiopia who have partnered with social enterprise and lifestyle brand ABLE.

Semhal Guesh grew up in Ethiopia hearing a phrase many young girls her age did not: “You can do whatever you want.”

Now 27 years old, it’s no coincidence that Semhal has become a designer, architect, and entrepreneur. She now runs Kabana, a leather production company in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, and through her company, she helps other women realise their full potential.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294
“Most of my life, my father told me I could accomplish any ideas that I had; that I had no limits,” said Semhal. “In Ethiopia, every family is male-dominated and sons are given more chances than daughters. But with my dad, that was not the case.”

Semhal recognizes that if she had grown up in rural Ethiopia or with parents less encouraging than her own, she might have been expected to stop her education at 12 years old and get married. Instead, Semhal dreamed of becoming an astronaut or an astrophysicist because she hadn’t seen a lot of women in those professions. But it was architecture that won over Semhal for the ability to create something both beautiful and functional.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294While studying for her Bachelors in Architecture, she picked up a few leather samples at a local market and began designing with it. Suddenly, her dormitory transformed into a small workshop with a handful of women hand stitching products to sell at bazaars.

“By day, we’d go to lectures and we’d make leather products at night,” said Semhal. “It was more about the joy of designing and turning our work into an actual reality. It wasn’t to earn money. It was something we could do together.”

After graduation, Semhal began working in architecture full-time while still managing to grow her leather business. Her supervisor at the architecture firm saw her passion and encouraged her to spend more time focused on her growing leather company until she eventually made the decision to devote all her time to Kabana.

“It was a hectic time, but my motivation was seeing how the job and income were changing the life of my first employee,” said Semhal. “She came to me with minimum knowledge or experience, but I taught her how to cut and stitch leather and design development. In time, I saw her changing, knowing what to do, and unafraid to share her ideas because she had the freedom to speak out. I thought ‘I’m paying somebody who supports their family. I’m part of the generation that’s creating opportunities and income for her.’”
ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294
Today, Semhal and her staff of 31 are in high demand, thanks in part to her background in architecture, which gives her an eye for design and an understanding of technical specifications. Kababa creates handmade leather bags, wallets, folders, and custom products for clients in Ethiopia, the U.S., and Sweden.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294

On a mission to give other women the same support she has received, Semhal is focused on motivating the women she hires to expect more for themselves. She enrolls her employees in different training programs to help them realize their value and potential, invests in their new business ideas through loans, offers paid time away from work, mentorship, and coaching.

“Everyone is shy in Ethiopia, especially girls,” said Semhal. “I tell my employees about myself, how I got to where I am, and that not everything is easy. Then I push them to have a conversation with other women. I want them to know they don’t have to be closed off.”

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294Thankfully, Semhal believes her country’s view of women is changing, evidenced by recent changes such as the government’s decision to back women’s education and the creation of various leadership and professional associations.

As more doors open for women in Ethiopia, Semhal continues to raise the bar on women’s equality, safety, wages and benefits in the workplace. Through her company’s partnership with ABLE, Kabana has undergone the ACCOUNTABLE social impact audit and found opportunities to improve her wages, maternity leave policy, medical coverage, and employment practices.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294“Ethiopia doesn’t have a set minimum wage policy,” said Semhal. “When ABLE introduced liveable wages to KABANA, it gave us a new benchmark.”

“I want to show that you can be an entrepreneur and be young and a woman,” said Semhal. “It takes a lot of convincing, but I’m not one to back away from a challenge. Breaking the tradition starts with hearing the stories about other women and their success.”

ABLE is publishing its lowest wages to protect and empower the fashion industry’s most vulnerable workers, most of whom are women. To provide consumers with complete transparency, all their partners must go through the rigorous and exhaustive ACCOUNTABLE assessment, evaluating their workplace’s equality, safety, wages and benefits, with a particular emphasis on women. To learn more about ABLE’s #PUBLISHYOURWAGES movement that inspires consumers to demand greater transparency of their favourite brands, visit www.livefashionable.com/publishyourwages.

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

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CULTURE

5 statements from Mandela that we should all be inspired by

17 July 2018 6:06PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Nelson Mandela accomplished more in his lifetime than most people even dream of and his legacy is built upon the persistent messages of hope, encouragement and wisdom he shared with the world.

