Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:37 PM
Via Global Citizen
By Hans Glick|June 10, 2015
In a world where girls and women are all too often denied the same opportunities as their male counterparts, it’s hard not to see planet Earth as one big boys club.
But did you know that, for a handful of societies around the world, that script is actually flipped? In parts of Canada, Indonesia, China, and West Africa, among other places, women run the show to varying degrees.
Some cultures give women exclusive rights to own property. Others look to their women for leadership and decision-making. Still others, known as matrilineal societies, trace descent through the mother’s side of the family.
If you’re having trouble picturing such a society, you’re in luck: Karolin Klüppel, a photographer from Germany, recently spent 9 months living with, and visually documenting, the Khasi people, a small, matrilineal society in north-east India. Her photo series, titled “Mädchenland” (“Kingdom of Girls”), offers a vivid depiction of matrilineal culture through the eyes of its youngest matriarchs-to-be: Khasi girls.
In an email Q&A with me, Karolin shared stories about her experience working with these girls, as well as what those of us living in more male-dominated societies can learn from her images. After the Q&A, scroll down to view a selection of images from the series.
(Editors Note: Karolin’s responses are presented here in their entirety, with minor edits for clarity.)
Hans Glick: Gender has been a recurring theme in your work. What was it about the Khasi and their unique regard for women that drew you to this project?
Karolin Klüppel: I have been interested in matriarchal and matrilineal societies for a long time. The Khasi caught my attention because of many different aspects, but also simply because they live in India. I traveled through India some weeks before I came to Meghalaya and I must admit, it was a challenge. Shillong was then the first place where I felt totally safe as a single female traveler. The atmosphere is totally different and I could feel that people respect one another regardless of the gender. What drew me to the project was to experience this contrast to show another side of India.
HG: Did the experience of photographing these young girls present any unique challenges? Any unique rewards?
KK: Most girls of Mawlynnong loved to be photographed, otherwise it would not have worked out so well. I would say it was very rewarding to spend so much time with them. A bit challenging was the language barrier during the first weeks but we always managed to communicate.
HG: Some of the photos seem posed, others more spontaneous. Did any of the girls take an interest in how they were photographed? Or did you have to prompt them to do most things?
KK: Many girls definitely had an interest and came up with their own ideas of how they wanted their picture to be. Often we worked together. Many pictures are not staged, although it seems so, like the picture of Yasmin combing her hair in front of the mirror. Then it was like I was involved in their game. Also lacamti, when she was diving. She definitely wanted her picture taken. If I had a very special idea in mind, like the picture of the kwai on Anisha’s head, I asked for the girl to pose for me.
HG: Can you give an example of how the girls you spent time with behaved or carried themselves differently than they might have if they grew up in a patrilineal culture?
KK: For me, girls were more present in Mawlynnong than boys—same for women and men—and they are very self assured. It would make sense to draw a comparison between the behaviour of the girls of Mawlynnong to girls of other indian villages. I can just guess that it must be different because I have no experiences. To draw a comparison to western patriarchal societies would not make sense because character is influenced by so many aspects.
HG: What do you think other societies can learn from a matrilineal culture like the Khasi?
KK: Well, the Khasi culture also has its contradictions. There is definitely no gender equality here. Men usually do not own any property in the Khasi society, and their children do not belong to their clan. As a result, men sometimes feel unimportant and not very responsible for their families. There is even a group of men waging a battle for ''men's liberation'', the Syngkhong Rympei Thymmai (SRT) with 4,000 members.
What really impressed me—and what I miss very much in Germany—is how much the Khasi and Indians generally care about their family and friends. Human relationships seem very strong there, which seems reasonable, because of the poverty and the little support from the government. If you do not help each other, you are lost. In the Khasi society, I am sure, no one would ever feel lonely because people just need each other. Whereas, in my society, loneliness is something that a lot of people suffer from. Every culture has its tradeoffs.
Ibapyntngen with bugs
Ibapyntngen with lipstick
Anisha with Kwai
Phida with balloon
Yasmin in her bedroom
Yasmin with mug
To see more of Karolin’s work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram. Tip of the hat to the New York Times’ always excellent photojournalism blog Lens, which first alerted me to Karolin’s work.
