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Nightlife Project Coordinator - Norwich

Department:
Network Programmes
Opportunity Type:
Paid
Location:
Norfolk
Salary Details:
£24,000 per annum/£12.31 per hour + benefits
Advertising End Date:
01 Oct 2017
Vacancy Type:
Contract
Hours Per Week:
37.5
Interview Date:
3rd October 2017
About Mencap
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
 

We work in partnership with people with a learning disability, and all our services support people to live life as they choose. Everyone wants a purposeful job - to do something really meaningful. At Mencap, we can give you that. You’ll have opportunities to develop as a person, colleague, leader and activist. We want to make you feel inspired to reach your potential.

Our work includes:

  • Providing high-quality, flexible services that allow people to live as independently as possible in a place they choose.
  • Providing advice through our help lines and website.
  • Campaigning for the changes that people with a learning disability want.
  • Running innovative projects to test, learn and innovate to support people with learning disabilities.
Role Description

Mencap have launched a strategy to ensure that the lives of people with a learning disability are improved; one of our key priorities is around Friendships and Relationships. This includes ensuring people have opportunities to meet friends, access the community with the right support at a time that they want to. We are passionate about campaigning to change attitudes in society around learning disability, allowing for people to live full and rewarding lives. We want someone who is as passionate about our vision as we are.

We have a new opportunity to become a Nightlife Coordinator in the Norwich area (1 year fixed term contract). This job is exciting, fast pace and is a rewarding way to work with people with learning disabilities and their volunteer buddies. This role will be hugely fulfilling for those with the passion, drive and commitment to improving the lives of people with a learning disability, and their access to activities in the wider community, in particular night life! 

 

Your role will be to deliver the 'Gig Buddies' nightlife project in Norwich; providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities to be matched with volunteers who have a shared interest so that people with learning disabilities reduce their social isolation and improve their social and community connectedness. Stay Up Late and Mencap are going to be working in partnership to deliver the Gig Buddies model in Norwich. Your role will be to support 20- 25 pairs over a year.

 

As the project coordinator you will get to know the area, and the key stakeholders in Norwich including venues, arts and nightlife organisations. Your role will be to coordinate and manage all volunteers, project participants and stakeholders involved in the delivery of the project ensuring the maximum impact for people with a learning disability. You will be responsible for managing a small budget, resources and outcomes.

 

With experience of working with a range of stakeholders including volunteers, you will need to be an excellent communicator and have a drive to deliver a high quality project, ensuring that people with a learning disability have access to evening and night time based activities of their choice. 

Your role will be based from home/partner organisation with travel across the area to meet volunteers and pairs.  

So what are you waiting for? Apply online to gain valuable experience within our organisation!  

ID 9936
 
Please apply using your CV. As part of your covering letter you must answer the following question: 

As this is a new role for someone to support us to deliver a Nightlife project, can you please share your views and approach to the importance of night life for people with a learning disability, and how you would enable this?

Benefits

We believe that all employees are amazing and we wouldn't be able to achieve what we do without them. Here are just some of the ways we would value and invest in you.

  • Eligibility to join Mencap Pension Plan where Mencap matches contributions up to 5% on a salary sacrifice basis meaning NI savings*
  • Tax free child care vouchers via salary sacrifice scheme for working parents
  • Loans for bikes, computers and phones when you have been with us for 6 months
  • Interest free season ticket loans
  • Discounts and cashback at high street shops including major super markets, cinemas, gyms, leisure/theme parks, holidays and much more via Mencap extras
  • Opportunity to purchase a health cash plan to claim towards dental, glasses, therapy etc.
  • Free access to round the clock employee assistance program for advice and support
  • Quarterly award scheme and recognition at every 5 years through our YouRock program

*T&C's apply based on contract

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CULTURE

9 amazing African destinations you HAVE to see

September 27 2017 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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By Lauren Ahn, ONE Digital Intern

We LOVE highlighting the incredible work of people in Africa who are fighting for quality education, feeding their communities, and even campaigning to get their community fresh water. But what about the continent itself as a top travel destination? It’s an incredibly diverse and beautiful place, from the heights of Kilimanjaro to the coasts of South Africa. That’s why we’ve picked a few scenic spots that you NEED to know about. Read what the experts below have to say, then start planning your trip!

Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo credit: Push the button/Wikimedia Commons)

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo credit: Push the button/Wikimedia Commons)

“The Carr-Hartley family have the rare honor of sharing their manor estate with some of the most beautiful, endangered creatures in the world: Rothschild giraffes. Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, the manor-turned-hotel sprawls across 140 acres and is home to eight giraffes. Opened in 1984 by the previous owners, the small boutique hotel offers guests the chance of a lifetime to hang out with these gentle giants. Every morning at breakfast the giraffes stroll up to the house and poke their heads through the windows and doors looking for morning treats. Guests can feed them right from the breakfast table, take photos up close and interact with the giraffes through the second-floor bedroom window.” —Jenna Rak, Huffington Post

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Two cheetah brothers in Okavango Delta, Botswana. (Photo credit: Arturo de Frias Marques/Wikimedia Commons)

Two cheetah brothers in Okavango Delta, Botswana. (Photo credit: Arturo de Frias Marques/Wikimedia Commons)

“One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the River Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog, and lion.” —UNESCO, World Heritage Centre

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. (Photo credit: Carine06/Wikimedia Commons)

Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. (Photo credit: Carine06/Wikimedia Commons)

“Volcanoes National Park is the Rwandan section of the great volcanic massif called the Virunga Mountains that straddles the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC. Gorillas, of course, pay no heed to borders and are known to cross between the countries, although most habituated groups are to be found in Volcanoes National Park. …There is no other wildlife experience quite like an encounter with mountain gorillas. That precious hour spent in their company – watching the group playing, sulking, teasing each other, eating, or dozing just like we do – is extraordinary.” —Expert Africa

iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

A crocodile basking by the lake in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa. (Photo credit: Steve Slater/Wikimedia Commons)

A crocodile basking by the lake in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa. (Photo credit: Steve Slater/Wikimedia Commons)

“The diversity of life at iSimangaliso is staggering, on par with any of the large nature reserves in South Africa. There are 526 bird species, 36 snake species, 35 frog species, 5 species of turtle, 80 species of dragonfly, 110 species of butterflies, more than 2,000 species of flowering plants, more than 100 species of coral, and hundreds of ocean and freshwater fish species, as well as a wide collection of African wildlife like elephant, hippo, buffalo, hyena and leopard. It is one of two places in South Africa where it’s still possible to see a leopard walking on the beach.” —Scott Ramsay, Getaway

Hot Air Balloon Rides over Sossusvlei, Namibia

A hot air balloon over Namibia. (Photo credit: digr/Wikimedia Commons)

A hot air balloon over Namibia. (Photo credit: digr/Wikimedia Commons)

“As the sun’s first rays peek over the scarlet sand dunes, the hot air balloon drifts slowly upward, revealing the undulating landscapes of Sossusvlei. As you float amongst the clouds, the sun rises dramatically over the horizon, throwing hues of gold and rose across the vast sky… Many animals gaze up at the neon ball in surprise and curiosity as it passes overhead. The seasoned pilot will eventually select the perfect landing spot, just in time for a grand celebratory bubbly breakfast, where you can recap the morning’s bucket list moment as you savour a delicious morning meal. —&Beyond

Lagos, Nigeria

 

“The economic and cultural powerhouse of the country thanks to an influx of oil money, Lagos has an exploding arts and music scene that will keep your yansh engaged far past dawn. If you’re headed to Nigeria, you’ll have no choice but to jump right in.” —Lonely Planet

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls. (Photo credit: John Walker/Wikimedia Commons)

Victoria Falls. (Photo credit: John Walker/Wikimedia Commons)

“Taking its place alongside the Pyramids and the Serengeti, Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya – the ‘smoke that thunders’) is one of Africa’s original blockbusters. And although Zimbabwe and Zambia share it, Victoria Falls is a place all of its own. As a magnet for tourists of all descriptions – backpackers, tour groups, thrill seekers, families, honeymooners – Victoria Falls is one of Earth’s great spectacles. View it directly as a raging mile-long curtain of water, in all its glory, from a helicopter ride or peek precariously over its edge from Devil’s Pools; the sheer power and force of the falls is something that simply does not disappoint.” —Lonely Planet

Rock Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia

Monks sitting in front of the Bete Amanuel rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Jens Klinzing/Wikimedia Commons)

Monks sitting in front of the Bete Amanuel rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Jens Klinzing/Wikimedia Commons)

“The chiseled creations have turned this mountain town into a place of pride and pilgrimage for worshipers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, attracting 80,000 to 100,000 visitors every year.

