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The Action Thread Part Two

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Kenyan women are empowering themselves through informal banking

6 November 2018 12:44PM UTC | By: WOMEN'S ADVANCEMENT DEEPLY

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In Part 1 of a two-part report on the informal banks that help women secure financial stability, Women’s Advancement Deeply looks at a savings group in Kenya that grants independence to the women who join it. 

Orge Konchora always wanted her children to go to school, but her husband could not raise all the fees from his small salary as a driver, and she knew she had to help out. Although the family also had some livestock, the animals were owned entirely by her husband and most died during a drought. This meant the couple had to make an extra effort to pay their children’s school fees and meet their household expenses.

This was not easy for the 53-year-old mother of two because in the Gabra community from which she hails – as in many of the pastoralist communities that inhabit Kenya’s dry north – a woman is not allowed to own any property, be it land or livestock.

So Konchora joined one of the savings groups started by some of the women from her village, and from other nearby villages, to help them take control of their income; these have been the women’s only source of income for decades. As a result, both of her children are now at university in Nairobi, the nation’s capital.

“Life was tough. I was lucky to be living near the highway, so I could make and sell tea and bread to the Chinese constructors who were building the Nairobi-Moyale highway. But that came and went. Now I am always in business and can pay my children’s school fees even when my husband is struggling financially,” Konchora says.

When they started the group, the women were taught basic literacy and business skills, including record keeping, for two years by a group mentor. When the two years were up, the women were left to stand on their own and run their businesses.

Some 20% of Kenya’s population does not have access to a financial institution or a mobile money provider; two-thirds of these are women.

Generally, however, the picture is improving. The 2017 World Bank Global Findex database shows that 1.2 billion adults have obtained an account since 2011, 515 million of them since 2014. Between 2014 and 2017, the share of adults who have an account with a financial institution or through a mobile money service rose globally from 62% to 69%. In developing economies, the share rose from 54 to 63%. Yet women in developing economies remain 9 percentage points less likely than men to have a bank account. The database indicates the reasons why financial access remains difficult for rural women: illiteracy, lower levels of education, lack of land ownership, and sociocultural restrictions on agency and mobility.

In the scheme for which Konchora signed up, women come together as a group; they agree to a maximum 15 members, three of whom form a core group to start the business, which they run as a partnership. The 15 women then start saving money and can borrow for any emergency or to expand their own individual businesses. They agree to return any borrowed money with 10% interest within three months. In addition, the women contribute monthly to buy shares within the savings group.

This ensures the women, most of whom are unbanked, can enjoy a financial service managed by themselves. They are also able to own property and have access to money of their own without having to depend on their husbands or travel hundreds of miles to the formal banks in the town of Marsabit.

Each group also has a constitution. Any delay in loan repayment attracts a penalty. If someone is caught talking during a meeting, they are fined 20 shillings ($0.20). According to Bordakhane Sujo, the chairwoman of the Bakaal Savings Group in the village of Loglogo, this ensures discipline and commitment among the members. There are also two money counters in every group who are responsible for confirming the amount of money in their savings before a meeting starts.

Meshack Omarre, the regional manager at BOMA Project, an NGO that works to empower women and girls throughout the northern dry lands of Kenya and part of Uganda, says these would usually be the poorest and least empowered women in the region due to the strong cultural beliefs held by the communities, But, he says, these informal community banks are changing that, slowly but surely.

“Here, a woman is likened to a sheep, regarded as not knowing anything. You will also find in remote areas that they even agree with the men who call them that,” says Omarre. “But this is gradually changing. Men are accepting that they cannot meet the daily cost of running the family alone and they need their wives.”

In Part 2 of this report, Women’s Advancement Deeply look at the canny methods these informal banking groups use to make sure their money is safe yet always accessible.

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

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CULTURE

7 things you didn’t know about the Peace Bell

21 September 2018 2:06PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Every year the world recognises International Day of Peace, an occasion dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace across all nations and between all people. To inaugurate the special ceremony – attended by officials of the UN Secretariat and Representatives of Permanent Missions – the Peace Bell is rung by the UN Secretary-General.

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Happy #PeaceDay! Today, #PeaceBell Ceremony was held @UN to commemorate #InternationalDayOfPeace, where @antonioguterres & @UN_PGA rang the bell to remind us to continue to strive for world peace! UN Messengers of #Peace @hrhprincesshaya & Michael Douglas were also in attendance.

 
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Here are 7 things you need to know about the Peace Bell:

  • The Peace Bell was gifted to the UN from the United Nations Association of Japan in 1954.
  • The bell is massive! It stands over 3 feet tall and weighs in at 256 pounds.
  • Traditionally it is only rung twice a year. On the first day of Spring to symbolise the harmony of nature and rededicate the world’s commitment to peace and care of the Earth. Then again, exactly six months later, on the 21st of September to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
  • Representatives from UN Member States and people from over 60 nations around the world (including the Pope and children!) donated coins and medals from which the bell was cast.
  • Inscribed on the bell is a message written in Japanese characters: “Long live absolute world peace.”
  • When the bell is tolled, it is meant to send a message to all of humanity: “Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work — long, hard, difficult work.”
  • The bell tower is modelled after the Hanamido and is symbolic of the place Buddha was born in.

Happy International Day of Peace, everyone! Celebrate by joining ONE today.

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336
GIRLS AND WOMEN

Ethiopia appoints first female Supreme Court president

5 November 2018 2:04PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Aaron Maasho and edited by John Stonestreet for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Meaza_Supreme_Court.jpg

Meaza at the End Child Marriage Summit in Lusaka, with campaigner Josephine, who had rescued 1000 girls from forced marriage. Photo Credit: @MeazaAshenafi

On Thursday, November 1st, Ethiopia’s parliament swore in the country’s first female supreme court president, Meaza Ashenafi, building on efforts by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to achieve gender parity in government.

The appointment of Meaza Ashenafi comes two weeks after Abiy named 10 female ministers to make Ethiopia the third country in Africa — after Rwanda and Seychelles — to have its cabinet split equally between men and women.

A prominent rights campaigner, Meaza recently served as an adviser on women’s rights at the Addis Ababa-based United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Naming her as his pick to head the Supreme Court, Abiy told lawmakers the court system needed improved capacities “to successfully implement demands made with regards to justice, democracy and change in our country.

“I have made the nomination with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind.”

Parliament unanimously approved Abiy’s choice.

Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the court system operates independently of government.

Last week the Horn of Africa country named Sahle-Work Zewde as president, also the first woman to hold that post.

Since his appointment in April, Abiy has presided over a series of reforms that have included the pardoning of dissidents long outlawed by the government and diplomatic overtures to long-term enemy Eritrea.

