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Here are the female bikers that ride to save lives in Nigeria
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HEALTH

Here are the female bikers that ride to save lives in Nigeria

18 May 2018 4:10PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

 
   

This story was originally reported by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and edited by Claire Cozens for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Whenever the all-female Nigerian biker group D’Angels hit the streets, people would stare in amazement at the sight of women on motorbikes. So they made up their minds to use the attention for a good cause.

Enter the Female Bikers Initiative (FBI), which has already provided free breast and cervical cancer screening to 500 women in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

589_378442295564809_1100924018_n.jpgThis August, D’Angels and another female biker group in Lagos, Amazon Motorcycle Club, plan to provide free screening to 5,000 women – a significant undertaking in a country where many lack access to proper healthcare.

“What touched us most was the women,” D’Angels co-founder Nnenna Samuila, 39, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Lagos.

“Some asked if the bikes really belonged to us. Some asked if they could sit on our bikes. We decided to use the opportunity to do something to touch women’s lives.”

Breast and cervical cancer are huge killers in Nigeria, accounting for half the 100,000 cancer deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization.

12309763_922499704492396_655342331158519Screening and early detection can dramatically reduce the mortality rate for cervical cancer in particular.

But oncologist Omolola Salako, whose Lagos charity partnered with the FBI last year, says there is not enough awareness of the need for screening.

“Among the 600-plus women we have screened since October, about 60 percent were being screened for the first time,” said Dr. Salako, executive director of Sebeccly Cancer Care. “It was the first time they were hearing about it.”

Even if women do know they should be screened, affordability is a barrier, said Salako, whose charity provides the service for free and also raises funds to treat cancer patients.

RAISING AWARENESS

This year the bikers will put on a week of awareness-raising and mobile screening, after which free screenings will be available at Sebeccly every Thursday for the rest of the year.

Members of the two clubs and any other female bikers who want to join in will ride through the streets, to schools, malls and other public places, distributing fliers and talking to women about the importance of screening.

“All the bikers turn up,” said Samuila, one of five women on the FBI’s board of trustees. “We just need to tell them, this is the location for the activity, and this is what we need you to do.”

Last year their funds, from private and corporate donors, could only stretch to two mastectomies, and they hope they will be able to sponsor more treatments this year.

bikers_social1-1024x512.jpg“We encourage this person to come, and then she finds out that something is wrong and you abandon her,” said Samuila, a former telecoms executive who now runs her own confectionery and coffee company.

“We would love to be able to follow up with whatever comes out of the testing.”

This is just the latest in a number of projects the bikers have organised.

In 2016 they launched Beyond Limits, a scheme to encourage young girls to fulfil their potential beyond societal expectations of marriage and babies.

They travel to schools to give talks and invite senior women working in science, technology and innovation to take part.

TURNING POINT

Samuila formed D’Angels with 37-year-old Jeminat Olumegbon in 2009 after they were denied entry to the established, all-male bikers’ groups in Lagos.

“They didn’t want us. They were like, ‘No, women don’t do this. Women are used to being carried around. Why don’t you guys just be on the sidelines?’ That sort of pissed us off and we then went on to form our own club,” said Samuila.

In 2010, the pair rode from Lagos to the southern city of Port Harcourt to attend a bikers’ event, a 617-km (383-mile) trip that the men had told them was impossible for a woman.

Bikers_Social-1024x512.jpg

“That was the turning point in our relationship with the male bikers,” said Samuila.

The two-day ride earned them a new respect from the male riders, some of whom now take part in the screening awareness programmes themselves.

In 2015 Olumegbon, also an FBI board member, took on an even bigger challenge riding 20,000 km through eight West African countries in 30 days to raise funds for children in orphanages.

“I’ve been riding since 2007. At first, I was the only female riding, then I found Nnenna and the other girls,” she said.

“Because we started riding, more females decided to look inwards, and decided that they could do so as well.”

bikers_featured-1024x1024.jpgThe bikers plan to extend their initiative to other parts of Nigeria, and have also received invitations from women riders in other West African countries.

For now though, they want to focus on making sure their efforts reach every woman in Lagos.

“When we speak to people on the streets, many don’t even know of cervical cancer,” said Samuila.

“It’s so painful to hear that so many people are dying from the disease when it can be prevented.”

*images via D’Angels Motorcycle Club

Poverty is sexist

This year we can commit to ending extreme poverty - but we will only achieve this if we unlock the full potential of millions of girls and women. I'm counting on you to take real action that leads to real change - prioritising the countries and people that need it the most.

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18 May 2018 4:10PM UTC

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WATER AND SANITATION

How Rose made sure her family got access to clean water

January 9 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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This post was originally published on water.org.

Four years ago, Water.org documented Rose’s story. At the time she had just taken a small, affordable loan to give her family a toilet and water at home. She explained why this loan was so important to her by sharing her story…

Rose-storyimage1.original.jpg

Rose dropped out of school after fifth grade. It is no surprise why she quit school so young as, globally, the daily struggle to secure water burdens mainly women and children. All too common in Rose’s home country of Uganda where 24 million people lack access to safe water, the daily chore of collecting water for the family landed on Rose. After spending most of her teen years as her family’s water bearer, Rose married young and had two children. She became a single mother shortly after the birth of her second child.

Rose-storyimage6.original.jpg

Poor and concerned for her future, Rose started a small business. Eventually, her business of selling charcoal earned enough for her to purchase a home. Rose worked hard to build a new life for herself, though she lacked something critical to survival. She had no toilet or running water at home. It’s hard to imagine raising children without these things. Thus, with her little ones in tow, Rose’s days consisted of selling charcoal at the market and walking long distances to and from her home to collect water.

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Now, four years later, Rose’s smile is brighter than ever. The water from the tap she constructed with her small loan is convenient and saves her hours each day. No more walks for water. Now she can dedicate her time to work and to caring for her kids.

Her son and daughter are almost through primary school, and her charcoal business generates enough to repay her loan and sustain her family. With each sale of charcoal, Rose offers a warm, thankful smile to her customers. She shared, “My customers like my product, they always come back for more.”

Water.org’s solutions focus on empowerment through access to affordable financing. For millions of people like Rose, access to funds is the only thing standing between them and safe water in their homes. Water.org’s solutions focus on breaking down this financial barrier and bringing hope and opportunity to those in need.

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JUNE 1, 2018

 

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CITIZENSHIP

UN Lays Groundwork for Rohingya Refugees to Return Home

But it won't happen overnight.

Myanmar reached an agreement with the United Nations Thursday that may lead to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees, according to the UN.

The first part of the deal calls for UN aid workers to visit Rakhine state in western Myanmar to determine if conditions are safe for a mass return. They will also work with local officials to ensure that adequate services like running water and law enforcement are in place before people return.