Perhaps most importantly, Mandela’s gift of speech and ability to inspire continues to unite people in the belief that they too have the power to take action and create change.

On what would have been his 100th birthday, we’re doing our part to make sure his legacy lives on by sharing some of the most inspirational things he said.

via GIPHY

Here are the five quotes we reflect on time and time again to motivate us in our fight to change the world!

1. “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.”

2. “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”

3. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

4. “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation.”

5. “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”

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5 incredible female entrepreneurs you need to know
330
GIRLS AND WOMEN

5 incredible female entrepreneurs you need to know

24 September 2018 11:50AM UTC | By: EMILY MILLER

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It’s not easy being a female entrepreneur anywhere in the world. But for women and girls living in countries where they’re denied the freedom to control their own finances it’s even harder to build a successful business.

We know how vital women’s economic empowerment is. When women and girls control their finances, it doesn’t only change their lives, it can change their communities, countries, and the world for the better. If gender gaps in work and society were narrowed, global GDP would increase by at least $12 trillion by 2025! How is that for amazing?

That’s why we’re taking the time to celebrate some of our favorite female entrepreneurs who are living the slogan “empowered women, empower women” and bringing gender gaps to a close:

1. Ellen Chilemba

At just 18, Ellen Chilemba founded Tiwale Community Based Organization — an organization empowering women and girls across Malawi with business and leadership skills. The Tiwale team has trained over 150 women and helped 40 start their own businesses! Ellen’s dedication to women’s economic empowerment hasn’t gone unnoticed. She’s been featured in Glamour, Forbes, and even “Humans of New York”.

2. Victoria Awine

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(Courtesy of Cargill)

“I have worked in a cocoa plantation in Sefwi for as long as I can remember,” says Victoria Awine, a cocoa farmer in Ghana. This cocoa entrepreneur has owned and operated her own farm on 3 hectacres of land since 1980. But in 2014, Victoria enrolled in the Cargill Cocoa Promise — a program that provides female farmers access to training, financial services, and other key resources. Victoria’s crops have increased production threefold since her enrollment and the extra income is helping her support her four children!

3. Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper

Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper is an entrepreneur in Liberia’s fashion industry. (Courtesy of Myeonway Designs.)

Wilhelmina Myeonway Cooper is an entrepreneur in Liberia’s fashion industry. (Courtesy of Myeonway Designs.)

Wilhelmina is a Liberian fashion entrepreneur who did something few women in her community do — started her own pop-up shop. After launching Myeonway Designs, Wilhelmina realized she couldn’t afford a shop for customers to purchase her bags. So, she brought together other small business owners in the community to launch a space where they could all sell their products.

“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing women who are really impressive, who want the best for you, and the best for themselves and this country,” Wilhelmina says. Despite facing many challenges, she has grown her pop-up enterprise from 9 vendors to 50!

4. Reyna Araceli Reyes Sorto

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Reyna dreamed of being a doctor when she was a girl in Honduras, but lack of access to higher education kept her from achieving her dream – but she didn’t let that stop her. With help from Nourishing the Future, a partnership between CARE and Cargill, Reyna mastered entrepreneurial skills to build a new future for herself and her family. Now, she is selling corn to businesses in her community and even putting her new skills to work helping empower other women with the knowledge they need to thrive!

“I feel very motivated and satisfied with what I’ve learned. I’m training as a micro-entrepreneurial leader in issues such as women’s leadership, accounting, business ideas, and food security.”

5. Sylvie Isimbi and Freedah Nyirahakiziyaremye

“Internet is everything for us,” says Sylvie, the store manager of Turikumwe Art Center. Using social media, Sylvie is bring attention and attracting new customers to the shop’s handmade clothing. More than 70 single mothers are benefiting from Sylvie’s social media advertising, including Freedah. The skyrocketing sales have helped Freedah afford her children’s school fees and save money to build her own home!

If you believe female entrepreneurs can change the world, add your name to our Poverty Is Sexist open letter.

