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Corda Connections 2017: a creative music camp for young string players

Corda Connections 2017: a creative music camp for young string players

For a second successive year, Music Generation Louth presents Corda Connections – a creative music camp designed to give young string players of all ages and abilities the chance to learn and collaborate with musicians from Music Generation Louth and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

The camp takes place from 14 to 16 August 2017, 10am to 3pm daily, at the PJ Carroll Building, DkIT (Dundalk IT).

Together, participants will enjoy an opportunity to arrange, create, and improvise their own music, develop skills in small group and full ensemble performance, and connect with other young string players from the county.

For a flavour of what to expect at this year's camp, look back on the video captured during Corda Connections 2016: 



Corda Connections caters for young classical strings and fiddle players aged 8 to 18 years – from those just starting out on their journey or instrumental learning to the very experienced looking to develop new skills. All participants will be grouped according to their age, ability and interests.

Participation costs €25 per musician, and enrolment is now open online at the Music Generation Louth website.

Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Early booking is advised.

For more information about Corda Connections and to apply, contact:

Eamonn Quinn, Music Generation Louth
e: equinn@lmetb.ie
t: +353 42 93 64635
musicgenerationlouth.ie

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JULY 28, 2017

66.7% of the Republican Senators to Kill Health Care Repeal Were Women

“No second thoughts at all. None.”

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Arizona Sen. John McCain made a brave and bold return to Congress this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer. The senator is making headlines for casting the deciding vote against his own party’s “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, just days after voting to send the bill to a Senate vote on Tuesday.

Take Action: Sign The Petition To Stand For US Foreign Assistance

While McCain’s vote was crucial in preventing the legislation from passing, two senators played an equally important role in opposing the bill that would have stripped healthcare benefits from 16 million Americans.

Those two senators are Maine’s Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

In just 24 hours, these two women voted no three times on their own party’s attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

On two separate occasions, Collins and Murkowski cast the sole “no” votes on the healthcare bill before McCain joined in on Friday morning. But as women in Congress, Collins and Murkowski’s perspectives are already in a substantial minority on a daily basis.

Women comprise a stark minority in the 100-person Senate: there are just 21 women in the Senate overall — five Republicans and 16 Democrats.

Read More: 5 Times John McCain Proved He’s a Global Citizen This Year

Despite hailing from opposite corners of the nation, both Collins and Murkowski viewed the healthcare bill as detrimental to their constituents and America as a whole.

“I want greater access and lower costs. So far, I'm not seeing that happen,” Murkowski told Vox in mid-June.

Murkowski’s home state of Alaska bears the highest healthcare costs in America, and thousands of Alaskans rely on the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

Like the Alaska senator, Collins refused to a push through a bill that she believed would limit Americans’ access to healthcare

"I cannot support a bill that is going to result in tens of millions of people losing their health insurance,” she told MSNBC last month, “I am worried about the impact on people who are very vulnerable.”

The pair’s commitment to “walking the walk”  has not come without backlash. President Donald Trump took to Twitter, claiming Murkowski “really let the Republicans, and our country down yesterday.”

The Maine Senator was also targeted as a result of her opposition to the bill. The Associated Press reported that Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold singled out Collins, blaming the party’s lack of progress in repealing and replacing Obamacare on “some female senators from the Northeast.”  

Read More: How the First Latina Senator Is Fighting Lack of Diversity in Congress

“If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he said.

It is no wonder Collins and Murkowski disagree with the healthcare replacement bill — they, along with every other female senator, were not included in the group of 13 men that originally drafted the bill.

While they may have been excluded from the initial stages of the bill’s drafting, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were the driving forces behind its ultimate failure.

And, it appears, they’re not going to back down now.

When asked if she had second-thoughts on her vote, Murkowski was crystal clear:  “No second thoughts at all. None.”

Avery is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. She attends the University of Michigan and writes for the music beat of the Michigan Daily. She lives to connect with people from all walks of life and believes in the power of narrative to change minds and expand perspective. Avery aims to live her life with empathy and intention.