Refugees will then be allowed to decide if they want to return. Having the UN deeply involved in the process may allay doubts about the viability of their former homes.

Take Action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People

Take Action: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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The UN also called for a clear pathway to citizenship to be developed for Rohingya, who have historically been marginalized, denied basic rights, and subjected to violence in the country.

This oppression reached unprecedented heights last August, when 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine state after the Myanmar military began what UN officials have called a genocide.

 

 

UNHCR and @UNDP agree on text of a Memorandum of Understanding with Myanmar to support the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees. https://trib.al/LkCNq9S 

 
 

 

Refugees found temporary safety in neighboring Bangladesh, but many are living in unsafe camps that are extremely prone to flooding and landslides as the monsoon season approaches.

The camps have also experienced severe cholera episodes and children have largely been deprived of a satisfactory education.  

Further, the Bangladeshi government doesn’t want the Rohingya to permanently reside in the country and has refused to allow refugees to build long-term structures, making them especially vulnerable to extreme weather, according to CNN.

Read More: After Genocide: What Happens Next for the Rohingya Refugees?

The repatriation scheme is unlikely to lead to immediate resettlements, but the announcement marks a breakthrough for the UN, which has been calling on Myanmar to allow Rohingya to return for the past year.

The UN has contested previous repatriation effort claims by Myanmar, leading the organization to question if they even took place.

Global Citizen campaigns to help refugees, and you can take action on this issue here.

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123
HEALTH

Two women reclaim their dignity after fifty long years with Obstetric Fistula

21 May 2018 9:03PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Written by Margarite Nathe, Senior Editor & Writer at IntraHealth International

Three days.

That’s how long Malado was in labour. That’s how long she was unable to give birth. She was only 16 years old, after all, and it was her first baby. Her body wasn’t ready.

This was back in the 1960s in rural Mali, and there were no cars to take her from her village to a health facility—even today, it’s rare to see a car pass on these dirt roads. Finally someone helped her into a donkey-drawn cart and carried her to a clinic in the nearby town of Dioila.

“They had to force the baby out,” Malado says. Her newborn did not survive.

socialObstetric-Fistula.jpg

Saiba and Malado (right) are neighbours with similar life and Fistula experience.

Aside from the emotional pain, the trauma to Malado’s body was extensive. When the health workers helped her stand up after the birth, she realized urine was leaking out of her—and it didn’t stop from then on. Nerve and muscle damage gave her such trouble walking that soon she had to use a cane to get around.

She didn’t know it yet, but less than a kilometre down the road, a young woman named Saiba was going through the same thing.

Saiba had been married at 15 and was now having her third child. A few days into her labour she still couldn’t deliver. So she too made her way to Dioila, where her baby was finally born, but dead. A few days later, Saiba was leaking urine.

“I didn’t know what was happening to me,” Saiba says. “I would spend all day crying.”

No one knew what to make of Malado and Saiba’s situation. No one knew it had a name—obstetric fistula—or that it was a direct result of their childbirth injuries. Or that it could be cured. Eventually, no one else in their communities wanted to get close to them because of the smell, and so they became friends.

For the next 50 years, both women lived with the condition, changing and washing their clothes constantly and feeling as if they had lost all dignity. Their only comfort was each other.

A problem that persists

Today thousands of women in Mali and throughout West Africa are still experiencing exactly what Malado and Saiba went through over fifty years ago. The World Health Organization estimates that every year some 50,000-100,000 women are affected by obstetric fistula worldwide. It’s difficult to confirm an exact number—no one knows how many more could be hiding or unable reach the care they need.

For most of these women, a simple surgical procedure is all it would take to heal them completely.

But in Mali, making these surgical procedures more widely available in such a vast country is tougher than it sounds. It requires boundless cooperation, determined partners, and great creativity.

The Malian government has found all three in its partnership with IntraHealth International and several local NGOs and private-sector organizations. With funding from the US Agency for International Development and others, they’ve been working together since 2008 to revolutionize fistula care in Mali. Over the past ten years, they have:

  • Trained 105 local surgeons and other health workers to perform repair surgeries. This isn’t a problem that can be solved through brief visits from foreign doctors. It takes local expertise and dedication to help women with fistula—both of which are becoming stronger than ever in Mali.
  • Held 35 repair campaigns at local hospitals and other health facilities.Women come from hundreds of miles away (often with transportation help from us and our partners) to undergo a repair surgery at no cost to them.
  • Built welcome centres for fistula clients at local health facilities.IntraHealth’s partner Orange Foundation, a major telecom company in Mali, funded the first of these centres at a hospital in Sikasso. Soon they’ll break ground on a second one in Koulikoro. The Spanish Cooperation built another centre inside the Kayes Hospital. These centres provide not only the comfort of a bed and roof for clients during some of the most difficult weeks of their lives, but also a haven among other women who understand what living with fistula is like. For someone who’s been shunned and abandoned because of their condition, this is huge.
  • Provided 1,458 women with successful, life-changing fistula repair surgeries. The benefits of these surgeries stretch far beyond the women who undergo them to their children, families, and communities.

Two friends transformed

Just over two years ago, during the first fistula repair campaign organised by IntraHealth’s Fistula Mali Project, a local health worker, matron Djénéba Boiré, heard a radio announcement about it. The ad called on women with Malado’s symptoms to come to the Koulikoro CSRef health centre, where they would receive all the care they needed at no cost to them.

moladosmall.jpg

Malado is now completely healed

Djénéba told Malado, now 73, who quickly passed the news to Saiba, 75. And together they set off for Koulikoro. (Malado even met the First Lady of Mali there as she visited fistula clients at their bedsides.)

Today, both Malado and Saiba are completely healed. They hold hands as they walk around the community, laughing and chatting with the matron.

“We consider it our role in the community now to tell every pregnant woman we see that she must go for prenatal care,” Malado says. “And that she must deliver in a health facility.”

At Koulikoro and other facilities that work with the project, officials are determined to keep providing these services, and encouraging women like Malado and Saiba to come forward.

“The women are there, just waiting to hear when there’s a campaign so they can come have their surgery,” says Abdourhamane Dicko, a gynaecologist at the Koulikoro CSRef. “They stay in the shadows until then. This is an illness where people don’t show themselves. But there are still a lot of older women who’ve been living with obstetric fistula for years and years—and we still need to help them.

“When you give a woman her dignity back, that’s better than giving her millions of dollars.”

IntraHealth’s Fistula Mali project is funded by the US Agency for International Development. Our local partners include the Medical Alliance Against Malaria; Women Action Research, Study and Training Group; and the International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health.

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43
AGRICULTURE

Kenya’s herders fire up a hot new crop: chili peppers

May 31 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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This story was originally reported by Caroline Wambui and edited by Laurie Goering for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

In this arid stretch of Kajiado County, Kenya where worsening heat and drought have been tough on livestock farmers, Arnold Ole Kapurua is experimenting with a hot new crop: chilies.