Content in partnership with Cargill

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14
GIRLS AND WOMEN

5 feminist lessons from Melene Rossouw and Phoebe Robinson

March 26 2019 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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Take action for women everywhere

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It’s not every day two amazing female activists get together to discuss equality. But that’s exactly what happened when Phoebe Robinson and Melene Rossouwwere together in Zambia recently! They joined each other for an Instagram Live interview where they talked all things on equality and empowerment.

Phoebe Robinson is a comedian, best-selling novelist, and podcaster for Two Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys. When she’s not taking the internet by storm, she’s advocating for ONE and (RED)!

Melene Rossouw is an attorney in South Africa. She’s also a founder of the Women Lead Movement (WLM), which educates women on their constitutional rights, how to campaign, and how to hold governments accountable. You might recognize her as one of the spokeswomen of our gender equality open letter!

There’s plenty of incredible insights in their conversation. But if you weren’t able to catch their full Q+A live on our Instagram, don’t worry! We’re breaking down the biggest takeaways (including — a lot needs to be done before we achieve gender equality).

Here are five things we need to achieve gender equality according to Melene + Phoebe:

#1. Demand world leaders to act

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On International Women’s Day, we released our fifth annual Open Letter to world leaders. Over 40 co-signers, including Melene, contributed to this letter that demands genuine progress towards gender equality.

Why? Melene put it best:

“While you are dragging your feet to put in place a comprehensive policy and the framework that will protect women, that will promote women’s interests, they are being abused. They are being victimized. They are being sidelined. They are being undermined every day of their lives. And that, we are saying, is unacceptable.”

#2. Create change locally

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World leaders need to step up for women everywhere. While their role in equality is essential,  we need local change, too.

“The promotion of gender equality should start at the family,” says Melene. “As much as gender inequality is a pervasive issue that touches on education, touches on health, poverty, economic opportunity … it starts in the family. It is how we are brought up. It is how we become accustomed to certain gender roles.”

Local communities can bring about big changes, as well. Community engagement is a huge part of Melene’s work at WML.

“We believe that the solutions to most of these social ills, including the issue of patriarchy and the issue of gender inequality, can only be solved in communities,” says Melene.

#3. Inform women and girls on their rights

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How is Melene fighting for gender equality? By teaching women and girls about their rights. When people are aware of their rights, they have the power to demand change. But without that knowledge, women and girls may not know that they can fight back, or how to do it.

“How do we start empowering women to become change agents in their community if they don’t even understand that they have rights and can enforce these rights?”

Melene is on a mission to achieve gender equality through human rights. If we’re ever going to end extreme poverty, women and girls must have equal opportunities to succeed.

#4. Provide education for all

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Educating women and girls on their rights is vital, but the learning can’t stop there. Access to education opens a world of opportunities for people everywhere. But, the world leaves women and girls behind too often.

Before they went live on Instagram, Phoebe and Melene spent the day with female students who dream of growing up to be journalists, teachers, and nurses. The girls they met love learning and have incredible ambition.

But, too often, girls living in poverty face challenges in getting an education. Obstacles like school fees and lead to girls dropping out of school and abandoning their dreams. When girls receive an education, they are better able to combat poverty.

“The key to change everything is education,” says Phoebe.

#5. Make sure everyone plays their part

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There are lots of moving parts in the fight for gender equality. No matter where you are, you can contribute to the fight. This includes men, who need to be part of the shift towards a more equal world.

In our daily lives, we can be part of conversations that create a better understanding of the issues and how to solve them. Sharing knowledge between people creates a domino effect that helps bring these issues to light. Making room for equality and activism essential.

“It needs to be part of our everyday life. It needs to be part of our dialogue.”

Are you ready to play your part? You can join Phoebe, Melene, and thousands of people across the world by signing this open letter to world leaders.

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NOBLE PROFESSION

A Kenyan teacher just won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize

By Jenny AndersonMarch 24, 2019

Peter Tabichi, a Kenyan math and physics teacher, won the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize at a star-studded event in Dubai Sunday (March 24).

Accompanied by his father, Tabichi said the prize showed that “teachers matter” and that “teaching is a noble profession.”

Tabichi left his job at a private school to join the Keriko Secondary School (in Pwani Village, Nakuru, Kenya), where 95% of the students are poor and almost a third are orphans. Drug abuse, teen pregnancies, drop-outs, and suicide are common, and the school has one computer, poor internet access, and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1.

