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The Action Thread Part Two

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If there’s ever been a time to take action, it’s now. The latest numbers just came in from UNAIDS—the world’s main source for the latest AIDS info—and the data is alarming. The pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to treatment, and ending AIDS-related deaths is slowing down.

This year’s Global AIDS Update from UNAIDS, Communities at the Centre, shows a mixed picture. Some countries are making impressive gains, meanwhile others are experiencing rises in new infections and AIDS-related deaths. We’ll be talking about the details of the report a lot more over the next few months, but the key takeaway is that AIDS is very much still a crisis.


  • 37.9 million people globally are living with HIV

  • 23.3 million people are accessing life-saving HIV treatment—meaning more than 62% of all people living with HIV are accessing the medicine they need to stay healthy and alive

  • 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV last year—equal to 3 people contracting HIV every minute

  • 770,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses last year

  • Over 400 babies are born every day with HIV

We’ve made so much progress in recent years, but unfortunately, it’s nowhere near enough. The findings in today’s UNAIDS report show that we’re completely off-track to hit key 2020 targets to eliminate new infections and end mother-to-child transmission of HIV. And on a worrying note, the gap between resource needs and resource availability is widening. For the first time since 2000, global financing for the AIDS response—from governments, multilateral institutions and other donors—declined by nearly US$ 1 billion.

We have absolutely no time to waste. We must take action now if we’re going to end AIDS, once and for all.

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We were delighted to see the wonderful work of harper and harp tutor Siobhan Buckley featured in The Irish Times today. Siobhan works with 120 young harpers at Music Generation Laois each week, providing quality harp tuition to the young people in the county. A great watch here!


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Chernobyl Children International are #hiring a Communications and Fundraising Officer to join their organisation which gives support, care and hope to the children and families affected by the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster https://bit.ly/2GdW5M8

#irishjobs #corkjobs #jobfairy

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🎉KILKENNY 🎉 You are amazing 😍 We are so proud to be called Chernobyl KILKENNY Outreach Group 🎉 Massive thanks to Mairead O Donnell, brain child, organiser extraordinaire & absolute legend 🎉 to Shane, Mairead’s right hand, thank you for joining us & helping with absolutely everything, no job too small 😘 To the people of Kilkenny who lined the streets for us, you are amazing 👬👫 TO Adi Roche for supporting us all today. Our stewards especially Vinnie Guthrie, to all the young ladies who sold posters all day long with smiles on their faces, our amazing celebrities especially those who braved the Segways! To SegwaySights.com, Kilkenny City Tours, Kilkenny Motor Club, Ray Brophy, who always provides music at the drop of a hat, Danny Lahart & Vicky Comerford, KCLR96FM, Kilkenny People, Ronan Phelan, Bourke’s shop for the us of their premises, to Garda Síochána Kilkenny/Carlow especially Andy who makes all our guests smile, to Richie Guilfoyle of The Playwright who treated everyone to their dinner tonight & it was fab & to anyone who helped make today as brilliant as it was .. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM IF OUR HEARTS 💕


Foto de Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group.


Foto de Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group.Foto de Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group.


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MARCH 20, 2018



5 Ridiculous Refugee Policies You Should Know About

The worst refugee crisis since World War II has brought out some countries’ inhospitable sides.

Although it no longer dominates headlines, the world is still facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II. According to the United Nations, there are more than 65 million displaced people worldwide, including 22.5 million registered refugees, who have fled war, persecution, hunger, and natural disaster in hopes of finding safety and security across international borders.

While countries like Canada — where many families have privately sponsored and supported resettled refugee families — and Germany — which is welcoming asylum-seekers as a way to revitalize run-down towns — have responded to the increasing numbers of refugees arriving at their borders with compassion and humanity, others are less hospitable.

Some governments have done everything they can to close their borders and slow refugee arrivals, giving rise to some shocking policies. These are the five of the most ridiculous refugee policies in place right now.


1. In one French town, it’s illegal to feed refugees.


Calais, in northern France, used to be the the site of the “Jungle” — a makeshift refugee settlement occupied by migrants from countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In 2015 and 2016, thousands of refugees, including many unaccompanied children, set up camp in the Jungle as they attempted night after night to sneak across the English Channel to seek asylum in the United Kingdom.