Ole Kapurua, 29, a farmer and agronomist, now grows two acres of the fiery pods – and is training other farmers to do the same – as a way to protect their incomes in the face of harsher weather linked to climate change.

“With time we realised that we weren’t making good money as our livestock income stagnated,” he said. “During drought we lost our herds to hunger and diseases while during the rainy season we lost some to floods making us live on a lean budget.”

But after a bit of research, “I realised that chilies had climate friendly features,” he said.

Social-red-chilli.jpg

Chili can provide a workable alternative for herders dealing with drought.

While some farmers still rely entirely on livestock in the region, a growing number are now concentrating their energy on farming chilies, which can be grown with limited amounts of water, said Samuel Ole Kangangi’r, another new chili farmer.

Over the last five years, more than 100 farmers in the region have begun growing chili, most after trying other crops, including maize and beans, that didn’t cope as well with drought and brought in little money, the farmers said.

Well-managed chili farms can produce an ongoing harvest over six months, with an acre of land producing up to two tones of peppers a week, Ole Kapurua said.

That level of harvest can bring as much as 80,000 Kenyan shillings (US$800) a season, he said.

“That cannot be compared to livestock rearing as one cannot afford to be selling a cow every week thus making chili farming a better option,” said the farmer.

Solomon Simingor another farmer in Kajiado County, said a farmer with at least two acres of land can earn as much as three times more with chilies than with cattle, in his experience.

To provide enough water to keep their plants irrigated, farmers in the region are turning to building small dams to catch water in the rainy season.

Mulch around the plants – usually grass or plastic – also helps hold onto limited water and keep down weeds.

Kenyan farmers have been growing and exporting chilies to Britain, Germany, Norway and France for about 10 years. Chili is also sold in local markets and supplied to supermarkets.

Paul Rangenga a chili farming expert who has been advising farmers on taking up the crop and who runs a produce company, said he believes chilies can provide a workable alternative for herders dealing with worsening drought stress.

“Chili farming is a long-term form of investment and the risks involved are minimal as the crops are drought resistant and well adapted to arid regions,” he said.

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342
HEALTH

7,500 vaccines have arrived in the Congo to stop the Ebola outbreak in its tracks

May 23 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are fighting a deadly and growing Ebola epidemic, with 26 deaths and another 46 cases suspected or confirmed. It’s easy to fear the worst in this situation, especially after the world witnessed the massive West Africa Ebola crisis in 2014 that ultimately took over 11,000 lives. But something is different this time that can give us hope: more than 7,500 doses of an Ebola vaccine have been delivered to DRC this week.

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Health workers will be among the first to receive the Ebola vaccine.

An Ebola vaccine had been under development for years, but it was not yet available during the 2014 epidemic in West Africa. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance committed $300 million to speed up development of the vaccine to ensure it would be available should another crisis arise. At the beginning of 2016, an Ebola vaccine produced by Merck was found to have 100% efficacy in human trial and today, Gavi and Merck are working together to ensure that 300,000 investigational doses of the vaccine are available when an outbreak occurs.

In other words, people in DRC have access to the life-saving benefits of this vaccine (even while it is still undergoing licensing!) thanks to this breakthrough partnership.

Gavi is also working with the World Health Organization to ensure the vaccine can be delivered. For example, they are providing $1 million in operation costs to transport health workers to the communities most in need and to purchase cold chain equipment, which keeps the vaccines at the extremely low temperatures needed to be effective.

“The whole world is watching us and vaccination comes at the right time to block the progression of the disease,” said DRC Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga. “I thank our partners WHO, UNICEF, MSF and Gavi who have supported us since day one. Having vaccines available so quickly was only possible thanks to their mobilisation.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

First #ebola vaccination done In Mbandaka, DRC Guillaume Ngoie Mwamba , EPI manager leads the way #VaccinesWork

 
 

 

Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. With this in mind, health workers are using a “ring vaccination” method that ensures anyone who comes in direct contact with an infected individual will receive the vaccine. This method, which was the same one used to eradicate smallpox, creates a shield of immunity and prevents more people from becoming infected. Ring vaccinations keep health workers and their patients safe, as well.

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Experts from Guinea have arrived in Mbandaka, DRC – they bring invaluable expertise in conducting ring vaccination for Ebola. Photo Credit: @PeteSalama/Twitter

“Health workers will be the first to receive the vaccine today, as they are the ones most likely to be exposed to the Ebola virus,” said Dr. Berkley in the press release. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the health workers risking their lives to prevent this disease from spreading further.”

This is an exciting and promising example of global health in action. With continued partnership and innovation, we have the chance to stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks, and with hope, put an end to the long history of Ebola in the country and the region.

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Volunteering helped me develop in my job & grow as a person.

15 May 2018

I first met Ben in December 2015.  I had been through a very difficult time in my life and starting to volunteer was the first step out of the tunnel for me. 

Emily Bagnall

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I first met Ben in December 2015. I had been through a very difficult time in my life and starting to volunteer was the first step out of the tunnel for me. 

The Mencap volunteering team gave me training and support, they got to know me and which person I would be best matched with. I completed my Safeguarding training, had a DBS check, and learned about Mencap's history, ethos and aims.  Then I was introduced to Ben. 

The first time, my manager accompanied me, and we had a brief introductory visit, then we arranged to meet independently.  I was very nervous going out with Ben by myself for the first time, but it went smoothly.  Ben is a keen photographer so I researched all sorts of places we could go, and he picked the Sea-Life Centre. 

I learned so much on that trip!  So many of my pre-conceptions were swept away, as I learned about Ben as a person rather than a “person with a learning disability” or “service user”. 

I also learned that Ben doesn’t always want to do the new, exciting, and different things I had initially imagined he might like to do.  Ben enjoys familiar things, and his routines are important to him.  Although I suggest new ideas, if Ben wants to go to the same place each time we meet, that’s fine. 

I now visit Ben every two months, which fits really well round my other commitments. 

Ben’s a huge fan of Nottingham Forest, so when it was his 50th birthday last year, I asked Ben (and his team) if Ben would like to celebrate by going to the football.  Ben’s brother said that might be too demanding, but suggested a stadium tour, which we did in October.  Thanks to careful planning (route, parking, food etc!) Ben had an amazing day, and enjoyed spending his birthday money on souvenirs in the club shop. 

Getting to know Ben has been a privilege and I really value the time I spend with him.  Even better, I know Ben really enjoys our trips out, especially as many of his family are far away. 

Volunteering with Mencap is so rewarding, I would recommend it to anyone. 