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JULY 28, 2017

The Really Good Reason There Are 700 Bears on This Cathedral in London

St Paul's Cathedral is no stranger to visitors — but they aren’t usually quite so furry.

refugeebearsedit_07.jpgMatt Crossick/PA Wire via World Vision
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Hundreds of toy bears have been arranged on the steps of London’s most iconic cathedral to raise awareness of child refugees fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. 

Every one of the 700 bears represents one of the unaccompanied, separated, and at-risk children who are crossing South Sudan’s border into Uganda every week. 

A growing but underreported refugee crisis is threatening Uganda, which is home to largest refugee settlement camp in the world — named Bidi Bidi. 

READ MORE: George Clooney is Shedding Light on the Crisis No One is Talking About

St Paul's Cathedral Bears World Vision 2Image: Matt Crossick/PA Wire via World Vision

“In a gentle way, we’re trying to highlight something that is incredibly serious,” said Tim Pilkington, CEO of World Vision UK, the charity behind Thursday’s #BearsonStairs publicity campaign. 

“Due to hunger and conflict in South Sudan, close to a million people have fled to Uganda. It’s the children that are the most vulnerable, and the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable are those children who have been separated from their family. 

“They’ve fled awful situations, and yet they’re alone.”

 

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He added: “This is a silent tragedy that needs to become more public.” 

Psychologists and child welfare experts who work in the Bidi Bidi and Imvepi refugee settlements of Uganda say nearly all children arriving in the country are in need of psychological first aid. 

Most of these children have suffered and witnessed terrible brutality as the civil war in South Sudan intensifies. 

READ MORE: Here’s What People Eat in Food-Insecure Africa

Bears St Paul's Cathedral World Vision 3Image: Matt Crossick/PA Wire via World Vision

“Game of Thrones” actor Liam Cunningham witnessed the reality of life in these refugee camps, after visiting Uganda with World Vision. 

“I have watched the war weary and hungry from South Sudan arrive into a welcoming Uganda,” he said. 

“They are images I won’t soon forget. I urge the international community to move quickly to share responsibility for this crisis. Those that say it’s not our problem, are the problem.” 

Imogen is content writer & editor at Global Citizen UK. A former global news journalist, Imogen has been flitting from Australia to Spain to India since graduating from the University of Warwick. She's also trying to read all the Booker Prize winners, so wish her luck because there are loads.

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JULY 28, 2017

5 Times John McCain Proved He’s a Global Citizen This Year

The Senator is fighting a personal battle, now.

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Last Wednesday, it was revealed that 80 year-old US senator and Navy veteran John McCain has a life-threatening form of brain cancer from a glioblastoma tumor.

Today, McCain cast a critical vote against his party’s proposed “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act – a plan that could have stripped 16 million more Americans of healthcare within the next ten years.

While he put a temporary end to the divisive (and possibly destructive) congressional health care battle, the Arizona senator’s fight with cancer is just beginning.

Sen. McCain is no stranger to extreme adversity, though. He survived more than five years in captivity as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after his plane was shot down. After miraculously surviving the brutal conditions of captivity, he went on to regain his naval flight status, and then to serve more than thirty years in the Senate, ultimately running as the republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election.

Take Action: Sign The Petition To Stand For US Foreign Assistance

In honor of McCain’s service and in high-hopes that he will make a full recovery, here are four times in the past year that Senator McCain proved that he’s not just an American hero, but a Global Citizen too.


1. When he urged the US to maintain its dedication to global human rights

 

In an impassioned New York Times op-ed, McCain advocated to keep morality as a central tenet of American foreign policy.

“We are a country with a conscience,” he wrote, “We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it.”

“Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in,” he went on.

He reminded Americans that human rights transcend borders.

“America didn’t invent human rights. Those rights are common to all people: nations, cultures, and religions cannot choose to simply opt out of them.”

Read More: These Members of Congress Are Saying ‘No’ to Foreign Aid Budget Cuts


2. When he recognized the severity of the Syrian crisis, and criticized America’s complacency

 

McCain Wrote a searing opinion piece in the Washington Post in December of 2016 calling out the US for being complicit in the “tragedy” of the Syrian conflict.

