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The Action Thread Part Two

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Here's What Pregnancy Looks Like Around Sub-Saharan Africa

Jackie Marchildon and Olivia Kestin

Paolo Patruno

Nov. 20, 2018


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Every day, hundreds of women and girls die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. But there’s a movement of countries, companies, and charities attempting to fight for their lives. Take action here to protect vulnerable women and children around the world.

An estimated 130 million babies are born every year around the world. That’s about 356,000 per day. Sadly, with all that new life comes a vast number of maternal deaths.

About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications every day — 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Paolo Patruno, 46, is a social documentary photographer based in Bologna, Italy. In 2011, he started a long-term project called “Birth is a Dream,” a photo series that seeks to shed light on maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Take Action: The UK Pledged to Help Save 35 Million Lives! Let’s Celebrate — and Ask the Government to Keep It Up

Patruno was working as a project manager for an NGO in Malawi when he met Rachel MacLeod, a senior clinical midwife who worked in the labor ward of the Bwaila Hospital, in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. MacLeod introduced him to the issue of maternal health in Africa, and his series came to life.

Patruno didn’t just want to snap a few photos — he became invested in raising awareness on what he considers to be an underreported topic.

“The main issues that are behind this matter are the same [no matter where you are in Africa],” Patruno told Global Citizen.

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-01.jpgA midwife listens to a fetal heartbeat using a pinard horn while visiting a pregnant woman in Chankhungu health center. Chankhungu, Malawi
Image: Paolo Patruno

He said that circumstances — like rural versus city living — can play large roles in maternal care, but that when it came to maternal health issues, they remained the same across the African countries he visited.

“What I realized is that this is really a social issue, rather than a health issue,” he said.

The maternal mortality rate in developing countries was 239 per 100,000 live births in 2015, compared to just 12 in developed countries, according to the WHO’s most recent data.

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-08.jpgAfrica has the world’s highest rate of adolescent pregnancy. Many girls in small villages drop out of school early, having had sexual relationships with young boys, and getting pregnant before the age of 18. Bakumba, Cameroon
Image: Paolo Patruno

Poverty, distance to health centres, lack of education, lack of services, and cultural practices all play roles in these statistics.

“I think that the main root of this problem is not just the lack of doctors, the lack of hospitals or health centres,” Patruno said. “It’s mainly something that is coming from a cultural approach, tradition.”

He gave the example of women being unable to leave their homes for a long period time.

In rural areas, women need to be away from their homes for a few weeks if they choose to give birth in a health centre — it takes a number of days for them to reach health centres in the first place, and then they need to deliver and recover before heading back.

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-03.jpgA mother holds her new baby after a gruelling childbirth and several hours of labor. Bukavu, DRC
Image: Paolo Patruno

For many women, this is just not possible as they are the primary caregivers at home and many also tend to their family’s agricultural needs.

He also explained that some men don’t want their partners to deliver with male health workers, which poses a big problem as many doctors are men.

Many women therefore avoid visiting health centres to deliver their babies, which increases the chances of maternal or infant mortality.

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-14.jpgWomen giving birth in rural villages are most at risk. Since women have to take care of home duties and other children, they sometimes decide to have home deliveries, rather than going to hospitals or health centers. Chibabel, Mozambique
Image: Paolo Patruno

In other cases, women do visit health centres but they have negative experiences, and so they choose not to return for their next pregnancies.

Given that women in developing countries have more children on average, their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is much higher, and so a decision not to return to a health facility for future pregnancies could have dire results.

In Uganda, for example, Patruno said he followed a traditional birth attendant (TBA) and one of her patients was a midwife who opted to have a home birth instead of giving birth in the hospital where she worked.

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-05.jpgPregnant women have to work, taking care of house and family duties almost until the day of delivery — providing water and carrying heavy cans. Kampala, Uganda
Image: Paolo Patruno

It’s difficult to improve maternal health issues, according to Patruno. He said many organizations try to tackle this from the wrong angle, relying too much on a medical or health-based approach when it’s much more complex than that.

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) essentially aims to avoid doing just that. By working with governments and on-the-ground initiatives, the GFF helps prioritize interventions across the full health spectrum, but by addressing areas like nutrition, education, social protection, and gender, rather than just looking for the most obvious answer.

