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WATER AND SANITATION What a toilet means to 16-year-old Mbete


November 15 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

This is a guest post from Water.org.

Meet 16-year-old Mbete from Ngomenia, Kenya. She attends school in a water-scarce and climatically tough region to live in. Mbete’s family has no real means of earning a living to provide for themselves, they have a subsistence farm, and they are dependent on the seasonal rains.


Mbete used to walk three miles to school every day for three years until she got tired and came to reside with an auntie who lives close to her school. She is the youngest in a family of seven. Her mother is a widow. Her daily routine begins at 5:30 a.m. She eats, gets ready for school, checks her face in the mirror, and runs down the path to school.

Being an adolescent girl in this area — especially from a poor family — is hard. Because often there are no sanitation facilities at school, thus there is no privacy for girls to tend to their needs or deal with soiled cloths when menstruating. The resulting embarrassment and anxiety causes some girls to give up on school.

Because water is hard to come by, the lack of water to use during her menstrual period is another one of the many challenges Mbete and other girls her age face. They cannot bathe themselves or wash hands. Mbete shared stories of how some of the girls have had embarrassing incidents in front of their male classmates during this time of the month. This resulted in the girls skipping school, and therefore negatively affecting their education.

Water.org and its local partner ADRA recently worked with Mbete’s school and community to construct toilets and safe water taps. Now, with some of her most basic needs met, Mbete will no longer have to feel ashamed or embarrassed at certain times of the month. She now has the privacy, safety, and confidence that come with a toilet.

And now, she can focus on her education and opportunities for a better life.

World Toilet Day is November 19. Learn more about it at Water.org, and join ONE today to raise your voice in the fight against extreme poverty.



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Via Global Citizen

ENVIRONMENT Ireland Plans to Slash All Funding for Fossil Fuels

By Joe McCarthy|

 Jan. 27, 2017

Ireland is taking the most aggressive stance on climate change in world history.

This week, the Irish parliament secured cross-party support for a measure to end to the government’s support of fossil fuels. If successful, this would be the first time that a country fully divested from fossil fuels and pledged to never again invest in the sector.

Members of the parliament see the initiative as a matter of heightened urgency following the election of US president Donald Trump who is a climate change skeptic.

Read More: The One Issue Trump Is Trying to Make You Forget Entirely

They also see it as a long overdue challenge to the dominance of fossil fuels around the world.  

"This principle of ethical financing is a symbol to these global corporations that their continual manipulation of climate science, denial of the existence of climate change and their controversial lobbying practices of politicians around the world is no longer tolerated," Thomas Pringle, an Independent politician, told the Belfast Telgraph.

The proposal has the chance to become law in a few months, according to the Belfast Telegraph, after it goes through the necessary channels.

It primarily targets the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which handles 8 billion euros. The fund would have five years to sell off all investments in fossil fuels and would be banned from making new investments in the sector.

"The maths is beyond doubt,” said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan to the Telegraph. “It is based on simple and clear physics.”

"We have to leave four-fifths of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground,” he said. “That is what we are acknowledging and legislating for here."

Read More: China Unveils Blockbuster $361 Billion Plan for Clean Energy

Time is running out for meaningful climate action and governments everywhere are adopting a greater sense of urgency. China, for example, recently announced one of the biggest investment strategies for renewable energy in world history.

Divestment from fossil fuels has also gained momentum in recent years. By the end of last year, 688 institutions, including many universities, and more than 58,000 individuals worth more than $5.5 trillion in assets have divested from fossil fuels.

Read More: 530 Companies Worth Trillions Call on Trump to Support Clean Energy

It was recently announced that 2016 was the third consecutive hottest year in recorded history. How many more years of rising temperatures the Earth can endure without dramatic consequences is unclear. But what is clear is that fossil fuels are no longer tenable.

Ireland is championing this message — but they won’t be the last.   


Written by Joe McCarthy


Joe McCarthy is a Content Creator at Global Citizen. He believes apathy is the biggest threat to creating a more just world and tries his hardest to stay open-minded and curious. Living in New York keeps him aware of how interconnected our world is, how every action has ripples.

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New Jersey Is First in US to Roll Out Popular Baby-in-a-Box Program

By Gabriella Canal| Jan. 27, 2017


The Baby Box Co./Facebook

Pregnant parents in New Jersey are now the first in the US to receive baby boxes. Expectant parents in New Jersey can receive the box free of charge.

On Jan. 26, New Jersey’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board announced that they are partnering with the LA-based company, Baby Box, to provide a large cardboard box stuffed with essential items in hopes of reducing infant mortality rate from the current 6.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births.


 The Baby Box Co @TheBabyBoxCo

Every expecting mother in #NewJersey can get this FREE #BabyBox starting Thursday, January 26th through the... http://fb.me/8l3Qug9f1 

3:38 AM - 22 Jan 2017

  8 8 Retweets   10 10 likes

With assistance from a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control, the boxes are being given out to every parent who registers online. In exchange for a free box, parents must complete a quiz and read online materials developed locally with the help of health experts and authorities on newborn care. The Baby Box Co. sells the baby box for anywhere between $70 and $225, and the state is anticipated to deliver around 105,000 baby boxes in 2017.

Boxes will include diapers, baby wipes, breast pads, nipple cream and a onesie. Baby Box Co. will also provide parents with activity cards designed to boost early learning. The cards, which explain the importance of breastfeeding, singing and telling stories, were developed by the app, Vroom — brainchild of the Bezos Family Foundation.