But they have so far failed to curtail unrest with over two million people displaced this year due to clashes – many pitting different ethnic groups against each other – in several parts of the country.

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

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NIÑAS Y MUJERES

Sobreviviente de ataque con ácido en Colombia pide ayudar a otras víctimas

Cada año se reportan alrededor de 1,500 ataques con ácido, principalmente contra mujeres.

 

Por Anastasia Moloney.
Traducción Erica Sánchez.

LONDRES, 15 de noviembre (Fundación Thomson Reuters) - Después de 35 operaciones para reconstruir su rostro quemado tras un ataque con ácido hace cuatro años, la colombiana Natalia Ponce de León ha superado su enojo y está decidida a presionar por mayor justicia para ayudar al creciente número de mujeres víctimas de ataques en su país y en el mundo.

Ponce fue víctima de un acosador fuera de su casa en Bogotá que la atacó con ácido y la dejó con quemaduras severas en una cuarta parte de su cuerpo. Ella se repuso y lo que sucedió la determinó a hacer algo para detener la aceptación generalizada de la violencia contra las mujeres en su país de origen.

En Colombia, una mujer es asesinada en promedio cada tres, a menudo por sus esposos, novios o familiares, y se reportan a diario 55 casos de violencia sexual, según el Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses.

Ponce dijo que la cantidad de ataques con ácido contra mujeres está aumentando en Colombia, que tiene una de las tasas más altas de ataques con ácido per cápita, según informó la Organización Internacional con sede en Londres Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI).

Ponce explicó que en 2017 se registraron 53 casos, en comparación con 33 en 2016, la mayoría contra mujeres. El trabajo fuerte de su campaña dio lugar a una nueva ley en 2016, que lleva su nombre, lo que aumentó la pena máxima de cárcel por ataques con ácido a 50 años.

"Se nos arroja ácido y estamos quemadas por el hecho de que somos mujeres. Lo que me pasó a mí le puede pasar a cualquiera", dijo Ponce, cuando se presentó como oradora en la Conferencia de Confianza anual de la Fundación Thomson Reuters sobre esclavitud y los derechos humanos realizada recientemente.

"El atacante piensa: si no eres mía, entonces no puedes estar con nadie más. No pretenden matarte, directamente te dan una sentencia de muerte".

Ponce, de 38 años, dijo que el dolor del ataque siempre la acompañará, pero que se decidió “ a convertir lo negativo en positivo” y ayudar a otras víctimas a hacer lo mismo.

Los ataques aumentan globalmente


ASTI informó que cada año se reportan alrededor de 1,500 ataques con ácido en todo el mundo, principalmente contra mujeres. Aunque el número real probablemente haya sido mucho más alto y la mayoría de las víctimas estén aún demasiado asustadas para hablar.

Si bien los ataques con ácido son más comunes en el sur de Asia, también ocurren en el Medio Oriente y en Europa, con Gran Bretaña e Italia reportando un aumento en los ataques en los últimos años, según informó ASTI.

A principios de este mes, una activista ucraniana contra la corrupción, Kateryna Handzyuk, de 33 años, murió tres meses después de ser atacada con ácido que quemó más del 40% de su cuerpo. Ponce estableció una fundación en 2015 para brindar apoyo a las víctimas del ácido y presionar a Colombia para que introduzca una ley con sentencias más severas para los delincuentes y atención médica estatal gratuita para las víctimas.

Pero Ponce dijo que su trabajo dista mucho de haber sido realizado, ya que muy pocas víctimas de ataques con ácido, particularmente en áreas rurales, obtienen la atención médica especializada a la que tienen derecho según la ley, como la de terapia psicológica a largo plazo y la cirugía reconstructiva.


Luego del ataque Ponce se sometió a diversas cirugías reconstructivas. Las operaciones han incluido el uso de piel artificial de los Países Bajos para reconstruir su rostro que había sido severamente quemado.

"Muchos sobrevivientes de ataques con ácido aún no conocen sus derechos", dijo, quien también hace campaña para garantizar que más hospitales públicos tengan unidades especializadas en quemaduras.

El atacante de Ponce está tras las rejas y cumple una condena de 20 años, pero la justicia sigue siendo difícil de alcanzar para muchos sobrevivientes de ataques con ácido, ya que la mayoría de los delitos de violencia contra las mujeres quedan impunes. “Muchas mujeres se niegan a presentarse y denunciar los ataques”, dijo Ponce.

Con frecuencia, los ataques con ácido en Colombia involucran a mujeres con antecedentes de violencia doméstica, y son cometidos por novios, maridos o ex parejas.

"El sistema judicial y los jueces en Colombia aún culpan a las mujeres por la violencia que se les inflige. Se critica por qué una mujer estuvo fuera en ese momento o qué vestía", dijo Ponce.

Ella explicó que está enfocada en ser más resistente y "abrazar la adversidad", y no al hombre que destruyó su identidad.

"No podemos permanecer como víctimas. No podemos vivir en una prisión. El odio y la ira son una prisión. Tenía mucha ira. Pero aprendí a deshacerme de la ira para poder respirar de nuevo", dijo.

Más información en http://news.trust.org

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EDUCATION

This Woman and Her Grandmother Just Graduated From the Same College at the Same Time

More proof that it’s never too late to get an education.

 

Grandmother and granddaughter graduate together at Chicago state university. Belinda Berry 62 Karea Berry 25

 
See Ravi Baichwal's other Tweets
 
 
 

Belinda and Karea Berry may be separated in age by 37 years, but when it comes to getting an education they’re on the same page. 

Karea, 25, celebrated her college graduation in a special way on Thursday when she walked the same aisle as her 62-year-old grandmother Belinda to receive her diploma from Chicago State University, ABC 7 reports. This is the first time in the university’s 150-year history that a grandmother and granddaughter graduated in the same class. 

“It was never planned, we both enrolled in school and we didn't know we were going to finish together because I was full-time and she was part-time, and it just worked out that way,” Karea said. 

Take Action: Tell Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister That Education Cannot Wait

 

 

 

Belinda, the grandmother, graduated top of her class and now plans to pursue a master’s degree in business, according to the report. 

Her granddaughter Karea also plans to pursue a master’s degree, but in the field of mental health counseling. 

"I just feel so thankful to the Lord,” Belinda said in a press release. “I’ve been sick over the last two years. Still I managed to take care of my 86-year-old uncle and, I also still managed to study and finish college. It’s just a blessing.”