Written by Hans Glick
Hans is an Audio/Visual Content Creator for Global Citizen. He loves telling stories and making killer content regardless of the format, but holds a special place in his heart for documentary filmmaking. He's a proud native of Buffalo, NY.
Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:07 PM
Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:21 PM
September 23 2016 | By: GUEST BLOGGER
By Ash Rogers, executive director, Lwala Community Alliance
The conversation surrounding women and girls’ is certainly changing.
2016 marks a real turning point — a year that ended the tampon tax in several cities across the United States, and saw an Olympian speak openly about her period. It is fitting that during the UN General Assembly, we reflect on menstruation in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and its impact on a young girl’s development.
Let’s start with a story of a Kenyan girl, Grace*. She is 13 years old. Her father died of HIV and her mother struggles to maintain a household of five children. Grace is bright, but has less time to study than her brothers because of expectations that she help with chores.
Photo credit: Lwala Community Alliance
One day, Grace stood up in her class to answer a question. Students around her began snickering and pointing. The teacher shouted at her to leave immediately. She looked down to realize, in horror, that she had blood on her uniform. She ran home, humiliated and concerned that she might be very ill. Later that day, she learned about her period for the first time — not from a parent or teacher, but from a classmate. This same friend pointed out that, since there aren’t latrines or water at school, the simplest option is to stay home while on her period. She also told Grace how some of the older girls would “play sex” with local taxi drivers to get money for sanitary pads.
Around the world, adolescence is a time of crisis and indignity for girls like Grace. In Kenya alone, nearly one million girls miss school because of menstruation, 25 percent of girls do not know that menstruation is connected to childbearing, and very few girls know that it is their human right to refuse transactional sex or that rape is a crime.
In rural Western Kenya, Lwala Community Alliance (Lwala) — in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, and Blood:Water Mission — has developed community-led solutions to the challenges faced by girls like Grace.
First, school management committees across 13 government primary schools created Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene plans, which made it possible to install latrines, water catchment tanks, and hand-washing stations — all of which are critical to helping girls manage their monthly cycles.
Photo credit: Lwala Community Alliance
Education is also key, and as such, communities formed sexual and reproductive health committees that address rights issues, including child protection, gender inequity, transactional sex, and rape. Simultaneously, Lwala trained teacher-mentors to offer education on leadership and reproductive health to boys and girls.
Lwala spurred a spin-off social enterprise called New Visions, which produces uniforms and sanitary pads, and with Johnson & Johnson’s support, Lwala can now provide pads and uniforms for adolescent girls across 13 schools. A partnership with our friends at Afripads allowed Lwala to expand this program in 2016.
Through these initiatives, the ratio of girls graduating from primary school increased from 37 percent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2015. Communities themselves are ensuring that no girl drops out of school or becomes pregnant because they lack the tools to navigate adolescence.
Photo credit: Lwala Community Alliance
Menstruation does indeed matter. It is a healthy, normal part of being a woman, and as such, all women and girls should access all of the interventions needed to manage their cycles and continue life normally. Lwala’s hope for the UN General Assembly is that issues surrounding menstrual hygiene are discussed openly, and that we see more focus on community-led, holistic solutions that keep women and girls safe and healthy.Ash Rogers is the Executive Director of Lwala Community Alliance, a community-driven innovator in Western Kenya. Learn more here. Ash previously served at the Director of Operations for Segal Family Foundation.
Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:38 PM
Via Global Citizen
By Colleen Curry|Jan. 12, 2017
Happy anniversary, India.
Six years ago today, you became polio-free, bringing the world that much closer to eradicating the crippling childhood disease altogether.
India was once considered the most challenging country in the world for eradicating polio because of its incredible density: it has a population of more than 1 billion and critical sanitation issues.
Thirty years ago, before the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began its effort to rout out polio around the world, 200,000 Indian children were diagnosed with polio every year. And just a few years ago, in 2009, India was responsible for over half of all polio cases in the world. The challenge was enormous.
The first polio immunization campaign took place in 1995. Since then, more than 2 million volunteers have swept across the country immunizing India’s next generation, providing
some 12 billion doses of the polio vaccine to Indian children.
In 2011, India had its last case of polio.
Ending polio in India was no easy task; it took a joint effort between government and civil society groups like WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The CORE Group Polio Project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US and Japanese government aid agencies.
