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The Action Thread Part Two

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Even flat tyres couldn't stop our group of hard-working volunteers from making sure that vital humanitarian aid reaches those in need this Easter!

We would like to wish a very happy Easter to team who are en-route to Belarus with life-saving aid for children and families who have been worst affected by Chernobyl. They have selflessly given up Easter with their families and loved ones to undertake this very important work.

It is so greatly appreciated and we know that your presence will mean the world to those in greatest need.

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

La imagen puede contener: automóvil y exterior

 

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Christine is breaking sexual violence stigma in Sudan
1
GIRLS AND WOMEN

Christine is breaking sexual violence stigma in Sudan

26 March 2019 5:41PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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Children born of rape in South Sudan’s civil war must be integrated into their families and communities to ensure lasting peace in the country, aid worker Christine Ngbaazande said on Monday as she won a prestigious award.

Sometimes looked on as enemies, such children are often rejected not only by their communities but also by their mothers, said Ngbaazande, who works for global charity World Vision.

Ostracised, they grow up with few options, leaving them vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups which perpetuates the violence, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Yambio in the south of the country.

Ngbaazande was named winner of the Bond Humanitarian Award, which recognises hidden “superheroes” working in often dangerous environments.

Rape has been used as a weapon of war in South Sudan, where conflict has killed about 400,000 people and uprooted millions more since flaring up in 2013, two years after the country gained independence from Sudan.

Ngbaazande, a 41-year-old mother-of-three, works with faith, community and youth leaders, as well as women’s groups, to counter the stigma faced by children born of rape.

“The girls cannot accept these children, and family members are not interested in supporting them,” she said.

“But these children are God’s children … and they are the future generation of the country.”

One of the girls she has helped is a 13-year-old who was raped by armed men after becoming separated from her parents during violence. After giving birth, she left her baby at a church.

“After a lot of counselling she has accepted the child. She has a nice relationship now with him,” Ngbaazande said.

Changing attitudes is hard

“It’s not easy to change mindsets – especially with men. It’s not easy for them to accept what a woman is saying,” said Ngbaazande, who, unusually for a woman, zips around Yambio on a motorbike.

She recalled one case where a father forced his 14-year-old daughter to marry a 65-year-old man, threatening to kill her if she refused. When the teenager fled to the bush she was raped and became pregnant.

The aid worker said the father eventually realised he had made a mistake and welcomed back the girl and her child.

Ngbaazande’s passion for her work is partly spurred by her own experience as a refugee, having been forced to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo as a teenager.

She said abandoned and stigmatised children were at risk of joining armed groups “because they think there is nothing else they can do in their life”.

“My work is to ensure these children are integrated because the best place for a child to be is in a family,” she added.

“If we don’t intervene and just leave these children … it increases violence. That’s why this work is very important. It creates peace (in) communities and in the country.”

The conflict was triggered by a dispute between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar. The two men signed a peace deal in September.

Previous agreements have unravelled, but Ngbaazande says her country has turned a corner.

“I believe 100% we have a permanent peace,” she said. “The challenge now is how to restore total peace to the minds of our vulnerable women and children who have experienced a lot of violence – and give them hope.”

This story was originally reported by Emma Batha and edited by Claire Cozens for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

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1.1k
GIRLS AND WOMEN

How this amazing school quickly improved girls’ attendance

23 May 2017 2:36PM UTC | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO

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Poverty is Sexist: Join the movement

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When Jennifer Thuo talks about her students, it’s with enthusiasm and a wide smile.

“One thing I can say with pride is that I have helped improve the lives of girls,” she says. “I believe they are the future game changers and should be supported in every way.”

Jennifer, the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, Nairobi.

Jennifer, the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, Nairobi.

Jennifer is the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, an informal settlement on the Eastern side of Nairobi. Before she started working in this less affluent part of the city, Jennifer had not given much consideration to the difficulties girls encounter when they start their period.

“In my previous school, the children were from relatively privileged backgrounds and could easily buy disposable pads,” she says. “But when I moved here I realised that most girls cannot afford them, and it’s hard for them to attend school because of that.”

In a 2015 study of over 3000 women in rural Western Kenya, 75% of females reported using commercial pads and 25% used traditional materials such as cloth or items like paper or tissue, which can be unhygienic and could lead to infection. In the same study, one in ten 15-year-old girls reported engaging in sex for money to buy sanitary pads.

Students at work at City Shine Secondary School.

Students at work at City Shine Secondary School.

Lydia Gikandi of City Shine Foundation first realised that menstruation was impeding girls’ education when she noticed girls dropping out of school as they entered puberty.

“Most of them could not afford pads and wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to school,” says Lydia.

This was one of the issues that forced Fridah, an 18-year-old student at City Shine, to miss three or four days of school every month.

“It was really tricky,” she says. “My mum was not able to buy me pads, and I was afraid of coming to school when I was on my period.”

Fridah and her friend Rosemary at school.

Fridah and her friend Rosemary at school.

Seeing so many bright and promising young girls drop out of school inspired City Shine Foundation to partner with AFRIpads, a social business that locally manufactures reusable sanitary pads. Now, every girl receives a packet of pads at the beginning of the school year.

Since then, according to Jennifer, there has been a noticeable decrease in girls dropping out or missing school because of their menstruation. Fridah, too, says that she and her friends who use Afripads rarely miss school because of their period.

AfriPads provides supplies to the students of City Shine Secondary School.

AfriPads provides supplies to the students of City Shine Secondary School.

But both staff and students agree that simply having access to sanitary products is not the ultimate solution. For the girls, the biggest and most positive change has been the shift in attitude towards their bodies and knowing that they should not feel ashamed of them.

“We use the distribution of sanitary pads as an entry point to talk about other issues affecting the girls,” says Lydia. ͞”We talk to them about menstrual hygiene, sexual health, and about their place in the world as women.”

Menstrual health education is now included in the school’s curriculum, and boys also take part in the lessons. Now, Fridah can’t help but laugh at the idea that she should be embarrassed about her period.

Female students in class at City Shine Secondary School.

Female students in class at City Shine Secondary School.

Adrian Dongus, AFRIpads’ Regional Business Development Manager, believes that there is a definite link between access to cost effective, quality menstrual products and girls’ school attendance. Yet, he knows that this is not the silver bullet it is sometimes depicted as. Rather, dignified menstrual health is a precondition to a girl’s education.

“It’s crucial for girls to feel comfortable, secure, and safe,” says Adrian, “adding that it’s less to do with the product itself than it is with the dignity that comes with it.”

Jennifer teaching at the front of a City Shine classroom.

Jennifer at the front of a City Shine classroom.

Breaking the taboo around menstruation is a crucial step in ensuring that girls receive the quality education they deserve, and ultimately lead a healthy and dignified life. Strong role models like Lydia, Jennifer, and other school staff — both male and female – are an important part of achieving this goal.

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Hope, horror and health security: our fight against killer diseases
26
HEALTH

Hope, horror and health security: our fight against killer diseases

5 April 2019 4:34PM UTC | By: AGNES NYAMAYARWO, JAMIE DRUMMOND

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We have been campaigning together for nearly two decades in the fight against AIDS. During this time, we’ve witnessed real progress in the fight against this deadly disease, but great peril remains. Now we need to share with you all an update on the battle, and what you can do to help humanity win in its epic campaign against our most ancient enemy: infectious diseases.

The hope: 4,000 lives saved every day

First, the good news. We wrote this blog on 30 March 2019. We can happily report that about 4,000 fewer people died on that day from AIDS, TB or malaria than would have died on 30 March 1999. In the intervening two decades, activists campaigned together and demanded increased funding, improved research and reduced pricing of key medicines. We pressured for more support for brave nurses and doctors fighting on the frontlines against these diseases. And as a result, we have nearly halved the deaths from AIDS and malaria, an extraordinary achievement, helping to save over 27 million lives. If you have been part of this campaign or are a health worker on the frontlines: THANK YOU. You’re showing this is a fight humanity can win.

The horror: 1,000 women contract HIV every day

Despite all this progress – and grand, global commitments – the scale of the tragedy is still overwhelming. Almost 1,000 adolescent girls and young women will contract HIV today. AIDS is now the leading killer of women under 50 years old. 7,000 people will still die of AIDS, TB or malaria on the day you read this blog.

How are these awful facts not famous? Why is this not on the news every night – or, at least, just once?