 New Jersey Dads @NewJersey_Dads

I've read a bit about baby boxes and it seems like a great concept. Now it's coming to NJ! @thebabyboxcohttp://buff.ly/2k3s2Nc 

6:05 PM - 25 Jan 2017

Photo published for Why New Jersey Parents Will Soon Be Trading in Bassinets for (Free!) Cardboard Boxes

Why New Jersey Parents Will Soon Be Trading in Bassinets for (Free!) Cardboard Boxes

Well, this is awesome.


  4 4 Retweets   3 3 likes

New Jersey is not the first to start baby boxes. The adorable packages originated in Finland over 75 years ago, a country that now boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world at 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births.

The Finnish government developed the program to decrease its high infant mortality rate, which was at 65 deaths per 1,000 births in 1938. Initially, the state began to give every low-income mother maternity packages filled with fabric to sew baby clothes, blankets and cloth diapers. If that didn’t cross off enough items from the baby registry, the box itself is alsos designed to double as a crib for the baby’s first couple weeks of life.

Today, every Finnish mother has the choice between taking the box or cashing a grant set at $150 (140 euros). Mothers overwhelmingly opt for the box at 95%, with its supply of diapers, wipes, breast pads, nipple cream, and an exciting assortment of cute snow gear. Altogether, there are 50 different items in the box, which are updated yearly in response to feedback from clients.


Providing small mittens and tiny socks, however, isn’t the the only incentive. The box also nudges parents into starting off on the right foot. Before their fourth month, parents must visit doctors or municipal prenatal clinics in order to receive the package — a rite of passage towards parenthood that works.

By the end of March, all of Canada, some healthcare trusts in the UK, and a few hospitals in Ireland will be following Finland’s footsteps. Some have already caught on — including Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia which gave away 3,000 baby boxes last year.

“What the box symbolizes is that every child is equal and deserves an equal start in life,” Olga Tarasalainen, spokeswoman for Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, told the Independent.

According to the National Vitals Statistic System, the US ranks 23rd in the world for infant mortality. These cardboard boxes may not be the answer to the US’s high infant mortality rate but they are definitely a step in the right direction.




Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heard

Get Involved

TOPICSNew Jersey, Finland, maternal health, Baby Boxes, infant mortality rate

Written by Gabriella Canal

Gabriella Canal studied Journalism and International Relations at the University of Miami. She has built a record of seeking out opportunities she feels strongly passionate about, and that require her to help inspire change. Social justice, writing, photography and videography are her passions. Sharing the stories of those affected by the world's biggest challenges in an effort to alleviate their conditions is her mission.


Via Global Citizen

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WATER AND SANITATION Harvesting rain offers access to water, sanitation, and more for this Kenya village


July 22 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Kara Poppe, Johnson & Johnson Princeton in Africa Fellow

When will the rains come? This is a common discussion topic in Nyumbani Village, Kenya, but one that until recently, was very new to me.

In 2006, I was an adolescent in the United States, with little knowledge of the trials others experienced throughout the world—especially with water. I lived in an area with abundant, year-round precipitation, and the thought of anything different never crossed my mind. Clean water was second nature and flowed freely from the tap wherever I went. It never occurred to me that it might not be there when I needed it.


Fast forward ten years: I’m now a Princeton in Africa Fellow, supported by Johnson & Johnson, and a resident here in  Nyumbani Village—and water is at the forefront of my mind. With shades of brown as far as the eye can see and a light wind blowing reddish earth around, rain is ever welcome. Living in a semi-arid region near the equator, weeks (and often months) can pass without a drop of rain. These harsh, dry conditions are the biannual reality for Nyumbani Village.

Up until Nyumbani Village opened in 2006, this area was primarily used as a grazing area for cattle and goats. Then, in response to the growing number of orphaned children left behind by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, 1,000 acres of this semi-arid landscape was transformed into a home for 1,000 orphaned children and 100 grandparents who lost adult children to AIDS. Today, there are now 100 homes for families, three schools, an outpatient clinic, a commercial farm, and more.

From the beginning, sustainability has been a key component of Nyumbani Village. Whether it is pressing bricks on-site or growing thousands of tomatoes in greenhouses, it is important to prioritize and conserve locally available resources. While drilling boreholes and constructing shallow wells provided water for construction and domestic washing purposes, it was quickly discovered that the water beneath Nyumbani Village is saline and not suitable for drinking. Fresh water was sometimes scarce. This caused a great deal of worry, especially during the dry spells.


Where could Nyumbani Village source that water? Taking full advantage of the brief biannual rains was one idea—with more than 140 buildings, the surface area of the sheet metal roofs offered an obvious solution.

Since 2010, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Princeton in Africa and Nyumbani Village to support the rainwater harvesting project because providing easy access to clean water (and therefore sanitation and hygiene) is a major driver towards a life of health and well-being. For those infected and affected by HIV, access to water means staying safe and in school, and may play a major role in curbing the spread of HIV.

As the Princeton in Africa Fellow, I work alongside Nyumbani Village staff and local contractors and suppliers to install and maintain 10,000-liter rainwater tanks that can capture and contain rainwater for use well into the dry seasons. One morning, one of the women in the village told me how much the tanks mean to her. She told me stories of how, as a child and as a younger woman, she collected water from the nearby river, first with a gourd on her back, then later with jerry cans and a donkey.