Take Action: We’re 0.1% Away from Eradicating Polio for Good
Today, newborns in India receive routine vaccines, a critical step to helping rout out the disease from the population and prevent its reemergence. And now India serves as a model for the three countries where polio remains: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
So congratulations, India, and polio, take note: we’re coming for you in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan in 2017.
Written by Colleen Curry
Colleen Curry is a senior editor at Global Citizen. She has covered domestic and international news for outlets including ABC News, VICE News, and The New York Times, with a particular focus on women's issues, criminal justice, and LGBT rights. She is also pursuing her Master's in Creative Writing, and has had nonfiction published by Sports Illustrated and Marie Claire.
Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:45 PM
In partnership with One Acre Fund, ONE will follow a small community called Luucho in Western Kenya through the agricultural season.
A sense of anxiety looms large in Luucho village. A months-long drought wiped out more than half of the village’s crops, leaving many homes in desperate need of food.
Like most villages in western Kenya, Luucho plants two times a year. Farmers who lost their crops during the first season, when rains failed to arrive between May and June, banked their hopes on the second harvest. But another wave of drought has struck again since last October, dashing all their expectations. Now, withering plants covered in brown dust dance lazily in the light wind, thirsting for the return of rain. There is not much hope to save them – farmers normally harvest their second-season crops in December, and the damage has already been done.
“This has been the strangest year of my life,” says Mary Nekesa, a 55-year-old mother of five. “I depend on farming, but now how am I going to feed my family?”At the start of the season, Mary had huge expectations. She planted a half-acre plot of maize, and like in the past, she hoped to harvest at least 12 bags of grain. Thinking she’d have plenty of food for her family, she had even planned to sell a few extra bags of maize to buy a dairy cow, which she had been longing after for years. But because of the drought, she only harvested two bags—hardly enough to feed her children for two months, let alone buy a cow.
On this morning, Mary is standing in the shallows of Khalaba River, half a mile away from her home. The Khalaba flows between two deeply eroded banks covered in thick vegetation. It’s a tributary to the River Nzoia, which pours its waters into Lake Victoria. The river is Mary’s last lifeline. She swings a small bucket in and out of the water, spewing a blast of wet sand on the river bank with each wave.
“I couldn’t sit and watch my children starve,” Mary says. “The only other way I could provide food for them is by harvesting sand.”
Sand is used for all kinds of things in Kenya’s construction industry, including making bricks and concrete to build houses, bridges, and roads. Drawing sand from the river is backbreaking work for Mary, who needs to fill up a whole truck in order to find customers. She usually sells each load to a middleman for a throw-away price of $10. It’s a lucrative business, but not for Mary. Those middlemen can resell what she has collected for $40 to $50 per truckload.
Harvesting sand is a difficult job, especially in drought. During the rainy season, the waters usually swell up and sweep sand down the river, so that it only takes about a day to draw enough out to fill a truck. With this year’s dry weather, it now takes Mary three days, working from morning until evening.
“I’m not able to sleep much nowadays,” says Mary, who rises as early as 3 a.m. each day, because the thought of her hungry children disturbs her sleep. “Every evening at dinner, I sit and watch as my children eat. The thought that if I don’t work harder the following day my children might sleep hungry fills me with fear. I will do anything to make sure my children have food.”
Sand harvesting is an activity mostly carried out by men, and as the only female sand harvester in Luucho, Mary has raised mixed reactions in the village. While some men respect her courage and strength, others feel she is competing for a man’s job, or that her body will soon fail from exertion. However, most women in Luucho are motivated by Mary’s willingness to take up this kind of work.
“We were all shocked when we saw Mary harvesting sand. She is like a man!” says Felistus Nanjala, Mary’s friend and neighbour. “I feel very encouraged by her commitment to take up this work in order to take care of her family.”
Mary says she won’t stop her work, even when the rains return. With her children in school, she is in need of money all year round, and she hopes her new job will provide enough to supplement her income from farming.
After a full day at the river, Mary walks along a narrow dirt path to her home. She picks up a hoe and starts clearing weeds from her farm. Although it is still some time before her next planting season, Mary wants to be ready when the next drop of rain lands in Luucho.
