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The Action Thread Part Two

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CITIZENSHIP

African Union Pledges to Silence Guns In Africa By 2020

Wars and conflict have displaced more than 9 million people across the continent.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Global Goals, including Goal No.1 of ending extreme poverty, No.3 for good health and well-being, and No.5 for gender equality, all of which are compromised by wars and insecurity. Take action here to support the Global Goals and help end extreme poverty by 2030.

The African Union wants Africa to be conflict-free by 2020 and has launched the Silencing the Guns campaign to help rid the continent of wars and insecurities.

Africa has long been associated with war and conflict, and at the moment, there are civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Terrorist organisations, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, continue to destabilise Nigeria and Somalia; there are political unrests in Algeria and Sudan; and conflict in Cameroon, Mali, and Libya.

Take Action: Help Kids Facing Conflict and Crisis Stay in School

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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The UN Security Council welcomed the news last week and urged the international community to support the continent’s peace efforts.

Ramtane Lamamra, the high representative for Silencing the Guns acknowledged the challenges ahead. He told the council: “A number of African countries still remain trapped in a vicious cycle of violent conflict and its deadly consequences.”

He also noted, however, that the continent has made progress in “preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts in Africa”, citing the peace agreements in South Sudan and Central African Republic, and peaceful elections in Madagascar and Congo.

Related StoriesFeb. 19, 2019Bill Gates: African Nations Can Have Great Health Care Despite Poverty

According to Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN political and peacebuilding chief:  "Silencing the guns for good requires the participation of all." 

She added that, while Africans are leading the way, "it is vital that the international community lend its support to Africa in achieving this objective." 

Wars and conflict have cost Africa more than $100 billion since the end of the Cold War in 1991. They’ve also created some of the biggest humanitarian crises. In the DRC, for example, 6 million people have been killed as a result of the ongoing conflict, while collectively across the continent, more than 9 million people have so far been displaced by the various wars and conflicts.

According to a 2007 report by Oxfam: “Compared to peaceful countries, African countries in conflict have, on average, 50% more infant deaths, 15% more undernourished people, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4% less food per person.”

Related StoriesFeb. 27, 2019Doctors Without Borders Has to Close Ebola Treatment Center In DRC After Attack

Besides displacing people, conflict also turns children into soldiers — with tens of thousands of child soldiers across Africa, according to a report in 2017 by the Guardian.

The outcome is that, as well as increasing poverty and delaying the achievement of UN Global Goals, the continent is perpetually stuck in crisis mode, with many countries ranking poorly in the UN Human Development Index. The index measures equality, education, income and quality of life.

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A big thank you to the students of Glanmire Community College and the members of Active Retirement Ireland Glanmire, who together knitted these stunning blankets and baby hats for the children on our Medical Care Programmes. 

These beautiful pieces will soon head out to Belarus and provide comfort and warmth to children who are in greatest need.

The knitting was collected by our volunteer extraordinaire, Pam Norris, who shared her story of volunteering with the knitters.

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

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Is ‘sexist’ data holding women back?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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177
HIV/AIDS

Clara: HIV shaped me, but it did not stop me

30 November 2018 5:05PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Sign the pledge: We’ll do whatever it takes to end AIDS

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Written by Clara

I tested positive for HIV in 2004. I was working in a HIV counselling centre and I noticed that I was experiencing some of the same symptoms as my patients. I gathered the courage to sneak home an HIV test and tested myself, and my baby, in private.

When I first discovered my HIV status, aged 25, I was worried that I might die. But I was also filled with anger, and a determination to fight back. I refused to leave my child motherless.

At first, my doctor refused to put me on HIV treatment because I did not outwardly appear sick, but inside I felt I was draining away. I lost stamina to the point that I could not lift up my one-year-old daughter.

I had to travel 400km to get my immune system levels tested. When the test showed how weak my immune system was, I was allowed to begin HIV treatment.

HIV affects all of aspects of your life. It is not just about you, but your loved ones as well.

My husband and my daughter, who are also HIV positive, both suffered from drug-resistant TB. As a wife and mother who was nursing them, I experienced the horror of dealing with this killer disease. And every time I got the flu, I thought I might be next.

Social stigma and gender inequality compound the impact of HIV in Malawi. I have worked with many women whose husbands blame them for bringing HIV into the home and divorce them when they find out they are HIV positive. And even though it is now illegal, some communities still practice ‘sexual cleansing’ where a woman must have sex as a cleansing ritual after becoming a widow.

I’ve faced stigma myself. When my community first found out about my status, my own neighbour would not talk to me. But when she was sick and needed help, I was the one who took her to hospital.

My experience made me want to help others – to stop them from going through the same struggle. Thanks to funding from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, I have been able to access free lifesaving medicine and my life is very different than it could have been.

Thanks to the medicine, I also have a second child – who is HIV negative.

Now I am channelling my energies into helping others.

I am the National Coordinator of International Community of Women Living with HIV, Malawi Chapter. I help others who are in similar situations to the one I was in 14 years ago. My work is about helping women living with HIV address the challenges they face in their own lives and also campaigning on national issues to make sure the Malawian Government deliver on their health commitments.

My story is not just one of ill-health, but one that shows how women are taking charge of their own destinies. Working together we can create change so that my daughter, and all our daughters, will not face the same challenges that I did.

YES: To win the fight against AIDS we’ll need to work together. Add your name to join us today.

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

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Today, about 1,000 young women will be infected with HIV. Tomorrow, it will be another 1,000. One week from now, nearly 7,000 young women will have contracted HIV.

The grim news: AIDS isn’t a disease of the past, it's a crisis now. The great news: we have the means to end it.

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria has helped slash deaths from these diseases by a third. This innovative partnership backs brave frontline nurses and doctors and the latest technologies to help people fight back against these killer diseases.

Millions of women and girls are still at risk, but if enough of us take action, 2019 could be a turning point in the fight. This year, government and business leaders will gather in France to decide whether or not to expand the reach of the Global Fund. With full funding, we could help save 16 million more lives and stem the spread of disease. That’s the kind of bold ambition the world needs.

Tell world leaders to step things up so progress doesn’t slip back. Join the call to fully finance the Global Fund.

Dear government and business leaders,

We're urging you to show ambition in ending AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This is a fight we can win – but only if we all do our part. I’m in, are you? Please fully finance the Global Fund to help save another 16 million lives and bring us closer to eliminating these diseases for good.

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CULTURE

Poverty may not actually mean what you think

October 16 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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Around the world, there are over 9 million people who are united by the same cause. From different walks of life, across ages and nations, careers and faiths, these 9 million people are all ONE members. Each of them working towards the same goal: ending extreme poverty.

There’s no question, this is an important cause. But if we asked some people to explain poverty, chances are they would say different things. That’s because poverty is complicated. It looks different depending on where you are, and there are lots of reasons why it happens.

We’ve put together a quick explainer on poverty, why it matters, and what you can do to help eradicate it.

The Definitions

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines poverty as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.” On definition alone, the concept of poverty is pretty vague. That’s why there are different ways of measuring poverty.

Two of the most frequent ways of defining poverty are absolute and relative. Absolute poverty means that you don’t have enough money for basic needs, like food and housing. Relative poverty compares your circumstances to other people. Since this measurement is based on societal norms, being in relative poverty can lead to social exclusion

Then, there’s extreme poverty, which is ONE’s focus. This is defined as living on less than US$1.90 a day. As of 2015, about 10% of the world’s population was experiencing extreme poverty. Of these people, more than half were in sub-Saharan Africa.

These are some of the most common ways of defining poverty, but this isn’t all of them. It’s important to be aware of which measurements a source is using.

The Causes

Just as there are a ton of different definitions of poverty, there are a ton of different causes.

There’s an obvious cause that comes to mind: income. Food, shelter, health, and education are all affected by a person’s wages. However, poverty is about a lot more than just income. Access to land, financial services, medical services, social participation, and safe living conditions are all contributing factors.

These causes affect some people more than others, meaning that discrimination plays a role. That’s why we say poverty is sexist. There is nowhere in the world where women have the same opportunities as men (and here are 25 facts to prove it). But for girls living in extreme poverty, sexism can be a death sentence. This is unacceptable.

Future Potential

Behind the definitions and causes of poverty, we must remember that we’re talking about people. We’re talking about girls who are forced into marriage, children who can’t get an education, sick people who can’t get better, and countless others facing difficult situations because of poverty.