He criticized the U.S. for not acting swiftly or quickly enough to prevent the violence which he believes will rest in history next to the “moral failure and everlasting shame” of mass genocides like Rwanda.


3. When he spoke out on the severity of climate change

 

In May, McCain spoke in Sydney, Australia about the ominous perils of climate change, specifically naming the death of the Great Barrier Reef as one of the “great tragedies of our lives.”

“I think that climate change is real,” he stated frankly, and went on to express his support of America upholding its commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, which President Trump proceeded to withdraw the nation from soon after.


4. When he wrote a memo to congress opposing Trump’s proposed foreign aid budget cuts

 

McCain wrote a joint memo to congress with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential running mate Tim Kaine expressing the importance of foreign aid to the maintenance of global peace and national security alike.

“Such cuts will make it harder to make America safer. They will deprive the world of the full array of American political and moral leadership when it has never been more needed.”

Despite his military history and the Trump administration’s proposed cut in foreign aid, McCain defended the methods of diplomacy and humanitarian assistance in foreign relations. Speaking from experience, he wrote “helping other nations overcome their challenges was a much less expensive way to prevent and subdue threats to our interests than risking our soldiers’ lives to defend them.”

McCain has shown his dedication to fighting adversity around the world. Now, we all stand behind him as he fights this personal battle with cancer.


5. When he cast the decisive vote to stop an estimated 16 million Americans from losing healthcare

 

Early on July 28th, McCain made a game-changing decision on the Senate floor. The senator, with a large scar above his left eye, joined fellow Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in voting “no” on their party’s proposed plan to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report estimating that the plan would have left 16 million Americans uninsured in the next 10 years.

Despite his health, McCain made his original triumphant return to the Senate just days before voting down the healthcare bill. On Tuesday, the Senator controversially voted to move forward with bill negotiations before delivering an impassioned speech, asking his colleagues across the aisle to learn to “trust each other again.”

But after his pivotal “no” vote Friday, he is sticking to that same no-nonsense message of unification.

“We should not make the mistakes of the past...we must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to the committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle,” he wrote in a statement released after the vote.

“We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

Read More: 'I Could See All These Little Eyes Looking Up at Me': The Disturbing Encounter That Led Cindy McCain to Fight Human Trafficking

Avery is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. She attends the University of Michigan and writes for the music beat of the Michigan Daily. She lives to connect with people from all walks of life and believes in the power of narrative to change minds and expand perspective. Avery aims to live her life with empathy and intention.

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Changing the Record

5 August 2017
Norwich

An inclusive night of music and performing arts

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We all have the right to access mainstream live music, events and stay out late.

Come along to our free and fun-filled evening of live music, performance and DJs to raise awareness of learning disability and promote inclusive events.  

Show up and show your support. 

Line-up

We have a jam-packed line-up of local talent in store for you:

  • Open Norwich Youth Trust will have a varied performance from contemporary dance groups, a street dance group, a singing group and a solo artist.
  • Thalia Theatre Company will be performing a piece that celebrates the coming together of people who face a variety of exclusion.
  • Norwich Proclaimers will bring some live music
  • Youth Killed It, our headline act is a local 5-piece indie band who describe themselves as ‘like Blur but more urgh’. Recently involved in appearances with BBC Introducing Norfolk, they are sure to be a hit, so do not miss it!
  • DJ sets from local resident DJ of the AJ’s Club, DJ Toby. AJ’s Club is a club night that runs once a month at Open Norwich and is for people with a learning disability.

There will also be a market place area with a variety of activities and information from local providers including:

  • Thalia Theatre Company
  • BUILD
  • The Garage
  • Musical Keys
  • NANSA
  • Assist Trust
  • Independence Matters

Event details

  • Date: Saturday 5 August 2017
  • Time: 6-11pm
  • Address: Open Norwich, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich, NR2 4SF
  • Cost: Free (attendees must be 16+)

Book a place

The event is free, so you can just turn up! You can also pre-book places to make sure you get a space by filling in our online booking form. If you have any questions, please email emily.flores-gutierrez@mencap.org.uk

Spread the word

We want to spread the word far and wide - everyone is welcome to our event. We hope to pave the way for many more inclusive nights like this one. You can help us by tweeting about the event with the hashtag #CTRNorwich.