There are several stories surrounding the creation of the churches, one of which says that humans worked during the day and angels would speed up the building overnight. Some historians say construction was completed at a remarkable pace, taking about 23 years. Carved out of volcanic tuff rock, the famous churches have been built in a variety of styles. Some of them were chiseled into the face of the rock, where others stand as isolated blocks, like the iconic church of Saint George, constructed in the shape of the cross. A complex and extensive system of drainage ditches, tunnels, and subterranean passageways connects the underground structures.” —Errol Barnett, CNN Travel

Nairobi, Kenya

 

“Visit Nairobi, Kenya and take in this relatively young city’s vibrant life and verdant surroundings. Enjoy views of the Nairobi River, scale nearby mountains, catch glimpses of lions, rhinos and antelopes in one of Nairobi’s many national parks and spend a day out of the sun in one of this African metropolis’ plentiful museums. …Travel to Nairobi for an exciting adventure you won’t soon forget.” —Travel + Leisure

 

Via ONE

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CCI’s Deinstitutionalisation programme works to support children in state run institutions across Belarus to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children in the Chernobyl affected regions. 

Deinstitutionalisation is at the core of a number of our programmes. Our Hopes of Hope programme gives children abandoned to state run orphanages the opportunity to grow up in a home of their own and with a family.  Our Community Care programme intervenes to give families the support needed to care for their children with disabilities at home rather than in an institution. 

Our Independent Living programme allows young adults who grew up in institutions the chance to live independent lives.   

https://youtu.be/YsiEl52BbdM

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EDUCATION

These South African students are going from readers to leaders

8 September 2017 9:45AM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

 
   

This story originally appeared on Room to Read.

Lingering Effects of Apartheid

Ms. Nkosi, a grade one teacher at Baxoxele Primary School, knows the odds stacked against South African students. Having watched children rise from struggles, she’s seen how strong reading habits not only build confidence but also pave the way for success in and outside the classroom.

Yet, with 80 percent of South African government-run schools lacking libraries, the vast majority of students start behind and stay behind.

Students at Baxoxele Primary School in South Africa. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Students at Baxoxele Primary School in South Africa. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

“Most learners come from poor backgrounds. Going to the public library involves money, so the majority of learners have no access to library facilities,” says Nkosi.

Without access to books, literacy rates fall—which explains why nearly 60 percent of grade four students cannot read for meaning. This not only leads to low graduation rates but also widens the education gap between races. Only 14 percent of black South Africans finish high school as compared to 65 percent of their white peers.

“Black learners are disadvantaged because most of their parents are illiterate. In our community there is a lack of parental involvement in education,” says Nkosi about the conditions she sees in her South African community. “Children of other races, especially whites, are at an advantage as parents are involved in their education, laying a foundation that is encouraging for learners. This plays a vital role in eliminating this imbalance.”

Ayanda, 8, a student at Baxoxele Primary School. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Ayanda, 8, a student at Baxoxele Primary School. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

With Accessibility Comes Possibility

Baxoxele Primary School has seen first-hand how providing quality instruction, a fully-equipped library, and practices for at-home reading help students thrive.

Take 8-year-old Ayanda, for instance. She was fortunate enough to start grade one with a local Literacy Program in place. Raised by her grandmother, Winnie, who makes a living selling perfumes and clothes in town, Ayanda’s family couldn’t afford a uniform. Yet, the program’s comprehensive support eased the strain, allowing Winnie to focus on nurturing Ayanda’s after-school, reading habits.

A class at Baxoxele Primary School taking part in the Room to Read literacy program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

A class at Baxoxele Primary School taking part in the Room to Read literacy program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Since starting the program, teachers and family alike notice Ayanda’s beaming enthusiasm for books. With easy access to an array of educational resources, she epitomizes the program’s promise.