One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, they invest in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. One Acre Fund provides a complete service bundle of seeds and fertiliser, financing, training, and market facilitation—and delivers these services within walking distance of the 400,000 rural farmers they serve. They measure success in their ability to make farmers more prosperous and they always put Farmers First.
Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:47 PM
Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 2,000 towns and villages were evacuated. Many residents who had to make a hasty departure had to leave behind their most personal belongings. They were told they would be back within days but they would never return.
This Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl is known locally as ‘Death Valley’.
Via Chernobyl Children International
Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:49 PM
This event will celebrate the professional practice of music therapy in Ireland. The MA Music Therapy at UL is the only qualification in music therapy in Ireland and this event will present the diversity of music therapy practice being delivered across Ireland and abroad, featuring well-established and high quality evidence based work. Research excellence in Ireland in the field of music therapy will also be featured. Keynote speakers include Dr Wendy Magee and Dr Julie Sutton.
This symposium will appeal to anyone interested in the profession of music therapy. It will service as continuing professional development for music therapists, health and social care professionals and community musicians and will also be of interest to researchers and academics interested in the role of arts on health and well-being.
Via Music Generation
Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:53 PM
Via Global Citizen
Jan. 12, 2017
By Mikaela Hildebrand, Aram Barra, and Patrick Louis B. Angeles for UNAIDS
The appointment of Antonio Guterres as the next United Nations Secretary-General (SG) could potentially usher in a new era of how the world approaches drugs and the people who use them.
During Guterres’ term as Prime Minister of Portugal (1995-2002), he pushed for a nationwide decriminalization of use of all drugsfor personal consumption and put in place a comprehensive strategy to reduce drug-related harm through a framework based on public health rather than criminal justice. After Spain and Italy, Portugal became the third member of the European Union to follow such a framework. For the past 16 years, Portugal has stayed on this path and, today, has much to share with the world when it comes to drug policy reform. How will the new SG bring these lessons home to the UN?
Prior to the reform, people who used drugs and others caught in possession with illegal drugs would face imprisonment. Once the law changed and illicit drug use stopped being prosecuted, however, the government hosted so-called “dissuasion commissions” that aimed to inform people and dissuade them from drug use. This new approach was also reflected by placing the commissions under the Ministry of Health, rather than the Ministry of Justice.
“Actions for decreasing drug demand as well as coping with dependence were to be part of health policy and not criminal justice,” according to the Open Society Foundation. With this, the official response toward drug users shifted from viewing them as criminals to treating them as patients.”
Interestingly, dissuasion commissions helped both to relieve the criminal justice system and re-categorize small drug possession as a low-level administrative fault. This led to a reduction in the number of people detained and sent to criminal court for drug offenses, from over 14,000 in year 2000, to in between 5,500 and 6,000 per year once the policy came into force.
More importantly, in our view, are the implications that Guterres’ drug reform had on public health. During over a decade of implementation, Portugal saw the number of drug-related HIV infections decrease by 99%, and levels of drug use in the country fell below the European average. Moreover, following decriminalization, drug use among adolescents decreased for several years. Aggregate drug use rates declined over a 15 year period, and today the number of deaths because of drug overdose in Portugal is one of the lowest in the European Union.
The success of adopting a public health approach to drugs, as directed by Guterres in Portugal, offers great potential for him, as the new Secretary General, to bring these lessons to the United Nations. The leadership that the SG may show to Member States can, in turn, help shape a new era of smarter and better drug policy, urgent in many countries around the world. Three countries will illustrate why: Sweden, Mexico and the Philippines.
In Sweden, the overarching vision of drug policy is to create a drug-free society. The cornerstones of the policy have been prevention, law-enforcement and abstinence-based treatment. Sweden, previously criticized by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights for violating the human rights of people who use drugs through its harsh and restrictive approach to drugs and the people who use them, is finally heeding global guidance, evidence, and best-practice.
At the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, Sweden along with other European countries made a statement in support of harm reduction. The national guidelines for opioid substitution therapy (OST) were updated in 2016 and some of the strictest regulations were loosened. This included removing the requirement of one year documented injecting drug use to qualify for treatment and initiating self-management of medication at three months instead of six. Still, this three month rule only applies if the patient is assessed as stable, which means they come every day to pick up their dose at a given time, and does not test positive for any other illicit drug. The availability, accessibility and quality of opioid substitution therapy remains a major challenge, due to the permeation of an ideology of punishment and control.