We hope to see you there!

Book a place at Changing the Record

 

Book a place or let us know if you have any special requirements.

 

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How internet access is making a BIG difference at this primary school in Kenya
1388
TECHNOLOGY

How internet access is making a BIG difference at this primary school in Kenya

December 13 2016 | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO

 
   

The generator comes back to life with a loud rumble, and a cheer rings through the classroom as the computer screens flicker back on. Break time has only just finished at Kibiko Primary School, but there is a scramble among the children to log onto their computers. The lesson is about to start, and they can’t wait.

computer-class-kibiko

“I’ve noticed a change in attitude. The children used to be intimidated by subjects like math, but now it’s fun for them and they look forward to their time in the lab,” says Nelius Njiru, who teaches math, science, and Swahili at Kibiko.

Kibiko is one of 205 primary schools across four Kenyan counties to be part of the iMlango program, which aims to improve education by delivering internet access, computer labs, smartcard-based attendance monitoring, and online learning tools to primary school children.

The iMlango platform offers one-on-one math tuition and allows students to access a wealth of online content, including English lessons, African stories with a social message, and life skills training.

7th-form-students

Importantly, it also allows schools to collect accurate attendance data through sQuid Android tablets and contactless cards.

“Monitoring attendance and talking to parents and the community has helped us understand the reasons behind some children missing school so frequently,” says Patricia Wawira Ndwiga, the teacher in charge of iMlango at the school.

teacher-patricia

And, while simply making class more fun with iMlango’s interactive lesson plans is enough to entice some children back to school, others have more serious reasons for missing class.

“I used to stay at home sometimes because we didn’t have food or I could not wash my uniform,” says Silvia, a Kibiko 7th grader who puts into words an experience that is common for many girls in Kenya. In some communities, when families are unable to cover the costs of their children’s education, the girls are usually the first to pay the price of poverty and stay home.

“Some people here think that girls should work, not study,” says Joan, a 7th-grade student. “When girls are educated they can achieve a lot for themselves and also help their community.” Some of the other girls in the classroom—who want to be neurosurgeons, lecturers, and journalists when they grow up—nod their heads in agreement.

one-of-the-girls-during-computer-class

To help girls achieve a quality education, iMlango has also started offering financial incentives to the most underprivileged families. Five dollars are uploaded every fortnight onto a pink plastic smartcard, which is usually given to the women in the family and can only be used with selected merchants.

“My mother can buy soap and food with the pink card, and it helps a lot,” says Silvia. “I never miss school anymore.”

iMlango, which is supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology and delivered by four companies working in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), has already impacted the lives of 68,000 girls across Kenya.

And its impact is not limited to academic subjects. The program offers a variety of after-school activities, such as debate club and a tree club, where students can plant trees and learn about the environment. Girls especially are encouraged to work on issues affecting them and come up with their own projects, which they can then share with other schools in the network. For example, girls from a school in Makweni have created content on the importance of hand washing and good hygiene. At Kibiko, Silvia and her friends compete in the national debate competitions and, through the school’s girls’ club, have learned how to administer first aid and make healthy juices.

While the girls at Kibiko, like at many other schools around the world, face unique obstacles to their right to education, innovative programs like iMlango, together with the girls’ determination to rise above these obstacles, is giving them a chance to achieve their goals.

students-at-kibiko-primary

“It has given us a lot of confidence because we know that our computer, math, and English skills are as good as anyone else’s. We really know how to express ourselves now,” says Joan.

The teachers agree. According to Nelius, “iMlango is doing wonders for our children.”

Access to the internet isn’t a luxury—it’s life-changing. SIGN NOW and tell world leaders to commit to bringing connection to the least developed countries.

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JULY 27, 2017

250,000 Women in Office by 2030. This Group Is Making It Happen

She Should Run is fighting the good fight.