Read More: France to Close Calais Refugee Camp

But in October 2016, citing public health, crime, and terrorism concerns, French authorities dismantled the Jungle, forcing around 9,000 of its residents to move elsewhere. To discourage refugees from forming another settlement in Calais, the city’s mayor enacted decrees effectively banning humanitarian organizations from distributing food to migrants. Since the camp was destroyed, French politicians have also committed to preventing large gatherings of refugees in public spaces.


2. In Saudi Arabia, refugees aren’t refugees


In late 2015, Amnesty International asserted that Saudi Arabia was hosting a grand total of zero resettled Syrian refugees. By late 2016, the Saudi government claimed that it was hosting as many as 2.5 million.

Strange as it may seem, both of these things may have been true.

To be officially considered a refugee, a displaced person has to register for refugee status. That status, and countries’ obligations to protect refugees, are outlined in a 1951 United Nations convention which most UN member states have signed. However, Saudi Arabia, along with other Persian Gulf countries like Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, never signed it.

So, when migrants fleeing violence enter Saudi Arabia, they’re not registered as international refugees, and therefore usually have to go through Saudi visa processes. This might not sound like it would make a big difference, until you consider that the Saudi government can, and often does, deny visas to migrants whom it would otherwise be illegal to deport under international law. This means that some refugees, like Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, have to make tough decisions, like between rotting in a Saudi jail or being deported back to a country where their people are experiencing ethnic cleansing.

Take Action: Call on our leaders to tackle the refugee crisis

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3. Immigration officials can seize asylum-seekers’ jewelry in Denmark


Nestled between two of the world’s most desired destinations for asylum-seekers — Germany and Sweden — Denmark has become a bastion of anti-refugee policies over the past few years.

These policies came to a head in early 2016, when the Danish parliament approved a law that would allow officials to seize cash and valuables valued at $1,450 or higher from asylum-seekers entering the country, supposedly to pay for the government services they were going to use during their stay.

Initially, the law was used simply as a way to deter migrants from entering the country, but in June 2016, Danish immigration authorities seized around $11,000 from a group of Iranians who had flown to Denmark to seek asylum.

Some critics of the law have compared it to the Nazi policy of stealing valuables from Jews as they were removed from their homes during the Holocaust.

4. Australia’s military blocks refugees from reaching its shores


They call it “Operation Sovereign Borders." In Australia, military officials patrol the waters seeking to intercept asylum-seekers traveling to the country by boat in order to send them (or even tow them) back to Indonesia or India.

If refugees’ boats end up making it to Australia’s shores, they’re not allowed to stay in the country while their asylum cases are processed. Instead, they’re sent to processing centers on the tiny island nation of Naura, which Human Rights Watch says is rife with “appalling abuse,” or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, which the UN has described as an “unfolding humanitarian emergency.”

If migrants are granted asylum, they’re still not allowed into Australia. Rather, they have to resettle on whatever island nation they were detained.

While the Australian government is starting to close the processing centers on Nauru and Manus Island because of well-documented human rights abuses at the facilities, asylum-seekers being released from those centers still aren’t allowed in Australia. Instead, the Australian government is exporting them to the United States.

Read More: Notorious Refugee Detention Center Is Being Closed — But Refugees Refuse to Leave


5. In the US, asylum-seeking toddlers can represent themselves in court


Since 2014, more than 200,000 unaccompanied children — mostly fleeing violence in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador — have traveled through Central America and Mexico, braving rape, robbery, and death from exposure to seek asylum in the United States.

When they arrive in the US, half of these children don’t have lawyers to represent them as they present their asylum cases in immigration court.

As the saying goes, “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” Well, not in this case.

Asylum cases are heard in civil court rather than criminal court, so the government is not required to appoint free lawyers, even if the defendants are children. According to one immigration judge, children as young as three are capable of representing themselves.

“I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience," the judge said during a deposition. “They get it. It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done.”

According to Kids in Need of Defense, a legal nonprofit that represents immigrant children pro-bono, children without legal representation are five times more likely to be deported back to danger than those who have lawyers.