 

INSPIRING: They may have been born almost four decades apart, but this grandmother and granddaughter are now part of the same graduating class at Chicago State University. http://abcn.ws/2AJZ7H9 

 
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The Global Goals for Sustainable Development enshrine quality education as one of 17 requisites for ending extreme poverty by 2030, and call for “equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university.” You can join us and take action on this issue here

Read More: Over 50 Years Later, This 83-Year-Old Woman Finally Earned Her High School Diploma

The number of adults above the age of 35 who are enrolled in US degree programs has increased significantly since 1970, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1970, just 767,000 adults aged 35 and over were enrolled in a degree-granting postsecondary institution. By 2013, that number had increased to over 3 million. 

Other statistics show that nearly two in five students enrolled in higher education are above the age of 25. 

Older students require a different set of services than younger ones, including the option of taking accelerated classes, weekend and night classes, and financial aid assistance, according to a 2009 study, “Hindsight, Insight, Foresight: Understanding Adult Learning Trends to Predict Future Opportunities,” that appeared in the journal EducationDynamics.  

Read More: 80-Year-Old Women Playing Basketball Is the Greatest Thing You'll See Today

But students like Belinda are showing that making this happen can be possible, no matter what your age is. 

“I have always stressed that education is power,” she said. “I am very honored to be a role model and I hope that I am an inspiration to the young as well as the old, because it is never too late to pursue an education.” 

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ENVIRONMENT

This 8-Year-Old Mexican Girl Won a Prize for Making a Solar Heater From Recycled Objects

She’s been an inventor since age four.

 

#SafeLiveAlertNews Ella es 👧🏽 Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, tiene 8 años y ganó el Premio 🥇 de Ciencia Nuclear de la @UNAM_MX, al crear su propio calentador de agua 🚿#Talentojoven

 
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She’s dedicated half of her life to her craft — and now, she’s finally getting recognition. But for 8-year-old Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, half of her life is four years, and the prize she won is one that’s usually reserved for adults. 

Last week, Cruz López became the first child to win a prestigious science prize from Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), El Universal reports

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

 

 

 

She was awarded the prize, which recognizes women’s accomplishments in science, for her solar water heater made entirely from discarded objects — including hoses, glass panels from a former construction site, and logs

She constructed the heater on her family’s rooftop, with a little bit of help from her dad. 

She said that the project was aimed at slowing climate change by reducing the need for low-income people in her rural community to cut down trees for firewood. 

“These are low-income people who don’t have the possibility to buy these heaters, so what they do is cut the trees to get firewood, which affects the world through climate change,” Cruz López said in a video for El Universal. “So, what I did is make this project, this heater, from recycled objects that don’t hurt the environment.” 

Read More: 32 Posters of Badass Women in Science to Inspire Girls Today

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and climate action is goal number 13. You can join us and call on the US Department of the Interior to protect public lands from oil drilling here

Along with saving the environment, the young entrepreneur from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is showing that women and girls can succeed in a male-dominated field. 

The number of women and girls in science is on the rise — and girls like Cruz López are showing just how important this is.

 
Embedded video
 

#LasNoticiasMty
Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, de apenas ocho años ganó un galardón del Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares de la UNAM.

 
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Read More: Malala Says Educating Girls Is Key to Slowing Climate Change

According to statistics from Mexico’s national agency for science and technology, Conacyt, 36% of people in the country’s scientific register were women, which is a 65% increase over 2012. 

This still lags behind the proportion of female scientists in Latin America generally, where 45% of scientific researchers are women, according to UNESCO, but is well-above the proportion of women in science in other regions, including Europe (34%) and Asia (18.9%). 

Not only did Cruz-López impress the panel at UNAM, but she also made her parents and third-grade teacher proud. 

“It’s a great honor to know all that she has done,” her mother, Alma Lopez Gomez, said in an interview with Univision. 

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HEALTH

10-Year-Old Boy Had to 'Prove Disability' Before a Flight

His mother was left devastated by the “inhumane” treatment.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Stigma and discrimination are still daily realities for people with disabilities all over the world, as the Johnson family’s experience helps demonstrate. But until everyone is actively working to break the stigma, we won’t be able to drive change. You can take action here to support the UN’s Global Goals, which call for equal rights for everyone, regardless of disability, age, race, gender, ethnicity, or any other status.

A 10-year-old boy who uses a mobility scooter was asked to prove he has a disability, according to his mother. 

Alex Johnson, whose son Jack has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, wrote a blog post detailing how her son was treated “inhumanely” before boarding a Jet2 flight from Croatia to Leeds-Bradford Airport. 

The family, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, were at Split Airport on Tuesday when an airline administrative error almost prevented them getting their flight and “humiliated” Jack, reported the BBC

 

I can honestly say we have never experienced anything as shambolic and as humiliating for our son as our flight home from Split with @jet2tweets
I want lessons to be learnt from the way he was treated so it never happens to anyone again.https://joiningjack.org/the-situation/parents-diaries/do-you-have-proof-your-son-is-disabled/ 

 
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Johnson and her husband Andy, who previously played for the rugby league team Wigan Warriors, have set up a charity called Joining Jack, which funds research into a cure for the condition. Johnson published her account of what happened on the charity’s website

“As a family we need and love our holidays because of the underlying heartbreak we live with every day as we watch our son’s muscles waste away,” she wrote. “Eventually it will be impossible for us to take Jack on holiday and make the precious memories we cherish with him.”

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But the holiday was “ruined” by their experience on the return flight.  

While there was no issue on the outbound flight, she said, staff at Split Airport didn't seem to have a record of Jack’s disability. 

Johnson said in her post that from what she could see on the airline’s website, her family “did everything we should have done” to prepare the airline and inform them about Jack being on the flight, including calling the airline’s disability assistance line as soon as they booked, explaining about Jack’s condition, and giving the details about the disability scooter he uses.  

“I didn’t want us to run into any problems as Jack hates people staring and attention being drawn to him,” she wrote. “It’s hard for him being a kid that is different.

“When we arrived at Split airport and attempted to check in, we were told by a clearly stressed check-in desk operative that they had no records of Jack, his disability, or his requirements,” she continued. 

Related StoriesJuly 18, 2018Comedian 'Humiliated' by UK Train Staff After She Was Forced to Leave Disability Space

“The operative then informed us that two days’ notice is required to be able to put a motorised wheelchair or scooter on the aircraft and that we might not be able to fly,” she wrote.

“By this time the packed departures area was getting busier and people were getting frustrated with waiting,” she said. “We felt as though we were a huge burden.” 

According to Johnson, they were then asked for proof that her son has a disability. 

“I didn’t know whether to be sarcastic and say, ‘No, he loves to ride a disability scooter and pretends to be disabled for fun,’ or to cry and shout he has a bloody terminal muscle-wasting condition,” she wrote. 

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“The only reason I kept my cool was that I could see the embarrassment and anxiety rising in Jack,” she said. “The indignity of the situation was awful.” 