Another key intervention part of the UN’s recommended comprehensive harm-reduction package are needle and syringe programmes (NSPs). While NSPs are now available in at least eight of Sweden’s cities, there is no programme in Sweden’s second largest city Göteborg. In Sweden, health is decentralized to regional governments. However, in accordance with the law regulating NSP, local government has a right to veto the establishment of NSPs in the municipality, which has been the case in Göteborg. In stark contrast, the NSP programme in Malmö turns 30 next year. Finally in March this year, the local Government, after pressure from the central Government and other actors, decided to allow the establishment of an NSP. But local politicians interviewed after the vote stressed that their position had not changed. They want to offer a way out of drug use, not provide the tools to continue using drugs. All the while, HIV prevalence is estimated at 7% and about 800 people who inject drugs are newly infected with hepatitis-C every year in Sweden. NSPs are a proven prevention intervention for both of these infections.
Drug-related deaths in Sweden are among the highest in Europe. Yet, Naloxone, a would-be take home prescription-free antidote to drug overdose, is currently only available in hospitals and through emergency services. In 2014, WHO recommended that “that people who are likely to witness an opioid overdose, including people who use opioids, and their family and friends should be given access to naloxone and training. ” There is a pilot study in the pipeline to distribute the Naloxone nasal spray to people who use drugs and their networks in Malmö and their friends and family to prove effectiveness and there has been a request for a license to supply the drug in Stockholm. But no national programme is planned.
Much more is needed to protect the health and human rights of people who use drugs in Sweden. And while the number of young people who have ever tried to use drugs in Sweden remains low, the key statistic often paraded by the Government as the indicator of success of Swedish drug policy, it cannot justify an approach that continues to cause human rights infringements with the consequence of exceptionally high mortality and morbidity among people who use drugs in Sweden.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, the worldwide-known case of the Ayotzinapa mass disappearance of 43 students and the massacre in Tlatlaya, which saw a crackdown on drug users as criminals by soldiers, reflect the failures of war as a tactic against drugs. The militarization of Mexico’s approach to drug laws has resulted in violence from illegal drug trading that has caused the deaths of over 100,000 people, 20,000 disappearances, and approximately 50,000 children losing either one or both of their parents.
The approach taken by the Mexican government has overwhelmingly failed to deter young people from using drugs. At the 2000-mile US-Mexico border, Mexican drug cartels recruit numerous young Latinos in Southern California to smuggle drugs and engage in other illicit drug-related activities. As a result, the leading cause of death for young people has been homicide. The war on drugs has also resulted in other negative externalities like enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture, forced internal displacement, and death.
During the armed clashes that took place between 2008-2010 in Mexico, the Federal Police had a fatality rate of 2.6 -that is, in the clashes that involved the police, 2.6 suspects died for each one who was injured. The fatality rate for the Mexican Army is 9.1 and Navy’s is 17 deaths for each wounded.
The rise in the incidence of homicides in Mexico since 2006, when Felipe Calderón decided to use the Mexican Army to fight drug traffickers, is unprecedented for a country that is not in formal war. Indeed, as elaborated in a recent article in The Lancet, the epidemic of violence unleashed by the policy of zero tolerance and drug prohibition has even had a negative impact on the projection of life expectancy. Another study shows that, in the period 2008-2010, the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico (one of the states most affected by drug - related violence), young men saw their life expectancy reduced by 5 years. As The Lancet concludes, no other country in Latin America -and very few in the world- has experienced so rapid a mortality growth in such a short time.
Lastly, in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has waged an all-out campaign against illegal drugs. Since 1 July, over 6,268 people have been killed in the war on drugs, about 2,219 of whom were killed during police operations. Prisons stand at 380% occupancy. Moreover, data on the total number of drug users, the number of users needing treatment, the types of drugs being consumed and the prevalence of drug-related crime is exaggerated or doesn’t exist.