“I am less tired these days, because I do not have to fetch water. I now invest my time in others things, like working a lot in my garden,” she says. Having fetched water for most of her life, she knows the importance of water conservation and regularly educates the children under her care on this. “If we are careful, most years, we have some water remaining in the tank when the rains come again in October.”

Presently, each family’s home and most administrative buildings are outfitted with gutters and a tank. The village-wide system is capable of storing more than 1,400,000 liters of fresh, clean water. If conserved carefully, one 10,000 liter tank can supply a family with daily freshwater throughout the dry season.

Prior to living in Nyumbani Village, many children and elderly walked several kilometers per day to source freshwater for their families. Now in Nyumbani Village, with freshwater access at every home through the rainwater tank, it increases time for other activities, such as studying, farming, and playing sports.

Before Nyumbani Village, life for the nearby children who lost parents to AIDS was bleak. By providing access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and much more, Nyumbani Village is helping them to stay healthy, and live the empowered lives they deserve.

Learn more about Nyumbani Village, then add your name to our letter urging world leaders to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.




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GIRLS AND WOMEN 4 famous letters — and one we want YOU to sign


13 January 2017 2:33PM UTC  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
IF YOU CARE, ACT ADD YOUR NAME TODAY Take action for girls' education

Thanks to the ease of email, sitting down and hand-writing an actual letter has fallen out of style. But we have to admit there’s something truly powerful about putting pen to paper in an effort to change the world. Below you’ll find a list of some of our favourite correspondences and open letters… and one we hope you’ll add your name to, too!

1. Nellie Bly


Photo credit: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

“Nellie Bly” was a pioneer of investigative journalism who would go on to write about the plight of working women, as well as a famous exposé on the brutal conditions at a New York women’s asylum. But Elizabeth Cochrane began her career under a different pseudonym: In response to a misogynistic article titled “What Girls Are Good For” in her local paper, Elizabeth sent in a blistering rebuttal under the name “Lonely Orphan Girl.” The paper’s editor was impressed and ran an ad trying to find her. When Cochrane arrived at the office and owned her letter, she was offered her first writing job.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Photo credit: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

A vital text of the Civil Rights Movement, this open letter was written by Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time in a Birmingham jail in 1963. He wrote it in the margins of a newspaper — the only paper he had available — and gave bits and pieces of it to his lawyers to take back to the movement’s headquarters to assemble. The letter defends nonviolent resistance to racism and includes the famous line, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

3. Nelson Mandela


Photo credit: Mark Davey/Oxfam

During his more than 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela wrote many letters. Some, such as a call to arms against apartheid in 1980, were read aloud in public. Others were meant just for his family, such as the many letters to his wife and children. Mandela was released from prison in 1990, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. You can read many of his letters, as well as journal entries and collected doodlings, in his book, Conversations with Myself.

4. Eva Tolage


Eva Tolage, right, reads her letter to the Tanzanian government to her District Commissioner. (Photo credit: Restless Development)

When we first met Tanzanian teen Eva Tolage, she had just written a letter to President Obama. Eva wrote about the challenge of hunger, water, electricity, and corruption. She wrote about the challenges of being a girl. At the UN Summit later that year, President Obama actually responded to Eva, saying “Today, I say to Eva and hundreds of millions like you, we see you. We hear you. I’ve read your letter and we commit ourselves as nations as one world to the urgent work that must be done.” But Eva didn’t stop there: She rallied her classmates at Mlowa school to write a letter to their local leaders last year, asking for water and sanitation facilities to be provided at their school. (And she’s even written another letter to President Obama!) What an amazing example for students and activists everywhere!


Photo credit: Mike Turner/ONE

And now we have a letter that we’d like you to sign. It’s an open letter to world leaders, asking them to prioritise girls’ education. 130 million girls around the world are out of school — that is unacceptable. When girls get an education, they are less likely to become child brides, less likely to contract HIV, and they have greater economic opportunities for the rest of their lives — which is good for everyone. On March 8, ONE members will deliver this open letter to their political representatives to let them know we want them to prioritise girls’ education. Stand with ONE and add your name here.

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SOS appeal. For god’s sake, help us to get the children out.”

This desperate appeal, made by Belarusian and Ukrainian doctors, was sent by fax and received by our founder Adi Roche, in January 1991. The message was simple and to the point, begging someone—anyone—to take the children away from Chernobyl’s radioactive environment so that their bodies had some chance of recovery.

CCI and Ireland were the first responders to the crisis in an effort to help alleviate the suffering and to offer hope to those most affected by the Chernobyl explosion. Today the effects of that fateful day are sti evident.





Via Chernobyl Children International

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Pick Up and Play: Band Sessions with Music Generation Louth, beginning January 2017


Pick Up and Play: Band Sessions is an exciting new programme Music Generation Louth for anyone interested in learning more about singing or playing rock and pop music.

The course has been developed with a focus on live performance, song writing and music production and is aimed at students of mixed abilities who would enjoy playing pop and rock music as part of a group. Over the course of the term, participants will have the opportunity to sing and play acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, and of course to have fun!

The programme will run for 16 weeks and will be split into two blocks, with the first block focused on learning to play a selection of current songs. The second block will focus on writing and producing original tracks which will then be recorded in the last two sessions, giving the participants an insight into the music production process.

The culmination of the course will be an exciting live gig featuring the songs learned and composed over the term.