Well, we know why – because facts only tell part of the story. These statistics are first and foremost human stories, so this is where one of our voices takes over…

Health hero Agnes – nurse and activist

“My name is Agnes Nyamayarwo, and I am no statistic on a spreadsheet – I’m a Ugandan nurse and an activist.

“In 1992, I tested HIV-positive soon after my husband’s death. As a mother, I didn’t only worry about my health, but also that of my ten children who I knew would become orphans if I died. Moreover, this all came with stigma and discrimination to the whole family. This stigma caused my 16-year-old son to suffer depression and ultimately a mental breakdown. He disappeared a year later, and we have never found him.”

“The most painful part of my journey was when my youngest son, Chris, fell sick aged 5 and was diagnosed with HIV. I felt so helpless and guilty for having passed on the virus to him unknowingly. He sadly died one and a half years after his diagnosis. Watching him suffer with the illness caused horrific pain that I don’t wish any other mother to ever go through.”

“When we gathered at TASO (The AIDS Support Organisation) in Kampala, Uganda, I heard many similarly sad stories from others and their families. TASO provided a forum for us to share and have a sense of belonging as well as an opportunity to access medication. In 2002, Bono, Jamie and other activists visited and heard my story. They were so moved and angered they encouraged me to join their team as they campaigned across the “Heart of America” for increased funding for the fight against AIDS.”

“It’s amazing and beautiful that good people across America, Europe and the world listened to stories like mine, and this brought to life the awful facts of our struggle. Now more than half the people in the world who need the lifesaving drugs have them, thanks to people like you who listened and took action. Thank you! We must now build on that partnership to beat back these killer diseases and deliver health security for all.”

Funding the fight

So what now? One goal must be to dramatically increase funding for the fight. The average government spend per person on health in least developed countries is approximately US$31 a year. In contrast, the UK spends US$3,100 per person, and the USA US$8,000. This disparity is shocking, startling, and simply unacceptable. The amazing health workers fighting at the frontlines – the nurses and doctors in clinics across Africa – need more support. Backing these health heroes is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing too. The global community has a real stake in their struggle – today, diseases can spread faster than ever before. By suppressing their spread in lower income countries, we are helping ensure health security for all.

First and foremost developing countries need to increase their domestic funding for health. At a recent African Union Summit, leaders made more great promises to fund health. These commitments must now be delivered, and underpinned by the latest data and digital innovations. Only then will citizens, partners and patients become empowered citizens – able to track, through open budgets and open contracts, whether funds were really invested, and money and medicines provided.

International partners must also step up the fight, especially for the poorest countries. Two excellent mechanisms to help raise and invest resources are Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Since we started campaigning together against the AIDS emergency and for the creation of the Global Fund, this multi-party mechanism has helped save over 27 million lives. To continue this lifesaving work, the Global Fund now needs a minimum of US$14 billion at its Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France this October. This US$14 billion – and the domestic investments it helps catalyse – would help reduce deaths from these diseases from about 7,000 to 3,500 each day, and reduce infections amongst adolescent girls and young women from about 1,000 to under 400 each day. These figures are approximations because the data quality when it comes to facts about the most marginalised women and girls, is not yet good enough. Such a scale of reduction would, however, help drive a clear trajectory towards near zero new infections and deaths by 2030 – one of the key Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The Global Fund is an innovative, accountable partnership critical in achieving these Goals. It has now hit a scale where full funding will help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years. Ireland has already committed to increase its funding by at least 50%. We now need similar leadership from the French hosts, Germany, UK, USA and all other countries with a smart conscience.

What we don’t understand is how miserly or short-sighted certain wealthy countries must be, that it has not occurred to them to invest any money in this fight. Take wealthy nations like Austria or Finland – why do these nations currently give nothing at all? We hope that citizens of these countries would be ashamed if they knew – and would demand their governments not embarrass them like this.

Similarly, look at so many of the largest companies and world’s billionaires. A US$1 million contribution can help save nearly 1,000 lives. For a US$1bn you can help save nearly a million. These billionaires and big corporations can’t just hide behind Bill Gates’ generosity – they need to beat him by giving more. We need more of their famed competitive spirit in this fight. They can start by engaging with Product RED  which helps the private sector raise money for the Global Fund, and by following Aliko Dangote’s pledge to give at least 1% a year to health.

There is a real risk that the world may not find the full US$14 billion, it may fall a billion short and let a million people die. Whether we do or don’t raise these funds must be a global priority for us all; a referendum on humanity’s collective compassion and thirst for justice, equality, and cooperation.

So we leave you with an ask. Please become a “factivist” in this fight – a passionate activist armed with compelling facts and actions to share. If you care about gender equality, fight for the Global Fund. If you care about human rights, fight for the Global Fund. If you care about the fight against corruption and for an empowered citizenry, fight for the Global Fund. And when we’ve won this battle, then fight for vaccines, fight for health-workers, and keep on fighting for humanity’s health security. We will keep fighting infectious diseases like AIDS and campaigning for health security for us all, until the day we die.

Add your name to tell world leaders they must join this fight.Then share the action with your family and friends.

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FEB. 13, 2018

 

86
 
HEALTH

New Study Reveals Immunization Could Put an End To Poverty

Vaccines do more than just prevent disease.

It’s a well-known fact that vaccines save lives by preventing illness, but it turns out they can also play a vital role in eliminating poverty.

A recent Harvard study revealed that vaccines will help prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty by 2030.

The study, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published on Feb. 5 in Health Affairs, was co-authored by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and various partners. It looked at the impact of vaccines for 10 diseases from health and economic perspectives, in 41 developing countries.

Take Action: Call on Canadian Ministers to Commit to Global Health Security

 

 

 

Unexpected healthcare costs cause approximately 100 million people to experience poverty every year — this kind of impoverishment is one of the main reasons families fall below the poverty line of USD$1.90 per day.

Vaccines work to reduce cases of poverty by eliminating the costs associated with healthcare.

“Vaccines don’t just save lives, they also have a huge economic impact on families, communities and economies,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in a press release.

Read More: This Australian MP With an Autistic Child Just Launched a Great Defense of Vaccines

The hepatitis B vaccine, for instance, will help an estimated 14 million people avoid poverty due to medical costs.

It is anticipated that about 5 million cases of poverty will be prevented thanks to the measles vaccine, with 3 million cases prevented due to the meningitis A vaccine.

Researchers also estimate that the rotavirus vaccine will help avert 242,000 cases of medical impoverishment.

Read More: This Viral Story Is Scaring People Away From the Flu Vaccine — But It’s Fake

For every USD$1 spent on immunization, there is USD$16 saved in healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity, according to a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins University.

But the savings aren’t just in money.

The study suggested that administered vaccines would prevent 36 million deaths between 2016 and 2030. The measles vaccine alone is set to prevent 22 million deaths.

Read More: This New Lifesaving Rotavirus Vaccine Will Only Cost $1 Per Dose

“A healthy child is more likely to go to school and become a more productive member of society in later life, while their families can avoid the often crippling healthcare costs that diseases can bring. As this important study shows, this is enough to save millions of people from the misery of extreme poverty. To realise these figures we now need to redouble our efforts to ensure every child, no matter where they’re born, has access to lifesaving vaccines,” Berkley said.

Right now, Gavi has vaccine programs in all countries included in the study, which makes up a population of 1.52 billion in total. The researchers’ results were reached by estimating the number of vaccine-prevented deaths for each disease and assuming monthly household incomes.

Global Citizen campaigns on issues related to global health, knowing that ensuring the health and wellbeing of all is key in putting an end to extreme poverty by 2030. You can take action here.

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29 DE MARZO DE 2019

 

14
 
MEDIO AMBIENTE

Este estudiante universitario decidió dedicar sus vacaciones a la mejor causa

Tiene 19 años y eligió una actividad no convencional.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
La contaminación plástica en el océano está dañando la vida marina y contribuyendo a la degradación ambiental. Pero muchos jóvenes activistas han tomado cartas en el asunto comenzando a limpiar las playas para eliminar todo tipo de desechos plásticos. La producción de plástico no solo produce más residuos de plástico, sino que también libera gases de efecto invernadero que promueven el cambio climático. Puedes tomar acción sobre este tema aquí.

 

Para la mayoría de los estudiantes universitarios en los Estados Unidos, los planes de vacaciones de primavera se centran en fiestas, comida y el bronceado. Eso es más o menos lo que Joshua Caraway, de 19 años, había planeado para su viaje a Miami, Florida, hasta que vio que Miami Beach estaba llena de basura.