In spite of those circumstances, Tabichi’s science students have won various national science competitions, and qualified to participate at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2019 in the US. In 2017, only 16 out of the school’s 59 students went on to college, while in 2018, 26 did.

Actor Hugh Jackman awarded the prize at the Atlantis in Dubai, performing music from The Greatest Showman and offering heartfelt tributes to each of the 10 finalists. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, in a video message, said Tabichi’s story showed that Africa is “a young continent bursting with talent.”

The teacher prize ceremony caps the Global Education and Skills Forum, a glitzy three-day conference considered the “Davos of education.” Dozens of education ministers and leaders from around the world joined to discuss teaching, technology, and learning science. On Saturday night, a concert included performances by Rita Ora, Little Mix, and Liam Payne.

The prize was set up by the Varkey Foundation to shine a spotlight on teaching at a moment when there is a severe global teacher shortage and research shows that it will take poor countries up to 100 years to close the learning gap with richer ones. “By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world,” the foundation said.

The event is a massive celebration of teachers, who often work with little recognition and poor pay in severely resource-constrained environments. Tabichi is the fifth winner of the prize, which has also been won by an American, a Brit, a Palestinian, and a Canadian. Last year’s winner was Andria Zafirakou, an art and textiles teacher at Alperton Community School in the UK whom Quartz recently interviewed.

“Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations,” Tabichi said. “Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.”

The prize is paid over 10 years. Recipients are meant to have practices that can be scaled, are innovative, and impact the community beyond the classroom. It also awards practices that help children become global citizens, “providing them with a values-based education that equips them for a world where they will potentially live, work and socialise with people from many different nationalities, cultures and religions.”

“If you don’t fail, you don’t learn, and if you don’t learn, you can’t change,” Tabichi said.

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https://www.rte.ie/player/series/nationwide/SI0000001172?epguid=IH000367868&fbclid=IwAR3bIDMJNWS2JHkRl2AdTP-QobhMRFEkT1syMoKOqVhm0hjoVopf_tsm1Jc

In case you missed Music Generation Carlow's feature on RTÉ's Nationwide two weeks ago, you can view it now on RTÉ Player!

In celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge Music Generation Carlow's ‘Music @ Mount Leinster’ festival featured on the programme. Each year the festival welcomes 100+ young and professional musicians for a week of Irish traditional music making. Watch the episode back for an insight into this wonderful event!

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New figures show that almost 2,300 people with a learning disability and/or autism are currently in institutions. These people can be subjected to physical restraint and over-medication.

We want the Government, NHS and local authorities to work together to provide the right support for people with a learning disability in their local communities.

Sign the petition and help create real change: https://bit.ly/2urpADX 👈

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Lovely photos from our volunteer, Fiona Gannon, who was part of last week's monthly Medical Team.

These monthly teams spend one week volunteering on CCI's Programmes, specifically our De-institutionalisation and Medical Care Programmes. All of our volunteers are instrumental in the our implementation of initiatives that offer better prospects for the future and better healthcare for those residing in Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum. This includes integration and familiarisation visits into the local town and learning how to independently navigate within communities.

This team brought children on young adults on the bus, to learn about local travel, with a stop off for some pizza, of course!

www.chernobyl-international.com

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La imagen puede contener: 8 personas, personas sonriendo, personas comiendo, personas sentadas, tabla, comida e interiorLa imagen puede contener: 5 personas, personas sonriendo, personas sentadas, tabla e interiorLa imagen puede contener: una o varias personas, personas sentadas e interior

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas y personas de pie

La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, sentado e interior

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#LEITRIMSHEALTHISWEALTH2019

We are going to be streaming live for Leitrim's Health is Wealth 2019

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Leitrim Observer Reporter

25 Mar 2019

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Get set for Leitrim's Health Is Wealth free seminar

Live stream available.

 
 
 
 

The Leitrim Observer will be providing a live streaming link for coverage of Leitrim's Health Is Wealth 2019.

This will allow those unable to make The Bush Hotel this Wednesday evening, March 27, to view the speakers online.

We will be providing a live link on the night from 6pm so don't forget to tune in to see what's happening.

The line-up on the night includes: 

MC, Paul Williams.