Each participant will also be given access to online video tutorials to help them progress between sessions.

Pick Up and Play: Band Sessions will run weekly at Music Generation Louth’s regional centres in Dundalk, Ardee and Drogheda. Sessions will run for one hour at a cost of €120 for the term. Three sessions will be available at each centre to facilitate different ages and abilities: 10-12 years and 13-18 years.

Are you interested in taking part? Complete an enrolment form online.

Please note, completion of an enrolment form does not guarantee a place on the course. Music Generation Louth will contact you if a place is available. Fees must be paid in advance of starting the course.

For more information about Music Generation Louth programmes and events contact:

Gemma Murray, Coordinator, Music Generation Louth
Music Generation Louth, Chapel Street, Dundalk, County Louth

T: +353 42 933 4047
E: musicgeneration@lmetb.ie


Via Music Generation

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GIRLS AND WOMEN Margaret’s story: Why investing in a girl means investing in a community


September 21 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Zack Fowler, Development Director for WISER International

“I really didn’t know if I would make it.”

The region where Margaret is from in Kenya is a difficult place to be a young woman. In a community where many families live on less than $1 a day, transactional sex is common — more than 50 percent of sexually active adolescents in the region report having transactional sex in order to pay for basic needs. And this happens in an area where as many as 1 in 3 people are HIV positive. The reality, for many girls, is that they risk their health to stay in school. These barriers, among others, are the reasons why, before Margaret’s WISER class, no girl from a school in Muhuru Bay had ever reached college.

Margaret faced similar challenges. She lost two siblings and her mother to disease. With little money, and no precedent of any girl being successful in school, Margaret’s education could have been over.

That is, until Margaret became a WISER Girl.


Margaret. (Photo credit: WISER)

Today, Margaret sits in an office at the WISER school in Muhuru Bay and smiles. For her, the campus symbolizes something that was once impossible, and is now the reason she feels more confident than ever that her story will have a happy ending.

“I know now that you can help others regardless of the challenges you face,” she says.

For six years, WISER, a Kenya-based NGO, has provided education, health, and leadership opportunities to girls in Western Kenya. As a school, WISER provides a fully-funded residential secondary education with dedicated teachers. As a community center, it provides health fairs, agricultural education, and clean water to more than 5,000 people.

Across all of WISER’s efforts, from education to clean water, we are proud to champion girls and comprehensively address 11 of the 17 UN Global Goals in one program.

In 2013, Margaret was a part of the first WISER graduating class, and quickly became an ambassador for WISER’s most powerful belief: empowering girls through education and health builds not only individuals, but entire regions.

As Margaret puts it, “WISER has given me everything. But more than giving me items, they made me a valued person that feels prepared to face any challenge.”

While at WISER, Margaret found a passion for community health, and immediately looked to improve the health of her hometown. “I realized I wanted to deal with the health of people…to help those around me, and I knew others might not have the courage to handle patients in such a difficult situation. I’m able to handle it.”

She’s the first in her family to finish high school. She’s the first in her region to attend university. Having just finished her second year of a nursing degree, she’s happy and confident, and if she has her way, she’ll be the first person to return to Muhuru to work as a full-time nurse.

The most exciting thing about Margaret’s story is that it is becoming more and more common for other young women.

In the past three years, 72 WISER Girls have begun post-secondary education and become role models in their communities. And almost all of them have the same goal of raising their communities up.

Muhuru Bay now has a large group of driven, developing professionals that not only have a hunger for success, but a deep-seated sense of responsibility to their hometown. In the five years following the program, WISER Girls will become more than symbols of hope for young girls. They will become the nurses, agricultural economists, bankers, and teachers that have an active role in the development of their communities. They will address the poverty, hunger, gender inequity, and other targets that have been highlighted by the UN to build a better world.

Years ago, girls in Muhuru Bay were readily left by the wayside. There are millions of girls like Margaret all over the world. And in helping them change their lives, we can change the course of the future.

Learn more about WISER here, then take a stand for girls and women by adding your name to the Poverty is Sexist open letter. Zack Fowler is the development director for WISER International, a girls’ empowerment program and secondary school based in Western Kenya. A graduate of Duke University with a degree in global health and cultural anthropology, Zack is invested in maintaining authentic partnerships that value community-driven development. He has great respect for the art of storytelling and its place in education and health.



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EDUCATION The case for girls’ education


January 13 2017  | By: JENNY OTTENHOFF
IF YOU CARE, ACT. ADD YOUR NAME TODAY International Womens Day 2017

Here are three facts that tell a troubling story:

  1. If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. That’s equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.
  2. But 130 million girls are out of school. If they were a country, it would be the 10th largest country in the world.
  3. The situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan Africa, where 29 million young and adolescent girls are out of school — and many will never set foot in a classroom.

The benefits of educating girls and women are far-reaching. We know that poverty hits women harder than men, and that preventing girls and women from reaching their full potential holds everybody back. (Conversely, when you lift up women and girls, you raise men and boys up, too!) The fight against extreme poverty is tied to the fight for gender equality, and that’s especially evident in education.