Global Citizen campaigns for the support and protection of refugees everywhere. You can join by taking action here.

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Think these diseases are history? Think again.

11 June 2019 9:03AM UTC | By: KATIE RYAN


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

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*This blog was last updated on 18 July 2019 with the latest UNAIDS data.

Many people don’t see or experience HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) or malaria up close on a daily basis. But that doesn’t mean these are diseases of the past. Let’s take a look at some common assumptions about HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.

AIDS is a crisis now

Over 37 million people are living with HIV today, and more than 14 million of them still can’t get life-saving treatment. As a result, over 2,000 people die from AIDS every day. Just over half of the children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment. And, progress on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is slipping.


The epidemic is growing in part because there is a 25% global shortfall of funding needed to reach key targets in the hardest-hit countries by 2020. If we fail to reach these targets, the disease will continue to outpace our response well into the future. In practice, this means we could lose all the hard-earned progress of the last 15 years.

HIV isn’t history…yet

Globally, over 800 girls and women ages 15 to 24 contract HIV every day. The vast majority of these girls and women live in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, young women are twice as likely as young men to contract HIV.

This increased risk of contracting HIV is partly driven by complex economic and social factors. For example, stigma and social taboos limit education about safe sex and protection. This means girls often lack the information they need to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Limited opportunities to earn income may force girls to enter into transactional sexual relationships, where unprotected sex is exchanged for financial support. And limited autonomy and bargaining power in relationships also increase the risk of HIV among women, particularly those that are those forced to marry as children.

To truly make HIV history we need to look beyond health care alone and address the systemic issues that are helping to perpetuate the epidemic.

The fight isn’t over
Between 2002 and 2017, deaths from AIDS, TB and malaria dropped by one third. This progress is a result of strong partnerships, breakthrough financial commitments from governments and donors, and passionate citizen activism.


But the fight isn’t over yet. In 2018 alone, nearly 800,000 people died from AIDS-related causes globally and another 1.7 million contracted HIV. After 10 years of steady decline, malaria is back on the rise, especially among children under 5 years old. Though more than 10 million people contract TB every year, nearly 40% of those are “missed”. That means nearly 4 million people are annually left undiagnosed, untreated, and contagious.

The battle against these three diseases isn’t over. Luckily, we have the tools we need to finish the fight.

We have the tools to finish the fight

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is a 21st-century partnership designed to accelerate the end of these preventable diseases as epidemics. It works in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases to put an end to these epidemics by investing in and funding interventions, like prevention and treatment, 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.

Take action

In October, the Global Fund is hosting its Sixth Replenishment. We’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million livesbetween 2021 and 2023 by meeting their replenishment goal of at least US$14 billion. This investment is the bold ambition the world needs to get us back on track to stop the spread of these diseases.

To continue funding life-saving programs like this one, we need world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

Add your name now and 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 goo

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Foto de (RED).

Saving lives never tasted so good. (RED) Chef Ambassador Hong Thaimee created a (RED) AIDS-fighting burger, available on AirAsia flights. Pre-order the INSPI(RED) Burger now & 10% of every purchase goes to the fight to #endAIDS: airasia.com📸: AirAsia

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Just a few hours left  to come DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES 💃🕺🏽 with us at Lollapalooza Paris 🇫🇷 

Come by the (RED) barn and let’s #endAIDS 👊(P.S. these limited-edition @RED bandanas will be available on our Amazon store 🛒 soon 🤗)

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Foto de Mencap.

"Hi all, wondering if someone can help. My in-law is struggling to claim benefits she is entitled to.... we are a bit stuck as to what to do now." 
Have you been there? 😫 
Can you suggest where to start? 🤔 
Visit our online community and join the conversation:https://bit.ly/2xESeCS

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These laws have made the world a better place for women

These laws have made the world a better place for women

11 July 2019 11:12AM UTC | By: ONE


Take action for women everywhere

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Part Two of a two-part series on looking at gender equality before this year’s G7 summit. Part One looks at the sexist laws that have no place in the world.

There’s still plenty of shocking, sexist, and discriminatory laws around the world. These laws restrict women’s rights to work, live, and be safe. From legalised rape to domestic violence, child marriage to child labour, discriminatory laws punish millions of women and girls worldwide, every day.