Speakers contributing on the night include Adi Roche from Chernobyl-Ireland who will be speaking about her years of volunteer work. Alan Quinlan, former rugby international and journalist. Alan will be talking about his own experience of depression and also his recovery from this. Kristen O’Reilly, a local girl, who was bereaved of both her parents as a teenager. She will be talking about resilience and how to cope with adversity. Mikey Drennan, former Aston Villa, Sligo Rovers and presently St Patricks Athletic soccer player, discusses his experience of depression, gambling and isolation. Professor Geraldine McCarthy – Consultant Psychiatrist with Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services will be discussing healthy ageing and local initiatives. John Lonergan, former governor of Mountjoy Prison will be discussing his observations of human nature and of Irish society and finally, Angela Hayes, founder of the Thomas Hayes Trust whose family has been bereaved by suicide.

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In exactly one month, the world will come together to commemorate the third annual CCI initiated Naciones Unidas Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

Today we're taking a moment to remember Sasha's heartfelt message ahead of the first commemoration in 2017. This video, which Sasha filmed in our Independent Living Unit, touched the heart of the nation and went on to feature on RTÉ News.

Thank you, Sasha, for this incredible video and for using your voice to advocate for others affected by Chernobyl.
#UNChernobylDay

 

 

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71
GIRLS AND WOMEN

Is ‘sexist’ data holding women back?

14 February 2019 5:35PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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“Sexist” data is making it harder to improve women and girls’ lives, the world’s leading philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates said on Tuesday in an open letter.

The couple warned that a lack of focus by researchers on gender and a disdain for what were perceived as “women’s issues” were resulting in “missing data” that could lead to better decisions and policies, enable advocacy and measure progress.

“The data we do have – data that policymakers depend on – is bad. You might even call it sexist,” Melinda Gates wrote in their annual letter discussing the work of their foundation, one of the largest private charities in the world.

Gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to human progress, the United Nations said last year, with studies showing that when girls stay in education, they have more opportunities and healthier children, which boosts development.

But data often does not take gender into account and is flawed by biased questions, said the husband and wife team behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Because women in developing countries are primarily seen as wives and mothers, most of the data about them focuses on their reproductive health, not their earnings and assets, they said.

“You can’t improve things if you don’t know what’s going on with half the population,” wrote Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp.

The couple said mobile phones offered a powerful tool to allow women to build new connections, gain economic freedom and challenge restrictive social norms, for example by buying contraceptives online.

“If you’re a woman who has never stepped into a bank, mobile banking offers you a foothold in the formal economy and a chance at financial independence,” said Melissa Gates.

“You gain opportunities to connect with customers, trainings, and professional organisations – all from your home.”

Toilets also emerged as a feminist issue, with the couple hailing a next generation of facilities which can kill pathogens and produce useable by-products such as fertiliser.

Safe toilets worldwide would especially benefit women and girls, they said, who risk assault while using public facilities or may be forced to skip school when on their periods.

International aid groups agreed more of a focus on women and girls was needed.

“We can’t improve what we fail to measure,” Richard Morgan, international advocacy director at the child rights charity Plan International, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Bringing visibility to girls and women is the first critical step in improving their lives.”


This story was originally reported by Sonia Elks and edited by Katy Migiro for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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

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Ebola Responders Face 2 Problems. The Solution To One Could Make The Other Worse

LISTEN·4:274:27QUEUE
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March 19, 20194:19 PM ET
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A police officer stands guard by a window riddled with bullet holes in an Ebola treatment center in Butembo, a city in Democratic Republic of the Congo. The center has been attacked twice in the last month.

John Wessels/Getty Images

Editor's note: This post has been republished with updates to reflect the latest count of new cases of Ebola in Congo.

This week the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo took a worrisome turn: The number of people reported sick each week has started to rise precipitously.

Compared to mid-February, when the tally of new cases had been brought down to as low as 24 per week, the figures for this most recent week are on track to double — bringing the total number of infected over the last eight months to nearly 1,000.

World Health Officials say the shift is largely the result of an upsurge in recent weeks of direct, and often deadly, attacks against the health workers trying to respond to the outbreak.

But the pileup of incidents can obscure a crucial feature of the trend that makes it hard to address: The attacks actually fall into two very different categories which call for very different solutions.