“The education approach is mainly the best way, because if you can educate a girl, maybe you are able to educate a woman after — and even a family,” the photographer said. “It’s much more easier to say, ‘OK, we provided an ambulance, we provided ... an incubator, we built a new unit, we provided beds — rather than to approach the problem … To educate … To go to the local community …”

Global Citizen_paolopatruno-06.jpgMidwife Mestwote takes the blood blood pressure of a pregnant woman through an outreach program in a rural area. Jinka, Ethiopia
Image: Paolo Patruno

Patruno has seen firsthand the limits of financial or technical support. In one health centre in Ethiopia, the workers couldn’t use the modern ambulances they had been provided because they had broken down and the staff didn’t have the means to fix them.

In another, health workers relied on bulb lamps instead of incubators because they were broken, too.

“I wanted to use my photography as a tool,” he said. “I wanted to focus on this project to let people know … this is a problem. Women are dying.”

Patruno referenced maternal mortality rates — more than 300,000 women die every year in Africa due to childbirth and pregnancy-related issues.

“That is much more than a war, that is much more than [terrorism] … but people don’t know and so that’s why I was very interested to focus on this matter,” he said. “The problem is not solved.”

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NOV. 20, 2018



World's Water Could Become Scarce if the Amazon Rainforest Is Destroyed

The world is already facing a severe water crisis.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Access to water is a fundamental human right that’s being threatened by climate change and environmental degradation. The United Nations’ calls on countries to make clean water access universal. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

The Amazon rainforest is home to 10% of the world’s species, generates 20% of global oxygen, and creates half of its own rain through an intricate water cycle dynamic.

It’s a natural system that’s a world unto itself — and it faces potentially catastrophic levels of deforestation under the new administration of Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who has vowed to allow industrial interests to have more access to the forest.

If that happens, the effects would be felt far beyond Brazil. In particular, countries around the world could face droughts and water shortages, according to National Geographic.

Take Action: Urge Governments And Businesses To Invest In Clean Water And Toilets

That’s because the Amazon influences global rain patterns and is itself a major source of water. The push and pull of the water cycle throughout the 2.125 million square mile forest creates a “giant flowing river in the sky,” Nat Geo reports, which eventually feeds rivers and lakes around the world.

The Amazon is also a major carbon sink and its ongoing absorption of greenhouse gas emissions helps to mitigate global warming and climate change. As temperatures rise, precipitation patterns get skewed — some countries receive more rainfall, while other get less. This is already playing out in the world as many countries face increasingly dry conditions, which undermines agricultural systems and leads to water shortages.

These effects are expected to be felt as far as away as Africa and North America, Nat Geo reports.

Read More: Brazil Federal Court Blocks President’s Effort to Open Amazon to Gold Mining

If the Amazon continues to decline, it could enter a dangerous feedback loop, where chainsawed trees release greenhouse gas emissions causing temperatures to rise and the forest to dry, weakening the water cycle, and causing further drying.

Earlier in the year, a study showed that the Amazon is very close to reaching this point and could even resemble a desert within the next few decades.  

The world is already facing a severe water crisis. More than 30% of the global population is unable to access clean drinking water and the UN estimates that more than 5 billion people could be affected by water shortages by 2050.

Read More: 10 Pictures of How People Get Water Around the World

A large part of this problem is due to mismanaged natural resources.

In Latin America, Africa, and Asia, for example, most rivers are compromised by pollution from industrial runoff, the UN reports. Further, 80% of global wastewater and sewage is discharged directly into bodies of water, rendering it unsafe. Around two-thirds of forests and wetlands, which are essential to cleaning and maintaining water supplies, have been lost or degraded.

The continual damming of rivers throughout the world, which is common in Brazil, also disrupts water systems.

Read More: Pope Francis Says Selling Water Is 'Incompatible' With Human Rights

In various countries, water has become scarce.

For example, Lake Chad has shrunk by 95% in recent decades, putting millions of people at risk of famine. In Shanghai, 85% of the city’s drinking rivers are too polluted to draw water from. Melting glaciers throughout Asia, meanwhile, could deprive millions of people of drinking water.

Earlier this year, Cape Town narrowly averted becoming the first major city in the world to run out of water.

Read More: Photos of Cape Town in Crisis as the City's Water Runs Out

Emerging water insecurity could eventually lead to conflicts. Some analysts argue that the civil war in Syria was partially fueled by a devastating drought linked to climate change.

The good news is that these consequences are not inevitable. If forests like the Amazon are protected rather then cut down, rivers are cleaned rather than polluted, and greenhouse gas emissions are curbed rather than released, then water sources could remain robust well into the future.