While it’s important to highlight the horror, we must also celebrate the successes.

In many countries, great strides are being made to reverse these antiquated, sexist laws, and put in place progressive new ones. These shifts are often driven by local women’s groups, public activists (like you!), and support from bilateral and international institutions.

With these shifts in mind, we call on the G7 leaders to learn lessons from these victories and encourage all countries to take a stand in achieving gender equality by introducing progressive new laws. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

If the G7 is looking for tips on how to change the law to better secure gender equality, here are just a few examples from the past ten years that they can learn from:

Legal rights – six countries give women equal legal rights as men – Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden. A decade ago, none of these countries did so!
Combatting gender-based violence – In Burundi, the Comoros, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Zambia, laws were finally introduced on workplace sexual harassment AND domestic violence.
Getting equally paid – 13 countries—Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, the Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Montenegro, Serbia, South Africa, Vietnam and Zambia—introduced laws mandating equal remuneration for work of equal value.
Right to work – 22 countries removed restrictions limiting women’s rights to work, reducing the likelihood that women are kept out of employment.
Having children – 16 countries increased paid maternity leave, and 33 countries introduced paid paternity leave.
Starting a business – the Democratic Republic of Congo introduced a new law which allows women to register businesses, open bank accounts, and sign contracts in the same way as men.
Access to credit – The Democratic Republic of Congo also prohibited gender discrimination in access to credit, as did 23 other countries.
Living rights – Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and Togo all changed their laws to allow women to choose where to live in the same way as men.

It may seem crazy that these laws were ever in place, or that we’re celebrating these victories, but it’s the reality that millions of women face each day. At the G7 Summit in August, we have a chance to do something about this. Will you stand in solidarity with these women and ensure this year’s G7 delivers real progress, not empty promises, in the battle for gender equality?

Share your ideas for a law for gender equality now!

Take action for women everywhere

Dear World Leaders,

We are the women at the frontlines of the fight against gender inequality and global poverty.

Every day we see the determination and dignity of girls and women facing down the toughest challenges. We see real advances and the power of people to achieve change. We won’t surrender this fight, but we need you to play your part.

You promised to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, but at the current rate of progress, this will take 108 years. This is unacceptable. We need genuine progress, not grand promises.

We want implementation and accountability at every level - from this year’s G7 Summit to the Global Fund Replenishment; from our African Union leaders to our community leaders. We will be looking for your actions not your words; for funding to follow promises; and policy to turn into practice. It’s both the right and the smart thing to do for everyone.

To accelerate progress men must demand change with us so that we rise united not divided. And women must have a seat at the decision-making table – because you can’t change what you don’t see.

We’re not looking for your sympathy, we’re demanding your action. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.


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We would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the Lynch brothers and all staff at Mace/Inver Freshford in Kilkenny, who kept our Rest and Recuparation group fed and watered like royalty since their arrival almost 4 weeks ago.

The kindness and generosity of MACE Ireland and the wider Freshford community has been above and beyond this year, and we are incredibly grateful for them making our children and young adults feel like part of the community. We cannot thank you enough! 🧡

Foto de Chernobyl Children International.

Foto de Chernobyl Children International.

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8 Things We’d Rather See Banned Instead of Refugees

Let’s kick these eight violations to the curb and welcome refugees instead.

Until this year, the United States was a long-standing leader in welcoming and relocating refugees. Now, a country built by immigrants, refugees and migrants is attempting to turn its back on the 65 million refugees around the world today, a statistic from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

US President Trump’s administration’s travel ban would have cut 60,000 refugees from entering in 2017  but his executive order was struck down Monday. The case now sits on the Supreme Court’s steps to maybe see its day in court once more.

Refugees come to a country to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity; the Trump administration’s executive order puts refugees at risk of returning to the violent places they fled from, according to the UNHCR.

Instead of banning the most vulnerable of our kind, Global Citizen made a list of atrocities that ought to receive the boot. Here are eight harmful things that the world should actually ban.