 

Entonces vestido con su traje de baño rosa y una camisa negra, Caraway se puso unos guantes negros y comenzó a trabajar recogiendo basura en lugar de relajarse en la playa.

 

Este estudiante de primer año de la universidad, originario de Georgia, fue visto en medio de su buena acción por el medio de comunicación local WSVN. Y las fotos de él recogiendo voluntariamente basura un sábado por la tarde, pronto se volvieron virales.

 

"Amo a los animales, también amo el medio ambiente", dijo Caraway a CTVNews.ca. "Es por eso que me gusta ayudar".

 

Este estudiante de la Universidad de West Georgia, Caraway estudia biología y pretende convertirse en un especialista en animales exóticos.

Actúa: Firma ahora

 
 
 
1 punto

 



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Había venido con amigos a este popular destino de vacaciones de primavera, pero cuando sus amigos no mostraron ningún interés en sumarse a sus esfuerzos, decidió asumir la misión de limpiar la playa solo. Para cuando se acercaron a entrevistarlo, ya había llenado tres bolsas de plástico.

 

"Le pregunté a mis amigos si lo iban a hacer conmigo, y me dijeron, '¿Limpiar la basura? No, no estoy con eso", contó a WSVN.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

Happening now: Meet Joshua from Atlanta (@boppay), he’s going through the Miami Beach crowds picking up trash. @MiamiBeachPD’s @PaulAcostaMBPD met with him to thank him for his efforts 👏🏼👏🏼

 
 
 
 

 

Sus esfuerzos también fueron notados por el Departamento de Policía de Miami Beach.

 

"Así que le dije a Joshua: ‘has estado recogiendo basura durante mucho tiempo en lugar de salir y escuchar música’", escribió el oficial de policía Paul Acosta en Twitter. "Pregunté por qué. Él dice que ama a los animales y quiere cuidar su hogar y el nuestro".

 

La publicación original sobre el acto desinteresado de Caraway ha cosechado más de 5,000 "me gusta" en Twitter. Muchos residentes locales también lo elogiaron en los comentarios.

 

"Qué ejemplo tan simple y perfecto de una persona joven liderando el camino para mejorar una situación. Gracias Joshua por ser un joven modelo a seguir durante #SpringBreakMiami. Otra razón por la que no debemos generalizar a nuestra juventud etiquetándolos", tuiteóAlberto M. Carvalho, el superintendente de Miami Dade School.

 

La historia de Caraway incluso fue compartida como un modelo a seguir, por el especialista en animales Mike Holston, y el estudiante se llenó de alegría.

 

Aproximadamente el 40% de los estudiantes universitarios en los Estados Unidos viajan a destinos como Florida y Texas en marzo y abril, según datos de ProjectKnow, que siguió el hashtag #SpringBreak en Instagram para rastrear cuáles son los destinos más populares de las vacaciones de primavera. Entre las 10 principales ciudades se encontraban cuatro de Florida, incluidas Orlando, Ciudad de Panamá y Fort Lauderdale. Como era de esperar, Miami encabezó la lista.

 

Desafortunadamente, esto también significa un aumento de desechos en botellas, latas, plásticos, envoltorios y todo tipo de basura en espacios públicos. En 2016, la ciudad de Miami lanzó la campaña Keep Miami Beach Clean durante la temporada de vacaciones de primavera para evitar que sus hermosas playas se inunden de basura.

 

"Los estudiantes vienen por la belleza de las playas y quieren que sea así todos los años, pero se olvidan de que si la llenan de basura ya no será así", le dijo a USA Today Cecile Carson, vicepresidenta de relaciones en Keep America Beautiful.

 

Si todos siguieran los pasos de Caraway, las playas no solo estarían más limpias, sino que los océanos podrían comenzar a ser lugares más seguros para la vida marina.

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APRIL 16, 2019

 

11
 
HEALTH

Largest Measles Outbreak in Madagascar's History Kills 1,200

Only 58% population — of the minimum 90% required to prevent outbreak — have been immunized so far.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Eradicating infectious diseases like the measles is key to achieving the United Nations' Global Goal 3 on high-quality health care for all. While many cases are on the rise due to the spread of anti-vaccine campaigns on social media, people who live in poor countries like Madagascar have little access to immunizations to protect their children, who are disproportionately affected. You can take action on this issue here.

More than 115,000 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Madagascar, marking the largest outbreak in the nation’s history. Some 1,200 people have died from the highly contagious disease, the Associated Press reports, and children, especially those under age 15, are disproportionately affected.

And the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that only 1 in 10 cases of measles are being reported, meaning the outbreak is probably much worse than initially reported.

Take Action: Measles Is Making A Dangerous Comeback. What Do You Know About This Preventable Disease?

 

Actúa: Take the Quiz

 
 

 



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One mother named Nifaliana Razaijafisoa walked 9 miles holding her 6-month-old son in her arms to receive medical treatment in Madagascar's rural area of Iarintsena. After a nurse confirmed that her child had measles, the stricken mother told the AP, "I'm so scared for him because in the village everyone says it kills babies.”

The African island nation is far from the only location affected. Cases worldwide have spiked 300% so far in 2019, according to the WHO, which claims anti-vaccine campaigns spread on social media have deterred families from immunizing their children. In the United States, measles was considered eradicated in 2000, but cases have again been on the rise. In New York City, 300 people were diagnosed in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn, where many of residents shun technology and the advice of doctors outside their religion — leading the mayor to recently declare a public health emergency. The WHO also reports outbreaks in Thailand, Israel, and Tunisia.

 

 

Preliminary global data on #measles shows that reported cases rose by 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years. http://bit.ly/2KGGk51  #VaccinesWork

 
 
 
 

 

In Madagascar, the issue is not anti-vaccine campaigns, but that poor families do not have access to the measles vaccine. To prevent outbreaks, at least 90% of the population needs to be immunized, but only 58% have been immunized on Madagascar’s main island.

A WHO doctor says that new cases are slowing down in Madagascar — but it will be hard to eradicate the disease due to the fact that half of all children on the island are malnourished.

“Malnutrition is the bed of measles,” says Dr. Dossou Vincent Sodjinou, the WHO epidemiologist in Madagascar. The son of Razaijafisoa, the mother in Iarintsena, only weighs 11 pounds at 6 months old, which is 64% less than most infants his age in America.

“This is the case for almost all children with measles who have come here,” Lantonirina Rasolofoniaina, a health center volunteer, told the AP.

Read More: New Zealand Offers Free Vaccines Amid the Worst Measles Outbreak in Years

Lalatiana Ravonjisoa, a vegetable vendor, lost her 5-month-old son from the disease.

“I had five children. They all had measles. For the last, I did not go to see the doctor because I did not have money,” she told the AP.

 

Many families in the impoverished nation do not have access to clinics, which are few and far between, and they cannot afford doctors or medicine. Many treatment centers are short-staffed and have few resources to help patients.

“I gave my baby the leftover medications from his big brother to bring down the fever,” Ravonjisoa said.

While the baby’s health at first seemed to be improving, he later developed breathing problems — a typical symptom for the disease, which is spread by coughing, sneezing, infected surfaces, or other close contact. Ravonjisoa was devastated to find his feet cold the following morning. He had died overnight.

Officials are working to contain the spread of the disease; the WHO kicked off its third mass vaccination campaign in Madagascar in March. The organization hopes to reach 7.2 million children aged 6 months to 9 years old.

“But immunization is not the only strategy for the response to this epidemic. We still need resources for care, monitoring, and social mobilization,” Sodjinou, the WHO epidemiologist, told the AP.

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HEALTH

Introducing the most-unlikely public health hero ever: giant rats

23 March 2018 8:18PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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By Nisha Sambamurty 

Yes, you read that right: rats. To most people, the sight of a giant rat is disgusting. But for many scientists, these rats are extremely helpful.

One in four people are currently living with latent tuberculosis, according to the WHO. That’s almost 2 billion people worldwide. Tuberculosis is a leading cause of death by infectious disease, and existing systems that work to detect it lack accuracy, time efficiency, and cost efficiency. Because of this, people in regions like East Africa often don’t undergo screening to detect the disease—due to lack of awareness or money—and many cases go undetected. In places like jails, where TB is estimated to be up to 100 times more prevalent, this issue is much worse.

Enter the super-rat!

TB-Day_BLOG_v4_1200-x-600.pngAfrican rats are being trained by a Belgium nongovernmental organization to detect TB within minutes in prisons in Tanzania and Mozambique!