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These powerful activists are at the frontlines of gender equality

8 March 2019 8:48AM UTC | By: JANE EAGLES


Take action for women everywhere

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This IWD, we’re passing the mic to African activists who are doing incredible work for gender equality. Together, they’re standing by a bold demand to world leaders, urging them to make real progress. Get to know more about the fantastic co-signers backing this demand, including our spokeswomen!


Melene Rossouw


Melene became an Attorney in the High Court of South Africa in 2009. In 2017, she founded the Women Lead Movement to educate, empower, and inspire women. They lead social change in their communities through human rights and leadership training. The movement also shows women how to publicly campaign and hold the government accountable for the promises they make to their citizens.

Dr Marlene-Joannie Bewa


Dr. Marlene-Joannie Bewa is an accomplished HIV/AIDS advocate from the Benin Republic. She founded the Young Beninese Leaders Association, a youth and women-led organisation. This program has trained more than 3000 girls and women on sexual and reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is also a “Goalkeeper for the Goals” for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wadi Ben-Hirki


Wadi Ben-Hirki founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation when she was 17 years old. The foundation seeks to impact marginalised and disadvantaged communities through humanitarianism and activism. The charity organisation runs many campaigns, mostly in Northern Nigeria. She serves on the African Leadership Institute Youth Advisory Board and was the Special Guest from Africa at the 2018 Y20 Summit.

Lola Omolola


Lola Omolola is the founder of FIN, a private Facebook group that connects nearly 1.7 million women from across the world. She began the group in 2014, searching to create a virtual support network with other Nigerians after Boko Haram kidnappings. The group quickly grew into a hub for women’s issues, offering its members a safe outlet to discuss the struggles they face and connect with other women who share those experiences.

Samira Haruna Sanusi


Samira Haruna Sanusi is a Sickle Cell Awareness advocate and WASH advocate. She is the founder of the Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation, which builds awareness and supports hundreds of people with medical bills. She’s also the co-founder of WAFSLI Nigeria (Water for Sustainable Living). She is the author of S is for Survivor, a memoir about her personal experiences with Sickle Cell Anaemia.

Togola Hawa Séméga


Journalist Togola Hawa Séméga is on a mission to provide the young people of Mali with informative news and unite them. She achieves this with a creative mix of journalism, rap and humour. Kunafoni, her website and WebTV series, gets young people involved in social issues while also building their confidence.

Dieynaba Sidibe


Dieynaba is Senegal’s first female graffiti artist. She uses her art to show solidarity and highlight the issues women face. Health and access to education are some of the issues she’s covered through her art.

Naomi Tulay-Solanke


Naomi Tulay-Solanke is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Health Initiative. This non-governmental organisation in Liberia provides reusable and affordable health products for women and girls, empowering them to take control of their reproductive health. She’s also launched PADS4GIRLS, which trains women to produce sanitary pads.

Chmba Ellen Chilemba


Chmba is the Founder and Executive Director at Tiwale, a youth-led organisation supporting Malawian girls and women. She started Tiwale at 17 to end the vicious cycle of child marriage through economic and educational opportunities. Tiwale has supported over 250 women so far!

Fridah Githuku


Fridah Githuku is the Executive Director of GROOTS Kenya, a national grassroots movement led by women. The movement gives grassroots women visibility and decision-making power in their communities. They have invested in nearly 3,500 women-led groups across Kenya, sparking local, human-led change. As an Equal Measures 2030 partner, Fridah is passionate about the role of land rights in achieving gender equality.

Aya Chebbi


Aya Chebbi is an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the founder of the Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring, coaching the next generation of positive change agents. She’s also the founder of the Afrika Youth Movement, one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements. She is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.

More Co-signers:

Lydia Charles Moyo, TV and Radio Presenter at Femina Hip TV
Elizabeth Wanja Ngeth, Kijiji Afrika
Olaoluwa Abagun, Founder of Girl Pride Circle
Mercy Abang, United Nations Journalism fellow
Karimot Odebode, ONE Champion
Dr. Stellah Wairimu Bosire, Executive Director of the Kenya Medical Association
Dolapo Olaniyan, Founder of The UnCut Initiative
Scheaffer Okore, Chief of Trade & Investment for the Pan African Chamber of Commerce
Diana Ninsiima, Senior Program Manager & Gender Lead at DOT Tanzania
Salimatou Fatty, a GPE youth advocate and founder of the Salimatou Foundation for Education
Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communications for FEMNET
Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director for FEMNET
Mama Koité Doumbia, Chair Member for FEMNET
Julie Cissé, Coordinator for GIPS WAR
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, one of the 120 under 40 for the New Generation Leaders in Family Planning
Mylene Flicka, a Women’s Rights Writer
Mercy Juma, Broadcast Journalist and winner of the Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Founder of the Stand to End Rape Initiative
Amina Abdulazeez, ONE Champion
Hauwa Liman, Founder of Inspire for Impact
Linet Kwamboka, CEO of DataScience LTD
Saran Keïta Diakite, President of Malian Advocacy Group on SDGs
Sagara Saran Bouare, President of Women in Law and Development
Maimouna Dioncounda Dembele, Human Rights Activist
Mariam Diallo, Director of the Association for Women’s Leadership and Development
Nana Toure, Secretary General of the Sahel Youth Network
Valérie Traoré, Executive Director of Niyel
Imameleng Masitha, Communications and Advocacy Officer for The Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Refilwe Ledwaba, Founder of the Girl Fly Programme in Africa Foundation
Martha Muhwezi, Senior Programme Coordinating Officer for the Forum for African Women Educationalists
Anta Fall Basse Konté, Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists Senegal
Danedjo Hadidja, President of APAD and an International Women’s Health Coalition partner.
Françoise Kpeglo Moudouthe, Founder of feminist blog Eyala
Nana Semuah Bressey, nurse

Want to stand in solidarity with these activists? Add your name to the open letter here.

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The Maasai brand is valuable — and it should belong to the Maasai people

28 July 2017 5:18PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Join the fight against extreme poverty

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By Meg Brindle, Light Years IP

I was at a conference in Kenya when I first met a member of the Maasai, a group of people who live in East Africa. He had a question for me – and the answers could have the potential to dramatically impact poverty for millions of low-income farmers, producers and others.

You’d recognise the Maasai from photos. Many are tall, elegant and very distinctively dressed. Often, when a generic image is used of Africans in photos or advertising, it’s of Maasai. Their designs and style get used by others – but the Maasai don’t earn a penny.

That’s not right. It’s cultural appropriation – but it’s also bad business. Increasingly, the things that make products valuable aren’t the ingredients that go into them – it’s the intangible things, including the brands. And companies are careful to look out for their brands, spending millions to protect and defend them.

Think about Coca-Cola or Apple. Their products are more than sugar, fruit juice, and water, or metal and plastic, chips and screen. Their brand value is much greater than the value of the physical resources. That’s because of the ideas, imagination, and presentation that come together in great products: what business calls “intellectual property (IP).”

So what does this mean for a semi-nomadic tribe of nearly 2 million across Tanzania and Kenya?

We’d been working with Ethiopian Fine Coffee to help them own their own brands and license them. We’d helped return $101 million to coffee exporters.

That’s when I met the Maasai elder. He tapped me on the shoulder and said: “ We understand that IP works for coffee. The Maasai have a brand that is used by many western companies without our permission. Can you help us?”


A group of Maasai people. (Photo credit: joxeankoret/Wikimedia Commons)

We engaged Maasai University students in researching the dozens of companies using the Maasai name, image and brand without their permission. Our friends at Comic Relief were kind enough to help fund the feasibility study. Brand expert David Cardwell who did the Star Wars licensing deal helped. Our goal was to let the Maasai run the process with some good advice from others. To them, respect and removal of culturally inappropriate images are as important as income.

For six years, we have been about helping the Maasai to organize and form MIPI -The Maasai IP Initiative. With outreach across Kenya and Tanzania and radio broadcasts, materials translated to Maa and Swahili, Light Years IP and the Maasai have reached 500,000 Maasai — a critical mass to own, control, license and where relevant, to create solutions with large companies that had used their brand name. One big car company, for example, returned the Maasai trademark and negotiations are underway with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.

In 2012, a Louis Vuitton fashion show featured Maasai scarves and shirts modelled and sold for upwards of 1,000 euros each. Of course, the LVMH brand is valued highly and IP and brand experts can help us to quantify what portion is due to cultural appropriation of the Maasai iconic values of bravery, strength, and warrior images.

The Maasai are a proud people — respectful and honourable. The Maasai leadership has been offended at the cultural misappropriation of their brand and name. They understand that it is valuable – and it’s theirs. Our analysis shows it is worth about $250 million.