Improving girls’ access to education could deliver:

  • Increased earning potential and growth: Educating women increases earning potential, which can help lift households out of poverty.
  • Accelerated progress in rights: Girls and young women who are educated have a greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their lives. Plus, ensuring girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways of averting child marriage and early birth.
  • Improved health outcomes: Education improves both the health of a woman and the health of her family. More education helps women make better decisions about health and disease factors such as prenatal care, basic hygiene, nutrition, and immunization — all of which are important to reducing the leading causes of death in children under 5.
  • Increased agriculture productivity and food security: The ability to read and do mathematics allows farmers to adapt to new agricultural methods, cope with risk, and respond to market signals. A basic education helps farmers gain title to their land and apply for credit at banks.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t more girls being educated? Well, the direct costs of education can be expensive, especially in areas where many people live on less than $1.90 a day. And because of the costs, in many contexts, if a choice must be made between sending a boy or girl to school, the boy will be the one getting an education. There are also cultural norms and values to consider, including the lack of value for girls’ education. Concerns about violence and poor infrastructure are also factors keeping girls out of school, as well as conflict and emergency situations —in which girls are almost two-and-a-half times more likely to be out of school.


We have to act now. That’s why ONE is organizing people across the country and around the world to make sure that girls and women are at the heart of our poverty-fighting strategy by promoting their access to education. Join us and call on world leaders to help decrease the number of girls out of school. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one the world needs to try to reach!

International Womens Day 2017

A Letter to Leaders You couldn't be where you are today without a good education. But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. Indeed, if the number of girls out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet - bigger than Japan or Germany. All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys. Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country. We cannot afford to squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry...or simply to access opportunity. We are coming together and uniting across our divides to get every girl into school and to make sure she gets a quality education once she's there. But we need you to do the same. Your education helped you to get where you are today - and it's in your power to help millions of girls to get theirs. Please act now, with the right policies and the necessary funds. Show us that politics can work for the people - starting with the people who need it most.



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REFUGEES Want to help? Join the organizations speaking out against the refugee ban


January 30 2017  | By: LAURIE MOSKOWITZ
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

Here at ONE, we believe that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live. Energized by this guiding principle, ONE speaks out for the world’s most vulnerable people, whether they were born into extreme poverty, or thrust into it by war, famine, or political strife.


A group of refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, in April 2016.

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order that blocks the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S. for the next 120 days. It also bars all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. until further notice. Additionally, it bans the citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering the U.S. on any visa category.

Want to speak out and encourage Congress to reverse the executive order? Here are a few of the many organizations that are rallying to help those in need:

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps provides direct aid to Syrian refugees in the form of food and supplies, and by increasing access to clean water and sanitation, shelters, and safe spaces and activities for children. They currently have a petition you can sign to tell Speaker Paul Ryan to urge President Trump to revoke the ban on refugees.

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are affected by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Their website is a great place to hear refugees’ stories in their own words, as well as learn more about how the resettlement process really works. Now IRC has launched its first ever Emergency Appeal focused exclusively on aiding refugees already in the United States and supporting the services the IRC provides to ensure the newest Americans – most of whom are women and children – can reclaim their lives. Learn more here.

Save the Children/Save the Children Action Network

Save the Children provides emergency food for Syrian children and supports education in Syrian refugee camps. Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, released a statement this weekend that says, “Now is not the time to turn our back on these families, or our core American values, by banning refugees. We can protect our citizens without putting even more barriers in front of those who have lost everything and want to build a better future in America.” Join us in asking your Members of Congress to oppose the refugee ban by clicking here: Save the Children Action Network.


That’s right—you can help, too. Call your senators and representatives TODAY and urge them to push back against this executive order.



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Mahershala Ali Denounces Trump's Immigration Ban at 2017 SAG A..."I'm a Muslim," Mahershala Ali said last night in a moving speech against Trump's immigration ban.#NoBanNoWall


Via Global Citizen

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Tips for Caring for Yourself after Cancer

Updated January 17, 2017

After completing treatment, many cancer survivors wonder what their future will look like. Survivors can face a host of issues after they complete active treatment, including the long-term effects of treatment, as well as social, physical, and psychological hurdles.

Here are some things to consider after your cancer treatment is complete, according to the experts in the Adult Survivorship Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC).


Ann Partridge, MD, MPH (left), and Lisa Diller, MD, co-direct Dana-Farber’s Perini Family Survivors’ Center.

Check in with your health care provider. When cancer treatment ends, it’s still important to see your primary care physician for regular checkups and any follow-up health screenings you might need. These visits can help you and your doctor address potential side effects from treatment, and go over any preventive measures that may stop future health problems from occurring.

Find support. You don’t have to go through post-treatment life alone. Friends and family can be a good source of support, but you should also ask your cancer care team how to find support services near you – including spiritual care, individual counselingnutritionists, physical therapists, pain clinics, or support groups.

Create a wellness plan. Living a healthy life after cancer can reduce your risk of developing other cancers. Some healthy lifestyle choices to consider: quit smoking, cut down on alcohol intakeeat well, and exercise regularly.

Pay attention to changes in your body. It can take time to adjust to the effects of cancer treatment. Not everyone will experience the same problems, but cancer survivors commonly report issues such as fatigue, pain, and weight changes. Talk with your doctor about any health problems you may experience and ask how to best address them.

Don’t ignore your emotions. Cancer and its treatment can affect your emotional and mental health. To deal with feelings such as depressionanxiety, anger, or the fear that cancer will come back, consider joining a support group or talking with a social worker.