Even though defining poverty can be difficult, there’s a simple truth: it doesn’t have to be this way. The first Sustainable Development Goal is to end poverty in all its forms by 2030. If we achieve this, people all over the world will be free to reach their potential.

Ending poverty is not only possible, but necessary. Together, we can all create an equal, poverty-free world.

Are you ready to join the fight against extreme poverty? Become a ONE member today!

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AGRICULTURE

Kenyan women have found a way to buy land, and make a profit

21 January 2019 4:52PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Kagondu Njagi and edited by Robert Carmichael for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

For the women of Tuluroba village’s self-help group, the goal was simple: use their combined savings to buy cattle, fatten them and sell them to the beef industry for slaughter.

But there was a problem.

“We had no land to graze the cattle. Nor could we obtain a loan from a bank to buy land, because as women we do not own title deeds,” said Fatuma Wario, who chairs the 13-strong group.

That is common. Few women in Kenya have land title documents, and few are getting them: since 2013, less than 2 percent of issued titles have gone to women, the Kenya Land Alliance, a non-profit, said in March 2018.

And because getting a loan from a mainstream bank requires collateral – typically in the form of a land title document – most women are locked out of the chance to start a business.

In the end, the women of the HoriJabesa group borrowed money from an institution that loans money to women’s groups without requiring land title. Instead, the cash from their savings underwrites the loan.

In Wario’s case, that meant switching their savings account to the bank that was prepared to extend a $1,000 loan. Using that money and some of their savings, “we bought cattle and hired land to graze our stock”.

That was in 2017. Doing so meant the group could rent 10 acres (4 hectares) of pasture at a cost of 30,000 Kenyan shillings (US$300) annually.

Interest on the loan is 12 percent per year. In their first year they earned $10,000 from their investment – with each fattened head of cattle bringing in a US$30 profit.

THOUSANDS BENEFIT

The first step for Wario’s group was to become a partner with the Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies PROFIT, which is funded by the U.N International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

David Kanda, an adviser at the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation who has seen the impact PROFIT has had on women like Wario, said about 60 women’s groups in eastern Kenya alone were benefiting from the PROFIT program.

“Apart from livestock enterprises, the programme also supports women to do poultry and bee-keeping on hired land.”

The programme began in December 2010 and is scheduled to run until June this year. After that, it will be evaluated with an eye to continuing it, an official from AGRA said.

Getting a loan requires that the person be an active member of an agribusiness network. She can then apply to a farmer-lending institution for a loan as an individual – in which case her share in the agribusiness network is her collateral – or with her group, as Wario’s collective did.

The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), a government agency, is one such lending institution.

To date, said Millicent Omukaga, AFC’s head of operations, more than 40,000 women in Kenya have benefited from non-collaterised loans. None of those loans has gone bad.

“Our aim is to double the number … of women beneficiaries. But the overall aim is to see them financially empowered so that they can fight for their land rights.”

GRASS BOUNTY

That has proven the case for Mabel Katindi, a widow who lives in Kathiani village in Machakos county, 195 kilometres south of Wario’s village.

The 42-year-old lost her husband a decade ago. Since then she has had to fight off relatives trying to chase her and her three children from the one-acre plot she inherited.

The problem is that her late husband did not have a title deed. As it is ancestral land, it fell under one title deed held by the eldest member of his family, she said.

And without title, Katindi could not get a loan to finance money-earning ventures on her acre.

“Our land is not very good for growing food crops because the rains are not enough. Feeding my children alone has been the most difficult task,” she said.

But after joining the local women’s organisation in 2017, Katindi learned that, as an active member of the agribusiness group, she could use her share to apply for a loan.

In March of that year she borrowed 50,000 shillings from a savings and credit cooperative, and used that to plant drought-resistant brachiaria grass on half an acre of her land.

The grass has thrived, she said.

“Demand for the grass is very high because it makes cattle produce a lot of milk. It also does not require a lot of rain to grow,” said Katindi.

Each bale of grass earns up to 300 shillings, with the half-acre generating 100 bales each year. She uses the other half-acre to grow staple foods for the family.

“My children are all in school. I do not have to worry about feeding them,” Katindi said, adding that the financial returns from the loan had also helped to mend relations with her late husband’s family.

“I even use some of my money to support the relatives who wanted to chase me away from the land.”

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

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HEALTH

Why are nearly 1000 girls and young women infected with HIV every day?

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

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

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

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

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

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

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

Risk Factors

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

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

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

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

The Global Fund

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Need to #StepUpTheFight

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

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

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MARCH 11, 2019

 

 
 
EDUCATION

Steph Curry Designed New Sneakers With a 9-Year-Old Girl — and Women in STEM Will Benefit

For Riley Morrison, a fan letter went a long way.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender-based discrimination affects every industry, including sports. Speaking up against gender inequality is key to sustainable development. You can join us and take action on this issue here

When Riley Morrison realized Under Armour didn’t sell the Curry 5 basketball shoe in girls’ sizes, she decided to use her voice to do something about it.

RileyTwo.jpgAccoridng to Under Armour, on March 7th, Stephen Curry surprised Riley Morrison at his SC30 x Oakland pop-up shop in Oakland, Calif.
Image: Courtesy of Under Armour

The 9-year-old from Napa, California, wrote a letter last November to Golden State Warriors basketball player Stephen Curry, asking him why the company only marketed the shoe to boys. Curry hand-wrote a response, and four months later, the two released the Under Armour Icon Curry 6 “United We Win” colorway for girls on International Women’s Day on Friday. 

 

Proceeds from the purple shoe will go toward the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Foundation’s Under Armour college scholarship to help young women pursue science, technology, education, and math (STEM) careers.

190219_SS19_Wmns_Hsty_Prdct_086_1.jpgImage: Courtesy of Under Armour

Take Action: When it Comes to Gender Equality, #WeSeeEqual

Actúa: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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En asociación con: P&G

 

Under Armour asked Morrison to add her own touch to the new sneakers, which retail at $130, according to a statement issued by the company. She helped to imagine the shoe sock liners which include images of girls playing basketball and motivational slogans like “Be the Change,” “Girl Power,” and “Be Fearless.” Customers also have the option of personalizing the sock liner with their own photos. 

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

4 months ago, Riley Morrison, 9, wrote a letter to Steph Curry asking why the Currys weren’t in girl sizes. He said he’d change it. Tomorrow, on International Women’s Day, Under Armour is selling the Curry 6 “United We Win, in girl’s sizes, with a sockliner designed by Morrison!

 
 
 
 

 

“I’ve been kinda blown away, and certainly grateful for the opportunities that Stephen has given me, including sharing inspiration for other girls through the sockliner art,” Morrison said in Under Armour’s statement

 

The shoe is a game-changer for basketball athletic wear, Matt Powell, the sports industry analyst for research firm NPD Group, told ESPN. In the past, only female athletes promoted their shoe collaborations to young girls, leaving many brands to resort to selling them smaller sized men's shoes, Powell said. 

 
 

 

 

Be fearless.
Be courageous.
Girls hoop too.

Riley Morrison, you go girl ♥️#InterationalWomensDay

Thank you, @StephenCurry30 🙏🏼

 
 
 
 

"I was immediately impressed when I saw Riley's letter; that a 9-year-old girl had the courage to use her voice to call attention to an issue and keep us accountable,” Curry remembered.

 

Read More: Steph Curry Pens Powerful, Personal Op-Ed in Support of Gender Equality

 

The NBA star known for advocating for gender equality is working with his wife Ayesha to continue to encourage young girls and women to learn the skills they need to create the products they want to see. Curry didn’t feel comfortable receiving the proceeds from the Curry 6. The couple said they created the new STEM scholarship program to honor Morrison’s “courageous spirit.” The shoe’s profit will put a college-bound girl in the Bay Area through school for two years and each recipient will be announced annually on International Women’s Day.

 

.@StephenCurry30 wasn't comfortable profiting off Riley's shoe design, so he went to @UnderArmour and turned it into a scholarship that will impact girls for years to come. #RuinTheGame

 
 
 
 

 

Despite progress in the field, a gender gap in STEM persists. Female high school students are significantly less likely than their male counterparts to have plans to pursue a college major or career in STEM (15% vs. 44%). United Institute for Statistics reported less than 30% of the world’s researchers working in science are women. 