The first category consists of coordinated assaults by organized groups such as criminal gangs or the dozens of rebel militia that have long clashed with the government.

 

The second category of attacks are spontaneous eruptions of rage by members of the community who mistrust responders when, for example, they show up to take suspected Ebola patients in for testing and treatment.

To counter the attacks by organized groups, the government has been bringing in military, police and U.N. peacekeepers to provide protection for health workers. But there's growing concern that that very approach is sowing further mistrust and fueling additional resistance among ordinary people.

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Soldiers from the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of the Congo outside an Ebola Treatment Center in Butembo.

John Wessels/Getty Images

The widespread mistrust isn't just an issue because of the violence it sets off. It's the reason significant portions of the population still refuse to get vaccinated against Ebola. It's also why anywhere from a third to half of deaths from Ebola are taking place in the community. That's a sign that people aren't willing to bring a sick family member forward for treatment – and also a potential source of spiraling transmission, since Ebola patients are at their most infectious around death.

Indeed all parties involved in the response – including WHO and the government – now say that convincing the population to overcome its mistrust is the key to ending the nearly eight-month long outbreak — which has already infected nearly 1,000 people.

"We have to win over the hearts and minds and trust of the community," says Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said that was his main takeaway from a fact-finding trip he made to the outbreak zone this month.

But how do you win hearts and minds while also countering assaults by armed groups?

Redfield got a taste of the complexity when he stopped at an Ebola treatment center in the outbreak zone that had been attacked by gunmen in February. According to the government the attackers had come from a local militia. Congo's government had quickly re-opened the center. But hours before Redfield was due to arrive, the center, in a city called Butembo, was attacked again.

"It was a foggy morning," says Redfield. "And this group came in through the fog."

Redfield says the government told him these particular attackers were members of a city gang that wanted to extort money from the center. They shot a policeman dead and hacked at two nurses with machetes before Congolese military chased them off.

When Redfield met with the staff, he says, they were visibly shaken. "They were courageous. They're committed to doing their work," he says. But they also made a point of telling the Minister of Health Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga – who was accompanying Redfield – that "the thing they were concerned about was their safety."

The incident suggests a slippery slope by which Ebola treatment centers can become effectively militarized. This particular center was originally run by the aid group Doctors Without Borders and did not use armed guards — in keeping with the group's longstanding policy. But after the first attack, Doctors Without Borders suspended its work there, citing the security risk to its staff.

According to Redfield, once the government took over, it deployed both a police guard around the front of the center and a military guard near the back. And that was before this latest attack that has had staff clamoring for even more security.

A similar dynamic has been affecting burials of suspected Ebola victims. Normally they are handled by the Congolese Red Cross. But Dr. Jacques Katshitshi, who oversees the teams, says after the recent attacks it's become too dangerous to work in a lot of communities without an armed escort. Like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross insists on maintaining strict neutrality. "Never! Never! For the Red Cross we can't use an escort," says Katshitshi.

So he says the result is that, at least for now, about 70 percent of burials in the epicenter are being done by government teams with armed guards.

Katshitshi says he's sympathetic to their logic. Still he notes, "militarizing the response is not a good way to operate. Using armed forces is the last option."

After years of civil war many people view the government with suspicion. It doesn't help that the epicenter of the outbreak is a stronghold for the government's opposition. And that last winter the government used the Ebola outbreak as a justification for barring people there from voting in national elections.

As a result, many people have concluded that Ebola is a scam cooked up by the government and aid groups to raise money and control the population. And that impression is likely to be strengthened when a bunch of strangers in hazmat suits escorted by armed guards from the government show up to bury their relatives.

To get a sense of how deep-seated that mistrust can be consider the latest attack on Ebola responders – just last Thursday. According to the government, a resident of a community called Biena had just died of an illness that health workers suspected was Ebola. When they tried to take a blood sample from the body, the relatives and others in the community became enraged. They then ransacked a "transit" facility where people suspected of having Ebola are housed temporarily while they wait for test results. In the ensuing melee, police shot and killed a bystander.

Several aid groups are hoping to surmount the mistrust by enlisting more people in the community to take a direct role in the Ebola response.

For instance, a Senegal-based medical aid group called ALIMA is rethinking how it runs the transit centers for suspected Ebola patients.