“Survivorship is a time when we can help a patient take stock of where they are in terms of their health behaviors and what can be changed,” says Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, director of the Adult Survivorship Program at DF/BWCC. “We can try to help them improve their health behaviors, so that the rest of their life is better – both from a medical standpoint and a risk standpoint, but also in terms of quality of life.“


The Adult Survivorship Program at DF/BWCC provides clinical care and services for adult cancer survivors. To make an appointment or learn more, call the clinic facilitator at 617-632-4523 or emailDFCI_adultsurvivors@dfci.harvard.edu.


Via The Angiogenesis Foundation

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Why Is It Difficult to Pinpoint the Exact Cause of a Person’s Cancer?

Updated January 20, 2017

Irene Ghobrial, M.D. in her lab with a microscope.

A diagnosis of cancer always comes as a shock, and the patient naturally asks the physician, why did this happen? Is it something I did or didn’t do, or did I inherit it, or were chemicals in the environment to blame?

“Why patients develop cancers is not well known,” explains Irene Ghobrial, MD, of Dana-Farber. “There are so many underlying factors – we inherit some genes that may not be good for us, we have environmental exposures, so many things that work together for us to acquire all these new mutations” that drive cancer cells.

“It’s not like an infection – a foreign body we can fight,” adds Ghobrial, a specialist in hematological cancers. “Here it’s your own body mutating against you.”

The fundamental cause of all cancer is genetic mutations in normal cells that cause them to grow out of control, forming an abnormal mass of cells – a tumor – that enlarges and often spreads around the body.

Most mutations occur as people age, because of mistakes in copying the DNA code of cells that are dividing. Some inherited mutations drastically raise the risk of developing cancer during one’s lifetime, like the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer risk, and other mutations that create a high risk of multiple cancer types in families.

Environmental exposures – such as certain chemicals, radiation, and viruses — and lifestyle behaviors are another cause of cancer mutations. Most skin cancers, including melanoma, are the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.  About 80 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking tobacco, and many others by second hand smoke. Nevertheless, it’s almost impossible to pin an individual case of cancer on a particular culprit with 100 percent certainty.

In fact, researchers have suggested that simple “bad luck” – random mutations in the DNA of stem cells that spawn new tissues – explains a much greater number of cancers – an estimated two-thirds of cases — than hereditary or environmental factors. A study by scientists at Johns Hopkins University proposed that the risk of cancer in a particular body tissue correlates with number of stem cell divisions occurring in that tissue. The more times stem cells divide, the greater the odds of a chance DNA copying error, or mutation that could lead to cancer, in the same way that a car accident is more likely the longer the journey.

The report stirred a fierce controversy. Other researchers criticized the methods used in the study and argued that it downplayed the importance of inherited factors and lifestyle choices, and as a result gave short shrift to cancer prevention. In the wake of the dispute, the report’s authors sought to clarify their proposal, but did not disavow their conclusions, adding that the best way to eradicate cancers is through early detection and treatment.

That said, the precise set of circumstances that leads to cancer in an individual is unlikely ever to be known.


Via The Angiogenesis Foundation

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Dental care is integral to good health, but for many children in Belarus, good dental care is simply not available. Even more disturbing, many children in institutional care must undergo painful procedures such as tooth extraction without anaesthetic. CCI's Dental Care Programme currently offers a high level of oral care and more humane treatments to the residents of Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum.

CCI’s Dental Programme was set up in 2006 by dentist Marcas Mac Domhnaill and dental nurse Mary Sugrue. The programme focuses on giving children at Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum the most comfortable dental experience possible. Each dental mission to Vesnova examines children with poor levels of oral care and maintenance. A priority for them is to provide emergency care and preventative maintenance in an effort to break the chain of infection.

The programme has gone from strength to strength, having included many volunteer dentists and dental nurses from all over Ireland. Huge improvements have been made since 2006, both to the oral health of the children and to the dental facilities in Vesnova. Every volunteer says that they receive much more themselves as volunteers than they could ever give to these children.
Last January Marcas and Mary won an award from The Irish Dental Journal Awards for the vital dental care that they provide.
Help us to fund this critical programme that offers comfort to some of Belarus' most vulnerable children by donating at 



Via Chernobyl Children International


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EDUCATION 99 influential figures have signed on to support girls’ education… and you’re next


13 January 2017 3:33PM UTC  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
IF YOU CARE, ACT ADD YOUR NAME TODAY Take action NOW for girls' education.

All children deserve a good education. But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. That’s why ONE is organizing people across the country and around the world to help ensure that girls and women are at the heart of our poverty-fighting strategy by promoting their access to education.

Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Those 130 million girls have the potential to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry… or simply access opportunity. When girls get an education, they are less likely to become child brides, less likely to contract HIV, and they have greater economic opportunities for the rest of their lives — which is good for everyone.

Join us on calling on world leaders to increase the number of girls in school by millions. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one the world needs to strive to reach.

Here’s our open letter:

A letter to leaders—

You couldn’t be where you are today without a good education.

But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. Indeed, if the number of girls out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet – bigger than Japan or Germany.

All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys. Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country.

We cannot afford to squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry… or simply to access opportunity.

We are coming together and uniting across our divides to get every girl into school and to make sure she gets a quality education once she’s there.

But we need you to do the same.

Your education helped you to get where you are today – and it is in your power to help millions of girls to get theirs. Please act now, with the right policies and the necessary funds.

Show us that politics can work for the people – starting with the people who need it most.