Maasai elder, Isaac ole Tialalo, leader of MIPI has been to Capitol Hill and to Parliament in London with The African IP Trust, headed by Lord Paul Boating. It’s an honour for our support and advocacy group to help the Maasai achieve win-win situations with companies.

We think that the Maasai are an inspiration and model to other indigenous people who are about 6% of the world’s population and suffer both cultural appropriation and poverty. The Cherokee, Navajo, and Tourag, for example, add value to countless products and companies. It is not easy to regain control after cultural appropriation, but we think it is the right thing to do.

Find out more about the Maasai here.

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This Ethiopian entrepreneur is breaking tradition to empower women

24 October 2018 4:48PM UTC | By: ABLE


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In this series, we’re introducing you to strong and savvy female entrepreneurs from Ethiopia who have partnered with social enterprise and lifestyle brand ABLE.

Semhal Guesh grew up in Ethiopia hearing a phrase many young girls her age did not: “You can do whatever you want.”

Now 27 years old, it’s no coincidence that Semhal has become a designer, architect, and entrepreneur. She now runs Kabana, a leather production company in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, and through her company, she helps other women realise their full potential.

“Most of my life, my father told me I could accomplish any ideas that I had; that I had no limits,” said Semhal. “In Ethiopia, every family is male-dominated and sons are given more chances than daughters. But with my dad, that was not the case.”

Semhal recognizes that if she had grown up in rural Ethiopia or with parents less encouraging than her own, she might have been expected to stop her education at 12 years old and get married. Instead, Semhal dreamed of becoming an astronaut or an astrophysicist because she hadn’t seen a lot of women in those professions. But it was architecture that won over Semhal for the ability to create something both beautiful and functional.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294While studying for her Bachelors in Architecture, she picked up a few leather samples at a local market and began designing with it. Suddenly, her dormitory transformed into a small workshop with a handful of women hand stitching products to sell at bazaars.

“By day, we’d go to lectures and we’d make leather products at night,” said Semhal. “It was more about the joy of designing and turning our work into an actual reality. It wasn’t to earn money. It was something we could do together.”

After graduation, Semhal began working in architecture full-time while still managing to grow her leather business. Her supervisor at the architecture firm saw her passion and encouraged her to spend more time focused on her growing leather company until she eventually made the decision to devote all her time to Kabana.

“It was a hectic time, but my motivation was seeing how the job and income were changing the life of my first employee,” said Semhal. “She came to me with minimum knowledge or experience, but I taught her how to cut and stitch leather and design development. In time, I saw her changing, knowing what to do, and unafraid to share her ideas because she had the freedom to speak out. I thought ‘I’m paying somebody who supports their family. I’m part of the generation that’s creating opportunities and income for her.’”
Today, Semhal and her staff of 31 are in high demand, thanks in part to her background in architecture, which gives her an eye for design and an understanding of technical specifications. Kababa creates handmade leather bags, wallets, folders, and custom products for clients in Ethiopia, the U.S., and Sweden.


On a mission to give other women the same support she has received, Semhal is focused on motivating the women she hires to expect more for themselves. She enrolls her employees in different training programs to help them realize their value and potential, invests in their new business ideas through loans, offers paid time away from work, mentorship, and coaching.

“Everyone is shy in Ethiopia, especially girls,” said Semhal. “I tell my employees about myself, how I got to where I am, and that not everything is easy. Then I push them to have a conversation with other women. I want them to know they don’t have to be closed off.”

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294Thankfully, Semhal believes her country’s view of women is changing, evidenced by recent changes such as the government’s decision to back women’s education and the creation of various leadership and professional associations.

As more doors open for women in Ethiopia, Semhal continues to raise the bar on women’s equality, safety, wages and benefits in the workplace. Through her company’s partnership with ABLE, Kabana has undergone the ACCOUNTABLE social impact audit and found opportunities to improve her wages, maternity leave policy, medical coverage, and employment practices.

ABLE_KABANA_SEP_2018_BY_ARON_SIMENEH-294“Ethiopia doesn’t have a set minimum wage policy,” said Semhal. “When ABLE introduced liveable wages to KABANA, it gave us a new benchmark.”

“I want to show that you can be an entrepreneur and be young and a woman,” said Semhal. “It takes a lot of convincing, but I’m not one to back away from a challenge. Breaking the tradition starts with hearing the stories about other women and their success.”