How, you ask?

Here’s where it gets really interesting. When these rats reach four weeks of age, they begin a rigorous training process. They are introduced to different stimuli and are trained to interact with humans. They are taught to recognize the presence of TB in human mucus. (And you thought the rats were gross!)

The rats are presented with ten samples of this mucus, or sputum, and when they detect the ones with TB, they hover over them for three seconds to let the scientist know what they have smelled and are then rewarded when they succeed. How AMAZING is that?!

Perhaps even more incredible is their success rate and the speed at which they can detect TB. These rats can detect tuberculosis with almost 100 percent accuracy. The rats have proved to be incredibly cost-effective. According to the Belgian charity, it takes four days for a lab technician to screen 100 samples. Yet once the rats are trained, they can screen around 100 samples in just 20 minutes.

This new method of screening for TB has HUGE implications for developing countries that are heavily burdened by tuberculosis. With funding from USAID(United States Aid in International Development), APOPO plans to provide full coverage in Tanzania’s TB hotspots.

Thank you, giant rats! We’ll try to think nicer thoughts if we see you around.

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146
CULTURE

5 things we discovered about Bill Gates from his Reddit AMA

February 27 2019 | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Over the last decade, Bill Gates has transformed himself into an icon of philanthropy as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, he took a spot in the virtual hot seat and turned the mic over to the Reddit community for an in-depth Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.

Here are five of the most intriguing questions and responses:

What would you still like to achieve that you haven’t? — Swcomisac

thisisbillgates: The goal of the Foundation is that all kids grow up healthy – no matter where they are born. That means getting rid of malaria and many of the other diseases that affect poor countries. It should be achievable in my lifetime.


It’s well known you are an avid reader – what are a few books that come to your mind when asked to recommend reading materials for anyone that can have a true impact on their life – either professionally or personally? — TheQueenIsASpy

thisisbillgates: I read a lot of non-fiction. There are so many great book. I do reviews on gatesnotes.com. I am reading Hacking Darwin now – about gene editing getting very popular and what policies should control the usage. I love books that explain things like Smil’s Energy and Civilization or all of Pinker’s books. Factfulness by the Roslings is very readable – a great place to start to get a framework for the progress of humanity.


What’s a piece of technology that’s theoretical now that you wish you could make possible immediately? — Ironsheik84

thisisbillgates: However if I had one wish to make a new technology it would be a solution to malnutrition. Almost half the kids in poor countries grow up without their body or brain developing fully so they miss most of their potential. Second would be an HIV vaccine.


If you could go back in time and give your younger-self advice what would you say? — ImStarks

thisisbillgates: I was overly intense and socially inept. I would try and make myself more self-aware without getting rid of the focus and desire to learn.


I work in health-care in South Africa and I just want to say thank you for the work that your foundation has been doing for HIV research here. My question is how do I feel like I’m doing enough? With all the pain and suffering that I see every day, it’s hard to feel like I am actually making a difference in the grand scheme of things. How do you deal with feeling like it’s a never-ending struggle to actually make a difference and help people? — 511234

thisisbillgates: Your point is a great one. As soon as you get engaged in solving problems you have to face how tough things are. You need to focus on how much you can improve things and feel good about that. We need more people to visit Africa to see the progress but also to see how much needs to be done. Nothing is as good as meeting people who have to live with malaria or HIV or see their children die. People like yourself who work on the front lines deserve immense credit. Over time the deaths and suffering will go down but I am sure some days that is hard to see.


BONUS:

Hello, how’s your day going and what have you been watching on Netflix and/or TV right now? — ABrownForestShark

thisisbillgates: Melinda and I watch things like Silicon Valley, This is Us, A Million Little Things. I watched The Americans with my son (too violent for Melinda). I watched Narcos by myself. Billions, Lie to Me, Friday Night Lights, American Vandal, Black Mirror. There are so many good shows — people tell me about them but I can’t watch them all!

Want to hear more from Bill? Check out the annual letterpenned by him and Melinda Gates.

*Questions and answers have been shortened for clarity. Image via Flickr

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HEALTH

Why do nearly 1000 girls and young women contract HIV every day?

5 February 2019 2:18PM UTC | By: MEGAN O’DONNELL

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We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the outbreak of the crisis, with institutions like the Global Fund and PEPFAR partnering with country governments to prevent mother-to-child transmission, allow those with HIV to access treatment, and ultimately save tens of millions of lives.

But despite these impressive efforts, there is still one demographic that is disproportionately likely to contract HIV. Globally, nearly 1000 girls and women ages 15 to 24  contract HIV every day, and the vast majority of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, young women are twice as likely as young men to be living with HIV.

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

The Ong’ielo Health Center in Kenya is funded by the Global Fund and covers 10,300 people and offers a range of health services, including malaria and HIV testing and treatment.

And though those figures might be surprising at first, upon closer inspection we shouldn’t be surprised at all.

Risk Factors

The risk of contracting HIV is tied not only to physical health but to economic and social factors – and more specifically, layers of gender-based discrimination.

Across the globe, stigma and social taboos still surround girls being sexually active. This limits open conversation and education about safe sex and protection. As a result, girls often don’t have vital information they need to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

High rates of infection are also tied to girls’ economic vulnerability. Facing limited opportunities to earn income, girls face pressures to enter into transactional sexual relationships, where unprotected sex is exchanged for financial support. This is true both outside and inside of marriage, as many parents opt to marry their daughters off as children, due to a combination of economic constraints and social norms.

Finally, high rates of infection among women and girls are tied to their limited autonomy and bargaining power in their relationships; particularly at risk are those forced to marry as children. Even financially secure girls and women armed with information about protection face pressures from their partners to have unprotected sex.

The Global Fund

Fortunately, we know there are evidence-based ways to address all of these constraints, and the Global Fund and its partners are prioritising a holistic approach that gets to the root of all of them.

More than half of the Fund’s spending is now specifically targeted to programs for women and girls, contributing to a total investment of US$18 billion since 2002. The Global Fund launched a program called (HER) to mobilise additional resources to address the specific needs of adolescent girls and young women.

In Botswana, the Global Fund provides legal aid services and support to women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence, while eliminating structural barriers to quality health care.

In Kenya, Swaziland, and South Africa, programs aim to keep girls and women ages 14-22 in school and to offer them additional educational and social support.

Sexual and reproductive health services have been integrated into HIV services in Lesotho so women can access both services in one place.

Quality secondary education (including comprehensive sexuality education), cash transfers that decrease girls’ economic insecurity, and interventions aimed at increasing girls’ agency and bargaining power all contribute to ensuring girls are less likely to contract HIV.

We Need to #StepUpTheFight

As we gear up for the Global Fund’s 2019 replenishment, let’s make sure the fund is able to access the financial resources it needs and eradicate HIV/AIDS once and for all, by continuing to put the needs and constraints of girls and women front and center in their investments.

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

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The Disabled Children’s Partnership are asking those with parental responsibility for children with a disability and young people (from birth to the age of 25) to tell them about the impact that caring for their child has had on them and their families.

The results from this survey will help make a case to Government to invest in services to support families with disabled children needs through their Secret Life of Us campaign. ❤️

Share your experience: https://bit.ly/2X3QRsg 👈

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

El último video sobre cambio climático de The Weather Channel te transportará a un aterrador 2100

Un momento que algunos niños vivirán para ver.

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
El cambio climático está alterando drásticamente los ecosistemas. Los países de todo el mundo lidian con desastres naturales que se ven empeorados por el cambio climático, y ahora el Weather Channel ofrece una mirada aterradora sobre el futuro del planeta. Puedes tomar medidas aquí para asegurar un futuro saludable para el planeta.


El nuevo video de The Weather Channel sobre el cambio climático se parece mucho a uno de juegos de aventura en 3D de Disneyland. Pero en lugar de volar sobre el río Na'vi de Avatar, la meteoróloga Jen Carfagno viaja al año 2100, en Charleston, Carolina del Sur, que se inunda permanentemente.

 

"La gente acude a nosotros para obtener pronósticos, especialmente si hay un gran evento climático extremo, pero todo esto se está modificando muy lentamente y de forma gradual por el cambio climático", dijo a The VergeMatthew Sitkowski, productor ejecutivo de clima de The Weather Channel.