Johnson described how they “painfully” had to talk about the full extent of Jack’s condition in front of him, and show his blue badge to prove his disability. 

“As a mother, my job is to protect and nurture my child,” she wrote. “Yesterday, I had to stand by and watch as he was completely humiliated. You have left him demoralised.

“I want lessons to be learned and all staff to get training to ensure this never happens again to another disabled person,” she said. “They should be treated with dignity.” 

A spokesperson for Jet2 said the firm was “extremely sorry” for the “distressing experience.” 

“Although this is an isolated incident, we have learnt a number of lessons and we are urgently reviewing all our procedures to ensure that this does not happen again,” they said. 

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CITIZENSHIP

Justin Trudeau Says Attacks on Press Undermine Democracy

“The very capacity for a citizen to engage with truth is under attack”

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Press freedom, which is part of Global Goal 16, is key to holding leaders accountable and pursuing a world without poverty. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.  

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday that a robust and free press is essential to a functioning democracy and criticized leaders who attack and seek to silence news organizations, according to CBC Canada.

The prime minister was speaking at a press freedom event hosted by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as part of the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, a gathering of countries dedicated to improving international cooperation on a range of issues.

"If a democracy is to function you need an educated populace, and you need to have an informed populace, ready to make judicious decisions about who to grant power to and when to take it away," Trudeau said.

"When citizens cannot have rigorous analysis of the exercise of the power that is in their name and they have granted, the rest of the foundation of [their] democracies start to erode at the same time as cynicism arises,” he added.

Take Action: Share How Cyber Attacks Hurt the World’s Poor

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Trudeau’s words come amid a global rise in attacks on media institutions and journalists that are fanned by political leaders, according to RSF.

For example, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has said that reporters are “not exempted from assassination” and recently approved a measure for imprisoning journalists critical of him. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hires troll armies to disparage and foment anger against journalists. Turkey’s leader, Recep Erdoğan, has dissolved independent news organizations and jailed dozens of reporters in recent years, and Egypt’s President Abdel el-Sisi regularly accuses reporters of terrorism and recently enacted a law to clamp down on social media.

Even in the US, which has historically stood as a global beacon of press freedom, President Donald Trump routinely calls the press “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that echoes the former Russian tyrant Joseph Stalin. In October, a pipe bomb was sent to the headquarters of the news organization CNN, a frequent target of President Trump’s aspersions.

Read more: These Are the Worst Countries to Be a Journalist Today

Earlier in the year, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights censuredTrump for his “reckless” attacks on the media.

This rhetoric has contributed to an increasingly hostile media environment. At least 45 journalists have been murdered this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and a record number of journalists have been jailed for doing their work, with Turkey, China, and Egypt detaining the most reporters.

Efforts to silence journalists and deny them freedom have had an overall chilling effect, with news organizations often opting to steer clear of sensitive stories out of fear of being retaliated against, RSF reports.

Read More: 2017 Was Especially Dangerous for Female Journalists

“The unleashing of hatred towards journalists is one of the worst threats to democracies,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement. “Political leaders who fuel loathing for reporters bear heavy responsibility because they undermine the concept of public debate based on facts instead of propaganda. To dispute the legitimacy of journalism today is to play with extremely dangerous political fire.”

Trudeau stopped short of criticizing specific countries in his remarks on Sunday, but he urged citizens around the world to defend the press against incursions of totalitarianism.

Read more: One More Sign That Journalism Is Under Attack All Around the World

"There have always been tensions between those who would speak truth to power and those who like having their power, thank you very much, and don't necessarily want to see it frittered away," he said.

"But we are now in a phase where that capacity to speak truth to power, the very capacity for a citizen to engage with truth, is under attack,” he added. “And not just by the powerful, but by those who would see our institutions themselves weakened."

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CITIZENSHIP

This Is What You Should Do if You See a Muslim Person Being Harassed

How to de-escalate a hateful situation.

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Earlier this year, the harassment of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab on a public bus ended with two people dead when they tried to intervene and protect the woman from a white man yelling at her.

The incident rocked Portland, Ore., where the crime occurred, and also the nation, which has seen a 91% increase in hate crimes against Muslims during the first half of 2017. The dangers for both Muslim people and those that try to defend them felt, suddenly, immense.

Now, new posters plastered around bus and subway stations in San Francisco and Boston aim to teach would-be bystanders how to intervene and defend Muslims from potential hate crimes while also trying to de-escalate the situation to avoid violent endings like the one in Portland.

maeril muslim art.pngTumblr/@itsmaeril


Read More: The Day After the Mosque Burns: A Look at Islamophobia in the US and Germany

In Boston, posters with the headline “What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment” now hang in 50 locations near the transit system, according to the Associated Press. The posters have a comic strip drawing in which a man grimaces at a woman wearing a hijab, while another woman watches, uncertain.

The posters are directed at those people who might be witnesses.

The first step is to ignore the attacker and instead engage the victim in conversation, according to the posters.

“Pick a random subject and start discussing it,” the poster suggests, including the weather, a movie, or the clothing they’re wearing and where they got it.

Read More: When a Texas Mosque Burned Down, a Local Catholic High School Had the Perfect Response

Then, bystanders can help created safe space by keeping the victim engaged until the potential attacker leaves. If it’s safe, the bystander can accompany the victim to a safe space after the encounter.

Faisa Sharif, a mayor's liaison in Boston's Neighborhood Services Office within the Civic Engagement Cabinet, told NPR that the goal of the bystander is to try and break the tension that is mounting when someone starts harassing someone else.

Read More: Portland Has a Message for Muslim Girls in Hijabs After Deadly Hate Crime Attack

"This whole campaign is about de-escalation in terms of helping resolve a situation like this," she said. "Especially in the age that we live in when we see a different sort of national rhetoric targeted toward certain groups."

The posters were designed by an artist working in France, Maeril, following terror attacks in 2015, according to NPR. They’ve also been posted in San Francisco.

Lecia Brooks, an outreach director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told NPR that bystanders should also feel comfortable calling 911 if a situation looks too risky to get directly involved in, and that there’s always risk in intervening.

Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center Mosque, NPR the posters send a “message to everyone that Muslims are part of Boston” and are “phenomenal.”

"That they are not the other, that they are just like us, just like any other human being,” he said.

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ENVIRONMENT

6 Celebrities Pitching in to Help With California Fire Relief

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, and more are trying to do their part.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
California’s wildfires sparked by climate change and extreme weather conditions, devastated thousands. Celebrities who lost their homes in the blaze — and others who just want to do good —, are supporting relief efforts to help those affected. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

It’s going to be a while before California fully recovers from the devastating wildfires that started Nov. 9. In the meantime, as authorities try to keep the fires contained, celebrities are doing their best to lend their support.  