 

Riley’s letter to @StephenCurry30 going beyond the shoe game! Proceeds from the Curry 6 United We Win shoe will provide a 30k scholarship annually to a woman from the Oakland area pursuing an education in a STEM related field. Bravo!! One voice can make a difference. 😃

 
 
 
 

 

Curry raved of Morrison’s achievements, which will empower young girls to go after their goals. 

 

“She's been an amazing catalyst for change,” he said.

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MARCH 12, 2019

 

10
 
CITIZENSHIP

South African Judge Rules Same-Sex Discrimination in the Church Is Unlawful

“It’s a historic day for us.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Equal rights for all people is vital to achieving the targets set by the UN Global Goals, particularly Goal 10 for reduced inequalities. This includes ending all forms of discrimination against marginalised and vulnerable groups, including people who are LGBTQ+. Join us here in taking action to support the Global Goals and achieve equality for all.

The Gauteng High Court in South Africa has ruled that the Dutch Reformed Church’s policy against same-sex marriage is unlawful and invalid.

The ruling last week comes a year after the church went to court to maintain what it calls its right to set its own terms of governance regarding LGBTQ+ congregants.

The church — one of the oldest religious institutions in the country — outlawed same-sex marriage in 2015, and has also called for LGBTQ+ ministers to be celibate.

Take Action: Lead by Example! Challenge Stereotypes by Sharing Gillette's Video to Tackle Toxic Masculinity

Actúa: Tweet Now

 
 
 

 



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En asociación con: P&G

In his ruling Judge Joseph Raulinga said: “The following order is made; one the decision on same-sex relationships adopted during the extraordinary meeting of the general synod of the Dutch Reformed Church during Nov. 7-10 2016 is declared unlawful and invalid.”

Laurie Gaum, a rights activist and Dutch Reformed Church minister, told eNCA that the ruling is a huge victory for congregants and the LGBTQ+ community at large.

W1FUX8SX_normal.jpg
 
 

Rights activist and Dutch Reformed Church minister, Laurie Gaum says he’s relieved with today’s ruling on same-sex marriages. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403

 
 
 
 

“It’s a historic day for us; we are definitely elated and think this is a next step on the road of which many people around the country can take courage from,” he said.

He added that, as a result of the ruling: “LGBT+ people can bring more of who they are to the fore and to really celebrate that they’ve been created in God’s image.”

Related StoriesSept. 14, 2018Thomson Reuters FoundationBritish LGBTQ Domestic Abuse Survivors Twice as Likely to Attempt Suicide

The UN Global Goals — 17 goals that work together to end extreme poverty — are aimed at achieving equality for all people, and in this way, break down all social and economic barriers that prevent poor, marginalised, and vulnerable people from enjoying basic human rights.

In South Africa, people in civil and customary partnerships have the same rights as people who are married traditionally, including the right to benefit from their partner’s financial estate.

South Africa has one of the most representative constitutions in the world. Drafted in 1996, the constitution guarantees and protects the basic human rights of all citizens.

Related StoriesFeb. 22, 2018Thomson Reuters FoundationThis 'Pride Hijab' Is Spreading Love at Sydney's Gay Mardi Gras

According to the constitution: “No one may be unfairly discriminated against directly or indirectly on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, and birth.”

But, LGBTQ+ South Africans still face institutional discrimination. This is an issue particularly within some religious institutions, which still define marriage traditionally as a union between a man and a woman despite the Civil Union Act passed in 2006, which recognises every citizen’s right to marriage or civil partnership.

The ruling, said Gaum, has shown people everywhere who are LGBTQ+ that they can stand out proudly in their communities, churches, schools, at work, and in “any institution in which they feel bullied or belittled.”

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MARCH 12, 2019

 

17
 
HEALTH

Italy Bans Unvaccinated Kids From Going to School After Measles Outbreak

“Public health officials and parents share a desire to protect children."

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The measles outbreak in Italy has spurred a large-scale public health campaign to contain the disease. Infectious diseases like measles can be defeated when enough people in a population are vaccinated against it. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

The latest homework assignment in Italy involves rolling up your sleeve and getting a vaccine.

Under the country’s new Lorenzin law, students under the age of 6 who show up to school without proof that they’ve been vaccinated will be sent home, according to the BBC. For students between the ages of 6 and 16, failing to provide proper vaccine documents will result in their parents receiving a $560 fine.

The new law is the latest step in the country’s campaign to contain an outbreak of measles that forced the government to declare a state of emergency last November. Between February 2017 and January 2018, more than 5,000 cases of measles were reported in the country. Although cases of measles seemed to be declining toward the end of last year as public health campaigns escalated, they more than doubled in January compared to the month before.

Take Action: Encourage South Africans to Prioritise Child Health and #VaxTheNation

Actúa: #VaxTheNation

 
 
 
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En asociación con: Nedbank

The Lorenzin law seeks to further bolster vaccination rates.

"Generally, having a law without enforcement doesn’t work — you really have to enforce it to have an impact,” Daniel Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, told Global Citizen.

Salmon described how past measles outbreaks in the United States have been contained through campaigns that hinged on laws excluding unvaccinated children from schools. While more than 500 people were dying of measles in the US throughout the 1960s, the number of deaths dropped to 89 in 1970 and continued to fall, nearly vanishing by the turn of the century, because of coordinated public health campaigns.

In recent years, Italy’s vaccination rates dropped to around 80% of the population, allowing measles, a disease that was once thought to be eradicated in much of the world, to surge back. Since the onset of the latest outbreak, the country has been able to boost rates to 95%, achieving the World Health Organization’s recommended level.

When a population achieves a 95% vaccination rate, it reaches what is known as “community immunity.”

Read More: Hundreds of Thousands of Measles Cases Alarm Global Health Community

“Certain people can’t be vaccinated because of medical reasons or they’re too young,” Salmon said. "The idea behind community immunity is that if you have a high enough proportion of people vaccinated or immune, it prevents the introduction of the disease in the population.”

The Italian government is already warning families about the new law. In Bologna, for example, more than 300 families received a letter stipulating the new school requirements, which went into effect on Monday. In areas with high vaccination rates, the window for complying will be more flexible, according to the BBC.

Italy’s measles outbreak was largely driven by the growing number of parents opting out of vaccination requirements either because of medical, religious, or philosophical reasons.

Read More: Everything to Know About the US Measles Outbreak

Misinformation spread by the “anti-vaxxer” movement was a big factor in this decline, according to the BBC, but Salmon said that the emphasis on this movement in Italy, and elsewhere, is misguided.

“There are not a lot of people who are ideologically opposed to vaccines; there are a lot of parents who have concerns, and making laws more strict isn’t going to address those concerns,” he said. “We need to listen to the parents, we need to understand them, we need to address their concerns.

“If a parent walks into a facility and says 'I read on the internet that there’s formaldehyde in vaccines and it scares me,' the doctor needs the training, patience, and reimbursement to deal with that concern,” he added. "Doctors are the most credible source for parents, but they’re often not equipped with the tools and training to have these conversations."

Read More: Anti-Vaxxer Propaganda Is Dominating Social Media Searches, Report Finds

Rather than demonize parents who have concerns or may be misinformed, Salmon said that countries need to do a better job investing in educational campaigns and reimbursing doctors for dispelling myths and reassuring people.

“Public health officials and parents share a desire to protect children and we have to build on that desire,” he said.

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SALUD

La enfermedad de Chagas podría curarse en 2 semanas con este nuevo tratamiento

Afecta alrededor de 6 y 7 millones de personas en todo el mundo.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
Además de las enfermedades conocidas de la pobreza, como el VIH / SIDA, el cólera y la malaria, hay otras que son mucho menos conocidas pero igualmente amenazadoras: las enfermedades tropicales desatendidas (NTDs). Estas son enfermedades que sabemos cómo tratar o prevenir, pero sin la atención adecuada, causan desfiguración grave, discapacidades y estigma social. Puedes tomar acción sobre este tema aquí.

Según recientes investigaciones publicadas este jueves, las víctimas de una enfermedad tropical desatendida (NTD, por sus siglas en inglés) llamada enfermedad de Chagas ahora pueden curarse en solo dos semanas.