President Duterte has referred to innocent people and children as “collateral damage” in his quest to eradicate drugs. Seldom discussed is the rising rates of HIV among people who inject drugs. Although needle sharing still comprises a small portion of the total number of HIV cases since 1984 (4.5%), 99% of these were detected in the past 6 years alone. In Cebu, one of the few regions where people who inject drugs have accessed HIV testing, HIV prevalence has increased significantly from less than 1% in 2009 to 53.82% in 2011. As Philippine drug laws still criminalize possession of drug paraphernalia, clean needle programs are not possible. An Operations Research was attempted to explore clean needle distribution in 2014, but this was shut down a mere 5 months into its intended 2-year run.
The case of Portugal, in stark contrast to those of Sweden, Mexico and the Philippines, offers an opportunity for the incoming UN Secretary-General Guterres to positively influence and innovate global drug policy. The effective policymaking he guided during his time in the Government of Portugal stands as the persuasive testament that can help shape how UN Member States promote human rights for all, including for people who use drugs.
Mikaela Hildebrand is a member of Harm Reduction Sweden. She has worked some 10 years in global health and has a masters in human rights from the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University. Together with Niklas Eklund from Stockholm's drug-users union, she is the co-editor of the anthology: Deadly dogma: a new path for Swedish drug policy (2017) to be published this spring by Verbal Förlag in Sweden
Aram Barra is a bachelor in international studies and a masters on public policy and public administration from New York University and University College London. He has completed drug policy and human rights studies at the Central European University. He currently works as an independent consultant on human rights, citizen security and public health in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Patrick Louis B. Angeles, Policy & Research at NoBox Philippines, advocates for harm reduction and drug policies that are based on good evidence and human rights in the Philippines. He dreams of a world where he doesn't have to advocate for these anymore, because they're just accepted as best practice.
Posted 13 January 2017 - 05:51 PM
Sheryl Sandberg, thank you. We will be proud to deliver your name on March 8, alongside the names of all the women and men speaking out for girls’ education.
Education is everything — but in the poorest countries girls are denied it far more often than boys. If the number of girls who are out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet.
When girls receive an education, it opens up a life full of choice and opportunity. We must not squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases, end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry — or to bring us closer to an equal world. Girls can't afford to miss out on the opportunities that come with an education, and the world can't afford to miss out on their great ideas.
As Malala has said, “One child, one book, and one pen can change the world.” We can all come together to ensure that every girl has a chance to go to school and receives a quality education once she's there. That's why I've signed my name toONE's campaign letter which will be delivered to world leaders on International Women's Day this spring. Add yours: http://bit.ly/2ibp0og
Posted 13 January 2017 - 06:09 PM
Posted 13 January 2017 - 06:14 PM
Via Global Citizen
By Phineas Rueckert|Jan. 13, 2017
It’s been a busy few weeks for Planned Parenthood’s president and chief executive, Cecile Richards.
Two days after revealing to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the healthcare organization has seen a 900% increase in women scheduling appointments to get an IUD, she appeared on "The Daily Show" with Trevor Noah Thursday night armed with some dramatic statistics about women’s access to healthcare in the United States.
“We’re at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy in America,” Richards said. “We’re at a historic low for teenage pregnancy in America, and that’s largely because women have better access to family planning.”
Planned Parenthood, according to its website, provides healthcare to 2.5 million people each year at 650 healthcare centers across the country, and 80% of the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for contraceptive and other care live below the federal poverty line, according to The Nation.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said that the Republican Party plans to remove federal funding from the organization. However, this initiative faces conservative opposition in Congress from the likes of Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), CNN reports.
In her Daily Show appearance, Richards stressed that Planned Parenthood offers services to a diverse population of Americans, and not just Democrats.
“Women’s need for healthcare, it’s not a partisan issue,” she said. “The women who come to Planned Parenthood, they’re Republicans, they’re Democrats, they’re independents. They’re not coming to make a political statement. They’re coming because they need high-quality, affordable health care and that’s what we provide.”
She went on to speak more broadly about the Republican initiative to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which could leave 20 million people without healthcare coverage.
“I think it’s important to understand, it’s not only that they want to end access to Planned Parenthood, they want to end access to care for a lot of folks in this country,” she said. “I believe it’s going to cause a healthcare crisis.”
Richards, however, is not discouraged.
“I’m energized,” she told Noah on Thursday.
As the fight over Planned Parenthood and other healthcare services heats up in Congress, women living in poverty will be most directly affected, and their voices need to be heard now more than ever.