“Ayanda has improved very much in reading since she starting making use of the library books provided by Room to Read,” says Winnie. “She hardly watches television and spends much of her time enjoying reading and doing schoolwork.”

Ayanda is just one of the 422,127 South African children supported through Room to Read’s Literacy Program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Ayanda is just one of the 422,127 South African children supported through Room to Read’s Literacy Program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Fulfilling Mandela’s Dream

By excelling in school, Ayanda has developed the confidence to dream big and the capacity to act on opportunities.

“Ayanda got assistance at home from an early age. This resulted in her getting an opportunity to be an actor in a local television show,” says Nkosi. “Room to Read helped her build her potential through reading. She is so enthusiastic when it comes to reading.”

While her grandmother and teacher are proud of her ability to thrive in her studies and extracurricular activities, Ayanda has higher hopes for herself.

“When I grow up I would like to be a pediatrician. I like to help children who are sick,” Ayanda says. “I also want to help those who are struggling to read so that they could be leaders in the future.”

Ayanda and other students in the Baxoxele Primary School's reading program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Ayanda and other students in the Baxoxele Primary School’s reading program. (Photo credit: Room to Read)

Ayanda is just one of the 422,127 South African children supported through Room to Read’s Literacy Program. Her story speaks to Nelson Mandela’s dream of equality: As the anti-apartheid activist said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”

With supportive teacher trainings, 800,000 local language books and effective instruction, Room to Read is helping South African schools empower its youth and turn today’s readers into tomorrow’s leaders.

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

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8 September 2017 9:45AM UTC

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People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

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OCT. 2, 2017

The Fastest-Selling Used Cars in the US? Electric, Research Shows

Six out of ten of the nation’s fastest-selling used cars run on alternative fuel sources.

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For those looking to buy a used electric vehicle in the US, it’s time to move quickly.

That’s the message of a new report from iSeeCars.com, an automotive research firm that compiled a list of 2017’s fastest-selling used cars in the US.

According to their research, six out of the top 10 models sold in 2017 ran on alternative fuel sources, including hybrid and fully electric systems. This could mark a shift in consuming habits toward more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Read More: France Is Banning Gasoline-Powered Cars by 2040

This year’s top performer is the electric Fiat 500c, followed by the BMW i3. Each car lasted an average of 22.2 and 23.2 days on the market, respectively.

These findings build on analyses from last year that found half of the fastest selling cars ran on alternative fuel sources.

 

Take Action: Sign Petition

 
 
 

 



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In 2016, the Toyota Prius was the number one fastest-selling used car, with an average of only 19.7 days spent on the market. Other notable inclusions were the luxury Model S from Tesla, and the fully-electric Nissan Leaf.

These data suggest that alternative fuel vehicles are in high demand, even though last year they represented only 1% of the nearly 18 million cars sold in the US.

One reason for this might have to do with their high-price tags relative to traditional models of automobiles. Electric vehicles are still very expensive, making them financially viable only for wealthy Americans. Most of the top selling models from 2016 tended to be from high-end brands like BMW and Tesla.

 

 

However, large consumer demand could be driving the research and development necessary to bring down the costs of electric vehicles in the very new future.

Read More: Volkswagen Says It Will Make Every Single One of Its Cars Electric by 2030

Citing the falling cost to produce the lithium ion batteries on which electric vehicles are reliant, Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects production of the batteries will double by 2021. The trend could culminate in the average cost of an electric vehicle falling below that of a traditional combustion-driven car by 2026.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and responsible consumption and production is number 12. You can join other Global Citizens to take action on this issue here.

Andrew McMaster is an editorial intern at Global Citizen. He believes that every voice is significant, and through thoughtful listening we can hear how every person is interrelated. Outside of the office he enjoys cooking, writing, and backpacking.

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OCT. 2, 2017

The Syrian Artist Telling Refugee Stories Through Suitcases

Each sculpture represents a home, and a story.

refugee-suitcases-6.jpgCourtesy of Mohamad Hafez
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As an architect, Mohamad Hafez specializes in bringing abstract ideas to life in the form of structures. He helped design a 60-floor skyscraper in downtown Houston and a bank in Lebanon, to name just a couple of his projects. 