 

El estudio, realizado por la Iniciativa de Medicamentos para Enfermedades Desatendidas (DNDi, por sus siglas en inglés), reveló que un nuevo régimen de dos semanas del medicamento benznidazol, que actualmente se usa para tratar el Chagas a través de un programa de 60 días, fue tan efectivo como el tratamiento más prolongado, pero causó menos efectos secundarios.

 

La enfermedad de Chagas es una enfermedad infecciosa causada por un parásito (Trypanosoma cruzi) que se transmite por el insecto triatomino. Los insectos pican la piel expuesta, generalmente alrededor de los labios, que es la forma en la que su picadura  obtiene su apodo "el beso del bicho".

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La enfermedad de Chagas tiene dos fases: la fase aguda y la fase crónica. La fase inicial muestra pocos o ningún síntoma, pero si la enfermedad se desarrolla en la fase crónica, puede provocar una enfermedad cardíaca, que puede provocar la muerte o una insuficiencia cardíaca progresiva.

 

El Chagas es más común en América Central y del Sur, pero la enfermedad también se ha propagado a otras partes del mundo.

 

"Hay algunos problemas con el régimen de tratamiento actual en que, en el horario de dosificación actual, las toxicidades son bastante altas", dijo el Dr. Peter Hortez quien, aunque no participó del estudio, es profesor y decano de la Escuela Nacional de Medicina Tropical.

Debido a sus efectos secundarios intensos, como erupciones, fiebre, vómitos y problemas para dormir, el 20% de los pacientes no finalizan el tratamiento actual de 60 días.

 

"Se está utilizando principalmente en áreas de escasos recursos en América Latina, por lo que garantizar el seguimiento y el acceso a los pacientes durante un largo período de tiempo también es un gran desafío", dijo Hortez a Global Citizen.

 

Él cree que el nuevo régimen de dos semanas podría ser beneficioso, ya que lo convertirá en una opción más viable y reducirá su toxicidad.

Según el estudio, no se produjeron efectos secundarios adversos graves en ningún paciente que participó en el ensayo de dos semanas.

 

 

"Podemos cambiar la historia", le dijo a Global Citizen Sergio Sosa Estani, jefe de DNDi del programa clínico Chagas y uno de los investigadores del estudio. "Porque podemos mejorar ciertamente el cumplimiento del tratamiento para el paciente, y el cumplimiento por parte de los médicos, porque los médicos estarán más cómodos para prescribir el tratamiento".

 

Estani cree que la investigación mejorará significativamente el acceso al tratamiento para las personas más necesitadas. También cree que al ayudar con el tratamiento a las mujeres, podrían prevenirse la transmisión congénita de Chagas en todo el mundo.

 

No es una solución perfecta, pero es ciertamente una buena solución para una enfermedad que afecta a entre 6 y 7 millones de personas en todo el mundo.

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MARCH 15, 2019

 

 
 
CITIZENSHIP

Activism and Adversity: 13 of This Week's Most Powerful Photos From Around the World

This week saw two devastating events, but ended with an inspiring display of youth activism.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
From fighting climate change to calling for peace, people around the world showed this week that they're committed to achieving the Global Goals. You can join us in taking action on these issues here.

This week drew attention to several increasingly urgent global issues: discrimination and hate, access to health care, and the worsening impact of climate change.

In a terrifying attack on Friday, 49 people were shot dead at two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as an “extraordinary act of unprecedented violence" and called it one of the country’s “darkest days.”

The gunman, who appeared to stream the attack live on Facebook, opened fire on worshippers who had gathered for Friday prayers. The terrorist attack, labeled as the “worst mass shooting” in New Zealand's history, has fueled conversations about Islamophobia and gun violence as world leaders call for peace.

Take Action: Ask World Leaders to Commit to Digital Peace

Actúa: Sign Petition

 
 
 
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En asociación con: Microsoft Corporation

Peace also seems far from reach in Venezuela, where citizens are still struggling with power and water shortages amid political turmoil. Sunday marked the third day of the country's power outage, which has left at least 15 patients dead so far.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed on March 10, killing 157 passengers. The aircraft model, Boeing 737 Max 8, had been under scrutiny just six months ago after a similar crash. Now 50 countries, including the US, have grounded all planes of the same model.

But despite these devastating events, students showed their optimism and resilience. On Friday, students all around the world skipped school to protest against inaction on climate change and called on their governments to take actions. From Australia to South Korea to the US — where students joined the months long movement for the first time — students carried posters and chanted protest slogans.

These thirteen powerful photos depict the week’s most important.


New-Zealand-Attack-Mosque-Week-In-Pictures.jpgImage: Mark Baker/AP

1. Terror Attack in New Zealand: People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019. "There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday after a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left at least 49 dead. "Many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities. New Zealand is their home. They are us,” Ardern said. "The person or people who carried out this act of unprecedented violence are not. There is no place in our home for them."

South-Korea-Air-Pollution-Protest.jpgImage: Ahn Young-joon/AP

2. Air Pollution in South Korea: A South Korean environmental activist wearing a gas mask stands in protest demanding the government take action to ease air pollution in Seoul, South Korea, on March 15, 2019. On March 6, President Moon Jae-in proposed a joint project with China to use artificial rain to clean the air in Seoul, where an acute increase in pollution has caused alarm. The signs read: "The fine dust particles." According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, air pollution causes an estimated 8.79 million premature deaths each year. The majority of deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases, and the remainder come primarily from lung diseases. The new study, which focuses on Europe, demonstrates that more people die each year by breathing in contaminated air than they do from smoking. “Air pollution is one of those problems that everyone is exposed to,” Jesse Berman, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at University of Minnesota, told Global Citizen. “We all have to breathe.”

Climate-Marches-Around-The-World-Italy.jpgImage: Andrew Medichini/AP

3. Student Climate Marches: Students gather in front of the ancient Colosseum to demand action on climate change, in Rome, on Friday, March 15, 2019. Students worldwide are skipping class Friday to take to the streets to protest governments' failure to take sufficient action against global warming. Started last year by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg in Sweden, "Fridays for Future" rallies have become leading sites of resistance in the global fight against climate change. The events have transformed skipping school into an act of moral clarity. March 15 is a culminating moment in the movement, involving more than 1,600 events in 105 countries. 

4. Venezuela Power Outage: Venezuelan Elvia Helena Lozano is reflected in a mirror as she uses a kerosene lamp during a power outage at her home in Caracas on March 9, 2019. Sunday was the third day Venezuelans were without communication, electricity, or water, in an unprecedented power outage that left at least 15 patients dead and threatens to continue indefinitely, increasing the stress of the severe political and economic crisis already hitting the oil-rich South American nation.

5. Super Bloom in California: A "super bloom" of wild poppies blankets the hills of Walker Canyon on March 12, 2019 near Lake Elsinore, California. Heavier-than-normal winter rains in California have caused a super bloom of wildflowers in various locales of the state.

6. Mourners Visit the Crash Site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight: A mourner lays flowers at the Memorial Arch during a visit to the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 on March 14, 2019, in Ejere, Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew died after the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 Flight came down just six minutes after taking off from Bole Airport.

7. Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo: Electrical Engineer Germain Kasereka demonstrates how a self-made automatic hand-washing robot works to assist in the fight against Ebola on a street in Butembo on March 10, 2019. The Ebola virus is spread through touch, and the team believes that the use of an automatic hand washing station can help stop people from touching the same tap handles before and after washing their hands.

Venezeual-Political-Crisis-Water.jpgImage: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

8. Access to Water in Venezuela: People collect water from a stream in Avila National Park during rolling blackouts, which affects the water pumps in people's homes and apartment buildings, in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 10, 2019. Venezuelans reached new levels of desperation on Sunday as the country’s worst blackouts took their toll, gathering in larger numbers than usual at springs in the mountains of Caracas to collect water and scrounging for scarce cash to pay for food in the few shops that were open.

9. Water Shortages in Philippines: Residents of Addition Hills in Madaluyong City, Metro Manila, queue to receive water distributed on water tank and fire trucks on March 15, 2019. Manila has been hit by its worst water shortage in years, leaving bucket-bearing families to wait hours for a fill up from tanker trucks and some hospitals to turn away less urgent cases.

10. Student Climate Marches: Young people show their hands bearing the inscriptions "Our future in your hands" during the "Fridays For Future" movement on a global day of student protests aiming to spark world leaders into action on climate change on March 15, 2019 in Berlin. The worldwide protests were inspired by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, who camped out in front of parliament in Stockholm last year to demand action from world leaders on global warming.