Let’s hope Richards continues to direct her energy to their needs.
Written by Phineas Rueckert
Phineas Rueckert is a writer at Global Citizen. He graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Political Science and International Studies, and spent the past year teaching English in Toulouse, France. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.
Posted 13 January 2017 - 06:24 PM
January 12 2017 | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
All children deserve a good education. But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. That’s why ONE is organizing people across the country and around the world to help ensure that girls and women are at the heart of our poverty-fighting strategy by promoting their access to education.
Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Those 130 million girls have the potential to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry… or simply access opportunity. When girls get an education, they are less likely to become child brides, less likely to contract HIV, and they have greater economic opportunities for the rest of their lives — which is good for everyone.
Join us on calling on world leaders to increase the number of girls in school by millions. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one the world needs to strive to reach.
A letter to leaders—
You couldn’t be where you are today without a good education.
But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. Indeed, if the number of girls out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet – bigger than Japan or Germany.
All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys. Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country.
We cannot afford to squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionize an industry… or simply to access opportunity.
We are coming together and uniting across our divides to get every girl into school and to make sure she gets a quality education once she’s there.
But we need you to do the same.
Your education helped you to get where you are today – and it is in your power to help millions of girls to get theirs. Please act now, with the right policies and the necessary funds.
Show us that politics can work for the people – starting with the people who need it most.
This letter has already been signed by influential figures across a number of fields: business, faith, technology, activism, entertainment, and more. They come from different backgrounds and hold different views, but they all agreed that this issue is vitally important. We sincerely thank each one of them for lending their influence to getting girls around the world the education they deserve:Afrikan Boy Alice Callahan Thompson Aliko Dangote Alyse Nelson Amena Brown Angelique Kidjo Arianna Huffington Asa Ashley Graham Ashley Judd Banky W Baroness Verma Blake Lively Bob Geldof Bono Bumi Thomas Carey Lowell Cathy Newman Charlize Theron Christina Lamb Cindi Leive Dan Haseltine Danai Gurira David Burtka David Oyelowo Hon. Desmond Elliot Diamond Ertharin Cousin George Stroumboulopoulos Guido Schmidt-Traub Helen Clark Helene Gayle HHP Isla Fisher Jane Mosbacher Morris Jessica Oyelowo Jessica Sipos Joe Cerrell John Green Karen Kornbluh Karen Walrond Kathy Calvin Kobna Holdbrook-Smith Lady Gaga Laura Ling Lauren Bush Lauren Larry Summers Leymah Gbowee Mabel van Oranje Maria Russo Marian Salzman Matt Maher Meghan Markle Michael Gerson Michael W. Smith Michele Sullivan Morton H. Halperin Natalie Portman Montel Williams Moriah Peters Muntu Valdo Neil Patrick Harris Paul Polman Rachel Rudwall Rashida Jones Robin Wright Ryan Reynolds Sacha Baron Cohen Sarah Brown Selmor Mtukudzi Sheryl Sandberg Sheryl WuDunn Steve Taylor Susan Markham Susan Wojcicki Tanya Burr Tina Brown Tom Brady Toolz Vanessa Mdee Victoria Kimani Waje Yemi Alade
… And now it’s your turn. It’s in your power RIGHT NOW to help girls across the globe get access to an education in the next four years. If you care, ACT. Add your name to our letter, and we’ll deliver it in-person to leaders all around the world on International Women’s Day, March 8.
Via ONE, ONE Girls and Women
Posted 14 January 2017 - 09:39 AM
Calestous Juma is a Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard Kennedy School and author who specialises in African agriculture. In 2015 he released the second edition of his book, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, which posits that Africa can not only feed itself within a generation, but can also become a key player in reducing global food insecurity.
According to Juma, 60% of the world’s arable land is in Africa, 60% of employment on the continent is directly related to agriculture, and almost half of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is related to agriculture, yet roughly 83% of the food consumed in Africa is imported. These statistics clearly demonstrate that Africa has the potential to become food secure AND be an agricultural powerhouse — what can the continent do to make this happen?