ABLE is publishing its lowest wages to protect and empower the fashion industry’s most vulnerable workers, most of whom are women. To provide consumers with complete transparency, all their partners must go through the rigorous and exhaustive ACCOUNTABLE assessment, evaluating their workplace’s equality, safety, wages and benefits, with a particular emphasis on women. To learn more about ABLE’s #PUBLISHYOURWAGES movement that inspires consumers to demand greater transparency of their favourite brands, visit www.livefashionable.com/publishyourwages.

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

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La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, sentado, sombrero, barba y exterior


We’re sad to learn that Dr. Manasseh Phiri, the renowned AIDS activist featured in our documentary the Lazarus Effect has passed away. As one of Zambia’s most prominent leaders in the AIDS fight, Dr. Phiri was a leading force driving activism around global health issues. Thank you Dr. Phiri for inspiring us and fighting to end AIDS — your legacy lives on.

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No hay descripción de la foto disponible.

Calling all Wicklow-based bands and singer-songwriters aged 18 and under! 

Music Generation Wicklow is launching a new recording mentorship workshop for bands and solo artists who write their own music. Four shortlisted bands/solo artists will receive professional mentorship and funding to record and shoot a video for their single. 

Final date for receipt of entries is this Friday, 26 April.

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Did you know that the Government and local councils offer discounts, schemes, and free passes for some forms of public transport? 🚌 🚍 🚆🚘

No? 😮 Well, we may have some details that might be of interest to you. 😉

Visit: https://bit.ly/2BHIQ4q

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This Friday, 26 April 2019, marks the 33rd Anniversary of the devastating Chernobyl disaster.

On the 30th Anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, our Voluntary CEO Adi Roche addressed a special session of the Naciones Unidas General Assembly and made the suggestion that, as part of a campaign to raise global awareness of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, April 26th should be designated as Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.

Adi's plea was later ratified and later this week we will commemorate the third Naciones Unidas 'International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day' with nations all across the world.

On this special day of commemoration, we ask you to join us to say to the victims and survivors of Chernobyl that they will not be forgotten.

#UNChernobylDay #IWillNotForgetYou


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Why You Should Probably Never Drink Bottled Water Again

And 10 facts about the bottled water industry.

The bottled water industry is about as wasteful as they come. This billion dollar industry is taking something that is essentially free around the world, packaging it, and selling it for profit. And it gets worse.

Nestlé — the same company that brings you those delicious Toll House cookies — decided in May to open a new plant in the middle of the drought-stricken desert in Arizona.  

This decision has raised many concerns and questions, the most obvious being “how can they bottle water in a desert?”

Many of the concerned groups are environmental activists. Nestle already faces backlash from groups angry about them bottling water in the San Bernardino Mountains, and a group in Oregon voted in favor of anti-bottling measures on a proposed anti-bottling measures.

Additionally, a petition was started on Change.org calling Nestlé Waters “irresponsible and unsustainable,” pointing out that Arizona has officially been in a drought for 17 years.


City officials concluded that there will be enough water for both Pure Life and the city’s tap, but environmentalists (and Global Citizens) aren’t convinced.

The bottled water industry is bad for the environment. Nearly 80 percent of plastic water bottles simply become litter in a landfill, creating 2 million tonsof plastic bottle waste every year. Here are 10 things you might not know about the bottled water industry.

  1. The first case of bottled water sold dates back to Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1760s. Mineral water was bottled and sold by a spa for therapeutic uses.


  2. For the first time ever, bottled water sales are going to surpass the sale of soda in the US.


  3. Global consumption of bottled water increases by 10 percent every year. The slowest growth is in Europe, while the fastest growth is in North America.


  4. The energy we waste bottling water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.


  5. Food & Water Watch reported that more than half of bottled water comes from the tap.



  6. Bottled water is no safer than tap water. In fact, 22 percent of bottled brands tested contained chemicals at levels above state health limits in at least one sample.


  7. It takes three times more water to produce a plastic water bottle than it does to fill one.


  8. The amount of oil used to make a year's worth of bottles could fillone million cars for a year.


  9. Only one in five plastic bottles are recycled.


  10. The bottled water industry made $13 billion in 2014, but it would only cost $10 billion to provide clean water to everyone in the world.



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Climate Change Is Having a Great Depression-Like Effect on the Global Economy

Countries that have caused the least climate change are facing the most consequences, study says.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The effects of climate change are being felt unevenly around the world, and the countries least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions are often facing the most brutal consequences. The United Nations urges countries to fulfill the Paris climate agreement to avoid further environmental harms. You can join us in taking action on related issues here.