This letter has already been signed by influential figures across a number of fields: business, faith, technology, activism, entertainment, and more. They come from different backgrounds and hold different views, but they all agreed that this issue is vitally important. We sincerely thank each one of them for lending their influence to getting girls around the world the education they deserve:

Afrikan Boy, grime artist Ali Hewson, founder, Edun and Nude Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education’s Secretariat Alice Callahan Thompson, actress and activist Aliko Dangote, President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group and Chairman of the Dangote Foundation Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership Amena Brown, spoken word artist Angelique Kidjo, Grammy Award-winning artist and activist Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International Ariana Grande, performer Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Asa, singer Ashley Graham, model Ashley Judd, actor and activist Aziz Ansari, actor, comedian, author Banky W, singer Baroness Verma, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, and ministerial champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas and political champion for women’s rights Blake Lively, actor Bob Geldof, activist and musician Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE and (RED) Bumi Thomas, singer-songwriter Carey Lowell, artist and actor Cathy Newman, presenter for Channel Four News, blogger for the Telegraph Charlize Theron, actor and founder of Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project Christina Lamb, Sunday Times Chief Foreign Correspondent and author Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief at Glamour Dan Haseltine, Blood:Water co-founder Danai Gurira, actor and award-winning playwright David Burtka, actor, chef David Oyelowo, actor Hon. Desmond Elliot, politician and former actor Diamond, singer Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director at World Food Programme Eve Hewson, actress George Stroumboulopoulos, TV and radio personality Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Gwen Stefani, performer Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme Helene Gayle, CEO, McKinsey Social Initiative Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO, Save the Children International HHP, rapper Isla Fisher, actor Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET Jessica Oyelowo, actor Jessica Sipos, actor Joe Cerrell, Managing Director, Global Policy & Advocacy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation John Green, author and YouTuber Jordan Hewson, founder and CEO of Speakable Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Global Partnership for Education, and former PM of Australia Julia Roberts, actor and producer Karen Kornbluh, Executive Vice President, Nielsen Karen Walrond, NY Times best-selling author Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, UN Foundation Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver Kevin Sheekey, Global Head of Communications, Government Relations and Marketing for Bloomberg L.P. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, actor Lady Gaga Larry Summers, Harvard professor and former United States Treasury Secretary Laura Ling, journalist and host at Seeker Network Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and founder of FEED Projects Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Luvvie Ajayi, writer and Digital Strategist and Executive Director, The Red Pump Mabel van Oranje, initiator and Chair of Girls Not Brides Maria Russo, Executive Director, Humanity Unified International Marian Salzman, CEO, Havas PR Matt Maher, contemporary Christian artist Meghan Markle, actor and activist Michael Gerson, Senior Fellow at ONE Michael W. Smith, contemporary Christian artist Michele Sullivan, President, Caterpillar Foundation Montel Williams, TV personality Moriah Peters, singer-songwriter Morton H. Halperin, Senior Advisor, Open Society Foundations Muntu Valdo, musician Natalie Portman, actor Neil Patrick Harris, actor Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever Rachel Rudwall, explorer and television producer Rashida Jones, actor Robin Wright, actor Ryan Reynolds, actor Sacha Baron Cohen, actor Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and co-founder of A World at School Selmor Mtukudzi, singer Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook Sheryl WuDunn, co-author, “A Path Appears” and “Half the Sky” Steve Taylor, singer-songwriter Susan A. Buffett, Chairwoman, The Sherwood Foundation and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation Susan Markham, former USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube Tanya Burr, fashion and beauty vlogger Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots Toolz, radio presenter Vanessa Mdee, singer Victoria Kimani, singer Waje, singer Yemi Alade, singer Vincent Kompany, footballer

… And now it’s your turn. It’s in your power RIGHT NOW to help girls across the globe get access to an education in the next four years. If you care, ACT. Add your name to our letter, and we’ll deliver it in-person to leaders all around the world on International Women’s Day, March 8.

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Waltons New School of Music have announced the sixth annual Waltons Music for Schools Competition, a non‐profit national event celebrating music in Irish schools.

A total of €10,000 worth of musical instruments and equipment from Waltons is up for grabs! 1f642.png:-)

Click the link for more info...





Via Music Generation

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What a beautiful video from Music Network, captured at their 30th anniversary concert at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, where young musicians from Music Generation Louth and Music Generation Laois performed the world premiere of Philip Martin's 'Avoca: A Celtic Journey', as part of an ensemble of 50 young and professional harpers, alongside world class singers and musicians.

Congratulations to Music Network and all partners involved in this spectacular musical occasion!





Via Music Generation

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Dedicated host family, volunteer and member of the Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group, Carmel Everard, is running a Half Marathon at Waterford Viking Marathon this July in aid of Chernobyl Children International.

Any runner out there will know that it takes months, if not years, of hard work to build up to Half Marathon level, so any support ye can offer Carmel is greatly appreciated.

Best of luck Carmel - you've a big CCI family cheering you on in both Ireland and Belarus!





Via Chernobyl Children International

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(RED) is proud to stand with organizations & political leaders from both parties who are speaking up for the rights of refugees & immigrants.

Americans — please raise your voice. Call 1-888-213-2881 to be connected to your senator and 1-888-511-8714 for your representative.

Learn more & take action with our sister organization ONE here:http://bit.ly/2knm89X






Via (RED)

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Via Global Citizen

HEALTH UK Asylum Seekers Receive Housing Invested With Vermin


Jan. 31, 2017

Brought to you by: Thomson Reuters Foundation

By Astrid Zweynert

LONDON, Jan 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Infested with vermin, furnished with dirty carpets, broken beds and rotten sofas - some of the accommodation Britain provides to asylum seekers is a "disgrace", lawmakers said on Tuesday.