 

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JUNE 4, 2018

 

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CITIZENSHIP

Canada Is Putting $50 Million Toward Temporary Housing for Asylum Seekers

The RCMP intercepted 20,593 asylum seekers in 2017 — compared to 2,464 in 2016.

Canada has seen a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing the border outside legal checkpoints over the last year, and the government is now addressing that by committing $50 million for temporary housing for asylum claimants.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, announced the funding in a statement on June 1.

"The continued influx of asylum seekers entering Canada between ports of entry has increased pressure on provinces to provide shelter and social services to a growing number of asylum seekers," he said in the statement. "We appreciate the pressures Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba are facing and will continue discussions with provinces towards longer term solutions, including further financial support for temporary housing."

Take Action: Your Words Can Make a Difference. Send a Letter to a Refugee Today.

Take Action: Write Letter

 
 
 
 
 
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Through this funding, Quebec will receive $36 million, Ontario $11 million, and Manitoba $3 million. The government has also allotted $173.2 million in Budget 2018 to further manage irregular migration.

Last summer saw an unprecedented surge of asylum seekers crossing into Canada through the Quebec border, many of which were of Haitian descent, as US President Donald Trump announced in May 2017 that he would not extend the protection status of Haitians in the US, according to CBC.

Temporary housing was set up in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and the military also set up a camp to accommodate new arrivals, but there has no doubt been pressure to find housing.

Read More: #WelcomeToCanada Tweets Blamed By Some For Surge of Asylum Seekers

In total, the RCMP intercepted 20,593 asylum seekers in 2017 — in comparison to 2,464 in 2016.

"Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba and their large municipalities, in particular Toronto and Montreal, have made extraordinary efforts in this area, and this work has resulted in a well-managed response to the increase of irregular asylum seekers that started last year," Hussen said.

Crossing into Canada doesn’t guarantee asylum seekers will receive refugee status. Newcomers could be deported from Canada if their application is refused.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including issues related to citizenship. You can take action here.

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

A taxi app in Nairobi sees number of female drivers grow by over 1300% in 2 years

9 May 2018 2:44PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Nita Bhalla and edited by Claire Cozens and Katy Migiro for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

With their manicured nails, immaculate make-up and matching handbags and stilettos, you would be forgiven for mistaking the five women seated in the cafe of the upscale Nairobi hotel for a group of senior female executives.

Sipping white hot chocolate from delicate porcelain cups, they discuss their long working hours, challenges in finding time with their children, and share strategies on networking and dealing with difficult clients.

But these Kenyan women aren’t company directors, finance professionals or corporate lawyers – they are part of a new breed of women who are breaking into the male-dominated taxi sector and hitting Nairobi’s roads as e-cabbies.

“Taxi driving is not something I would have considered before, but after driving for a taxi app service, I think it’s a really good job for women,” said Lydia Muchiri, 29, in a knee-length fitted white dress with floral print.

“It’s convenient, easy and safe – much better than sitting at home and depending on handouts,” she said, as the other women, in their 20s and 30s, nodded in agreement.

As taxi-hailing apps mushroom to fill a hole in Nairobi’s poor public transport system, rising numbers of women are taking up jobs as drivers – citing benefits such as flexible working hours, the ability to select passengers, and guaranteed payment.

Online women cabbies currently only make up around 3 percent of city’s estimated 12,000 e-taxi drivers – but industry officials say their numbers are growing exponentially.

Little Cabs – one of Nairobi’s popular ride-sharing platforms, and the only app offering riders the choice of a male or female driver – has witnessed a 13-fold increase in the number of women drivers over the last two years.

“There were 27 women drivers registered with Little Cabs when we first started in June 2016, now there are 381. We aim to have 1,000 women drivers by the end of this year,” said Jefferson Aluda, operations manager for Little Cabs.

“Many people think taxi driving is a man’s job, but that view is changing. Customers tell us that women are careful drivers and very professional. Through our recruitment campaigns, we expect more women to join.”

DRIVING WOMEN TO EMPOWERMENT

Kenya’s economy has grown on average by 5 percent annually over the last decade, but the benefits have not been equally distributed – and women remain disadvantaged socially, economically and politically.

Women makeup only a third of the 2.5 million people employed in the formal sector and own only 1 percent of agricultural land, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Despite global criticism that the sharing economy lowers wages, encourages tax evasion and provides little protection to users, the emergence of platforms such as taxi-hailing apps in Kenya are in fact helping to empower women.

In the last three years, at least a dozen e-cab apps have launched to meet the demands of a growing smartphone-armed middle class seeking an affordable and safer alternative to the city’s reckless overcrowded matatus, or minivans.

Drivers earn a minimum of 30 Kenyan shillings ($0.30) per minute and companies take up to 25 percent their earnings, but women drivers still welcome the opportunity provided by firms such as Uber, Taxify, Little Cabs and Pewin.

Minus the company fee, fuel and car rental costs, drivers working 12 hours daily can earn on average 60,000 shillings ($600) in a month, say industry sources.

Faridah Khamis, a single mother of five children, decided to become an online taxi driver in February last year after chatting with a male driver who encouraged her to apply.

“The rates are low and I have to work 12 hours daily – when my children are at school and at night when they are asleep. But it’s better money than an office job these days,” said the 36-year-old women standing beside her silver Mazda Axela.

“I also think it’s very safe for women. I choose when I work, where I work, and which clients I work with. If I was a regular taxi driver, I would be on the roads looking for passengers. The app means I can find customers from my home.”

The women choose riders with higher ratings and opt for locations in populated rather than isolated areas. Their companies also track them via GPS and they have an alert/SOS button on their apps for support if they need help.

NOT ALWAYS A SMOOTH RIDE

Uber officials say ride-sharing apps can provide a great economic opportunity for women, particularly in developing nations such as Kenya.

“We think apps like Uber can help break down global, structural barriers that keep women from fully participating in the economy,” Uber’s East Africa spokeswoman Janet Kemboi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“These include social biases, security risks, financial and digital inclusion, and access to vehicles and other assets.”

But it’s not always a smooth ride for Kenya’s female e-cabbies. They occasionally face discrimination and abuse – from difficulties renting cars due to biased perceptions that women are bad drivers, to fending off drunken male passengers.

And with their phone numbers accessible to customers through the app, the women also endure daily “follow-up calls” from former customers who want to date them after the trip is over.

The female cabbies say they also face sexist comments where people perceive them to be sex workers simply because they are well-dressed, working at night, and doing a “man’s job”.

But such instances are rare, say the women drivers, and working in the taxi sector has inspired some of them to one day have their own fleet of taxis – for women driven by women.

“There is a demand for women taxi drivers. Customers appreciate our appearance and professionalism. Some say we drive safer and our cars are cleaner than male drivers,” said Muchiri.