Take Action:Global Citizen's #LeveltheLaw Campaign

1. Child Marriage

Child marriage is still legal in many countries and happens in every region of the world. And estimated one in three girls in the developing world will marry before turning 18, according to advocacy group Girls Not Brides. While some countries have made strides toward ending child marriage, too many have hopped on board nor followed through – looking at you, Tanzania. Global Citizen advocates to end child marriage through our #LeveltheLaw campaign.

Take Action: Urge the Tanzanian Parliament to Implement the High Court’s Decision to Outlaw Child Marriage

7939998982_b4a3dc0f22_z.jpgKate Ausburn/Flickr

2. Coal

Coal is the most damaging form of energy in the world. Harvesting coal pollutes rivers and damages lungs, and burning it releases lead, mercury and arsenic into the air. The American Lung Association said 13,000 people die each year from coal pollution. If coal regulations are loosened, that number could climb back to what it was in 2004 at 24,000 coal-related deaths. Why not we just ban this bad practice once and for all?

Take Action: Fight against global warming

Read More: 6 of the Most Extreme Environmental Laws in the World


3. No charges for marital rape

It took until the 1970s for the first marital rape conviction in the US to withstand the court. Many countries now recognize consensual sex is required also for married couples, but their laws still allow marital sex without consent to continue without punishment. Let’s make it clear to our governments that marital rape should not only be recognized as rape but also punishable by law.

Take Action: Sign this petition to #LeveltheLaw and empower girls and women around the world!


4. No charges for domestic violence

Many countries have laws that allow domestic violence to continue as long as there is no grievous bodily harm. Similar to the one above, this law tells women that they are their husbands’ property to do with what he pleases. Forty-six countries still do not have any protection for women against domestic violence.

Take Action: Take action to end violence against women and girls

5521230595_87e63334ca_o.jpgLYNETTELYNN_D /Flickr.

5. Plastics

Why continue to use plastics when have more sustainable materials available? Kenya, Morocco, France, New Delhi and other countries have restricted plastics in some capacity or banned the wasteful product altogether. We love our oceans and beaches, so let’s make a pledge to ban plastics and halt the buildup of material and waste in our environment.

Take Action: Call on the UK Prime Minister to protect the oceans


6. Laws that prevent wives from taking jobs

In 18 economies, a husband can legally prevent his wife from working, even if she already has the job, according to the World Bank Group’s report. Even if a woman receives an education, the boundaries toward independence and economic equality can prevent her from achieving her potential.

Take Action: Remind Leaders To Keep Their Promise To Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment


7. Honor killings

In Syria, a man who kills his wife, sister, mother or daughter for bringing “dishonor” on her family – a tradition known as honor killing – can serve as little as two years in prison. And sadly, honor killings happen in other countries, like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Treating honor killing as a lesser crime than murder is dangerous for women. It sends a message that crimes against women are treated lighter than crimes against men.

Take Action: Stand with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and tell world leaders: There is no honor in honor killings.


8. Voting restrictions

Before the 2016 presidential election, Ohio purged 2 million Ohioans from voting rolls since 2011. While the practice was deemed unconstitutional before the election votes rolled in, thousands of voters did not get to vote in previous elections. Where else in the United States is this happening – in the world? Voting rights in democratic societies should be independent of race, religion, gender and political affiliation. Let’s make a commitment to ban voter violations in our communities and beyond.

Take Action: Welcome our new US Senators and let them know the importance of being a Global Citizen

Read More: Poland and Hungary Refuse Asylum Seekers, EU Brings Legal Case

Until these blights are banned from all borders, no country should refuse to take in a single refugee. Refugees can change a country and a culture for the better. These eight problems are what really stands in the way of achieving the global goals.

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MAY 22, 2018



Jimmy Carter Says the World's Biggest Problem Is Its Treatment of Women and Girls

It’s not the first time the 93-year-old has spoken out against gender inequality.

Former president Jimmy Carter has changed his mind about the world’s greatest problem, he told graduates during his commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday.

Nearly 20 years ago, Carter said in a speech that he believed the biggest global issue was income inequality. And although income inequality has worsened in much of the world since then, he now believes the biggest challenge the world faces today is gender inequality.