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
1 punto

 



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En asociación con: Flow Alkaline Spring Water


"Mira a tu alrededor; Es el año 2100 y un planeta que se ha calentado para siempre ha cambiado las ciudades de Estados Unidos”, narra Carfagno en el video, que utiliza la tecnología de realidad inmersiva y mixta para crear efectos de sonido dramáticos y gráficos casi realistas.

 

La horrible descripción de Charleston apunta a un problema importante al que se enfrenta la zona.

 

Los estados a lo largo de la costa se ven afectados drásticamente por el calentamiento de los océanos, el aumento del nivel del mar y el aumento de las temperaturas globales. Un informe publicado por la Casa Blanca el año pasado advirtió que las inundaciones costeras podrían aumentar hasta un 1.500% y que las Carolinas podrían enfrentar olas de calor sin precedentes.

 

Otra ciudad de Estados Unidos que aparece en el video que enfrenta las graves consecuencias del cambio climático es Norfolk, Virginia, que ha sufrido nueve inundaciones importantes en la última década.

 

"Solo una brisa constante en la costa y la marea alta pueden llevar a carreteras y casas inundadas", dijo Carfagno sobre Norfolk, la ciudad que alberga numerosos astilleros navales del país.

 

 

Usando movimientos rápidos de cámara y sonidos envolventes de fondo, el video luego transporta al espectador al "Ártico, el área de calentamiento más rápido en la Tierra" y al glaciar Jakobshavn en Groenlandia.

 

Usando una tecnología similar a la de los videojuegos, el clip presenta sonidos intensificados de derrumbe de hielo, vientos acelerados y una rota que salpica agua.

 

Si bien el glaciar en sí ha ganado hielo durante el último año, la tendencia general muestra que Groenlandia perdió alrededor de 739 gigatoneladas de hielo, con el glaciar Jakobshavn y otros cuatro que representan aproximadamente el 30% de esas pérdidas.

 

El video termina con un mensaje poderoso, mientras Carfagno cambia a un tono más urgente.

 

"Los glaciares como este están desapareciendo en todo el mundo", dijo. "Está sucediendo ahora: las temperaturas están aumentando, el hielo se está derritiendo, los niveles del mar están aumentando y esto empeorará a lo largo de nuestra vida".

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JULY 4, 2018

 

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FOOD & HUNGER

8 Foods You Probably Didn't Know Were Bad for the Environment

It might be time to re-evaluate some of your food choices.

Why Global Citizens Should Care 
Through some of the food we consume, whether it be in their production or their transportation, we are unknowingly contributing to the damage and harm done to our planet. You can help by taking action to  encourage responsible consumption and production, sustainability, and climate change limitation by taking action here.

 

 

Often when we’re sitting down to our meals, we don’t think about the impact that the foods we’re eating are having on our planet. The production cycles behind a lot of our foods have a large carbon footprint, or require a lot of water, or drive deforestation. So it’s really important to be aware of which foods are good or bad for the environment and to shop sustainably.

Not all food is bad for the environment, and you can take a look at foods that have a positive impact here. But here are some foods to watch out for as being surprisingly bad for our planet. 

Take action: Educating Girls Strengthens the Global Fight Against Climate Change

 

Actúa: Tuitea Ahora

 
 
 

 



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1. Bananas

The environmental impact of bananas isn't so much in the production of the fruit, but more in the cost of exporting them to other countries across the world. 

According to One Green Planet, bananas are among the most widely consumed foods in the world, and are the most popular fruit in the United States. The average American will eat about 100 bananas in a single year.

The world’s leading countries for banana exports include Ecuador, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala — which send a lot of bananas to Europe, where people have got used to being able to eat their favourite fruits even when they’re out of season. 

But these bananas have travelled huge distances — to reach the UK, for example, the average banana travels 5,106 miles — and that journey contributes to CO2 levels in the atmosphere. 

 

via GIPHY

 

2. Avocados 

This one might hurt a few people. For all you fans of guacamole and avocado on toast it might be time to reconsider — because, you guessed it, avocado production is damaging the environment. 

In Mexico, for example, a great deal of avocado production takes place in the mountains of Michoacán. But, according to the Associated Press newsagency, the production and planting of avocado trees uses twice as much water as a fairly dense forest. 

A researcher from Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry revealed that between 2001 and 2010, avocado production tripled in Michoacán — and that the rise in demand for avocados had caused the loss of about 1,700 acres a year.

Another issue with avocado production, according to Greenpeace Mexico, is the use of chemicals and high volumes of wood to pack and ship the fruits to other countries. 

 

via GIPHY

 

3. Almond milk

As much as people love almond milk as a healthier and, some say, better tasting substitute to regular milk, its production also has a significant environmental impact.

According to the Guardian, more than 80% of the world's almonds come from California — a region known for some of the worst droughts in US history.

Growing just one almond requires 1.1 gallons (5 litres) of water. To produce 100 ml of almost milk, it takes 100 litres of water.

Read More: This Country Is Leading the World in Ending Food Waste

 

4. Sugar

We all know that sugar is bad for us. However, not only does sugar do harm to our bodies and our health but, according to a World Wild Fund (WWF) report, it also does harm to our planet.

The report, “Sugar and the Environment”, says that more than 145 million tonnes of sugar are produced in 121 countries each year. 

But the production of this sugar destroys natural habitats, requires intensive use of water and the use of damaging agro-chemicals, and causes air pollution.

In the Indian state of Maharashtra, for example, sugarcane covers 3% of the land — but it corners 60% of the irrigation supply, and so causes substantial groundwater loss in the area.

Read More:  3 Changes You Should Make to Your Diet to Eat More Sustainably

 

5. Soy beans

Soy beans mainly grow in Latin America — but the rising demand is causing deforestation across the region. 

Almost 4 million hectares of forest land are destroyed every year, according to the Telegraph, with victims including the Amazon, the Gran Chaco, and the Atlantic forests. 

With soy increasingly being used in place of dairy products — which can also have a devastating impact — it goes to show that even with the best of intentions, when it comes to the global food industry there are few guarantees that we’ll get it right. 

 

via GIPHY

 

6. Rice

One staple food item you’re likely to find as a prominent part of dishes in a lot of countries across the world is rice. 

While more than half of the world’s population depend on it as a food source, the production of rice accounts for as much as a third of the planet’s annual freshwater, according to a report from Oxfam. To produce a kilo of rice, for example, it takes 2,497 litres of water, according to the Guardian

What’s more, research into a rapid global rise in methane emissions in 2016 surprisingly found that some of the increase can be pinned on the activities of microbes in wetlands and rice paddies. 

Read More: This New Juice Range Uses Ugly Fruit and Veg to Cut Waste

 

7. Beef

Beef has become something of a villain when it comes to the negative impacts of our global foodindustry.

Beef production needs about 28 times more land than the production of pork or chicken, and requires 11 times more water. 

When you compare it to other food items such as rice, for example, and potatoes or wheat, beef needs 160 times more land, and releases 11 times more greenhouse gases.

You can read more about the negative impact of beef production here

Read More:One Simple Thing You Can Do to Reduce the Impact of Food Waste

 

8. Coffee

If beef was a hard one for meat lovers to digest, then coffee lovers are not going to like this bit. 

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and, for many of us, it’s one of life’s essentials. 

For coffee, most of the environmental damage comes in finding space to grow the beans. Most commonly, coffee beans are produced in Latin America. Yet, with an increased demand, farmers have cleared 2.5 million acres of forest in Central America to make way for production.

A report by the WWF highlights the link between coffee productions and environmental damage — showing that 37 of the worst 50 countries for deforestation rates are also coffee producers. 

 

via GIPHY

 

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NOV. 16, 2018

 

16
 
CITIZENSHIP

This Artist Wants to Humanize the Refugee Experience Through Comics

“People talk about numbers and movements in ways that can be really depersonalizing.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Millions of people around the world are trying to rebuild their lives after being affected by crisis and conflict. Comic artist Ali Fitzgerald's new graphic memoir “Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe” tells the stories of asylum seekers assimilating to life in Berlin. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

American artist Ali Fitzgerald didn’t have any experience working with refugees when she started teaching a comic workshop at a Berlin shelter during the height of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015.

Now, after drawing with children and adults who were waiting on the results of asylum status applications over the course of a year and a half, she’s sharing her experience in a new graphic memoir.

Released in October, Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europenavigates what life looks like after being forced to leave home through the eyes of Fitzgerald's students, Saker and Michael*. A portion of her income from the book — 10% — will go toward funding art programs for refugees and asylum seekers. 