“We take pride in ourselves and in our job. We are no less than someone who works in an office. We see our car as our office and believe that once we are in the car, we must behave like a professional.”

If you believe that ALL women should have the chance to learn, earn and be independent then take action today!

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While most see the Bank Holiday weekend as an opportunity for rest and relaxation, our amazing volunteers see it as an opportunity for some super fundraising! 1f6b4_200d_2642.png?‍♂️1f6b4_200d_2640.png?‍♀️1f3c3_200d_2640.png?‍♀️1f3c3_200d_2642.png?‍♂️

As well as the annual Chernobyl Kilkenny Cycle being hosted by our Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group, we also have volunteers running the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon in aid of Dublin CCI.

It is actions like this that make a lie-saving difference to so many of our children and families and without our hard-working army of volunteers, there would be no CCI!

Good luck and thank you to all...and if you see them on their journey, give them a big team CCI cheer!

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EDUCATION

These shipping containers are being repurposed as schools

26 February 2018 11:35AM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Story by Megan Gieske; photos courtesy of Breadline Africa.

Breadline Africa started as a grant-giving organization, where those in need applied for funding and Breadline Africa raised the funds to meet them. Almost 25 years later, those in need can still apply, but assistance comes in a new shape and size — infrastructure!

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Marion Wagner, Director of Breadline Africa, says that much of South Africa’s infrastructure is unsafe. For parents who work, this can mean sending their children to schools or care centers that are overcrowded or under-equipped to deal with extreme seasonal temperatures.

Few would look at old shipping containers and re-imagine them as schools, libraries, and kitchens, but the fireproof, stable and durable containers provide a creative solution to the problem of unsafe infrastructure.

breadline3.jpg

To become a classroom or childcare creche, the shipping containers undergo a conversion process that adds sunny windows to let light and warmth in, burglar guards to keep school supplies safe at night and full kitchens with indoor gas burners and ventilation.

The shipping containers have also transformed into libraries filled with books (provided in partnership with Help 2 Read and Room to Read), floor cushions, reading benches, and doors that open onto a veranda.

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“A lot of the areas that we work in are socially and economically disadvantaged, with high unemployment, huge overcrowding, and parents very often away looking for work,” Wagner said. Breadline Africa has placed more than 350 containers in areas of need across nine provinces, providing a safe space for children in the critical after school hours. “If we can reach more and more children, we can help them choose a path out of poverty.”

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In July, the program and its partners gave Oranjekloof Moravian Primary School and their 1,240 students in the Western Cape a new library complete with 7,000 books. In thanks, school Principal Mkhului Qaba said, “What this means for the children is they have a place of refuge, a place of hope and a place of learning.”

“Without an education, they really are never going to be able to find a way out of poverty,” Wagner said.

The Breadline Africa director echoed, “For children, their safest place is not on the street.”

There are hundreds of children who will benefit from each of those 350 container sites, which can last for 20 to 30 years.

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

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6

5 African football teams are looking to make history at the World Cup

6 June 2018 5:14PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia kicks off on June 14th, and for the first time, five teams from the Confederation of African Football have qualified. This raises a huge question: Will this be the year an African football team wins the World Cup?

Only three African teams have ever made it to quarter-finals: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010. This may be the year that a team from Africa makes it farther than ever before, perhaps even taking the whole tournament.

Here are the five teams to look out for in the World Cup:

Senegal

 

This may only be their second World Cup, but the Teranga Lions from Senegal already have an impressive reputation. Their 2002 debut team made it all the way to the quarter-finals. The team’s captain for that incredible run, Aliou Cisse, is coaching this year’s team too. He holds his well-esteemed players in high regard.

“This is a great generation,” Cisse said of his team. “What we’re changing is the mindset. It’s not just about playing a pass or some technical skill, it’s about raising the whole level of African football. That’s our objective.”

Morocco

 

After a 20 year absence, Morocco will be at the World Cup for their third time. The Atlas Lions features a unique mix of players; 17 out of their 23 teammates were born in nations other than Morocco, but have chosen to play for the nation of their parents and grandparents. The team’s coach, Hervé Renard, understands why his players have chosen to represent Morocco, as someone who was born in France.

“…the most important thing is team spirit,” says Renard. “To achieve something in football, if you don’t have team spirit, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from.”

They have a tough competition ahead of them, as they will be facing off against Portugal, currently ranked 4th among all the teams, and Spain, currently ranked 8th.

Nigeria

 

Nigeria has played in the world cup more than any other African team this year, with this being their sixth tournament. Though the Super Eagles are the only undefeated team in Group B, they’ll be facing a long-time rival. Nigeria and Argentina have faced each other in four previous World Cups, with Argentina taking the victory in each one.

Though the team has a handful of impressive players, coach Gernot Rohr argues that the team’s strength lies in being a collective. “It is not the individual quality, even if that quality is huge, that will make the difference, but the best team spirit.”

Tunisia

 

The Eagles of Carthage, qualifying for their fifth World Cup, will face quite the challenge in Group G. The team will face off against England and Belgium, but the team is confident that they will show “the true face of Tunisia.”
In the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Tunisia made history as the first African nation to win a World Cup match. The nation has not seen another World Cup victory since then, but could change that this year.

Egypt

 

This will be the first World Cup for Egypt since 1990, and their third in history. The Pharohs secured their place before their final match, thanks to Mohamed Salah bringing them victory against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mohamed Salah, 2017’s African Footballer of the Year, is expected to play in the World Cup, despite receiving a shoulder injury in the Champions League final. He scored 44 goals in a record-breaking first season, making him a serious asset to the team. His athletic ability has certainly won him a large fan base – so much so that he received over a million votes in Egypt’s presidential election, despite not being a candidate.

Egypt’s goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary will be leaving a legacy of his own, as the oldest player to compete in the World Cup.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup? Leave a comment below!

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48
POLICY

Everything you need to know about this year’s G7 Summit

10 April 2018 6:15PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

SIGN THE PETITION

Tell Justin Trudeau: Enable every woman to unlock her own potential

 
  

The G7 Summit is just around the corner! Here’s the information you’ll need to prepare for this global event:

What is the G7?

The G7, or Group of 7, is a group of seven nations with advanced economics: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy. The European Union is a non-enumerated member of the G7, as well, but they do not hold a chair or host
any summits.

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What is the G7 Summit?

The G7 Summit is an annual event where G7 leaders come together to discuss global issues. These discussions lead to decisions that each member must agree on, and those decisions go on to inform policies and strategies enacted by each country.

When and where is the G7 Summit?

Each year, the location of the G7 Summit rotates between the nations represented by their members. The leader of the hosting nation holds the G7 Presidency for that year. The G7 President hosts and organized the Summit, and also sets the agenda for that year.