“I think now it’s a human rights problem, and it is the discrimination against women and girls in the world,” Carter said during his address at the university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Take Action: Sexist Laws Have No Place in 2018. Agree? Tell Governments to Act

Firma ahora:
El próximo presidente del Banco Mundial debe apoyar a las niñas y mujeres

The former president touched on issues from female infanticide to sex and human trafficking to the astounding number of sexual abuse incidents within the US military (Carter cited 16,000 cases a year, though according to recent data, the number of reports filed last year was closer to 6,700).

This isn’t the first time Carter has spoken out about this issue. In a 2015 TED Talk, Carter pointed to the mistreatment of women and girls as the most serious global human rights abuse. He discussed how harmful cultural attitudes, many stemming from interpretations of religious texts, are often the root of the problem, and he also shed light on forms of gender-based violence, including honor killings and female genital mutilation — which has affected more than 200 million girls and women alive today, according to the World Health Organization.

Until the stubborn attitudes that perpetuate gender discrimination change, the world cannot advance, and what Carter had previously thought was the world’s greatest challenge — income inequality and poverty — cannot be solved.

Read more: Gender Bias Kills 239,000 Girls in India Every Year, Study Finds

More than 130 million girls are out of school, according to UNESCO and over 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children, according to Girls Not Brides. Many of them live in poverty and in communities where girls are seen as a financial and social burden, rather than potentially valuable members of their communities. This means they may be pulled out of school to collect water, care for their family, or to free up funds to prioritize opportunities for male family members.

As a result, millions of girls miss out on a chance to realize their full potential and are made dependent on others, trapping them in the poverty cycle.

Carter's commencement speech on Saturday helped highlight these issues, and underscored the need to reevaluate how the world treats half its population.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of the Global Goals, including for gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights. You can take action here to empower girls and women around the world.

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MAY 21, 2018



This Scottish Cafe Has Built an Entire Village for Homeless People

"Not just building houses, but building homes, building community."

By Lee Mannion

LONDON, May 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A cafe chain that employs homeless people and runs a scheme to provide free food to rough sleepers has gone a step further, building a village of 11 houses in Scotland.

Up to 20 homeless people will be given accommodation in the new village to the north of the Scottish capital Edinburgh built by Social Bite, which was set up in 2012.

"Something special has been created," said Angela Constance, the Scottish communities minister at the launch on Thursday.

Take action: Help the Most Marginalised and Vulnerable Find Shelter

"Not just building houses, but building homes, building community – a community that will provide support and enable folk to rebuild their lives."


Humbling visit to the @SocialBite_ village this morning. Beautiful grounds with a #community feel. Space to be alone and space to #connect with others. Best wishes to the tenants moving in next month, we are all with you #SleepinthePark @Cyrenians1968 @hillcrest

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Next month the first six residents will move into the village, which sits on land loaned by the Edinburgh city council for four years.

If they decide not to renew the loan the prefabricated houses, which last for up to 100 years, can be moved.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said homeless people had been ignored politically for too long.

Read more: New Project Tracks Homeless People Who Have Died on Britain's Streets

"They're not a demographic of people that would vote and it's not a big vote winning issue, so I think if we keep pushing the political focus on the issue, the statistics are solvable in a country like Scotland," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

There are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland, according to government figures, and the number has been rising steadily since 2015.

Last year the Scottish government pledged £50 million ($67 million) to fund homelessness prevention schemes over the next five years.


@SocialBite_ @Cyrenians1968 really impressed & hope the initiative goes from strength to strength; thanks for the preview!

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The charity Shelter says as "a conservative estimate" 307,000 people are homeless in Britain.

Read more: Thousands of People Slept in a Freezing Scottish Park for a Brilliant Reason

Social Bite opened its first outlet in 2012 and now has five shops and a restaurant in Scotland. One in four staff at the chain is homeless, and customers can pay for meals that homeless people can claim later.

It distributed nearly 100,000 items of food last year and engages with more than 300 homeless people per week.

Social Bite is one of a growing number of social enterprises in Scotland - businesses that aim to help society as well as making money.

The country had 5,600 social enterprises last year, up from 5,199 in 2015, according to campaign group Social Enterprise Scotland.

The government has a a 10-year strategy to support social enterprise, including making funding available and expanding education about the sector in schools.