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

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Rising temperatures due to climate change have made forests much drier, leading to an uptick in wildfires. The three monstrous California wildfires — Camp, Woolsey, and Hill — have already claimed thousands of homes and dozens of lives. Camp Fire, which set off in Northern California’s city of Paradise, is now the deadliest wildfire in California history, according to CBS News. It reached a death toll of 48 Wednesday — contributing to a statewide death toll of 50. 

Here’s how celebrities, some whose lives have been directly impacted by the disaster, have already started helping the affected communities rebuild.

Lady Gaga Delivered Pizza to a Shelter 

Gaga was one of 250,000 people who evacuated their homes this weekend. After having to leave her house in Malibu, she stopped by a Red Cross shelter at the Pacific Palisades High School on Sunday, Delish reports. She brought pizza, coffee, and gift cards over to evacuees affected by the Woolsey fire. While she was there, Gaga serenaded a 98-year-old woman who was displaced from her home and encouraged people to seek mental health counseling.

"What I can tell you is that I will pray for each and every one of you. You will be in my thoughts. I extend my love to each and every one of you. I know we do not know each other, but I love you. This is an emergency but you are not alone,” Gaga told the evacuees. 

 

Thousands of #California residents are displaced due to the wildfires. And on Tuesday, #LadyGaga delivered pizza to one of the many Red Cross evacuation centers in LA 🙏🏽🙌🏽👏🏽

 
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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Donated $500,000 to Rebuild Malibu

Cyrus and Hemsworth lost their Malibu home in the Woolsey Fire and are now advocating for others to support the beach city community. The Woolsey Fire has demolished at least 97,000 acres, but it’s still only 40% contained, the New York Times reported

“Their community and state are very special to them and they want to give back to the place that has created so many beautiful memories for themselves and others," a spokesperson for Cyrus told AP.

They donated $500,000 to the Malibu Foundation, an organization set up to help the devastated area rebuild, and it will be used to aid those in financial need and provide emergency relief assistance, as well as toward wildfire prevention and climate change resilience, according to the statement.

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all I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff’s department! If you are interested in getting involved see next tweet....
Donate $ , Time , Supplies
I love you more than ever , Miley

 
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Read More: 15 Photos of California's Wildfires That Show the Devastation of Climate Change

Guy Fieri Served Meals to First Responders 

Fieri visited law enforcement officers at a staging area in Butte County, California, for officials fighting the Camp Fire, according to USA Today. Fieri lives in Santa Rosa, which suffered devastating fire loses in 2017. The celebrity chef reportedly served pulled pork and sides. 

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

Guy Fieri made a surprise visit to serve dinner to everyone at the law enforcement staging area at Butte College. Thank you so much Guy for filling our bellies and lifting our spirits. #ButteSheriff #CampFire

 
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Sandra Bullock Donated $100,000 to Help Animal Victims

Bullock donated to the Humane Society of Ventura County, which is on the ground helping animal wildfire victims in Southern California, according to USA Today. 

“The Humane Society of Ventura County was deeply humbled today by a $100,000 donation from Sandra Bullock and family,” the organization wrote in a press release. “This donation will help the HSVC provide 24/7 care for the scores of horses, bulls, donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and other pets evacuated from the fires," it explained.

 

This afternoon the Humane Society of Ventura County Animal Rescue Team brought back to the shelter 9 donkeys, 3 goats, 1 pig, 3 bunnies, 20 chickens, and a tortoise from the burn areas in the Malibu area. Staff and our... https://www.facebook.com/hsvc.org/posts/10155929649676238 

 
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Dave Grohl Volunteered to Feed Firefighters

Musician Dave Grohl donated his time to serve firefighters from Fire Station 68 in Calabasas, California, trying to contain the Woolsey fire, located just north of Los Angeles. Grohl brought the team meals from his restaurant Backbeat BBQ. 

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NOV. 16, 2018

 

 
 
FOOD & HUNGER

UN Says Solution to UK Austerity is to Make Poverty Illegal

After a 12-day tour, an envoy said the UK government had inflicted “great misery” on the poor.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Austerity in the UK is widely reported to have led to increases in poverty, food-bank usage, and spiralling homelessness. And according to this report, austerity was a choice — and a choice that can be reversed. Take action here to join the fight to end extreme poverty.

After a 12-day tour of the UK, a report from UN envoy Philip Alston has said the UK government’s policy of austerity has inflicted “great misery” on the public. 

Alston is what’s known as a “rapporteur,” an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to objectively examine how a country is performing on a certain issue.

During a press release on Friday, Alston said the UK was in potential breach of four UN human rights agreements: women, children, people with disabilities, and economic and social rights. 

Take Action: Call on the UK Government to Prioritise Support to Modern Slavery Survivors

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During his tour, Alston visited foodbanks, universities, Citizens Advice Bureaus, job centres, schools, and government departments. 

Alston reportedly bore witness to the consequences of 10 years of austerity, imposed by the UK government since the recession of 2007-2008 — and spoke with many members of the public to see how the policy had affected them.

Alston wrote in the report that “austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so.”

 
 

He said that the last government budget could have transformed the lives of millions, and added that poverty was a “political choice” — but that the choice they made was to “fund tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Alton cited the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, saying that 14 million people in the UK are living in poverty, with 1.5 million unable to buy even basic essentials.

Child poverty in particular was predicted to rise to as high as 40% by 2022, something which Alston called a “disgrace” in the world’s fifth-richest country.

Related StoriesAug. 23, 2018The UN Is Investigating Extreme Poverty in the UK for the First Time

When Alston visited Avenue End School in Glasgow, the Guardian reportedthat 12-year-old John Adebola-Samuel said his family relied on food banks for two years, and that for a long time he took only bread and butter to school for lunch.

At a meeting in Edinburgh, Alston was reportedly told the story of woman with chronic physical and mental health issues who had sex for money after her benefits were stopped. She hadn’t eaten for nearly a week.

In Newcastle, where universal credit — the UK government’s controversial benefits scheme — was first rolled out, Alston met with a man called Michael who was struggling to feed the three people in his family on just £465 a month (about £5 each a day).

Alston wrote: “It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty.” 

 
Embedded video
 

“The harshness, the worst aspects of a lot of these policies could be changed overnight”

UN Poverty Envoy Philip Alston’s blistering attack on austerity and the effects of government policies on the country’s poorest people

Read more: http://huffp.st/eUShAvJ 

 
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“This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in food banks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the government to appoint a minister for suicide prevention, and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation,” he added.

Alston concluded that a solution could be to ensure the “legislative recognition of social rights”  — a move which could essentially make poverty illegal. Social rights are already incorporated into Swedish and German law.