This year, the G7 Summit will be held on June 8-9, 2018 in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

What is on this year’s agenda?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has set up ministerial meetings on these five topics:

  1. Investing in growth that works for everyone
  2. Preparing for jobs of the future
  3. Working together on climate change, oceans, and clean energy
  4. Building a more peaceful and secure world
  5. Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment

What is the Gender Equality Advisory Council?

This will be the first year that the G7 will have a Gender Equality Advisory Council, known as “The Council.” They will ensure that gender equality are incorporated into all activities, themes, and outcomes under this year’s G7 Presidency. The members of this
council have been chosen based on their previous work in gender equality and women’s empowerment and ability to engage with the public on these issues.

What can you do to take action?

The decisions made at the G7 Summit will have big impacts across the globe, and we want to make sure world leaders are committed to helping women unlock their potential.

We are urging Prime Minister Trudeau to bring together a new initiative that would fund
programs and change policies to support women in the poorest countries.

If you want to hold Prime Minister Trudeau and other world leaders accountable for empowering women, sign our petition and make your voice heard at the G7 Summit!

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MEMBERS IN ACTION

The countdown to the 2018 G7 Summit is ON

7 June 2018 4:42PM UTC | By: AMANDA CAVE

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On Friday the 8th of June, world leaders will be meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec to discuss the important issues of the day. ONE members have called on their leaders around the globe to put the education and empowerment of girls and women at the top of the agenda.

Hundreds of thousands of you signed our petition calling on Justin Trudeau and other G7 leaders to empower 100 million women to learn, earn and increase their independence. Last week, ONE’s UK Youth Ambassadors handed in your signatures to Number 10 Downing Street – all 109,547 of them!

 

Today we hand-delivered YOUR signatures to @10DowningStreet calling on G7 leaders to invest in women & girls at the @G7 next month. @theresa_may - you can use the G7 to ensure that women & girls have the chance to reach their full potential. #PovertyIsSexist #ONEyouth18 #MyG7

 
 

 

Now, G7 leaders have the chance to ensure that women and girls reach their full potential, beginning with the first building block: the right to learn.

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Educated girls become empowered women. Without education, girls’ opportunities to thrive are few and far between. Girls in crisis situations such as conflicts are particularly vulnerable to losing their right to learn. They risk missing precious years of education, and face a heightened risk of early and forced marriage and other harmful practices.

So, ONE members in the UK, alongside citizens from across the globe, sent messages to their leaders on social media last week, calling on them to support a new G7 Charlevoix Commitment on Girls’ and Women’s Education, and to work together to ensure that the declaration does not simply restate the scale and urgency of the challenge, but also commits to action. This action should be backed by new financial resources, showing that the G7 countries are serious about ensuring that all girls receive 12 years of quality education.

 

Hi @theresa_may, please show global leadership @G7 by investing new funds over next 3 years for girls’ education in crises. #G7Charlevoix #PovertyIsSexist

 
 

 

It’s time that girls’ education and empowerment, especially of those who are facing unimaginable crises, is put at the centre of the global agenda. ONE members have made their voices heard. Now it’s up to those in power to make the most of this opportunity.

If you believe that Poverty is Sexist, sign our open letter today!

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AGRICULTURE

Rising with the roosters and running with the cows

2 November 2016 4:32PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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In partnership with One Acre Fund, ONE will follow a small community called Luucho in Western Kenya through the agricultural season.

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John with goats he brought to sell at Myanja market in Chwele, Kenya.

John Sirengo almost never stops running.

The livestock seller from Luucho village, Kenya, starts each morning with the first crow of the rooster. With seven children to feed, he’s always on his feet. He jogs eight miles to the nearest market, herding the cows left over from yesterday’s sales with a small stick.

John spends most of the day running from market to market, but he’s not just chasing cattle. He’s also racing after better prices. Cows usually sell for higher sums of money in the morning, so he always tries to be among the first sellers to arrive at the market every day.

“As a businessman, I try to make as much money as I can, even if it means sacrificing my sleep or walking to the furthest markets,” says John, who’s known fondly in his village as Mchurusi. It’s a name that translates to cattle seller in the local Bukusu dialect, although John also buys and sells goats, sheep and chickens.

Arriving early not only guarantees better prices. John is also able to spot and buy the healthy-looking cows before his competitors. He regularly buys cows, anticipating that he will be able to sell them for more money at the next market. Cows with large udders, straight legs, large frames and complete sets of teeth are in high demand and attract top prices.

On a good day, John can make a profit of $20. However, his income is never guaranteed. Market prices fluctuate every week, and it is common for cattle sellers to end up with losses.

Scenes from around Myanja market, one of the markets in Kenya where John sells his livestock.

Scenes from around Myanja market, one of the markets in Kenya where John sells his livestock.

Sometimes sellers like John are unable to find customers who are willing to pay more for their cattle. That often means they are forced to keep their livestock at home, incurring high costs for feed. John cannot afford such losses. Before traveling to any market, he calls his friends who live nearby to inquire about the prices that day.

“I have many responsibilities to provide food, clothing and education for my family, and so I’m always in need of money,” John says. “Still, I cannot solely depend on selling cattle, and so for three days in a week I work in my farm.”

John, like many Luucho residents, is a smallholder farmer.  John owns half an acre of land that he uses to plant maize.  For many years, he experienced a series of poor harvests. In 2009, John learned new planting techniques from One Acre Fund, a nonprofit organisation that supplies smallholder farmers across East Africa with seed, fertiliser, and training. John started applying the skills he learned, such spacing his plants in rows, and in the next season, his harvest tripled. While John keeps the majority of his harvest for food, he now has a small portion left over to sell when he goes to the market to trade his livestock.

Goats John brought to sell at Myanja market in Chwele, Kenya.

Goats John brought to sell at Myanja market in Chwele, Kenya.

Apart from selling his own produce, John also helps other Luucho farmers find good markets for their crops. While conducting his cattle business, John scouts for the markets offering the highest prices for maize and other farm produce. Many of his neighbours knock on his door in the evenings to ask where they should sell their crops the next day.

Those evening courtesy visits also come from neighbours who are interested in buying cattle.

“The whole village trusts me to choose the best cows. If people want cows for milk, beef or to pay a dowry, they all come to me,” John says. “I’ve built good relationships with all my neighbours because of my work.”

John also plays the role of a banker. Despite the small income he makes for his business, John is among the highest-earning people in Luucho. Most of the people living in his village depend solely on agriculture for their livelihoods and have to raise money from limited income sources to feed their families. Because of this, John often lends small quantities of cash to his neighbours to buy food.

“This season, we have not received enough rainfall. Our crops wilted, and as a result we are going to harvest very little,” John says. “I’m worried because this means the whole village will be hungry.”

If indeed farmers in Luucho harvest little food this season, then John as their Mchurusi will become more important to his village than ever before. The demand for him to lend money to his neighbours will increase, and in turn, John will need to wake up even earlier to find a better price for his cows.