Read more: 6 Amazing Things Scotland Is Doing That Other Countries Really Need to Pay Attention to

The village will be operated in conjuction with Scottish homeless charity Cyrenians, which is assessing applications for residents.

"The mark of any society is how you look after those who are most excluded. This village says an extraordinary thing about how we all want the world to be," said Cyrenians chief executive Euan Aitken in a speech marking the opening of the village.

(Reporting by Lee Mannion @leemannion, Editing by Claire Cozens. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why we need to get every girl a quality education

Why we need to get every girl a quality education

17 July 2019 10:31AM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER


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The fight to end extreme poverty cannot be won without education. When people have access to a quality education, they’re more likely to live healthy, poverty-free lives. In fact, a quality education for all would be the most effective tool against poverty and instability worldwide.

People who are denied equal access to a quality education do not have a fair chance at escaping poverty. This reality continues to affect the world’s girls. Although more girls are now attending primary school, there are still big gender gaps in how many get a secondary education. Child marriage, unfair amounts of chores, gender-based violence, and other forms of discrimination also affect a girl’s ability to finish school.


Denying girls a quality education also harms the next generation, making it harder for whole communities to come out of poverty.

Luckily, activists around the globe are fighting back. We wanted to highlight two of these activists (who also contributed to our gender equality open letter).

Here’s why they want world leaders to support education, and what needs to happen to secure a quality education for everyone:

Refilwe Ledwaba

After becoming the first black woman to fly for the South African Police Service, Refilwe Ledwaba founded The Girl Fly Programme in Africa Foundation to teach girls about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The camp specifically focuses on STEM skills to prepare girls for the jobs of the future.

According to Refilwe, it is “imperative that women are encouraged to take a strong lead in being technical and embracing STEM fields.”

Refilwe believes that ensuring primary and secondary education for everyone is an important step. However, “the kind and quality of education” is even more important. There is also the need to change how the media portrays women:

“Women need to be shown as engineers, pilots, doctors … When there is an advert for washing powder, women are the lead roles, and when there is an ad showing a car, an aeroplane, (or) pilots, men are in the lead role. This also needs to change.”

She hopes for a world where everyone can be what they want, creating a prosperous world for all.

Martha Muhwezi

Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), is wholly dedicated to her organization’s mission. She fights for girls’ education on every level because she knows how powerful it is.

“Education has the potential to become an equalizer that will foster gender equality for women and girls … imparts them with the requisite skills and competencies they need to benefit from individual returns, which in turn will affect social and economic returns.”

FAWE promotes gender equity and equality through working across policies, schools, teachers, communities, and individual girls. Working at all these different angles allows FAWE to work towards multiple solutions in the complex problem of education access.

“Both schooling AND empowerment that need to go hand in hand. Indeed, acquiring skills and competencies to enter the labor market is one part of the story. And empowerment is another part of the story to ensure that girls and women acquire agency that will allow them to thrive and exert choice.”

Empowering individual girls isn’t the only key. The environment around the girls also needs to support them and give them the opportunity to thrive.

“Changes in communities and homes will enable girls to attend school. Changes in school, the teacher’s pedagogical approach, and the girls themselves, reinforced by changes in policy, communities, and homes, will ensure that girls stay in school and learn and contribute to the economic development of their country.”

Committing to Education at the G7

Refilwe and Martha have proven their dedication to educating girls. Now, it’s time for G7 leaders to do the same.

World leaders will meet at the G7 Summit in August to discuss their priorities. We want them to pledge financial aid that will help get girls into school. If they do, we’ll get even closer to the world these activists are working towards. These activists have spoken and now’s your turn to stand with them.

Sign their open letter and tell world leaders to make progress not promises towards gender equality.

Take action for women everywhere

Dear World Leaders,

We are the women at the frontlines of the fight against gender inequality and global poverty.

Every day we see the determination and dignity of girls and women facing down the toughest challenges. We see real advances and the power of people to achieve change. We won’t surrender this fight, but we need you to play your part.

You promised to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, but at the current rate of progress, this will take 108 years. This is unacceptable. We need genuine progress, not grand promises.