Phineas Rueckert

By Phineas Rueckert

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

womens-march-dc-2.jpgFlickr/Mobilus In Mobili
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Around the world, fewer than one-quarter of lawmakers are women — an imbalance in representation that affects how laws are crafted and passed and how equality is created in societies. Global Citizen’s series, “Who Run The Gov? Girls!”  chronicles the massive uptick in women running for office, regardless of political party, in the US and around the world, highlighting the candidates and the groups helping them to run, the challenges they face, advice & tips for running, and the results.

Who Run The Gov_Logo_Color.png


In 2016, a woman ran for president and lost. Little did the world know that loss would catalyze a movement much bigger than one candidate, or even one country. 

Now, one organization is capitalizing on the momentum started by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Jan. 21 Women’s March. 

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

She Should Run , a nonprofit that aims to increase female participation in politics, has a bold vision. The organization wants half of the country’s estimated 500,000 elected political representatives — at a local and national level — to be women, by 2030.  

Called 250Kby2030, the campaign launched last Tuesday.

It’s got its work cut out for it. According to HuffPost, only 25% of the 500,000 elected positions nationwide are currently held by women, which means the organization is hoping to flip about 125,000 seats in the next 13 years. 

AP_16314601826441_hillary clinton concession speech AP Photo Andrew Harnik.jpgImage: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Their tactic for bridging this gap? Inspiring confidence in women through mentorship, fundraising, and institutional support. 

Read More: This Art Exhibit Is Raising Money So More Women Can Run for Office

Part of the problem with increasing female participation in politics is not that women who run for office are losing, it’s that women simply aren’t being encouraged to run quite often enough, the New York Times has reported.  

Called the “ambition gap,” studies have shown that “women are less likely than men to be encouraged by parents, teachers or party leaders to run,” the Times reported. Even when they do run, women also “underestimate their abilities and assume they need to be much more qualified than men to run for the same office.” 

From state legislatures (where women make up just one in four of all representatives), to Congress (one in five), and as high as the Supreme Court (one in three), women are still vastly underrepresented in politics across the country. 

Three states have never sent a woman to Congress, 23 have never had a female governor, and in seven states, fewer than 20% of elected state legislators are women, according to She Should Run. 

But not even these staggering statistics were enough to dissuade She Should Run from organizing its 250Kby2030 campaign.  

“We knew this was bigger than one moment,” She Should Run executive director Clare Bresnahan told Global Citizen. “We wanted to set a bold goal to signify that She Should Run is in it for the long haul.”

Read More: This Organization Won 70% of Its Political Races in 2016, and It Only Runs Women

An estimated 11,000 women have already committed to run for office since the election, Bresnahan said. 

Here’s how they plan to do it: 

Encourage women to run for office:

Friends, families, or secret admirers can encourage women to run for office by filling out a simple form

Provide mentorship opportunities: 

Women interested in running for office are paired with mentors who can help them navigate the many steps in the US political process. These mentors can be female or male politicians, journalists, activists, and lawmakers. 

Support community events: 

She Should Run members have hosted readings, trainings, merchandising initiatives, even tattoo fundraisers, Bresnahan said. 

Fundraise: 

Studies have shown that two-thirds of women say that it is “difficult to raise the money needed to run effectively” for public office, one of the primary factors that keeps women from running for office. She Should Run helps these women raise money through online fundraising efforts

Read More: 12 Women Are Running For Office in Groundbreaking California Election

According to reports, it could take 82 years or more for women to achieve equal representation in politics, at current rates. But She Should Run knows that bucking the trend “is going to take an investment,” Bresnahan said. 

“The challenges we face locally, globally, are significant,” Bresnahan said. “We can’t expect to get the best policies, get balanced decision-making and solutions without having more balanced voices at the table.”  

Shawn-Clover-Flickr-Capitol.jpgImage: Flickr/Shawn Clover

The organization recognizes that achieving gender equality in politics in little over a decade is a “moon goal.” But there’s one difference between landing a man on the moon and 250,000 women in politics. 