Want to keep up to date with the citizens of Luucho? Check back next month for part three of this year’s harvest series.


One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, they invest in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. One Acre Fund provides a complete service bundle of seeds and fertiliser, financing, training, and market facilitation—and delivers these services within walking distance of the 400,000 rural farmers they serve. They measure success in their ability to make farmers more prosperous and they always put Farmers First.

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AGRICULTURE

Buzzworthy: Why some Kenyan women have started beekeeping

23 August 2017 10:46AM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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Residents of Kailer village normally live to the rhythm of mooing cows and bleating goats. But over the past year, silence has reigned over these swathes of dry land dotted with cacti and mathenge, a dense shrub.

Faced with severe drought, herders and their animals have had to travel further than normal to find water or grazing – and to escape worsening raids on their livestock at home, say the village’s women.

“We don’t know when they’ll return, as cattle raiders may attack them on the way,” said a worried Christine Lewatachum of Kailer, a village in the Rift Valley county of Baringo.

 

With worsening drought and more erratic rainfall, competition for water and grazing is growing, stoking rivalry and theft between livestock herders.

Women and their children, who are left to mind some of the animals at home, also find themselves vulnerable to livestock raids – and left without an income when they happen.

But an unusual kind of livestock is helping: bees.

Wild honey bees. (Photo credit: Bob Peterson/Wikimedia Commons)

Wild honey bees. (Photo credit: Bob Peterson/Wikimedia Commons)

Since 2009, women in the village – and others like it in the region – have managed beehives as a new way of earning a living.

They use the hives to produce honey, soap, beauty creams, candles, and cough syrup, among other products, and sell them to residents from neighbouring villages.

While the business has been going on for some time, it is proving particularly valuable as droughts grow more frequent and severe.

Even as conditions grow more uncertain, “we want to break free from poverty,” said Josephine Lemangi, one resident.

Solomon Kerieny, an animal production officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that a longer dry season and erratic rainfall have severely affected earnings from livestock, making families more vulnerable.

“When houses lose livestock, they lose their livelihood,” he said. “Women need to embrace alternative sources of income like beekeeping so they can withstand weather shocks like these.”

 

FOILING CATTLE RAIDERS

For women in Baringo county, cattle raids and violence are a fact of life. In 2009, Faith Lekimosong, a member of the women’s group, was forced to leave her village of Kiserian without her livestock – 80 goats and 18 cows – after eight raiders attacked her home.

“After that, I would hear gunshots ringing in my head for a long time,” she recalled, having found refuge in a nearby village.

“It is a nightmare to live in a place where you have no idea if your animals will be there tomorrow,” she added.

The women’s group, which Lewatachum co-founded in 2000, initially specialized in buying and raising dairy goats “to stop depending on our husbands’ income”.

In 2005, however, cattle raiders stole most of the women’s herd. “It was too much,” said Lewatachum. “We sold the few remaining goats and had to find a new solution.”

INCOME AND JOBS

Every three months, the group harvests and sells about 22kg of unprocessed honey for 4,000 Kenyan shillings (about $38). Processed honey sells for three times that price.

A 100g pot of body cream goes for 200 shillings ($2), while a piece of honey soap fetches between 20 and 30 shillings ($0.20-0.30).

Other products made from honey or honeycomb are more unusual.

“The arthritis and asthma syrup, as well as the snake venom antidote, are particularly popular,” said Lewachtum. “Residents often get bitten by snakes lurking in shrubs when fetching water or searching for grazing spots.”

The women display their products at weddings or farm fairs, she said. When they aren’t able to meet demand, they buy honey from other beekeepers.

 

“In times of drought there is no nectar for bees to feed on, so we can only harvest once a year instead of three times,” said Lemangi, another group member.

The women put the profit they make into a fund from which members can take out loans with a 1 percent interest rate.

This has allowed them to expand their operation to 14 beehives and to buy a 2.25-acre piece of land in the village, where they plan to set up a honey processing plant.

“We will use it (the plant) to increase our production so we can sell products in the rest of the country and offer jobs to women and girls,” said Lewatachum, as she straightened a crumpled bee suit in a makeshift shed.

She said the initiative has provided women with not only a better income but better prospects for the future.

“When the members take out loans, they know they have to pay them back and that prompts them to think about potentially setting up their own businesses or renting a portion of land to farm it,” she said.

Group members now earn an average of 26,000 shillings (about $250) per month from their various businesses, compared to next to nothing previously, as everything was stolen by raiders, she added.

SECURITY STILL AN ISSUE

While the women are becoming more secure economically, continuing insecurity threatens their progress, experts say.

“Without physical security, the women cannot establish long-term investments, as cattle raids or counter-attacks routinely burn houses and injure residents,” said Tom Nyamache, a professor of economics at Kenya’s Turkana University College.

In February, the government deployed over 100 police reservists to the area to reinforce local authorities – but even they were attacked by the bandits, Nyamache said.

But while cattle raids continue, the beehives have so far remained intact.

This story was originally published at Thomson Reuters Foundation News. Reporting by Moraa Obiria; Editing by Zoe Tabary and Laurie Goering.

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CITIZENSHIP

Viral Photo of Boy Wanting to Look Like His Best Friend Is Everything We Need Right Now

Jax, 5, wanted to get the same haircut as best friend Reddy so his teacher couldn’t tell them apart.

The news can be hard to read. Every day, there’s something new to keep us entranced until the next dose of despair hits the following morning. Sometimes it can feel like it’s too much, the intense news cycle spinning consistently with the heat, control and discipline of a microwave plate, without ever cracking or stopping to breathe. 

But don’t worry. This is not one of those stories.

Jax, from Kentucky, was celebrating his fifth birthday. He had a very special prank in mind for his schoolteacher, plotted with his best friend and partner in crime, Reddy.

Jax asked his mom for a very special haircut — a trim that was identical to Reddy’s shaved head. Thinking their teacher would be unable to tell them apart, they cackled with glee as Jax sat down in the barber’s chair. With the haircut complete, the transformation was total. Jax couldn’t tell himself from Reddy.

The above post, shared by Jax’s mother, was initially intended just for her 325 Facebook friends. But, at time of writing, the photo has been shared over 100,000 times. Now, the touching tale has been told all over the world.

“If this isn't proof that hate and prejudice is something that is taught I don't know what is,” Lydia Rosebush wrote in the post . “The only difference Jax sees in the two of them is their hair.”

According to WAVE 3 News , who filmed the trip to the hairdressers, Jax’s mother first refused the haircut. But as soon as the photograph went viral, she changed her mind. “With all the hate in the world today, we could use this lesson from an almost 5-year-old," she added.