Take Action: Call for Education Access for Syrian Refugees

 

Actúa: Tuitea ahora

 
 
 

 



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En asociación con: HP Inc.

 

When Fitzgerald started teaching at the refugee shelter in 2015, 1.1 million refugees crossed the German border, according to the Brookings Institute. As of 2017, Berlin’s department for social affairs reported over 25,700 refugees live in the city. 

Of the 150 refugees Fitzgerald met while working in the shelter, many of those who fled conflict in Syria and Afghanistan are now trying to assimilate to German life as far-right nationalism is on the rise.  

In her memoir, Fitzgerald aims to humanize her students’ stories by focusing on the opportunities they have ahead of them, rather than harping on the terrors of their pasts. To do this, she sometimes protrays real-life events through a magical, fictional lens. 

The artist, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Guardian, and more, spoke with Global Citizen about refugee storytelling, the current anti-refugee sentiments around the world, and how you can help asylum seekers right now. 

Global Citizen: What initially drew you to working in a refugee shelter? 

Ali Fitzgerald: It was totally by chance. I was interested in teaching comics because I believe in comics as a really potent form of communication that can help people. Visual communication and narrative will become increasingly important in the next few years because we’re becoming more visual, right? It’s a way to bridge language gaps, class, and education gaps, actually. 

I was teaching a comics class for women and the director of a shelter approached me, so I had no real intention of doing it. I don’t actually consider it art therapy because I never studied art therapy. It’s also one of the reasons I tried to keep the workshops very open and not hierarchical.

Drawing is often linked to just art but that sometimes limits people’s involvement of drawing, because there’s all this weight on it that they have to be good at it, or artistic. But drawing can be therapeutic or a form of catharsis — but I try never to push that or interpret that because it’s not my field — it can also be purely a mode of communication to express yourself. Part of the book is illustrating what drawing can be — drawing can be a multitude of different things for different people.

Why did you decide to write this book? 

One of the things I wanted to do was get into the nooks and crannies of stories and personhood and not talk about the refugee experience as portrayed by the mainstream media, which I think is kind of flattening, generally, because people talk about numbers and movements in ways that can be really depersonalizing. 

Read More: Syrian refugees using innovation to improve their lives

How did your students feel seeing themselves represented in the book? 

Right before I left Berlin a few weeks ago, I gave the two protagonists, Saker and Michael, copies of the book, I had shown them pages before. They were delighted by it. They were happy to have their names changed because when I asked them about whether or not they wanted their real names, I think Saker said, “When I’m applying for a job, I don’t necessarily want people to know I was living in a refugee shelter.” 

More or less the people I met were very happy to share their stories, and the stories that were fairly sensational I tried to leave out because I don’t think that’s what this book is about. In this case, I was basically showing people drawing hot air balloons and things like that. 

DTB-3 (1).jpgImage: Courtesy of Fantagraphics

Did you anticipate that there would be so much anti-refugee rhetoric around the world at the time of the book’s release? 

Generally, the anti-refugee sentiment has been building for a long time. I think the difference is at first it was very fringey and it’s absorbed into the mainstream dialogue, this idea that refugees are villains, and refugees have been villainized.

Did you ever worry that taking a more surreal approach to your illustrations would downplay the difficult experiences your students had?

I didn’t worry about it — it was a very conscious decision. I wanted to make it very, very clear that it was my viewpoints, that things were being filtered through my very specific, and sometimes flawed, lens. 

One tool to make sure that’s apparent is these surreal moments, and some of them really illustrate ideas or underline ideas better than reality. 

Like, there are moments where three young boys are trying to get their papers in the book and it’s sort of based on Waiting for Godot, that kind of bureaucratic absurdity, is best illustrated with a surreal side. 

DTB-49.jpgImage: Courtesy of Fantagraphics

DTB-50.jpgImage: Courtesy of Fantagraphics

I would love to see more cartoons in the media. It’s unfortunate that probably the most popular one recently was the caricature of Serena Williams and it went viral for all the wrong reasons. 

That incident, in particular, shows how pernicious and prevalent caricatures still are in the world of comics and cartoonery. Which is one thing I very actively try to stay away from.

What would you recommend to everyday people who would like to help this community but they don’t know how? 

One way to help is obviously stay engaged, find shelters — but that’s a lot harder in America. In shelters in Europe, there now is a bigger need for volunteers because I think a lot of people stopped doing it a year or two ago. 

If you’re in a position where you can affect policy, obviously that’s the best, or if you’re a lawyer and you can offer free legal services.

Drawing attention to issues is good but in a very sensitive way, obviously. 

*Names have been changed for privacy.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

____________________________________________________________________________

If you’d like to volunteer or donate to support refugees and asylum-seekers Fitzgerald recommends the following organizations:

UNHCR

Amnesty International

White Helmets

 

 

 

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HEALTH

India Just Opened Its First Elephant Hospital — and the Pictures Are Amazing

India is home to half of Asia’s elephant population.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Biodiversity is dwindling all around the world and elephants in particular face a range of threats. The United Nations Global Goals calls on countries to protect the environment and animals and you can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Elephants that are battered, bruised, and otherwise injured can now get the medical help they need in Uttar Pradesh, India, according to Reuters.

A 12,000-square-foot elephant hospital opened in the city of Mathura on Nov. 16 that caters primarily to elderly elephants and those that have experienced trauma in captivity. For example, many captive elephants are often shackled, whipped, and beaten. Other elephants that sustain injuries in the wild are also welcomed at the hospital.

Elephant doctors will have access to “wireless digital X-Ray, thermal imaging, ultrasonography, tranquilization devices, and quarantine facilities,” and they’ll be able to visit elephants remotely that aren’t able to travel to the hospital, according to Reuters.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

 

 

Animal rights groups are applauding the facility, called the Wildlife SOS Hospital, as a sign of conservation done right.

“I think by building a hospital we are underlining the fact that elephants need welfare measures as much as any other animal,” Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, the nonprofit behind the hospital, told Reuters.

 

“That captive elephants are not meant to be used and abused but instead have to be given the respect which an animal needs if you are going to be using the animal,” she added.

India is home to half of Asia’s elephant population, yet their numbers have been dropping in recent years, and Indian elephants are considered endangered.

 

 
 
 
 

Read More: Mozambique Gets Gift of 200 Elephants to Help Replenish Population

Indian elephants roam for around 19 hours a day and eat so much food that they can produce up to 220 pounds of waste each day. These biological imperatives mean that the animals need large amounts of land and food to survive. As human development proliferates in the country, elephant habitats are dwindling, depriving the animals of sustenance.

As humans move into elephant ranges, meanwhile, the big creatures more frequently wander into towns and cities, where they get frightened and stampede over houses and people. Deprived of food sources, elephants also devour crops throughout farmlands, earning the ire of the agricultural industry. These byproducts of sprawling and often unregulated human development have led to elephants being poisoned and hunted to minimize interactions.

Elephants are also under the constant threat of poaching to fuel the black market demand for ivory. Because only male Indian elephants have tusks, poaching skews the sex ratio of the species, imperiling future generations.

Read More: Humans Could Face Extinction if We Don't Protect Biodiversity: UN

While the elephant hospital in Mathura doesn’t guarantee the species’ long-term survival, it does signal to the country that elephants are worth protecting.

It has also become a tourist attraction, according to Reuters, which could help spur broader conservation efforts.

 

 
Embedded video
 

We are immensely proud to share with you that we have established India’s first Elephant Hospital,especially designed to treat injured sick or geriatric elephants.
Hear our co-founders Kartick & Geeta sharing the big news with all of you!! ❤️#IndiasFirstElephantHospital

 
 
 
 

In addition to the treatment center, dedicated wildlife reserves big enough to accommodate the animal’s tendencies can help to conserve the species and India currently has 32 elephant reserves

For example, the North Bank Landscape along the foothills of the Himalayas provides 1,600 square miles of protected habitat for elephants to live.

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ENVIRONMENT

This Plastic-Eating Fungus Just Might Save Humanity

One man’s Aspergillus tubingensis is another man’s treasure.

alan_levine-landfill-flickr.jpg__1264x568_q85_crop_subsampling-2.jpg
 Flickr/Alan Levine

There's a common saying that, "One many's trash is another man's treasure."

For one group of scientists, this old adage may actually have some truth to it. 

According to the World Economic Forum, a team of botanists may have discovered a solution to the world’s mounting plastic problem in an unexpected place: a garbage dump in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

The team of researchers, who work at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany, discovered a plastic-eating fungus called Aspergillus tubingensis while collecting soil samples at the Pakistan landfill. 