The goal is no longer “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” but “one small step for women, one giant leap for humankind.” 

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.

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About Our Partner

CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault, CHIME FOR CHANGE works with a coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, Facebook, and Hearst Magazines.

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182
EDUCATION

This tech tool is transforming Zambian classrooms in a powerful way

11 May 2017 1:35PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

 
   

By Ray Mwareya

Nancy Chandala, 13, is sitting in a classroom at Joel Community School in rural Zambia, fixated on a small computer screen.

“I wish all my textbooks were loaded on the tablet,” she says. “I would read even when out in the maize fields at home. No carrying of heavy books.”

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Nancy is one of more than 2,000 children from rural areas who are benefiting from eSchool 360, an innovative new project that aims to provide Zambian children with high quality education while keeping costs to a minimum.

Although the country has made strides in improving the number of children in school, quality of education remains poor and many children leave school with only basic literacy skills.

That’s where eSchool 360 comes in. The program, run by Impact Network, provides local teachers with a tablet and projector to deliver eLearning lessons, using an interactive curriculum that moves away from traditional rote learning. Teachers are also given weekly feedback and professional development to help them improve their skills.

The approach is very different to state schools. “We don’t place tablet computers in the hands of rural teachers and abandon them to buttons, swipes, and clicks,” says director David Mwanza. “Their tablets are pre-loaded with thousands of activity-based lessons in languages they understand.”

Impat-School-Teacher-Supervisor.jpgImpact Network sources the tablets and selects teachers to receive training. “When teachers are recruited from the community they assume ownership of the process,” says David.

Teachers get coaching and work under the attention of on-site supervisors, as well as parents who must see weekly, digital feedback and reports of student progress.

The majority of students are from families who couldn’t afford to send them to state schools, but working to impact children in more rural areas often means dealing with a lack of infrastructure. So Impact Network is trying to turn a problem into a community-wide solution, tasking a local engineering firm to provide and maintain solar power for each school in order to keep the tablets fully charged.

Another big issue is teachers’ salaries. In Zambia, starting salaries can be as low as $250 USD a year, according to Evans Chungu, Secretary General of the Zambia Basic Education Teachers’ Union.

“Often in community-owned rural schools, teachers toil as unpaid volunteers,” he says.

teacher-studeents-tablets.jpgHowever, he is hopeful for good results from the introduction of eSchool 360. “This model motivates rural teachers and restores their dignity,” he says.

As Impact Network director David Mwanza explains: “Our teachers receive a decent salary on time, as well as incentives for outstanding results.”

One such teacher is Omega Nkale, a biology teacher at Mnyaula Community School, which is managed by the Impact Network. He says the salary has improved his life. He was able to build a new house and send his 15-year-old daughter to high school.

“For eight years, I worked as a volunteer until Impact Network came and gave me a fully loaded tablet to access digital biology lessons. Now I’m paid monthly for my teaching.”

students-at-gathering.jpg“Biology lessons are key. Zambian girls need interactive digital pictures to understand the risks of under-age pregnancies, for example,” he says.

Indeed, the hoped-for results are beginning to be seen. In 2015, American University researchers carried out an 18-month study that compared Impact schools with five state institutions. They concluded that Impact Network students score higher in maths and reading, but at a cost that is less than one-third of attending state schools.

For children like Nancy, a simple tablet can be enough to change their future prospects.

“Impact Network supervisors just taught me how to connect a wi-fi router to a class of 40 students,” she says. In an area where even electricity isn’t reliably available, this shows progress for the next generation, raising ability and ambitions.

“Now, I want to be an architect,” says Nancy with a broad smile.

Tell G20 leaders that all girls count

G20 leaders, 130 million girls are not in school. That’s unacceptable. I’m counting on you to put in place adequate financing and policies to help ensure that every girl, in every country, gets the education she deserves. I believe girls count - I hope you do too.

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JULY 28, 2017

6 World Leaders You Might Not Have Heard of Who Are Doing Amazing Things

They're feminists, activists, and are making positive change.