The Guardian reported that Alston was pleased to meet Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who plans to make adequate housing, food, and welfare a legal human right in Scotland.

Related StoriesNov. 7, 2017Universal Credit Puts 41,000 Children At Risk of Destitution by Christmas, Warns Housing Trust

Concluding his report, Alston wrote: “As the country moves toward Brexit, the government should adopt policies designed to ensure that the brunt of the resulting economic burden is not borne by its most vulnerable citizens.”

The government replied to Alston’s analysis, saying it “completely disagreed.”

A spokesperson said that household incomes were at a record high, income inequality had fallen, and that universal credit was helping people get back into work faster than before.

“We are absolutely committed to helping people improve their lives while providing the right support for those who need it,” the spokesperson said.

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NOV. 21, 2018

 

 
 
FINANCE & INNOVATION

Canadian Government Gives World's Poor Millions in Cash to Fight Extreme Poverty

Officials confirmed the country has been providing cash directly to people in over 35 countries.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Right now, more than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty around the world. Foreign aid from countries like Canada works to lift them out of poverty through education, health services, and more. You can take action on this right now.

Canada is trying out a new approach to delivering foreign aid — by providing cash to people most in need in developing countries, according to information obtained by CBC.

CBC spoke with two anonymous senior officials with Global Affairs Canada who confirmed the government has been providing cash directly to people in over 35 countries.

“Direct cash transfers have become a key element of humanitarian response and development in the last two to three years," one senior aid official told CBC. "It is much more efficient to deliver assistance this way. There is no middleman to decide what the needs are. In humanitarian projects, it is being considered the default approach now."

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

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Canada’s current international assistance spending — which is often referred to as foreign aid — sits at $5.6 billion.

The officials did not confirm how much of that goes directly to cash transfers, which are often part of other aid programs.

For instance, a program run by Oxfam that is partly supported financially by Canada, allowed for direct cash transfers in a refugee camp in Ethiopia this year, CBC reported.

One of the recipients was Nyatlak Nyiet, a refugee from South Sudan who had given birth in the camp. Before receiving the unconditional transfers, she earned only a small income from selling firewood at a market.

Related StoriesJune 19, 2017CHIME FOR CHANGEWhat Canada's Female-First Foreign Aid Policy Really Means for Women

“It was not possible for me to breastfeed. I had only [a] small [amount of] milk, so the baby kept crying,” Nyiet told Oxfam researchers in June (in an interview that was then shared with CBC).

Nyiet was approved to receive about $30 per month, according to Oxfam Canada. That money helped her buy food and clothes, as well as chickens.

The benefit of this approach is that it eliminates the need for foreign aid consultants, shipping fees, and general bureaucratic procedures.

Another argument for it is that the beneficiaries know what they need — most notably so for women, according to CBC.

 

In #Ethiopia, there are around 1.7 million persons internally displaced by conflict and climatic factors. The displaced are settled in 916 sites across the country.

 
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But critics argue that this approach might not work in the long term.

"This type of a thing is good as a kickstart, almost like a jump, but not as a ladder to fundamentally lift people out of poverty," Aniket Bhushan, a Carleton University professor who heads up a research group on aid policy, told CBC. "The real question is sustainability: What happens after the fact?"

What’s more is that providing people with cash doesn’t always make sense, as in some cases, like following a natural disaster or in conflict zones, there’s nothing to buy with cash.

"Giving people money to procure health services in the absence of health services doesn't help too much," a Global Affairs official told CBC.

Related StoriesNov. 12, 2018Australia's Step Up in the Pacific Ignites Concerns Over Foreign Aid Cuts

There are measures in place to prevent exploitation of the funds. The UN's World Food Programme, for instance, uses iris scans and digital cards, according to CBC.

Bhushan still cautions that final results could be minimal.

One study from Uganda observed two groups over nine years — people in one group received $400 in unconditional cash transfers and people in the other didn’t.

Over time the differences between the groups for employment income and general economic well-being were about the same, Bhushan said.

Still, there is something to be said for providing direct funding to women like Nyiet who is able to feed her children and herself thanks to this cash.

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16 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2018

 

12
 
CIUDADANÍA

Las parejas del mismo sexo podrán casarse en Costa Rica en 2020

Es la primera vez que esto sucede en Centroamérica.

 

Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
En muchos lugares del mundo, las parejas del mismo sexo no reciben los mismos beneficios económicos y de salud que las parejas heterosexuales. El nuevo fallo de Costa Rica, que permite el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, limitará la discriminación y promoverá la igualdad dentro del país. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.



Costa Rica ha levantado oficialmente su prohibición del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo.

El jueves, el tribunal constitucional del país dictaminó que las parejas del mismo sexo tendrán derecho a casarse a mediados de 2020, según informó Reuters.

El gobierno tiene previsto publicar el fallo la próxima semana y entrará en vigencia 18 meses después, según indica Reuters.

El tribunal falló a favor de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, que ordenó a los países de América Central que legalicen el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en enero.

"Los hombres y mujeres mayores de edad, sin ninguna limitación por motivos de raza, nacionalidad o religión, tienen derecho a casarse y formar una familia", dijo la organización de derechos humanos Amnistía Internacional en una declaración sobre la igualdad en el matrimonio.

Si bien en Sudamérica ya se ha permitido que las parejas del mismo sexo se casen en muchos países, el caso de Costa Rica es un precedente para América Central.

Según el informe publicado por Amnistía Internacional en 2017, los asesinatos y la violencia contra las personas LGBTQ en América Central conducen a cientos de personas a huir de sus hogares.

Si bien Costa Rica es conocida por ser socialmente progresiva en términos de educación superior y atención médica, no se protegen por igual todos los asuntos relacionados con los derechos humanos. Los derechos reproductivos aún son limitados, y solo el 30% de los costarricenses apoyaron el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, según una encuesta publicada en enero por la Universidad de Costa Rica.

La primera boda del mismo sexo de Costa Rica fue bloqueada en enero por funcionarios que se negaron a reconocerla hasta que la prohibición fue oficialmente levantada por la ley. Tras la decisión, activistas de derechos humanos protestaron por la igualdad de derechos LGBTQ en las urnas.

El presidente Carlos Alvarado Quesada, quien asumió el cargo en mayo, también hizo campaña para legalizar el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo y la igualdad para todos.

Si bien la decisión del tribunal lleva meses en proceso, no todos están satisfechos con la noticia.

"En el orden natural de las cosas, ese núcleo familiar básico de la sociedad se basa en el matrimonio monógamo y heterosexual", dijo en una declaración la Conferencia Episcopal de Costa Rica de la Iglesia Católica.