A report by the Home Affairs Committee revealed a catalogue of problems, including children living in accommodation with infestations of mice, rats or bed bugs, and pregnant women and victims of rape and torture lacking adequate support.

Read More: 17 Heartwarming Signs Welcoming Refugees in US Airports

Asylum seekers were given broken beds, some had to sleep on the floor for weeks, while families with young children were placed in shared accommodation with strangers, the report said.

"The state of accommodation for some asylum seekers and refugees in this country is a disgrace," said Yvette Cooper, chair of the cross-party committee.

"No one should be living in conditions like that," Cooper said in a statement.

The number of people seeking asylum in Britain is relatively low compared to other European countries. It stood at 41,280 in the year to September 2016.

Germany, the European country with the highest numbers of asylum seekers, received more than 200,000 applications in the third quarter alone.

Read More: World Leaders Condemn Trump’s Immigration Ban

The committee found that even when accommodation and support are of a good standard, housing is still far too concentrated in Britain's most deprived areas.

It urged the Home Office (interior ministry) to act urgently to raise standards, improve its inspection regime, deal with delays in processing asylum claims and ensure there is adequate funding.

The Home Office said Britain is committed to providing safe and secure accommodation while applications are considered and it "urgently" investigates any complaints.

The government signed contracts with three providers in 2012 to provide accommodation, transport and other related services to asylum seekers.

"We work closely with our contractors to ensure they provide accommodation that is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and adequately equipped and we conduct regular inspections to check that this is the case," the Home Office said in a statement.

Read More: 15 GOP Leaders Who Are Speaking Out Against Trump’s Executive Order

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said asylum seekers should be allowed to live in dignity, including being provided with safe and secure homes while they await a decision on their claim.

"In our work with asylum seekers, we bear witness to unacceptable accommodation, including mothers who have had to take new born babies back to dirty and infested flats, leading to anguish, distress and possible health consequences," he said in a statement.

Contractors have experienced higher costs than they originally envisaged as the number of asylum seekers coming to Britain has risen along with the cost of accommodation, the report said.

When it drew up the contracts, the Home Office estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 asylum seekers would need to be housed at any one time but more than 38,000 were being accommodated by February 2016, according to the report.

Growing delays in processing asylum seeker applications also contributed to contractors having to house more people than they are paid for, the report said.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://www.news.trust.org)


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The poster that got the public talking
30 January 2017

People with a learning disability are largely invisible in our media, and across popular culture.  When they are included, there is still a shocking amount of lazy and negative stereotyping about what people with a learning disability are like, and are capable of.  

lucy.jpgLucy Abell


This winter, we at Mencap have been trying to tackle that with our first public awareness campaign in years - Here I Am.  Our aim was to create a campaign to make it impossible to ignore people with a learning disability, and to do that in a way that would challenge the assumptions a lot of people don’t even know they have.

We worked with the well-known fashion photographer Rankin (who waived his normal fee, I should say) to take portraits of seven very different people with a learning disability, bringing out their unique personalities and passions, and helping us to share their stories and views on learning disability.

One image in particular that we used in outdoor advertising has prompted strong reactions and a lot of debate online.  It’s a portrait of Joe, a young man who loves sport, is passionate about music and happens to have Down’s syndrome.


How people interpret images is always very personal, but the reactions - people both loving it and loathing it - have been more intense about Joe’s picture than any other, and so it started us thinking about why this one in particular is so contentious.

To me, Joe in the campaign photograph is a strong, sporty young man, brimming with confidence and owning his space.  We see it as a positive image, one that contradicts the idea that having a learning disability makes you somehow passive or childlike.  Lots of people agree with that and have been online celebrating the ad.  But others have found his stance aggressive and negative.

I think the image taps into some difficult feelings.  There seems to be a set range of things that people with a learning disability are ‘allowed’ to be in our culture, and powerful isn’t one of them.  Would the pose have caused the same offence if it had been struck by a young man without a disability?  I don’t think it would.  Why is it ok for Tom Hardy, Usain Bolt and X number of boybands and models on billboards to channel a similar look, but not Joe?  That discomfort is part and parcel of the stereotyping we’re trying to chip away at.

But it also taps into some real concerns from people who love and care for someone with a learning disability that it might reinforce negative stereotypes that members of the public might have - that people with a learning disability are violent, or should be avoided.  Again, those fears are something we need to work together to tackle head on, so that everyone with a learning disability is free to express their personality in whatever way they want to.

While we didn’t set out to manufacture controversy, we aren’t trying to be delicate or tip-toe with this campaign.  Quite the opposite: we think we’ve been too timid in the past, and need to be bold to move conversations about learning disability out of the sidelines and into the mainstream.  We’re pleased to have prompted some discussion about learning disability that has been lacking before.  People who aren’t normally part of the disability debate are seeing our campaign and getting involved, responding to the images and stories because they don’t conform to what they had previously thought about learning disability.  

How our society views learning disability is a complicated and highly emotional area, and we don’t pretend to get it spot on every time.  However in this case we’re really proud of the campaign, and the strong / funny / glamorous / beautiful images that capture the people who are at the centre of it.

Take a look at the Here I Am gallery to see all of the photos from the campaign. 


Via Mencap

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