Venezuela-Political-Crisis-Water-Power.jpgImage: Ariana Cubillos/AP

11. Political Crisis in Venezuela: A little girl stands inside a plastic barrel while her family waits to collect water from an open pipe above the Guaire River, during rolling blackouts which affect the water pumps in people's homes, offices, and stores, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday, March 11, 2019. The blackout has intensified the toxic political climate, with opposition leader Juan Guaido blaming alleged government corruption and mismanagement and President Nicolas Maduro accusing his US-backed adversary of sabotaging the national grid. 

Climate-Marches-Around-The-World-South-Africa.jpgImage: Nasief Manie/AP

12. Students March for Global Action on Climate Change: Students in Cape Town, South Africa, take part in a protest on March 15, 2019, as part of a global student strike against governments' inaction on climate change. Students in cities worldwide skipped classes to protest governments' failure to act against global warming.
New-Zealand-Attack-Mosque-Response-Week-In-Pictures.jpgImage: Rajanish Kakade/AP

13. The World Reacts to the Terror Attack in New Zealand: Indian Muslims hold placards during a condolence meeting and protest against Friday's mass shootings in New Zealand in Mumbai, India, on Friday, March 15, 2019. 

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14 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2018

 

43
 
ALIMENTOS Y HAMBRE

Restauró 240 millones de árboles en África occidental, y podrían ayudar a combatir el hambre

"La naturaleza se curaría a sí misma, solo necesitamos dejar de explotarla".

 

Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
La restauración de los bosques en todo el mundo puede aumentar la seguridad alimentaria, mejorar el acceso al agua y proteger a las comunidades de los peores efectos del cambio climático. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.


Tony Rinaudo estuvo a cargo del crecimiento de 240 millones de árboles en docenas de países, según informó recientemente The Guardian.

El "Fabricante de bosques", como él mismo se autodenomina, llegó por primera vez a Níger desde Australia hace 30 años e intentó restaurar el paisaje devastado plantando tantos árboles como sea humanamente posible.

Después de dos años, hizo pocos progresos y comenzó a reevaluar su modo de trabajo. Fue entonces cuando se dio cuenta de que podía trabajar en un método para mejorar el suelo, la poda regular de las ramas y la protección de los troncos cuando se araban los campos.


"En ese momento, todo cambió", le dijo a The Guardian. "No necesitábamos plantar árboles, no se trataba de tener un presupuesto de varios millones de dólares y años para hacerlo, todo lo que necesitabas estaba en el terreno".

"La naturaleza se curará a sí misma, solo tenemos que dejar de hacerle daño", agregó.

El método de Rinaudo se conoce como regeneración natural administrada por el agricultor y permite que los bosques se desarrollen en condiciones difíciles. A medida que los árboles florecen, las comunidades aledañas obtienen un gran impulso en la seguridad alimentaria, la calidad del agua y la resistencia ante las tormentas.

Tony-prunes-a-tree-760x500.jpgImage: World Vision

A partir de 2013, Nigeria ha cultivado alimentos suficientes para alimentar a otros 2,5 millones de personas con la ayuda del método de Rinaudo, según informó World Vision.

En Níger, donde Rinaudo comenzó con esta tarea, los agricultores vieron grandes mejoras en sus cosechas una vez que la red subterránea de árboles se afianzó.

El año pasado, viajó al oeste de Afganistán para ayudar a los agricultores afectados por la sequía a restaurar los paisajes montañosos. La inseguridad alimentaria en Afganistán afecta a un tercio de la población.

Ahora ha comenzado a divulgar su técnica de mejora del suelo y a hacer campaña en las Naciones Unidas para mejorar el manejo forestal en todo el mundo, informó The Guardian.

A nivel mundial, se destruyen 18,7 millones de acres de bosques cada año, lo que equivale a perder 27 campos de fútbol por cada minuto, según datos de WWF.

A medida que los árboles desaparecen de un área, la biodiversidad se desvanece, las sequías se vuelven más comunes y los paisajes se vuelven más vulnerables a las tormentas, inundaciones y deslizamientos de tierra. La deforestación también es un importante motor del cambio climático, ya que representa el 15% de las emisiones anuales de gases de efecto invernadero a medida que se libera el carbono almacenado en los árboles.

Los principales impulsores de la deforestación son las tierras desmejoradas como consecuencia de la ganadería, la agricultura y el desarrollo, señaló WWF. Los incendios forestales y las plagas también son amenazas crecientes para los árboles a medida que las temperaturas aumentan en todo el mundo.

Rinaudo cree que su método de regeneración de bosques puede ayudar en la lucha contra el cambio climático, al mismo tiempo que refuerza la seguridad alimentaria y la resistencia al agua.

"Podemos hacer esto de un modo muy barato y rápido", le dijo a The Guardian.

 

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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These Are the Faces of the Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation

Authors:
Jackie Marchildon and Olivia Kestin

Dean Bradshaw/CPi Reps for Amref Health Africa

March 1, 2019

41
 

An estimated 200 million women and girls today have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) around the world, and another 68 million stand to be cut by 2030 if no action is taken.

But a new photo exhibit in New York aims to raise awareness and prevent that.

Media agency Dysturb partnered with the UNFPA to launch a public exhibit on Feb. 6 entitled “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk." It's currently on display at the UN headquarters in New York, and mural-sized public posters shedding light on the issue have been plastered across the city.

Take Action: Not One More: Help Global Citizen End Female Genital Mutilation

The project highlights a range of issues attached to the practice, including a geographical look at its prevalence, but its primary goal is to provide a platform for those who speak out against FGM.

 

Amboseli, Kenya. December 7, 2017 © Andrea Bruce : NOOR.jpgIn the Maasai village of Lenkisem, girls between 9-16 participate in a two-day ceremony that brings girls from surrounding villages to one school. They bonded while being educated on their basic rights and why female genital mutilation (FGM) is unhealthy.
Image: Photo by Andrea Bruce/NOOR

Dysturb is an “alternative media” that uses city streets to present global stories, and it was first launched in 2014 by a group of photojournalists, writers, and artists. They had all been covering stories of conflict, humanitarian crisis, and climate change for many years, and felt disheartened by the fact that these stories were only seen for a day or week in their usual outlets. They had also noticed an increasing mistrust of traditional media.

“We wanted to give life to these stories and also reconnect with the audience,” Benjamin Petit, Dysturb co-founder, told Global Citizen.

The group's first activation took place in Paris. It wasn't focused on a theme or political event, but on international news stories, shedding light on issues like conflict in Syria, the West Africa Ebola outbreak, and the civil war in the Central African Republic. It was well received and they were soon contacted by organizations looking to partner on creating solution-based content — such was the case with the UNFPA.

“The issue of FGM is not breaking news so it’s more difficult to have it featured in news outlets,” Christian Delsol, media specialist for the UN, told Global Citizen. “We decided to work with Dysturb because the idea of having posters has a lot more permanence than trying to pitch this to the news media.”

Pattani province, Thailand. March 15, 2015. © Lillian Suwanrumpha.jpgThai girls walk past Pattani Central Mosque before the evening prayers. Women in the region are encouraged to cut their daughters under the assumption that it will control their sexual urges in adulthood and make them “clean."
Image: Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha

Delsol had seen Dysturb’s climate change campaign in Paris and thought its approach would work to amplify their message outside the walls of the UN, bringing it to a much larger audience.

"It was really important for us to pair this exhibition with an action in the public space and to go in different communities, different areas of the city," Petit said, adding that the posters can be found in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. "It's also a very effective way to reach a wider audience."

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk"
Posters from “Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk" around the New York City area.
© Benjamin Petit Courtesy of Dysturb

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UNFPA works with UNICEF on the world’s largest program to end FGM. It focuses on 17 African countries, providing support to both regional and global efforts.

“I think that there’s a lot of things that [have] moved forward, and we need to recognize that,” Nafissatou Diop, senior adviser and coordinator for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM, told Global Citizen. “This exhibition was also to show how things are moving forward.”

She references a particular series of photos in the exhibit that highlights the first generation of girls who have not undergone FGM as an example of that.

“It’s incredible how a girl that has escaped from this practice ... can be very vocal, and very strong and want to really move their community — brothers, sisters, father, aunt, and everybody around — to make this also a reality for other girls,” Diop said.