 

 

 

“We wanted to identify solutions which already existed in nature, but finding microorganisms which can do the job isn’t easy,” Dr. Sehroon Khan of the World Agroforestry Centre and Kunming Institute of Biology said. “We decided to take samples from a rubbish dump in Islamabad, Pakistan, to see if anything was feeding on the plastic in the same way that other organisms feed on dead plant or animal matter.”

The fungus they discovered works to naturally biodegrade a certain type of plastic called polyester polyurethane — which is found in synthetic leather, adhesives, and car parts, according to Fast Company — by secreting an enzyme that breaks down molecular bonds. 

 

 

According to DAWN, the process takes just a matter of weeks, whereas plastics normally take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills on their own.

Even biodegradable plastics, such as polylactic acid (PLA), which is a type of plastic made from corn, take between 47 and 90 days to decompose

 

Read More: Scientists Discover Plastic-Eating Caterpillars That Could Help Fight Waste

The issue of plastic waste is fast becoming one of the greatest threats to natural ecosystems on land and in the ocean. 

Plastic waste is polluting the world’s oceans at a rate of 8 million metric tons per year, throttling seals, turtles, and other sea creatures, and even seeping into drinking water. By 2050, it’s estimated that the ocean will have more plastic than fish

What doesn’t land in the oceans more often than not ends up clogging city streets, polluting natural environments, and wasting away in landfills around the world. Around the world, 79% of all plastic is either littered into the natural environment or collected in landfills, according to National Geographic. 

Read More: 83% of All Tap Water Around the World Has Plastic Fibers In It

By 2050, 12 billion metric tons of plastic will have accumulated in landfills around the world, National Geographic reported. 

 

Harmful chemicals from plastics buried in landfills can also seep into groundwater supplies, leading to adverse health consequences for humans and animals alike. 

Researchers at Kunming Institute plan to study whether the plastic-eating fungus will be able to be used in waste treatment plants and plastic-waste-contaminated soils. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the 15th of which is protecting life on land. You can take action here

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GIRLS & WOMEN

A Thong Was Presented in a Rape Trial. Women in Ireland (and Around the World) Are Furious.

“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender equality and an end to gender-based violence are key aims of the UN’s Global Goals. And in 2018, we surely must be done with placing blame for sexual harassment and rape on the victim, rather than the perpetrator. Join us by taking action here to raise your voice to help create a world where #SheIsEqual. 

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Cork and Dublin in protest of victim-blaming, after a court case in which a rape complainant’s thong was held up as evidence sparked outrage. 

Activists and campaigners are demanding judicial reform over sexual assault cases, as well as better training for barristers — to put an end to a culture that puts the blame for sexual assault on survivors, rather than perpetrators.

The case, at the Central Criminal Court earlier this month, saw a lawyer representing the accused hold up the underwear worn by the teenage complainant — telling jurors they should consider the underwear when making their verdict. 

Take Action: Tell the UK Government: Help Create a World Where #SheIsEqual

 

“Does the evidence out rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?” the lawyer asked jurors in the closing argument. “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

While the man was found not guilty, the case sparked concern from activists, campaign groups, and members of the public in Ireland and around the world.

As well as protests on the street, Teachta Dála Ruth Coppinger, the Solidarity TD, also held up a thong in the Dáil chamber on Tuesday to speak out on the issue. 

She said that women’s clothes, fake tan, and even contraception had been used as evidence during trials, according to the Times.

“A study by the Rape Crisis Network estimated that, at most, 10% of rapes are reported and only one in 40 rapists appropriately punished,” she said. “How heroic and what levels of fortitude must a woman have to pursue a rape trial in this country?” 

 
 
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

As a 16 year old girl from Ireland I am disgusted that this is even a thing in 2018🙂 what a girl wears is NEVER EVER EVER consent #ThisIsNotConsent

 
 
 
 

“It might seem incongruous or embarrassing to show a thong in the Dáil, but I do so to highlight how a rape victim feels at her underwear being shown in the incongruous setting of a courtroom,” she said. 

And women around the world are joining together in solidarity with Irish protesters too, posting images of their underwear with #ThisIsNotConsent.

Related StoriesNov. 1, 2018Women Just Silently Stood in Protest During President’s Speech at South Africa’s First Gender Violence Summit

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar has said in response that the government must examine how alleged rape victims are treated in court. 

Varadkar reportedly responded to Coppinger by saying: “Let there be no doubt that nobody asks to be raped and it is never the fault of the victim. It doesn’t matter what someone wears, where someone went, who they went with, or whether they took drugs or alcohol.”

“Nobody who is a victim of sexual violence or rape is ever to blame for the crime committed on them,” he said. “I believe any defence on those lines is reprehensible.” 

 

I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dáil. In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it's within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil. Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it's at Spire, 1pm.#dubw #ThisIsNotConsent

 
 
 
 

Me and my lacy pants at the spire, looking for justice not the ride #ThisIsNotConsentpic.twitter.com/NOmy7rxwcX

— Norma - opinions mine only - Burke (@normaburke) November 14, 2018

Legal expert and academic Tom O’Malley is carrying out a review of changes that can be made to help protect those who make complaints of sexual assault. 

“This is just one example of what is every day in cases of sexual violence where your clothes, your manner, which has nothing to do with sexual violence can be used as evidence against you, can be used as evidence of consent,” said Cork Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan. 

“I was inundated over the weekend with people outraged and with people wanting to show their anger,” she said.

The rallies were organised by Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism, and Austerity (ROSA). 

Related StoriesNov. 1, 2018Girls Are More Likely to Die in Countries Where Gender Inequality Persists

“Obviously in the courts, the idea that a person’s underwear being used by a defence barrister as some indication of their intentions is absolutely despicable,” said Rita Harrold, from ROSA. 

“This culture that tells us we have to keep ourselves safe, we have to wear conservative clothes, we can’t go to certain places, is a culture that tolerates rape and blames victims and we won’t take it anymore,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Noeline Blackwell, head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said it supported “rape stereotypes” in trials. 

“The reference to the girl’s underwear and the assumption and inference that the jury was being invited to draw — that because she was dressed like that she was asking for sex — does not surprise us,” she said. 

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AID AND DEVELOPMENT

What is fragility and why does it matter in the fight against extreme poverty?

April 10 2019 | By: EMILY HUIE

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If you’ve watched the news lately, you might have heard the term “fragile state.” When a crisis hits a fragile state, the effects can be devastating, and often contribute to the cycle of extreme poverty. In order to end extreme poverty [by 2030], the world must do better about reaching the extreme poor who live in fragile states. This is a big challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

There are currently more than 735 million people living in extreme poverty. Almost two-thirds (over 514 million) of these people are concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 35 of the world’s current fragile states are in sub-Saharan Africa. Experts predict that by 2030, more than 80% of people living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states.

So what exactly is fragility and how can it affect countries? A country or region is generally classified as fragile when it is vulnerable to shocks – violent conflict, natural disasters or economic crises – and lacks the capacity to cope with them. Citizens of a fragile state have to deal with a lot of instability, and they are exposed to higher risks when the unexpected happens.

Countries can be fragile for a number of different reasons. Some governments do not have the capacity to create a resilient environments . In some cases they lack the resources, in others corrupt leaders are more concerned with consolidating power and wealth for themselves than using state resources to provide basic services. Other factors such as natural disasters, regional instability, ethnic conflicts or violence can also make a country fragile.

Regardless of what causes fragility, when things go wrong, the citizens are hardest hit.

If you keep up with current events, you’re probably familiar with the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In the DRC, decades of exploitation and ethnic rivalries have led to protracted and violent conflicts over political power and natural resources. Although the civil war officially ended in 2003, violence is still widespread, particularly in the eastern part of the country. These conflicts have been at the expense of citizens’ basic needs.

When an Ebola outbreak began last August in the DRC, medical professionals, aid workers, and government officials were unable to reach communities because of poor infrastructure, weak health systems, and conflict. To make things worse, while medical workers struggled to reach those affected, communities struggled to trust those workers because often their experiences lead them to distrust the government and other officials. The result is an ongoing health crisis that has led to over 900 infections, and over 560 deaths.

People living in fragile states, like the DRC, face even more difficulty escaping extreme poverty.

Displacement, increased likelihood of disease, and food scarcity are just some of the things that can come about from a crisis. That’s why working to end fragility will have immense effects on combating extreme poverty, and prevent bad situations from becoming catastrophic.