Nicolas Mouly is an emergency coordinator for the group. He says the current setup has been for ALIMA to operate one large transit center serving a wide area. It's not surprising that people resist coming in.

"It's far from them. They don't really know what happens inside," says Mouly.

So now ALIMA wants to open smaller transit centers in many communities – "where the population knows the staff, knows the area and would be more willing to go for treatments."

ALIMA is currently setting up a pilot version, with more to follow if it works well.

This hyper-local approach is also now being emphasized by the Red Cross's Katshitshi. He has scaled up an effort to train teams within as many neighborhoods as possible to do the burials themselves. That way it will no longer be strangers burying a loved one, he points out. It will be people the family knows and trusts. So far he says he's got about ten teams up and running, though it will take many more to cover the vast area of the outbreak zone.

The challenge with this approach says Katshitshi: "Going slowly. It needs many, many dialogues with the community before they accept the approach. We cannot, just because we are in an emergency situation, go quickly."

In fact, the experience in a city called Beni, suggests "it takes around three to four months to build community trust," says Jean-Philippe Marcoux, DRC country director for the aid group Mercy Corps. Last fall Beni was the epicenter of the outbreak – with both the highest number of cases and repeated instances of violent resistance to responders. But a concerted campaign to reach out to both local chiefs and youth leaders ultimately turned around public opinion. Today the caseload has been brought down to practically zero – even as a new flare-up started in the current epicenter around Butembo.

The time-consuming nature of community engagement is why Mercy Corps has begun a massive community education campaign around Ebola in the major city of Goma, which is about 200 miles from the outbreak epicenter and has not yet seen infections.

If the current situation has taught the world anything, says Marcoux, it's that "we must put much more emphasis on community engagement – and especially in areas that are not yet affected. So when and if they become affected we don't face the same challenges."

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CITIZENSHIP

Brunei Set to Stone LGBTQ People to Death Through New Law

The country backed down in the face of international pressure once before.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Violence against LGBTQ people around the world is extremely common and often receives the approval of the state governments. The United Nations’ Global Goals call for an end to all xenophobia and strong protections for LGBTQ people. You can join us in taking action on equality and more here.

Brunei is expected to enact a series of violent new punishments for a range of actions on April 3, including stoning people to death for engaging in same-sex relations, according to Amnesty International.

The development was recently spotted by human rights groups in a document from December by the country’s attorney general, in which he described how new punishments would be implemented as part of the country’s adoption of Sharia law.

Take Action: Demand Leaders Create a World Where She Is Equal

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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Same-sex relations are already outlawed in the country, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and the government has long sought to more harshly criminalize the act.

In 2014, Brunei introduced an initial form of Sharia law that outlawed pregnancy outside of marriage and failing to pray on Fridays, according to ABC Australia. International outrage over the government’s actions delayed its full implementation, but now the government appears to be quietly going forward with its plan.

Brunei has a population of around 400,000, 67% of whom are Muslim, and it’s ruled by a Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, according to the New York Times.

The new measures expand the range of offenses considered illegal and dramatically increase the type of punishments available for them. In addition to same-sex relations, the new law also punishes adultery and robbery with stonings, whippings, and amputations.

Read More: LGBTQ Refugees Face Unimaginable Trauma, But They’re Rising Up

“To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “Some of the potential ‘offenses’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.

“These abusive provisions received widespread condemnation when plans were first discussed five years ago,” she added.

Globally, more than 73 countries outlaw homosexuality. LGBTQ people in eight countries can face death for engaging in same-sex relations, and multiple other countries with Sharia law on the books could in theory implement similar punishments, according to the World Economic Forum.

More broadly, LGBTQ people face discrimination, harassment, violence, arbitrary imprisonment, and torture all around the world. In recent years, a war on gay men has been underway in Chechnya, LGBTQ refugees have been attacked in Kenya, and violence against LGBTQ people in countries like Egypt and Russia has surged.

“LGBTI rights remain under attack internationally,” Chhoa-Howard told Global Citizen via email. “Criminalisation of any kind of LGBTI people creates a climate that legitimizes discrimination, harassment, and violence against anyone perceived to be gay or lesbian.