At its core, the exhibit is meant to highlight those who made change possible, from activists to teachers to politicians, she said.

 

Narok, Kenya. December 19, 2006. © Marvi Lacar : Lowy+Lacar.jpgYoung girls study inside the mess hall of the Tasaru Safehouse for Girls. The Tasaru Safehouse supports board, lodging and education of young Maasai girls from preteens to late teens who seek refuge from female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage.
Image: Photo by Marvi Lacar/Lowy+Lacar

“There is a whole group of people who are coming together in a given country to make sure that they are protecting those girls and that the girls are not going through the practice anymore,” Diop said.

She noted that countries with high prevalence rates in the past are seeing a decrease thanks to policy changes, education, and raising awareness.

But Diop stresses that while visibility is crucial in raising awareness, efforts need to go beyond that in order to truly eliminate the practice of FGM for good.

A holistic approach is needed — initiatives need to address the social norms of this practice and reach everyone who could be involved: religious leaders, health care workers, survivors, advocates and activists, NGOs, and governments.

That’s why it was so important to showcase various aspects of FGM in this exhibit, Petit said. The Dysturb team had to think through how to best approach this creatively, because FGM is so often represented by imagery of hands holding blades.

“We also wanted to go away from that representation and include different stories of survivors of FGM, of activists fighting against it, of awareness campaigns,” he said. “We wanted to show all the different aspects around this issue.”

 

Fraipont, Belgium. September 10, 2014. © Valentin Bianchi : Hans Lucas.jpgFraipont, Belgium. September 10, 2014. 
Fatoumata fled her native Guinea in order to prevent her young daughter, Binta, from undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM).
Image: Photo by Valentin Bianchi/Hans Lucas

The exhibit has been well-received both online and offline, according to Petit and Delsol.

“More and more people want [to know] more about how to get involved, how to do something, how to act,” Petit said.

The response on social media, which is connected to Dysturb’s larger #WomenMatter campaign, has been particularly good. There has been dialogue created around the issue itself, and various organizations have since reached out due to the exhibit’s exposure, Petit said.

The goal set by the UN is to achieve the elimination of FGM by 2030. Petit can’t say for sure if that goal will be reached within the next 11 years, but he feels hopeful about moving things forward.

“What I know is for sure is the goals through ... photojournalism is to put in connection the people affected by the news or affected by humanitarian crisis or these kind of harsh traditions with people ... who potentially help,” he said.

And that’s exactly what this exhibit can do.

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”

“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk.”
Photographs display in the UN visitors lobby.
Benjamin Petit for Dysturb

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“Female Genital Mutilation: 68 Million Girls at Risk” will be on display from Feb. 7 to March 31 in the UN visitors lobby. You can find the locations of the mural-sized posters across the city here.

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MARCH 14, 2019

 

16
 
ENVIRONMENT

16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Was Just Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Thunberg sparked a global movement.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United Nations’ Global Goals recognize that climate change threatens the very foundations of human society and young people around the world are taking decisive action to protect the planet. You can join them in taking action on this issue here.  

After staging solitary protests for months, confronting world leaders at the World Economic Forum, and sparking a global movement for climate action, 16-year old Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday.

The nomination comes right before a massive day of action inspired by Thunberg by students around the world. On March 15, thousands of #FridaysForFuture rallies will take place in dozens of countries. The rallies are being led by students skipping school to call attention to the urgent problem of climate change.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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Thunberg was nominated by a three members of the Socialist Left Party in Norway who see in her an opportunity to transform the status quo of environmental inaction. There are currently more than 300 nominations for this year’s peace prize.

“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict, and refugees,” Norwegian socialist politician Freddy André Øvstegård told the Guardian. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.”

 

 

Read More: 'Act as if the House Was on Fire': Teen Calls Out Davos Elite With Fierce Climate Activism

In recent months, Thunberg has been vaulted to international fame for her unflinching focus on climate change and her ability to deliver searing indictments of political and business leaders who have thus far failed to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

She started out by skipping school on Fridays to protest the Swedish government, calling on politicians to enact more aggressive climate laws.

Her efforts soon inspired students throughout Sweden and across the globe.

Read More: 'United We Will Rise': Young Climate Activists Pen Incredibly Powerful Letter to World Leaders

Thunberg is part of a broad movement of youth activists who are trying to prevent catastrophic climate change in the decades ahead. Teens have filed lawsuits against governments, campaigned for alternatives to fossil fuels, taken sustainability pledges, and founded organizations dedicated to protecting the planet.

Their efforts are colliding with the grim realities of climate change and the relative inaction of governments.

More than 195 countries around the world have signed the Paris climate agreement, which seeks to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Because so few countries have taken steps to significantly slash greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris goal is quickly becoming out of reach, according to recentreports by the United Nations.

But if there’s one thing that youth activists like Thunberg have on their side, it’s that they will soon be of voting age around the world — and they’ll be able to elect leaders who take climate change seriously.  

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WATER & SANITATION

Period Poverty: Everything You Need to Know

It is a global sanitation issue affecting boys and girls around the world.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
More than 800 million people menstruate daily. The world must act to end period poverty and guarantee clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. Promoting menstrual equity is key to supporting women and young girls. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Women and young girls who menstruate are ostracized from basic activities, like eating certain foods, or socializing, all over the world. The cultural shame attached to menstruation and a shortage of resources stop women from going to school and working every day. Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management.

Take Action: Urge The Australian Government to Show Leadership on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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A handful of US states have passed laws mandating schools provide period products to students, deeming them as essential as toilet paper, but more work needs to be done. Federal prisons only made menstrual products free in 2018. Activists recently organized a petition and march to put pressure on the Department of Education to eradicate period poverty in the US. They called on the government to treat period products as health necessities, support policies that protect students who menstruate, and fund period products in school bathrooms. 

“Meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health,” Sanjay Wijesekera, former UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene said

Inadequate menstrual hygiene is not a unique problem women in the US face. It affects populations in the developed and developing world, and women living in poverty are especially vulnerable.

Here’s everything you need to know about this serious human rights concern.

Who is affected?

Menstrual health is not just a women’s issue. Globally, 2.3 million people live without basic sanitation services and in developing countries, only 27% of people have adequate handwashing facilities at home, according to UNICEF. Not being able to use these facilities makes it harder for women and young girls to manage their periods safely and with dignity. 

Girls with special needs and disabilities disproportionately do not have access to the facilities and resources they need for proper menstrual hygiene. Living in conflict-affected areas, or in the aftermath of natural disasters, also makes it more difficult for women and girls to manage their periods. 

Related StoriesApril 24, 20184 Million Kenyan Schoolgirls Are Going to Receive Free Sanitary PadsMay 26, 2017CHIME FOR CHANGEThese Girls Are Sewing Re-Usable Period Pads to Keep Girls in School

Young boys benefit from menstrual hygiene education, too. Educating girls and boys on menstruation at an early age at home and school promotes healthy habits and breaks stigmas around the natural process. Achieving menstrual equity means access to sanitary products, proper toilets, hand washing facilities, sanitation and hygiene education, and waste management for people around the world all. 

What are the main causes?

Menstruation is stigmatized around the world. In Nepal, for example, menstruating women are seen as impure by their community and banishedto huts during their cycles. While menstrual huts are technically illegal, families continue taking the risk because myths and misconceptions are deeply rooted in Nepalese culture. The non-governmental agency WoMena conducted a study in Uganda and found many girls skipped school while on their period to avoid teasing by classmates. 

Meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health.

Sanjay Wijesekera, former UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Many girls and women also cannot afford menstrual materials. The tampon tax, known as the “pink tax,” is named for the frequent marketing of the color pink toward women. Although some countries around the world have lifted the tax on period products as luxury items, others continue to use it as a form of gender-based discrimination. Ending the tax worldwide will notsingle-handedly make period products affordable — too many people cannot pay for them at all and are often torn between purchasing food or menstrual supplies. In Bangladesh, many families cannot afford menstrual products and use old clothing, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). And in India, only 12% of menstruators have access to sanitary products, leaving the rest to use unsafe materials like rags and sawdust as an alternative, the Indian ministry of health reported

Why is it a problem?

Poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections, according to UNICEF. It also stops women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth. Young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to enter child marriages and experience an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complicationsas a result.