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NOV. 20, 2018

 

42
 
ADVOCACYGIRLS & WOMEN

This 14-Year-Old Went Straight to the Police When Her Parents Tried to Force Her to Marry

Here’s how girls like Mestawet Mekuria are empowered to control their own lives.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals call for an end to all gender violence — including the elimination of forced marriage. Nevertheless, 12 million girls around the world are married before the age of 18. You can join us by taking action here to achieve the Global Goals. 

Mestawet Mekuria dreams of becoming a teacher or doctor when she grows up.

But as a 14-year-old girl in Ethiopia, she found her future under threat from the very people who were supposed to help her realise her ambitions.

Her parents attempted to force her to marry. But she wasn’t having any of it.

Take Action: Sign This Petition to #LeveltheLaw and Empower Girls and Women Around the World

 

“I went to the police station when my parents told me that I am getting married,” Mekuria told UNICEF Ethiopia.

“I had learned about child marriage and its consequences in our school’s girls’ club,” she said. “I told my parents that I do not want to get married. But they refused, and that is when I ran to the police station.”

It came as a surprise to Mekuria when her parents were arrested and imprisoned for a fortnight. The minimum marriage age in Ethiopia is 18 — but laws are rarely enforced, and she thought her mum and dad might just get a warning. 

Indeed, Mekuria lives in the Amhara region, where 56% of girls are married before the age of 18, according to the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (EDHS)

It took the intervention of village elders to eventually make peace between Mekuria and her parents, but now everything has returned to normal — way better than normal, actually.

“My parents now understand about child marriage and its consequences,” Mekuria said. “They are no longer angry with me.”

Mekuria is one of 20 girls rescued from child marriage in the last two years at Ayti Primary School in northern Ethiopia — and if you’re from Britain, you helped make it happen.

The girls’ club that taught Mekuria about the issue was supported by UK aid — the lifesaving money spent by the Department of International Development (DfID) to end extreme poverty before 2030. 

Now, partly thanks to UK aid, Mekuria is free to focus on her aspirations for medicine or teaching. 

Read More: Married at 3, Divorced at 7 — Two Ethiopian Girls Share Their Story

Specifically, UK aid money was used to support the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, which in turn worked with the Bureau of Women and Children Affairs (BoWCA) to set up clubs like these all over the Amhara region in 2015, according to UNICEF Ethiopia.

The clubs empower young girls by offering life skills training, information about their rights, and even reaching out to families to change attitudes often rooted in traditional beliefs and values. And it works: a BoWCA trainer told UNICEF Ethiopia that it helped 106 girls escape child marriage in 2016 and 55 in 2017.

Globally, over 650 million women alive today were married as children.

 

On the heels of the #MeToo movement, girls like Mestawet are taking a stand:

"I told my parents, 'I do not want to get married.' But they refused. That's when I ran to the police station."

Take action to #EndViolence for girls this #IWD2018: http://p2a.co/SpqqKKc 

 
 
 
 

In July 2014, the UK hosted the world’s first Girl Summit with the intention of ending forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) within a generation. It was there that Ethiopia pledged to end both by 2025.

But it’s an uphill struggle. The EDHS reports that 65% of women aged 14-49 in Ethiopia have undergone FGM, while two in five girls will be married before their 18th birthday. It’s difficult to prosecute child marriage too: Ethiopia has no working system to register births, deaths, or marriages, according to Girls Not Brides, so it’s incredibly difficult to prove that a girl is actually underage.

Read More: This Incredible Former Child Bride Persuaded Her Country to Ban Child Marriage

Child marriage has painful consequences for society as a whole. It’s not just girls like Mekuria who suffer — it can contribute to trap entire communities in poverty indefinitely as it limits economic progress. When girls marry young, they’re more likely to drop out of school; more vulnerable to gender violence; less likely to get a job; at greater risk of poor health, FGM, and pregnancy complications.

“Child marriage is a harmful practice, and I want girls to continue with their education like me,” Mekuria said. “I have seen my classmates quit school because they are married. I always tell my friends in my village about child marriage, and I will continue to do so to others”.

 

Babies of #childbrides face higher risks of:

❗ Stunting
❗ Low birth weight
❗ Stillbirth or dying soon after birth

When girls choose if & when they have children, they and their families are healthier#ICFP2018

 
 
 
 

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17 DE ABRIL DE 2019

 

33
 
MEDIO AMBIENTE

El 'efecto Attenborough' está causando que la contaminación plástica se reduzca

Las celebridades tienen un papel único en la reducción de residuos plásticos.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
El plástico contamina los ecosistemas marinos en todo el mundo, causando daño a varias especies. Los Objetivos Mundiales de las Naciones Unidas piden a los países que protejan el medio ambiente. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.

En el último episodio de la serie Blue Planet II de Sir David Attenborough, el icónico ecologista ha dirigido su atención al creciente problema de los residuos plásticos.

 

El episodio mostró que los pajaros ya se alimentan de trozos de plástico, las costas están cubiertas de contaminación y los ambientes marinos de todo el mundo llenos de desechos plásticos.

 

A lo largo de la serie, Attenborough instó a los espectadores a ser más sostenibles, y sus esfuerzos parecen haber dado sus frutos. Un nuevo informe de GlobalWebIndex muestra que las personas en los Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido redujeron su uso de plástico de un solo uso en un 53% en los últimos 12 meses.

 

Los autores atribuyen la pronunciada disminución al "efecto Attenborough".

Actúa: Firma ahora

 
 
 
1 punto

 



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"Esta es un área donde el poder de las celebridades realmente se puede utilizar para el bien", dijo a Global Citizen, Bill Levey, CEO de Naeco, una compañía que fabrica alternativas plásticas sostenibles. “En el caso de Attenborough, ha estado informando sobre temas científicos durante décadas, se ganó el respeto de los científicos y, a esta edad, ahora tiene un tipo de aura paterna y majestuosa”.

 

"Realmente creo que este es un problema que solo puede beneficiarse de tener una voz fuerte y potente", agregó.

 

GlobalWebIndex encuestó a 3.833 personas en los Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido y encontró que el 82% prefiere los envases sostenibles para los productos que compran en la vida cotidiana y el 66% es más probable que confíe en marcas que se comprometen a ser más sostenibles.

 

La gente también se ha inspirado en la tendencia de Attenborough a seguir su propio consejo. Durante el rodaje de Blue Planet II, su equipo recogió cada parte de la basura que encontraron en el océano.

 

En el último año, la lucha contra la contaminación plástica ha cobrado impulso en todo el mundo. Más de 60 países han tomado medidas para restringir la producción y el consumo de plástico, las grandes empresas multinacionales han invertido en alternativas y los ciudadanos han encabezado la limpieza de los océanos.

 

Pero las celebridades podrían ser clave para hacer que el movimiento se generalice, según explicó Levey.

 

"Cualquier persona con muchos seguidores puede usar su plataforma para ayudar a crear conciencia sobre los efectos de nuestro uso del plástico en el medio ambiente", dijo Levey.

 

"En el mundo de hoy, hay muchas celebridades que tienen seguidores muy específicos y tienen la capacidad de llegar a personas que de otra manera no podrían escuchar sobre estos temas", agregó.

 

Varias celebridades se han convertido en defensores de la causa en los últimos años. La actriz Emma Watson usó un vestido hecho de botellas plásticas recicladas para el Met Gala 2016, la cantante de R&B SZA creó una línea de ropa que recicla residuos de plástico en los océanos, y el actor Adrien Brody se ha convertido en uno de los principales defensores de la lucha contra el uso de sorbetes de plástico.

 

Durante más de una década, Attenborough ha mostrado el esplendor de la Tierra y ha advertido sobre su posible declive. No es de extrañar que cuando le dio a la gente algo tangible que pudieran hacer para ayudar al planeta, reducir el plástico, lo aceptaron.

 

Y ahora el movimiento que ayudó a crecer está impulsando un cambio fundamental a nivel legislativo. El gobierno del Reino Unido actualmente está consultando con expertos en plástico para desarrollar políticas para mejorar las tasas de reciclaje y reducir la producción de plástico, según Geoff Brighty, el director técnico de Plastic Oceans.

 

"Realmente ha cristalizado en la mente del gobierno que la conciencia pública se ha movido a un lugar donde ya no queremos que esto suceda, está afectando nuestras vidas, no queremos que afecte a nuestros ecosistemas", dijo Brighty.

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