Madison Feser

By Madison Feser

 

sirleaf_obama_ap.jpgAP Photo/Evan Vucci
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Every year, leaders from around the world come to the Global Citizen Festival to take action for positive social change.

Prime Minister Trudeau, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, and so many more have graced our stage.

Although their contributions to the Global Citizen mission are monumental, they aren’t the only world leaders who embody our values.

Here are six heads of state who are making positive change in their countries and around the world, despite the fact that you may not have heard of them.

Read More: 5 Times Demi Lovato Has Shown She's a True Global Citizen

Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands

Prior to becoming the eighth President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Heine was the Deputy Minister of Education. So it comes as no surprise that Heine is dedicated to improving access to quality education, especially for students living on the outlier islands. She was at keynote speaker at the Kwajalein Atoll Education Summit, the first event of its kind in the Marshall Islands. 

A climate change activist, Heine says the Marshallese people “refuse to be the so-called climate refugees," and that environmental protection acts, such as the Paris Agreement, must be kept in place to ensure the safety of both the world and the Marshall Islands.

Heine also founded the Women United Together Marshall Islands and has focused her presidencyon improving community and individual health, establishing Youth Empowerment programs, expanding on traditional trades and crafts, and creating more jobs and job training.

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland

This former University of Iceland history professor is my personal favorite on this list of Global Citizen leaders. Sworn is as Iceland’s 6th President in 2016, Jóhannesson not only advocates for human rights, he also shares my feelings about pineapple on pizza.

After social media took his comment about banning pineapple on pizza too literally, the President clarified. His facebook post reminded everyone he has no power to ban pineapple pizza, and he is glad of it, saying presidents should not have unlimited power.

If his ability to turn a pineapple pizza “controversy” into a promotion of democracy is not motivation enough to like him, then consider the fact that he refused a 20% pay raise, gives 10% of his pre-tax salary to charity, and one of his first appearances as President was to march in Iceland’s Gay Pride Festival.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Higgins is a human rights activist, university lecturer, published poet, and an accomplished orator.

A recipient of the Seán MacBride International Peace Prize, Higgins campaigned against the Iraq war, advocated for victims of the Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet, rebuilt the Irish film industry, and ended censorship on Irish airwaves, just to name a few of his achievements.

Although his stance on pineapple pizza is fuzzy, he did launch the Human Rights Defenders Memorial Project, and his dedication to human rights makes Higgins a Global Citizen leader in my book.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

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Born in 1938, Sirleaf became the world's first elected black female president and Africa's first elected female head of state when she was elected President of Liberia in 2006.

Sirleaf, prior to her presidency, was exiled after speaking out against a military coup and its subsequent regime. Her perseverance and dedication to politics despite exile earned Sirleaf the title of “Iron Lady.” She has promoted peace, economic and social development, and strengthened the position of women during her Presidency.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”

Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal

The once Defense Minister and Chair of the All Nepal Women Association, Bhandari became Nepal’s first female President in 2015.

Bhandari has promised to continue her work as a champion of women’s and minority rights. So far, she seems to be delivering. Bhandari helped push forward a law that requires one-third of Nepal’s Parliament to be female.

Bhandari has made significant political strides after starting her career in Nepal’s executive branch in 1997 as Minister for Environment and Population. Hopefully she continues her work for women’s rights and fulfills her promise to advocate for Nepal’s ethnic groups; who are asking for more territory and rights.

Luis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa Rica

President of Costa Rica since 2014, Solís is no stranger to the political field. The former Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief-of-Staff and Ambassador for Central American Affairs has been an activist for over 30 years.

During his presidency, he has promised to combat corruption, reduce poverty and social inequality, and passed legislation to protect animal rights. Solís has also spoken out against the Trump Administration’s strict immigration policies.

Solís made history when, during his first week in office, he raised the LGBTQ rainbow pride flag over Costa Rica’s Casa Presidencial.The flag was raised on May 17 to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Madison is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. She attends Seton Hall University where she studies Diplomacy and International Relations and writes for The Diplomatic Envoy. With a passion for writing, politics, and justice, Madison aspires to continue working for organizations that use journalism as a force for positive change.

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