The gap between the wealthiest and poorest countries has been steadily declining over the past several decades, but that gap would have closed by an additional 25% if climate change hadn’t created a massive economic drag, according to a new study published in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Past studies on the economic consequences of climate change have focused on the anticipated effects years down the line, or calculated the costs associated with extreme weather events. This study, on the other hand, looks at how temperature increases have already been reducing economic output.

And the brunt of this effect is being felt by the world’s poorest countries.

“Many of the [most affected countries] also have low per capita GDP, and have contributed relatively little to historical greenhouse gas emissions,” Noah Diffenbaugh, the lead author of the study and a climate scientist at Stanford University, told Global CItizen.

“There’s an asymmetry between the countries that emitted the largest fraction of the historical greenhouse gas emissions and the countries most vulnerable to climate change,” he added.

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The researchers looked at aggregate economic data between 1961 and 2010 and compared it to temperature changes over this period. They found that temperature increases associated with global warming caused marked declines in economic activity.

These effects have been most pronounced in countries around the equator, where climate change has caused deadly heat waves, unleashed supercharged storms, and made extreme droughts more likely.

India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be an additional 30% higher had temperatures not risen from the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, according to the report. That sort of drag is equivalent to the Great Depression in United States, the authors note.

Although India has made great strides in reducing poverty, more than 70 million people live on less than $1.90 per day, nearly half the population practices open defecation, and 240 million people lack access to electricity.

Read More: Greenland's Rapidly Melting Ice Threatens People Living in Poverty the Most

Without climate change, the country would have likely made greater progress in reducing these inequities, the new study suggests.

Diffenbaugh said that rising temperatures reduce economic output in a number of ways.

As it becomes hotter, workers become less productive, staple crop yields decline, cognitive functioning decreases, and interpersonal conflict rises.

In recent years, devastating heat waves have all but stopped outdoor economic activity in countries as diverse as Pakistan and Japan.


Diffenbaugh said that there are multiple benefits to transitioning to renewable energy for both poor and rich economies.

Read More: The Crazy Reason Greenland Is Rooting for Climate Change

First, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions to get released into the atmosphere, which in turn reduces the costs associated with climate change from natural disasters, heat waves, and so on.

Second, millions of people still lack access to electricity around the world. Renewable energy is a cheap and effective way to connect them to the global economy, which can greatly increase per capita GDP.

“Economic inequality is a persistent challenge globally and there’s been substantial progress in recent decades in terms of lifting people out of extreme poverty and narrowing the economic gap between the world’s richest and poorest countries,” Diffenbaugh said. “But there are still very large populating that continue to lack electricity, continue to lack clean water, continue to rely on biomass for cooking, which has huge health impacts, so despite the progress, global economic inequality is a major challenge.”

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*images via D’Angels Motorcycle Club

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Meet the heroes fighting malaria and saving lives

25 April 2019 11:29AM UTC | By: JANE EAGLES


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Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, with sub-Saharan Africa continuing to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 200 million cases of malaria a year — and most of these are preventable.

That’s why we’re highlighting the outstanding heroes working tirelessly to make malaria a disease of the past.

Role Model Caregivers

Role Model Caregivers (RMC) are a small group of unpaid heroes working to end the spread of malaria. Across Niger state in Nigeria, RMCs watch over patients and monitor their usage of lifesaving mosquito nets and antimalarials.

Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) has trained 500 RMCs across 25 districts in the state.

“The role of the Malaria Role Model Caregiver is to liaison treatment between clinics and the sick in communities,” says caregiver Haraja Sule. “Clinics retain our services and deploy us daily into homes.”

Sule adds, “Yes, there is no money in doing this, but many women and girls admire me and want to challenge malaria, too. My patients – my clients – are free to seek my help, even at 1 a.m. This is my prize and satisfaction.”

Hannatou Abdou


Everyday heroes like Hannatou Abdou have taken the lead in the fight against malaria. In her community in Danja, Niger, Abdou has made it her life mission to help the families in the community.

Danja has a population of 6000 people. Abdou is one of 700 women from the local area who has received training to become a community health worker — this has contributed to the dramatic fall in the number of cases of malaria in Danja.

Abdou explains, “I give myself to the community and distribute medicine to prevent malaria so that together we can stop malaria from spreading in our villages and in our country.”