“In the face of attempts to dehumanize and demonize LGBTI people, we must stand up to defend their rights, wherever we are,” she added.

Read More: As Egypt Continues Its LGBTQ Crackdown, Activists Say Media Can Help

At the same time, LGBTQ rights have improved in some countries. Twenty-four countries currently recognize same-sex marriage as legal, and 43 countries consider homophobic attacks a hate crime, according to Amnesty International.

Although Brunei is a small country, the legalization of murderous homophobia would a dangerous step backward for the world, according to Amnesty International.

The country backed down from these violent measures in the face international pressure in 2014, and activists hope another global campaign could be similarly effective.

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Chhoa-Howard said in a statement. “The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

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ENVIRONMENT

Koalas Should be Listed ‘Endangered’ in New South Wales and Queensland, Environmental Groups Announce

According to the World Wildlife Fund, koalas in New South Wales could be extinct by 2050.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Humans are destroying animal habitats at an alarming rate and species that are vital to our ecosystem are going extinct. Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, including Goal 13: Climate Action and Goal 15: Life on Land. You can join us and take action here.

 

A portion of Australia’s koala population is currently at risk of extinction, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia revealed.

The environmental nonprofit has urged the Australian government to change the listing for koalas from "vulnerable" to "endangered" in both New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. The decline, WWF and other environmental groups stated, is due to loss of habitat thanks to excessive tree-clearing for urban development.

Take Action: Share How a Fresh Start for the Environment is Leading to a Fresh Start for People

 

"In NSW it is still perfectly legal to bulldoze millions of hectares of koala habitat under permissive state laws," said WWF Forest and Woodland Manager Stuart Blanch in a media statement. "Koalas could be extinct in NSW by 2050."

 

Thank you for adding your voice to help #SaveKoalas.

With NSW koalas on track to be extinct in the wild by 2050, they need our support now more than ever. Send your message here: https://wwfau.org/2RJu2qP 

 
 
 
 

Loopholes in NSW and Queensland construction limitations continue to allow “essential infrastructure” to be built on hectares of eucalypt forest. To gain permission to clear land, building developers must choose between paying a financial settlement or providing new habitats for the marsupials.

In 97% of cases, building developers are allocating to pay.

This month, WWF Australia, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and additional leading environmental organizations released Australia’s first independent plan to save koalas from extinction. Spearheaded by ecologist David Paull, the plan recommends strengthening state and federal laws, ending native forest logging on public lands, and establishing a new federal Environment Act.

 

Tony Burke could have, as Shadow Environment asked Ministers Hunt, Frydenberg and Price to protect the Koala over the last 6 years. Why didn't he? @GregHuntMP @Tony_Burke @JoshFrydenberg @Melissa4Durack @LeeanneEnoch @P_McCutch

 
 
 
 

While Deborah Tabart, CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation, agrees that koala populations desperately need protection, she told Global Citizen the new WWF campaigning is misfocused.

"Successfully listing koalas as endangered is a several-year process," Tabart told Global Citizen. "Koalas were already listed as vulnerable in 2012. Due to this listing, they should already have significant protection. This campaigning is just regurgitating what was done seven years ago."

Related StoriesOct. 4, 2016These Are the Most Endangered Animals in the World

In 2011, a Senate Committee delivered a unanimous report that called for koala populations to urgently be protected under federal laws. A Federal Recovery Plan was supposed to have been written and finalized by 2014. It was never completed.

"The bottom line is we should recall for the Recovery Plan to be written. Regardless of an endangered or vulnerable listing — the plan will be the same," Tabart added. "Better still, the Australian Koala Foundation already has a Koala Protection Act. The relevant ministers already know this act is ready to go and that it would save koala habitats. The law is already in place; it is just not being enacted."

Related StoriesFeb. 11, 2019Sea Turtle Populations Soared by 980% After Legal Protections: Report

Since European settlement, 80% of Australia’s eucalyptus forests have been cleared. Forests have a significant role in curbing climate change by absorbing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. However, when forests are bulldozed down, the carbon stored in the trees is released back into the atmosphere. Globally, deforestation accounts for around 15% of emissions, second only to fossil fuel burning.  

Beyond koalas and other animal species, 1.6 billion people rely heavily on forests for their food, shelter, and medicine.

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