As ONE’s 2014 Ripe for Change report showed, increasing agricultural production is not simply a matter of finding a spare tract of land and planting seeds. Any improvements to the agricultural sector will require smart investments and coordination amongst all stakeholders. High level coordination between African leaders and department ministers is one key to developing a sustainable, functioning sector. The large-scale and long-term success of the continent’s agriculture hinges on the ability of leaders and ministers to coordinate development and delivery of the entire food system, from irrigation systems, transportation and infrastructure improvements, to education programmes, food processing facilities, trade partnerships, and technological advancements in key regions across the continent.
For this coordination to be impactful in the long term, subsequent political leaders would need to heed dedicated attention to the sector and ensure that it remains a top priority.
At a grassroots level, Juma emphasised the importance of providing access for small scale farmers to training that uses specific, localised knowledge in order to produce robust and high-yielding crops saying, ‘land does not produce food, farmers produce food’. Educated farmers, he said, have a better chance of producing increased yields, leading to improved economic and food security because they are empowered and able to make informed decisions when planting, tending to, and harvesting crops.
In addition to how much farmers are producing, what farmers are growing is also of significant importance. Juma writes, ‘Achieving food security depends not only on increasing production but also on improving nutrition,’. Historically, African governments have placed a heavy focus on increasing yields, which can sometimes address hunger, but without additional nutrition benefits. With many Africans subsisting on grain-heavy diets, populations are missing out on the benefits of protein, iron, and other vitamin-rich foods that crop diversification could provide. Good nutrition is especially critical in the first 1,000 days to avoid the permanent mental and physical stunting that is costing up to 16% of GDP through lost potential. By improving conditions for pastoralists, integrating non-traditional crops, and fortifying current crops, markets and subsistence farmers could gain better access to more nutritious options.
Strengthening and growing Africa’s agricultural sector is an astoundingly large and complex project, but the rewards reaped would be priceless. If the continent could produce a thriving agricultural economy, citizens would benefit from better food security and nutrition levels, not to mention improved buying power and new work opportunities. The establishment of the continent’s agricultural sector may be the turning point for its development as a whole.
A great number of communities across the continent currently struggle with food insecurity due to a litany of factors including climate change, poor infrastructure, low economic statuses, and political instability.The time for African leaders to come together and deliver on their 2014 Malabo Declaration promises is now. We look forward to the 2017 Malabo progress report.
Posted 14 January 2017 - 07:19 PM
CITIZENSHIP Israeli Arabs and Jews told to kiss, what happens next is beautiful
By Joe McCarthy|Jan. 13, 2016
Can unconditional love end the Israeli, Palestinian conflict?
In short, yes. Unconditional love would end the conflict.
But how do enemies summon love of that kind? Love that transcends history and defies cultural learning?
Not all Israeli Jews hate Arabs and not all Israeli Arabs hate Jews. This is obvious. In fact, the majority of people are not filled with hatred. But hatred is so belligerent that it seems larger than it is and can overwhelm the reasonable.
In the video above, Time Out Israel tried to counter extreme hatred with extreme love. It was inspired when the Israeli government banned a book--Borderlife by Dorit Rabinyan--depicting a love story between an Israeli translator and a Palestinian artist.
The book was banned because the Ministry of Education thought it might threaten a young person's understanding of assimilation, which is code for: Israeli Arabs and Jews do not belong together.
This is a false idea. Israeli Arabs and Jews coexist peacefully all over the place and many Israeli Arabs and Jews love one another--nothing is wrong about this.
So to make this reality clearer, Time Out invited Israeli Arabs and Jews to kiss in protest.
Some of the participants knew one another, others were strangers.
The set is bare: just woman and man, woman and woman or man and man.
It's awkward at first, but the couples gradually become comfortable and their interaction blends into something beautiful. The video is a challenge to extremism everywhere. It's a challenge to the idea that only more fighting can end the fighting, that only more bloodshed will work. It's a challenge to the idea that just because you are born in a specific country or into a religion means you have to regard another country or religion with hate.
And eventually this challenge will win. Because hatred is never natural. It can always be conquered by love.
Written by Joe McCarthy
Joe McCarthy is a Content Creator at Global Citizen. He believes apathy is the biggest threat to creating a more just world and tries his hardest to stay open-minded and curious. Living in New York keeps him aware of how interconnected our world is, how every action has ripples.
Edited by tan_lejos_tan_cerca, 14 January 2017 - 07:19 PM.