 

When Reddy and Jax went into school, the teacher played along, and pretended to get confused between them. Now, there could be a national television appearance on the cards. Ellen Degeneres, is that you knocking on the window?

Yet the best friends could very easily have never met. Reddy was born in Africa, but was adopted by a Louisville pastor and his wife several years ago with his older brother. The Weldons, however, are white.

“My sons do not look like me... but we are family all the same," Mr Weldon told WAVE 3 News . "We share the same last name, love each other with all we have, and are a forever family. One day when I am gone, they will inherit all that I have and carry on our family name."

Prejudice is taught — nobody is born with it. That’s the only black and white thing here. 

“Jax's me ... and I'm Jax," Reddy tells the camera, grinning ear to ear. It’s a lesson we could all do well to remember as the news continues to spin.

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

Estos países son los mejores y peores recicladores del mundo

Estados Unidos está en el medio.

ap401705128061.jpg__1264x568_q85_crop_subsampling-2.jpg
 AP/Mike Groll

Los datos sobre el manejo de desechos a nivel mundial son difíciles de recopilar de manera significativa porque hay demasiadas fuentes, viajes y puntos finales para los desechos.

 

La botella de plástico que colocas en un contenedor de reciclaje en tu casa de Nueva York tiene un recorrido diferente al de la botella de plástico que arrojas al contenedor de basura de hierro forjado en la acera de Dallas. Cuando se escalan para tratar de explicar países enteros, estas diferencias dificultan la recopilación de datos.

 

Pero la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OCDE) ha realizado un valiente esfuerzo para rastrear la gestión de residuos municipales en sus 35 estados miembros. Y los resultados son sorprendentes.

 

Antes de profundizar en los datos, es importante tener en cuenta que los residuos municipales se refieren a los desechos domésticos y comerciales y representan solo el 10% del total de los desechos producidos en todo el mundo. Otros tipos de desechos incluyen los desechos industriales, los desechos agrícolas, los desechos médicos, los desechos radiactivos o los lodos de aguas residuales.

 

Pero los residuos municipales tienen un efecto desproporcionado sobre la contaminación y, por lo tanto, absorben una gran cantidad de presupuestos de gestión de residuos. Por lo tanto, conseguir un control sobre este tipo de desperdicio es un gran problema.

 

De acuerdo a los datos, en la parte inferior de la lista se encuentran Turquía y Chile, que cada uno recicla un 1% del total de residuos, según el informe. También son los únicos países que empeoraron en el reciclaje.

 

En Turquía, la gestión de residuos no es un tema prioritario. Por lo tanto, la gran mayoría de la basura termina en vertederos. En Chile, el dumping no regulado es común porque el sistema de gestión de residuos es irregular.

 

Mientras tanto, Alemania lidera el grupo con una tasa de reciclaje del 65%, que ha aumentado un 16% desde 2000. Alemania es muy buena reciclando por varias razones. En primer lugar, el país ha hecho esfuerzos considerables para estandarizar contenedores de reciclaje en todo el país. Hay contenedores codificados por colores en todo el país. En segundo lugar, los alemanes disfrutan del reciclaje y el sentido de virtud cívica que esto les otorga. Una cultura de sostenibilidad ambiental reina en el país.

 

En términos de países que están haciendo la mayor mejora, Polonia está en la parte superior de la lista. Está reciclando un asombroso 886% más de sus desechos de lo que lo hacía al comienzo del milenio. Estonia aumentó su reciclaje en un 600% en el mismo período, Irlanda aumentó en un 261% y el Reino Unido en un 250%.

Corea del Sur, Austria, Bélgica, Eslovenia, Suecia y Suiza tienen tasas de reciclaje generales superiores al 50%.

 

Estados Unidos tiene una tasa de reciclaje general del 35% y el promedio en toda la OCDE es del 34%.

 

En general, los países han mejorado un 42% en reciclaje. Esa es una buena señal, porque el manejo de desechos será de importancia crítica durante el próximo siglo.

 

Se estima que la cantidad de desechos generados por los seres humanos en todo el mundo se triplicará, desde 1.300 millones de toneladas en la actualidad a 4.000 millones de toneladas en 2100.

 

La mala gestión de los residuos contamina las vías fluviales y el suelo y provoca un cambio climático que acelera las emisiones. Daña la vida animal y vegetal, conduce a la deforestación y propaga enfermedades.

 

Además, la tierra no tiene recursos finitos. Para dar cabida a una población en crecimiento y al aumento del nivel de vida en todo el mundo, los países adoptarán prácticas de gestión de residuos más sostenibles para garantizar que los recursos se utilicen varias veces. De lo contrario, no habrá suficientes recursos para todos.

 

Por todo esto, es importante que se establezcan regulaciones para garantizar que las industrias usen materiales consistentes que puedan reciclarse fácilmente y se debe alentar a los ciudadanos comunes a ordenar su basura de manera responsable. Y, como los alemanes han descubierto, hay algo agradable en tratar bien el planeta.

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We're at the G7 asking world leaders to deliver an ambitious plan to empower girls and women EVERYWHERE! Share if you agree that ALL women should have the chance to: Learn. Earn. Be independent.

La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, sentado, tabla e interior

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Choir Singing – Your Health Is Winning

Students-Choirs-Sing.jpgStudent Choirs Sing Image Credit: Daryl Charles
Jim Finn
JIM FINN | JUNE 6, 2018
 

Humans are incredibly social creatures. We crave connection to other people. While technology has made us feel more connected we are, in fact, less in touch with one another than ever before. As far as our brains are concerned there is a huge difference between the contact we receive face to face compared with that we get electronically. If you are missing out on that personal contact, perhaps it’s time you joined a choir.

The positive physiological benefits of singing are well known. Recent research has now shown that singing in a group is particularly beneficial. A recent study found that choral singing improves our mood and decreases stress, depression and anxiety. This is often attributed to the deep breathing associated with singing and similarly with meditation. Singing in groups has also been linked to lower blood pressure, increased blood oxygen saturation, elevated immunity and a higher pain threshold.

It isn’t just about singing, but about being part of something bigger than yourself.  People who sing in a group report far higher well-being than those who sing on their own. It’s about connecting and synchronizing with others. Rowers and dancers have also shown a greater capacity to endure pain when performing in time with others. This is believed to come from the sense of belonging that synchronizing with others brings. The need to belong is a fundamental human motivation, and a large part of what human beings do is done in order to feel that sense of belonging.

Another theory is that the experience of making music together provides a sense of awe, not just for observers, but for participants as well. Research suggests this emotion leads to an enhanced sense of altruism, helping us become more aware of our common humanity rather than focusing on our own personal needs. Those who report more awe in their lives have been shown to be more generous, more ethical, and more helpful towards others.

So, perhaps it’s time we all joined a choir.

 
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