We want implementation and accountability at every level - from this year’s G7 Summit to the Global Fund Replenishment; from our African Union leaders to our community leaders. We will be looking for your actions not your words; for funding to follow promises; and policy to turn into practice. It’s both the right and the smart thing to do for everyone.

To accelerate progress men must demand change with us so that we rise united not divided. And women must have a seat at the decision-making table – because you can’t change what you don’t see.

We’re not looking for your sympathy, we’re demanding your action. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.


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Everything you need to know about Afrobeats

December 5 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER


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From Lagos to London to Los Angeles, a new style is taking dance clubs and music charts by storm. Chances are, you’re already familiar with the sound, even if you haven’t heard the name.

Afrobeats, a music genre from Nigeria, is shaking up the global music industry. Growing since the early 90s, the genre really took off in the international music scene with Drake’s 2016 hit “One Dance,” featuring Nigerian artist Wizkid. Other US artists, including Ciara and Major Lazer, have incorporated Afrobeats sounds and featured African artists in their music.

The success of Afrobeats continues to grow and it looks like the style is here to stay. So we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know.

The Sound

Afrobeats gets its distinct sound from a couple of different influences. The style is anchored in West African music styles, particularly highlife music. American jazz and funk are also added to the mix, creating a hybrid sound from across continents.

You’ll know when you’re listening to Afrobeats from complex rhythms, heavy percussion, repeating vocals, and Pidgin English. It’s no wonder this music is taking-off internationally — the upbeat, fun, and energetic melodies get people dancing in clubs around the world.

“This is music that has come a long and joyous way in a very short time,” says Nigerian-American author Teju Cole. “Dance to it—note its persistent tone of joy—then come back and listen to it.”

Don’t confuse Afrobeats with Afrobeat, the style pioneered by Fela Kuti. Afrobeat is a highly political, non-commercial music style, making it really different from Afrobeats!

The Artists

There are plenty of artists creating hip-shaking hits, so it’d be hard to list every artist out there. If you’re just getting into Afrobeats, there are a few acclaimed artists to start with, and plenty more to discover from there!

Wizkid became internationally known with “One Dance,” but his success as an artist goes far beyond that hit. His 2011 debut album Superstar earned him immediate recognition, with several singles coming from that album. His rise in popularity was clear in 2014 when he became the first Nigerian musician to get over a million followers on Twitter. To date, he is one of the most recognizable Afrobeats artists, earning him the nickname “Star Boy.”

Tiwa Savage is one of Nigeria’s leading female Afrobeats singers. As a female singer, she struggled to gain popularity in the male-dominated music scene. Despite the obstacles she faces, she’s become one of the most prominent Afrobeats artists today. She even won Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards!

Davido quickly rose to popularity in 2011 with his debut album Omo Baba Owolo, continuing his success with his second album, The Baddest. He won Best International Act at the BET Awards in both 2018 and 2014, and was the first African artist to receive his award in person on the BET stage.

Other popular artists include Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, and 2baba. You can find all of these artists and more on Quartz’s Afrobeats playlist on Spotify.

Combating Piracy

Despite growing popularity, many artists struggle to achieve financial success from their music. Piracy — selling illegal copies of an artist’s work — is one of the biggest challenges African artists face. Piracy makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to make money from selling their music.

Many artists rely on live performances, endorsements, and digital streaming to make money. Some artists are also profiting from ringback tones — for a small monthly fee, you can pick a song for someone to listen to while they call you, instead of hearing a traditional ring. With streaming services widely unavailable, ringback tones have generated over US$100 million in Nigeria’s music market.

The Future of Afrobeats

Recently, Sony Music and Universal Music Group opened offices in Lagos, hoping to sign local artists and further their success. These labels are also tackling piracy, which will secure better legal ownership and rights over music.

Afrobeats artists paved their own way to international success. Now that major music labels have taken notice, these artists have nowhere to go but up.

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It looks like Ken is having a fabulous time while climbing Mt Elbrus in aid of CCI...to commemorate his 67th birthday!

At almost 20,000ft, Mt Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe/Russia.

Ken set off on his journey last Tuesday, in the hopes of raising €10,000 for the children who have been affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Please donate to Ken’s incredible challenge on the link below to help him reach his goal.


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