Pero el presidente Quesada se mantiene esperanzado.

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EDUCATION

Refugees Have Missed 1.5 Billion Days of School Since 2016, UN Says

UNESCO says countries are not prepared to support students on the move in a new report.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Conflicts and disasters continue to explode around the world, meaning millions of children in those areas are prevented from learning. UNESCO’s 2019 “Global Education Monitoring Report” states national education systems aren’t equipped to teach migrant and refugee students. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Migrant and refugee children face many roadblocks to receiving an education, according to a UN report published Tuesday. 

 

In the Global Education Monitoring Report 2018, “Migration, displacement
and education: Building Bridges Not Walls
,” the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted national education systems are not always equipped to accommodate incoming migrant and refugee students, according to UN News. This puts over 50 million children at risk of never reaching their full potential and lifting up their communities. 

 

Take Action: Step Up to Support Migrants and Refugees!

Take Action: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

 

Makeshift schools, many of which aren’t certified, language barriers, and limited resources prevent students from excelling in the classroom. 

While governments are aware of these issues, they don’t always kick solutions into action, the UN agency explained in a statement.

“The right of these children to quality education, even if increasingly recognized on paper, is challenged daily in classrooms and schoolyards and denied outright by a few governments,” UNESCO said

Since 2016, refugees have missed 1.5 billion days of school, according to UNESCO. 

Read More: This Artist Wants to Humanize the Refugee Experience Through Comics

Young girls are especially vulnerable when they lose opportunities to learn, Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, senior advocate for women and girls at Refugee International, explained to the Thomson Reuters Foundation in August. 

"Less education increases vulnerabilities to forced marriage, exploitation, and even trafficking in refugee contexts," she said

 

Migrant and refugee children in the 🌏today could fill half a million classrooms. They shouldn’t have to leave their right to education behind when they move 📚

Read the new @UNESCO #GEM Report: http://Bit.ly/2019gemreport #EducationOnTheMove

 
See UNA-Australia's other Tweets
 
 
 

UNESCO also delivered promising news in the report. Some of the countries with the biggest refugee populations are showing progress in including refugee children in education systems. 

Low-income countries like Chad, Ethiopia, and Uganda are leading the way for refugee education, as well as wealthier nations such as Canada and Ireland. But low- and middle-income countries still host 90% of the world’s refugees and don’t have the funds to adequately support them.  

The report offers suggestions for making greater progress. 

It calls on donors to increase their refugee education funding and commit to long-term support and pushed for a better understanding of refugee and migrants’ needs. UNESCO also recommends that countries make an effort to represent migration and displacement narratives in school curriculums to fight discrimination. Teachers need to be prepared to tackle diversity and difficulties refugees and migrant students face, as well. 

“Everyone loses when the education of migrants and refugees is ignored. Education is the key to inclusion and cohesion,” Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, said

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NOV. 21, 2018

 

 
 
FOOD & HUNGER

85,000 Children Have Died From Hunger in Yemen: Report

Save the Children called its estimate “conservative.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals call for peace, justice, and strong institutions, as well as an end to violence everywhere. Conflict directly impacts on the mission to end extreme poverty, causing massive instability, displacement, hunger, lack of access to education and health care, among many other things. Join us by taking action here to support people around the world living in conflict zones.

Just weeks after UN agencies issued warnings about the risk of death facing hundreds of thousands of malnourished children in Yemen, international aid organization Save the Children has issued a report that 85,000 children under the age of 5 may have already died due to hunger and disease since 2015, the Associated Press reported.

The organization, which called the estimate “conservative,” based their approximation on UN data on mortality rates from severe acute malnutrition, which has plagued more than 1.3 million children since March 2015 when conflict escalated between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, according to the Guardian.

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen director, said. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely.”

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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The UN has called Yemen’s situation “the worst humanitarian crisis” in the world. Currently, 14 million people are on the brink of famine, which evidently poses a particular threat to young children.

Conflict overtook Yemen in 2015 when the Houthi rebels sought to overturn the country’s internationally recognized government. Saudi Arabia then stepped in and lead a coalition of eight other Arab states, supported by the US, the UK, and France, to restore the power of Yemen’s government.

Airstrikes have since hit schools and hospitals, directly impacting and killing civilians.

Related StoriesNov. 9, 2018Hospitals in Yemen Are Struggling to Treat Civil War Casualties

More than 10,000 people have died due to violence and airstrikes, over 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes, and over 8 million people depend on humanitarian food aid to survive.

The international community is now calling for ceasefires as the crisis remains and the mortality rates continue to rise.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Michigan Judge Dismisses Charges in Historic FGM Case

In the US, more than 500,000 women and girls have experienced or are at risk of FGM.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse and gender-based violence that to which millions of women and girls around the world are subjected. This case in Michigan highlights a need for stronger legislation to combat FGM, which can cause life-long damage. Join us in taking action here to end this harmful practice.

A federal judge dismissed charges in a historic female genital mutilation case in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday after determining that it is up to individual states to regulate the harmful practice, CBS News reports.

US District Judge Bernard Friedman dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against eight people, including two doctors, who were arrested after nine girls were forced to undergo FGM in the suburbs of Detroit in April 2017.

Take Action: Help Global Citizen End Female Genital Mutilation

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room doctor, who was accused of performing the brutal cutting procedure on nine girls — between the ages of 6 and 12 — was cleared of the genital mutilation charges. However, she still faces conspiracy and obstruction charges.

Three mothers, who brought their daughters to Detroit under the pretense of a girls' weekend only to have FGM performed on them as part of religious practice are among Nagarwala's co-defendants, the Detroit Free Pressreports.

Activists are worried about the larger implications the ruling could have on efforts to stop the practice, which is on the rise in the US.

"Unfortunately, this is going to embolden those who believe that this must be continued ... they'll feel that this is permission, that it's OK to do this," Mariya Taher, who leads a campaign in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to ban FGM told the Detroit Free Press.

"This is a violation of one person's human rights. It's a form of gender violence ... This is cultural violence," Taher said.

While the court order recognized FGM as a form of physical abuse and a "despicable practice," it deemed the practice a "local criminal activity" — that can only be regulated at the state level — not by Congress.

In the US, FGM is illegal in 27 states. However, FGM was not illegal in Michigan until after Nagarwala and others were arrested, and the defendants cannot be retroactively charged under the new law. As a result, Nagarwala, who was on trial for crimes now punishable by 15 years to life in jail, may serve much less or no time at all.

Although FGM has been federally illegal since 1996, a case had never been brought to court before this one. The judge ruled that it is unconstitutionalfor Congress to regulate the procedure since it falls under local crime and has no impact on interstate commerce.