 

Girls' periods affect their #SDGs, especially school attendance. #Tanzania's WomenChoice Industries produce affordable menstrual products to end period poverty. They're also the winner of our #SDGsAndHer Competition w/ @WorldBank, @wharton & @UN_Women! http://ow.ly/hYrn50ikAdf 

 
 
 
 

Period shame has negative mental effects as well. It disempowers women, causing them to feel embarrassed about a normal biological process. 

Read More: These South African Women Are Using Menstruation Cups to Change the World

“Me and my sisters all hid our sanitary cloths under the bed to dry, out of shame,” Anita Koroma told the organization Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) of growing up in Sierra Leone.

On the contrary, menstruators should feel proud and confident in their ability to thrive within their societies. 

How can we stop it?

The first step is to normalize menstruation and destroy taboos around the natural process. Then policy must be enforced to make menstrual products, sanitation and hygiene easily accessible. Activists and advocates are demanding that governments prioritize menstrual equity policy, but historically the issue has presented a challenge. 

 

“Politicians don't like this issue because it's not sexy,” said Dr. Varina Tjon A Ten, a former parliamentarian in the Netherlands and a professor at The Hague University. 

Organizations like MINA Foundation are not waiting on the government to take action — they provide young women with menstrual products to help them stay in school. 

On a global level, the WSSCC is working to improve sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable populations. The organization aims to break the menstruation stigma and change national policy through education and behavior change with initiatives like hosting menstrual waste workshops in West and Central Africa, and promoting toilet designs that can handle menstrual material waste in India. 

“It’s simple,” head of human rights at WASH United, Hannah Neumeyer explained, “women and girls have human rights, and they have periods. One should not defeat the other.”

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14 Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees Now

The Syrian conflict is entering its ninth year and your help is more needed than ever.

Why Global Citizens Should Care:
Over 6.1 million people in Syria are internally displaced, according to the World Bank, and about 2.5 million of them are children. The Syrian conflict has now entered its ninth year and millions of people are still trapped in the atrocities of this war. You can help by taking action here.

As the Syrian conflict enters its ninth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the humanitarian catastrophe that has now killed at least 370,000people since 2011. However the true number of lives lost could be much higher as the United Nations says the conflict has made it incredibly difficult to keep accurate count.

Take Action: Call for Education of Syrian Refugees

Actúa: Tuitea ahora

 
 
 
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En asociación con: HP Inc.

Over the last year, the war and its civilian casualties have shown no signs of letting up. The Syrian government, with help from Russian forces, have laid siege to residential areas of Aleppo, and captured rebel-held territories in the south.

Aided by Russian warplanes, the government carried out extensive airstrikes this week. Among the many targets, was a makeshift tent camp that provided shelter for displaced families east of the city of Idlib. Two women were killed and at least 10 children injured in the strike.

Read More: At Least 29 Syrian Refugee Children Have Died This Winter

The United States has been reluctant to get involved, but last year US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the US “remains prepared to act if we must.

On Jan. 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The order called, “Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” banned people from Syria indefinitely, and started a 90-day ban on visas for people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen — predominantly Muslim countries.

Read More: Mr. President, We Don’t Support Your Policy on Refugees

This included children, mothers, and families who were separated from one another. Fortunately, companies like Airbnb, Starbucks, and others stepped up, offering free accommodation for those stranded as a direct result of the policy.

You can step up, too. Here are 15 ways to help refugees NOW.


Syrian-Refugees-Ways-To-Help.jpgA Syrian displaced young girl who fled Raqqa city with her family carries a baby carseat on her head upon her arrival at a refugee camp, in Ain Issa town, northeast Syria, July 24, 2017.
Image: Hussein Malla/AP

Donate or Volunteer With the International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee works globally and has been providing critical humanitarian aid to Syrians since 2012. They provide services from cash vouchers for Syrians to purchase food, legal assistance, employment, and education.

In 2018, the IRC announced that it assisted 853,000 people in need of primary, reproductory and trauma care. Across Syria, the IRC provides lifesaving support to around 1 million people.

In the United States, you can sign up to volunteer at a local resettlement office. Learn more here.

Donate to International Red Cross

The International Red Cross is standing at the ready to help Syrians still trapped in Eastern Aleppo. You can support their efforts to treat the wounded, make sure children are properly fed and cared for, and to get people to safety as quickly as possible by donating here.

Donate to the White Helmets

The Syrian Civil Defence, also called the White Helmets because of their headwear, are on the ground helping Syrians in Aleppo. Donate here.

16 ways you can help syrian refugees now b1.jpgImage: Flickr: Freedom House

Work for refugees when they can’t

Double up your support by donating your time and money to refugees. Fear that refugees will take jobs, and lack of economic opportunities for refugees contributes to a difficult environment for refugees to generate income. Combine this with the lengthy time it takes to process work visas for refugees and it can be hard for refugees to feed their families.

This is part of what inspired #WorkforRefugees. A project from World Vision New Zealand where students contributed a portion of their earnings to charities supporting refugees. You can do this too. Donate a small portion of your effort to show support for refugees and #WorkforRefugees to show your efforts.

Translate for a Syrian refugee

Lend your time in any way you can with the skills and tools you have. If you’re awesomely bilingual, especially in Arabic, you have a great opportunity to help. Donate your time by translating for Syrian refugees. Being in a place where you don’t speak the language can be intimidating. Signing up to translate is a great way to help refugees understand their rights and surroundings in a new environment.

Help with legal support

Law students and practicing attorneys need to gain experience to master the law. One option to do this while helping refugees is by taking action. Use your budding legal skills toward those who need help the most. 

Refugees need help navigating complex laws around immigration status too. A group of law students realized that both could benefit from working together and created an organization that pairs law students and professionals with refugees (15% are Syrian) in need of legal assistance. If you have experience, or are looking to gain experience in the legal field you can join the International Refugee Assistance Project or learn more about it here.

Support doctors and medical needs

Doctors without Borders, also known as MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), provides support in Aleppo, and has doctors working in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. You can donate your time and efforts in many ways, Click here to learn more.

Voices_for_Refugees_Wien_2015_11.jpgImage: wikimedia: VolkshilfeÖsterreich

Airbnb your apartment or room with refugees

Through Refugees Welcome you can sign up to provide shelter to refugees by renting to them or offering to invit ethem in and room with them. The organization will even help you pay your rent and cover extra utilities.

In this story from NPR about Refugees Welcome, an asylum seeker and German roommates share their positive experience. German host Kakoschke says, "I think I just asked when we met the first time if it's OK for him that I drink alcohol. He said, 'Yes, of course, it's your life, do what you want with it.'"

Be like these adorable Canadian kids

 

While world leaders argue about what to do with the growing number of refugees fleeing Syria, these Canadian kids are excited to welcome new friends into their classrooms and communities. Adopting this attitude toward refugees is one more way to help.

Or 6-year-old Alex in the US, who pleaded to Obama to help bring Omran Daqneesh to safety. 

LEB_20160120_WFP-Abeer_Etefa_6770.JPGImage: Abeer Etefa World Food Programme ©

Read their stories

Refugee’s stories know no boundaries. Their experiences range from overcoming all odds to put together a team for the Olympics, to a cat that travelled hundreds of miles to be with the girl who saved him to tragic stories from families who lost loved ones in addition to their previous lives. It takes courage to tell your story, and the rest of the world can help by reading. Refugees what the world to know #IamSyrian, and the stories are powerful. Taking the time to learn what refugees are currently going through makes a difference.

Share their stories

Incredible stories of the perilous journey family members, children, and even cats make to find one another inspires and connects humanity in understanding where refugees are coming from. Sharing these stories allows more people to see Syrian refugees want the same things in life that all global citizens need — acceptance and their basic needs met.

8726792558_e76659e6ab_z.jpgImage: Flickr: Bread for the world

Write a letter to a refugee

So you’re not a doctor, or lawyer but if you’re reading this you can still lend your support by letting Syrian refugees know they’re not alone. Send a letter to a refugee through CARE. Find out more here.

Support businesses run by refugees

One of the biggest challenges refugees face is the economic challenge of finding work, and making enough money in a new country to support a family. There’s plenty of kickstarters and Go Fund Me campaigns to help support refugees like this man who began by selling pens to feed his family.

Think about what you would take

Share your empathy and stand in solidarity with Syrian refugees by sharing a tweet telling everyone #WhatWouldYouTake if you had to leave your home behind. Learn more check out how you can take this action here.