During the wet season, when malaria infection rates are highest, she meets families to dispense seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), which is a preventative medicine to protect young children from the disease.

SMC is easily administered by community health workers in remote areas, making it a sustainable solution in rural settings to control malaria.

“The child of one mother, is the child of every mother…This is what drives me in the war against malaria.”

Dr. Faith Osier


Dr. Faith Osier is no stranger to taking on the challenges that millions around the world face.

From an early age, Osier was motivated to join the fight against malaria – a disease that has affected many in her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya. Today, Osier is at the forefront of the fight, leading the charge against malaria.

For the last 12 years in Kilifi, Kenya — Osier has worked to end the parasite that caused more than 10 percent of all Kilifi residents to fall ill in 2015.

Osier has partnered with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Wellcome Trust, and the Kilifi County Hospital to develop a malaria vaccine.

“We study people who are being exposed to malaria,” she says. “We look at their blood and their antibody responses and how they are responding. We know that antibodies are very important… and we believe that antibodies hold the key.”


Ruth Oppong and Adwoa Asantewa


Ruth Oppong and Adwoa Asantewa are the dynamic duo volunteering their time to combat malaria in Ghana.

Together, they go out into communities explaining how indoor residual spraying (IRS) works. This is when long-lasting insecticides are sprayed on the inside of homes to deter mosquitoes — it has proved to be a remarkably effective method at tackling malaria in Ghana.

“We are committed to ending malaria in our community. That’s why we are doing this. If women are leading in the fight against malaria, we are bound to succeed,” says Asantewa.

The Global Fund

To make sure the Global Fund can continue its critical work, it will be hosting its Sixth Replenishment conference in October. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by investing a minimum of US$14 billion.

This is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of diseases like malaria— and it’s why we’re calling on world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

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

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

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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You need to know about the bold fund fighting HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria everywhere

5 February 2019 2:25PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO


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

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Fact: Every day, nearly 1,000 young women contract HIV.

Fact: Globally, there are 37 million people living with HIV — more than 15 million of whom can’t get life-saving treatment, which puts them at risk of developing AIDS-related symptoms — and another 1.8 million people contract HIV every year.

Fact: Over 2,500 people die from AIDS-related causes every day.

Fact: AIDS isn’t a disease of the past. It’s a modern-day crisis and it’s impacting people and communities around the world right now.

Enter, the Global Fund — a 21st-century partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria as epidemics.


A child being administered malaria screening with Global Fund supported medical supplies at the Nduo-Eduo community Health Centre in Nigeria.

Formed in 2002, they work in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria to put an end to these epidemics by investing in and funding all kinds of health resources and interventions, like doctors, nurses, innovative technologies and education programs.

The Global Fund is one of the world’s most powerful tools in the fight against these diseases. In 2017 alone, regions and countries where the Global Fund invests treated 108 million cases of malaria and 5 million people for TB, plus 17.5 million people were on ARV therapy to treat HIV. In the same year, 197 million mosquito nets were distributed, over 79 million HIV tests were completed and HIV prevention services and programs reached 9.4 million people.


A team of mobile community health workers trained with Global Fund support on their way to rural Kenyan homes to provide health checks and care.

This is what progress looks like. But there’s still work to be done, particularly for young women and girls.

To make sure the Global Fund can continue with their critical work, they will be hosting their sixth replenishment conference in October. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by meeting their replenishment goal of US$14 billion.

This investment is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of these diseases — and it’s why we’re calling on world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

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

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

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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Friday 21st June 2019 to

Tuesday, 25th June 2019

University College, Cork, Ireland


The annual ITM Ireland Summer Workshop  will take place this summer for the sixth time, from 21st - 25th June at University College Cork.


You can find out more about the workshop by reading or downloading our 2019 brochure below. In it you will find a description of the course format, information about the venue, dates and pricing guidelines. 

2019 Irish SW Online Brochure.pdf



Online registration for this summer workshop is now open:

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Mary Shorten on the details below: 

Email: itmireland@gmail.com

Tel: +353 (0) 86 2400 312

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La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, sonriendo


It is important for us to remember who this special day of commemoration is all about...those who continue to live in Chernobyl's dark shadow. 

We use this opportunity to remember all of those who have been and will continue to be affected by Chernobyl's legacy, and to rededicate our commitment to them.

#UNChernobylDay #IWillNotForgetYou

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