More than 200 million women and girls globally have undergone FGM, the majority of them before the age of 15, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More: The UK and US Just Signed a Major Pledge to Crack Down on FGM

While the practice is most prevalent in countries across Africa, it impacts many women and girls in Western countries too, including the US, the UK, and Canada.

An estimated 513,000 women and girls have experienced or are at risk of FGM in the US — and many of these women and girls live in one of the 23 states, where laws against the medically unnecessary practice have not been passed.

Even those who live in states where FGM is illegal are at risk since they can be transported across state lines for the procedure.

It's a giant step backward in the protection of women's and girls' rights," Shelby Quast, the Americas director of Equality Now, told the Detroit Free Press. "Especially when there is a global movement to eliminate this practice."

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APRIL 27, 2018

 

37
 
GIRLS & WOMEN

An India Railway Officer Jumped from a Moving Train to Rescue A Woman From Rape

After hearing screams from the women-only car, K. Shivaji sprang into action.

A transit security worker is being called a hero after he jumped off a moving train in India to rescue a woman who was being sexually assaulted.

As a train pulled out of Chintadripet station in Chennai, India, late Monday night, Railway Protection Force officer K. Shivaji heard screams coming from the women-only car, according to the International Business Times.

Shivaji sprang into action. He waited for the train to slow slightly, and then leapt from one car to the next to investigate.

There he a found 26-year-old man attempting to sexually assault the woman whose screams he’d heard, according to the report. Shivaji pushed the man off the woman, saving her. 

When the rest of Shivaji’s team arrived at the scene, the victim was unconscious, the Times of India reported. They rushed the woman, whose clothes were torn and lips were bleeding, to the hospital, where doctors said her condition was stable.

Take Action: Sign This Petition to #LeveltheLaw and empower girls and women around the world!

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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

Her attacker was arrested and charged with attempted rape, meaning unlike many victims of sexual violence in India, the woman may see justice served.

India continues to grapple with widespread sexual violence and although the country strengthened its rape laws after mass protests in 2012, many victims are shamed and pressured by law enforcement officials into not filing reports.

Read more: Despite India’s Anti-Rape Laws, Sexual Assault Is Still a Major Problem

Around the world, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment or assault on public transportation, where people are often packed into close quarters. There have been several high profile cases of women being sexually assault on buses in both Morocco and India.

According to government data, nearly 39,000 rapes were reported in India in 2016, though the social stigma of rape that discourages women from reporting incidents means the true number is probably higher.

Last week, thousands of people across India protested against sexual violence and called for stricter rape laws, following two shocking gang rape cases of young girls — one just 8 years old.

Read more: This Woman Is on Hunger Strike Until India Changes Its Rape Laws

In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi controversially approved an executive order on Saturday that paves the way for rapists to receive the death penalty. However, Human Rights Watch has criticized the move calling such a law “inherently cruel and irreversible, with little evidence that it serves as a deterrent.”

Global Citizen campaigns against in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to urge governments to #LeveltheLaw by strengthening their sexual violence and rape laws.

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FOOD & HUNGER

This New Grocery Store Is Completely Free for People in Need

“Take what you need, give if you can.”

michael_mccauslin.jpg__1264x568_q85_crop_subsampling-2.jpg
 Flickr - Michael McCauslin

In the first of its kind, a food-rescue supermarket opens its doors in Sydney, Australia. The revolutionary food store was opened by OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food waste organisation. The food rescue operation collects surplus food from 2,000 commercial outlets and redistributes it to 900 charities.

The trial grocery store celebrates food that would otherwise be destined for the dumpster. Products include fruit and vegetables, dry goods, tins, drinks, frozen meals, bread, toiletries and more. Items may be passed their sell-by or best-before date but is still perfectly good for consumption.

Read more:Dumpster Diving Is Feeding Those at Risk in Brisbane, Australia

“We only take food that is absolutely edible. We’re … showing our consumers how insane it is that this produce has been rejected,” Ronni Kahn from OzHarvest told Broadsheet.

“All of our drivers are trained in handling, they will not accept produce if they wouldn’t eat it themselves,” she says.

All the food has either been rescued or donated by generous people. And the food doesn’t cost a thing for those who can’t afford it. The store runs on OzHarvest’s philosophy of "take what you need, give if you can." The food is there for people who are in need, donations are welcome but for those who can’t afford it they are welcome to simply take what they need and leave what they don’t for others.

The aim of the store is two-fold, aiming to reduce hunger as well as lessen the environmental impact caused by wasted food in landfill.

Read more: This is the UK's First Ever Food Waste Supermarket

 

One in six Australians have reported experiencing food insecurity in the past 12 months. Australia is also one of the biggest producers of food waste with 20% of all food consumers buy being thrown away. That’s one in give bags of groceries ending up in landfill and costs the average Australian household $1,036 per year.

“Every time we save good food, we help the planet. Every time we take that food and feed hungry people, we address social issues,” said Kahn.

There has never been a better time for this ingenious grocery store. Let’s hope it’s not only here to stay but that there will be more like it around the country.

To find out more check out: http://www.ozharvest.org/market/

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DESCRIPTION

The Royal Irish Academy of Music presents a Symposium centred on Inclusive Creativity in the Arts, more specifically, in music performance for physically and mentally challenged.


The Symposium will focus on research for inclusive practice within arts performance, education, health, and welfare. We will welcome field leaders to discuss their work in detail, and how might this research help inform spaces, organisations, and practitioners in Ireland. Our special Keynote presenter is Sophia Alexandersson from ShareMusic & Performing Arts, Sweden. The day looks as follows;

9.30am Registration
10.00am Welcome from Deborah Kelleher (RIAM)
10.15am Sophia Alexandersson, Keynote (ShareMusic & Performing Arts, Sweden)
11.15am Tea/Coffee
11.30am ‘Acoustronic’ – performance and open rehearsal
12.30pm Break
1.15pm Frank Lyons (Ulster University)
2.00pm ‘Acoustronic’ and Denise White (Ulster University)
2.45pm Tea/Coffee
3.00pm Karen Power (Composer, Educator)
3.45pm Final Comments
4.00pm Close

The day will also mark the launch the RIAM's new project for inclusive creativity, the Le Cheile Project, generously supported through Creative Ireland funding. Le Cheile will see the establishment of four province based inclusive ensembles and the eventual creation of the Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

We will launch the project through celebration and performance, and welcome a performance by 'Acoustronic', an established inclusive ensemble from Northern Ireland.


Please note the event is free. Donations may be made here, and all funds will be used in support of the Le Cheile Project.

Directions to the hotel can be found here >>>

There is a parking available onsite at the hotel, and the venue is accessible.

For further information, please contact brendanbreslin@riam.ie

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