Maybe you’re not able to take on all of these ideas for how to help refugees, but by putting yourself in their shoes, reading stories, and talking about the Syrian conflict with friends and family you can expand the conversation and work towards ending this global humanitarian crisis. 

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HEALTH

How this Nigerian entrepreneur went from small start-up to saving lives

11 January 2019 3:22PM UTC | By: STANLEY AZUAKOLA

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Since we first spoke with Temie Giwa-Tubosun in 2016, she’s been featured on Humans of New York and The Guardian’s Small Changes podcast to discuss her growing start-up company, LifeBank, which delivers lifesaving blood transfusions and oxygen.

Now, Temie’s channelling her expertise and transporting her ideas to the other side of Africa. She is on the advisory board for the Lake Victoria Challenge — a competition which uses innovative technology to transport health support and materials to some of the most remote parts of East Africa. Read on to find out more about how Temie got to where she is today. 


In 2009, Temie Giwa-Tubosun visited Nigeria, her homeland, for the first time since she was 10 years old. 13 years abroad had insulated her from some of the harsh realities in her home country, but back as a graduate school intern with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), she witnessed an incident which became a motivation for her life’s work.

A young woman had been in labour for three days and her family, unable to afford hospital bills, milled around her waiting for death to come. Temie and her colleagues showed up at the doorsteps of the petrified family hoping they would participate in a household survey. It was fortuitous timing – they lifted the woman into their truck and moved her to the hospital. She survived, but her baby sadly died.

“I had never seen anything like that. The family had resigned itself to losing her,” says Temie of the incident.

DDlYL3nXgAA0TzK.jpg-large.jpg

Temie with one of the motorbikes used to transfer LifeBank blood across Nigeria. via Twitter.

Blood is a big deal

Temie spent just three months in Nigeria during that visit but she became obsessed from that moment with stopping maternal mortality.

Nigeria contributes the second largest share to maternal and child death rates in the world – hemorrhages kill more pregnant women every year than any other complication apart from pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure). Malaria patients (especially children), sickle cell patients, cancer patients, victims of terror attacks, and many others end up needing blood at different times as well. A pattern was emerging in Temie’s mind – blood is a big deal.

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In 2012, Temie returned to Nigeria and started the One Percent Project to “inspire a new generation of voluntary blood donors to solve the problem of blood shortages.”

The One Percent Project kept a database of willing prospective donors who could be reached at a moment’s notice to donate blood. At the time of writing, the project had received donations of 3500 pints of blood to date, enough to save over 10,000 lives. Her work earned her a 2014 nomination in the BBC’s 100 Women List.

But Temie wasn’t satisfied. The NGO model wasn’t working for her. It could not solve the problem in a “significant way,” she said and she worried about sustainability when the project rested on the whims of donors.

“Every year the funders decide what they care about,” she says. “I spent 70 per cent of the time looking for money.” Her response was to quit her day job with the Lagos government and launch a technology-powered social enterprise called LifeBank, “the biggest virtual based blood bank in Nigeria.”

At first glance, it seems like the only problem is one of supply not matching demand, but it is “actually an information and logistics problem.”

A blood bank in Ikeja, Lagos – for instance – may have the blood needed by a patient elsewhere in Lagos, but the patient and the hospital may be unaware. Stored blood has a shelf life and is discarded if it is not used within six weeks. This is waste which could be avoided if the hospital had access to the information.

The second challenge is transporting the blood from where it is available to where it is needed in safe and reliable condition.

LifeBank solves both of these problems. It uses technology to provide information to health providers about where to find the blood they need at any given time and then helps deploy it in quick time and in good condition to save lives.

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“We have an online database where health providers can search themselves for blood availability and pay for it. Or they could call us on our toll free numbers to help them find it,” she says.

Nigeria’s health systems largely remain basic and unreceptive to change – Nigerians spend up to $1 billion annually on medical tourism – so LifeBank is operating in almost virgin territory. Making a business case to investors for health technology in Nigeria, according to Temie, is challenging – especially for women.

“Investors tend to bet on people who look like them,” she says. A 30-year old mum navigating in the male-dominated tech sector of a notoriously sexist society like Nigeria looks nothing like the typical investor. “It is hard for them to trust the judgement, vision and ability of women to move the company they’re building forward,” Temie says, “but I don’t let it stop me.” Her advice to women? “Don’t wait till you think everything is certain. Women have to just start.”

This article originally appeared on ONE Africa in December 2016.

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JAN. 19, 2018

 

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ENVIRONMENT

5 Household Products That Are Slowly Destroying the Environment

And 5 things you should be using instead.

Having a clean house is great — but a clean environment is even better.

Many of the household and kitchen items we use on a daily basis may seem innocuous but have a detrimental effect on the environment. Ingredients found in soaps and detergents can wreak havoc on marine life and water systems. And despite our best recycling efforts, single-use plastic products like shrink wrap and coffee pods are still damaging to the environment.

While it would be impossible to completely eliminate all these items from most households, Global Citizen has rounded up alternatives to these products that can help make your home, and the environment, a little greener.


1/Laundry and Dish Detergents

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many detergents contain phosphorus and nitrogen. These ingredients make their way into water sources where they cause aquatic plants to proliferate and then die. As the plants decay, they sap oxygen from the water, suffocating marine life, Belgium’s Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety, and Environment reported. Detergents also frequently contain surfactants, which help to separate water and oil. But surfactants also attack the mucus coating of fish, leaving them vulnerable to parasites and other contaminants around them, according to the EPA.

Swap for:Laundry and dish detergents that have higher concentrations of plant-based ingredients and are biodegradable.

 

2/Single-Use Coffee Pod Machines

Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee in the morning? Especially if it’s easy and convenient to make.

In recent years, coffee pod machines have become extremely popular. In 2016, the machines — most of which use single-serve coffee pods — were predicted to overtake both instant and ground coffee.

And while companies like Keurig and Nespresso have introduced recyclable pods, not everyone is in the habit of recycling, and research has found that it can be a difficult behavior to adopt, according to the Huffington Post.

The plastic and aluminum pods that don’t get recycled ultimately end up in the trash and contribute to landfills.

Swap for: French presses or aeropresses, but opt for stainless steel filters over paper ones.

Take Action: Pledge to take three for the sea.

 

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Tea pot.jpgImage: Flickr - Phillip Jeffrey

3/Tea Bags

If you were hoping to avoid the environmental pitfalls of coffee by switching to tea, you may be disappointed to learn that our tea consumption can also negatively impact the environment.

Pyramid-shaped tea bags have risen in popularity over the past few years, and while these bags are often described as “silky,” they’re plastic, so they cannot be composted and are not biodegradable.

While traditional paper tea bags are better for the environment, many are not fully biodegradable. A report released in 2010 found that tea bags produced by several major UK brands were 80% biodegradable at most, according to the Guardian.

Swap for: Metal tea balls and infusers, which can be washed and reused, or loose leaf tea in a pot.

 

4/Disposable Wipes

Disposable wet wipes — whether we’re talking about baby wipes or disinfecting wipes — pose a major problem for sewer systems and the environment. In the UK, the number of wet wipes found along the coastline has increased by more than 400% over the past 10 years, the Guardian reported.

And though many disposable wipes are marketed as “flushable,” they often contain plastic and are not biodegradable. Once in they’re in the sewer system, wet wipes bunch together and trap food and other waste to form giant blockages and “fatbergs” — clumps made of fat from food waste and wipes — according to the Atlantic.

Read more: Disgusting Wads of Wet Wipes Are Clogging Sewers Across the UK

Swap for: Stick with toilet paper or try washcloths. According to the Environmental Working Group, disinfecting wipes are not necessary for most messes, often a non-anti-microbial cleaning agent and a cloth will do the trick. As for baby wipes and other wet wipes, safe cleaning products are just as effective when used with reusable washcloths.

5/Plastic Cling Wrap and Aluminum Foil

Though plastic wrap and aluminum foil can help us reduce our environmental impact by keeping food fresh longer and cutting down on food waste, both have major negative consequences on environment.

Neither is regularly recycled and both require fossil fuels to produce, the Slate reported, which generates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Swap for: Glass or plastic reusable containers, or an environmentally-friendly alternative to cling wrap like Bee’s Wrap — a reusable wax-coated cloth that can be used just like plastic film.

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