But on the side of his profession, the 33-year-old Syrian, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and attended college at Iowa State University, is bringing something else to life as an artist: refugee narratives. 

Hafez — whose family has been split up by wars, migration, and visa requirements; who lives in a country that’s now openly hostile to the idea of accepting refugees; and who has always been obsessed with construction and reconstruction — is telling refugee stories through a new medium: suitcases. 

refugee-suitcases-1.jpgImage: Credit: nelsonimaging.com

Read More: This Syrian Artist Is Depicting World Leaders as Refugees to Make a Very Important Point

At a time when the US government is threatening to lower the cap for refugee admissions from 110,000 to 45,000, and around the world more than 60 million people are forcibly displaced by conflict, hunger, and climate change, Hafez’s work brings these staggering statistics into view in a deeply personal way. 

 

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His work, which was displayed at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center, and will also be shown at New Haven's City Wide Open Studios on October 14th and 15th, embeds refugee stories into literal suitcases, presenting them as miniature recreations of the homes refugees leave behind. The display is accompanied by an audio component, where viewers can listen to refugee families tell the story of their displacement. 

refugee-suitcases-2.jpgImage: Credit: nelsonimaging.com

“The media portrays refugees as a label, as a genre, and we all know that refugees are millions of people that are individualized and have their own goals and aspirations,” Hafez told Global Citizen. “While we’re not trying to romanticize the label refugee, we are simply trying to expand the definition of a refugee — that the refugee can be your fellow neighbor, your fellow classmate.” 

“Their problems are not refugee problems, they are human problems,” he added. 

As an artist, Hafez has always been obsessed with detail, and his suitcase project, entitled “UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage ,” demonstrates this. Each individual suitcase takes several months to complete, he said. 

In one suitcase, viewers are confronted with the bombed wreckage of a family home, a green prayer rug with Arabic text on it one of the only objects remaining unsullied on the inside. In another, two tea saucers sit half full on a coffee table. An unmarked white car sits ominously outside an abandoned residence in a third.  

refugee-suitcases-3.jpgImage: Credit: nelsonimaging.com

refugee-suitcases-4.jpgImage: Credit: nelsonimaging.com

refugee-suitcases-5.jpgImage: Credit: nelsonimaging.com

For the audio component, Hafez sat with 10 refugee families (some of whom had been resettled after the 2016 US election) and Wesleyan University student Ahmed Badr, who created an online platform for telling refugee stories called Narratio, for hours on end, listening to their stories. As they spoke, Hafez took architectural notes that would inform his later sculptures. 

Hafez, who is based in New Haven, began creating these detailed dioramas in college, spending hours at the Iowa State University art studio. The subjects of “UNPACKED,” he said, are friends, family, as well as some new refugee families resettled across the country in the past months and years.   

The goal of the project, Hafez says, is to build “bridges of tolerance, and not walls.” 

Since the 2016 election, hate crimes against migrants and refugees — especially Muslims — have increased significantly. Hafez’s wife, who wears a hijab, has been a regular target of xenophobic language, he said. 

Read More: The Day After the Mosque Burns

“The natural instinct for any minority under attack in such climate is to hide,” Hafez said. “People start taking off their headscarves, people start shaving off their beards, Mohameds become Mos.” 

Through telling refugee stories, Hafez is helping make refugee voices louder, even as they are silenced. Instead of hiding from people that define refugees as dangerous, as ‘the other,’ he hopes to change their minds through his artwork. 

FERESHTEH'S SCHOOL 5.jpgImage: Courtesy of Mohamad Hafez

“We don’t want to preach to the choir. I don’t want to reach my echo chamber. I want to reach both ends,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping to do by humanizing us, by sharing our personal stories, by sharing the stories of our families, by sharing the photos and stories of other fellow refugees in hopes that somebody then that has never met a Muslim or a refugee or a migrant [will] be able to relate and draw that common denominator.” 

Going forward, Hafez plans to take this message on the road. He hopes to document refugee stories in each one of the 50 US states, focusing on individuals and families resettled after the 2016 election. 

The end product of this? A collection of 50 suitcases that, taken together, “draw an image of who we were told to fear,” he said. 

“Artists are documenters of their time and critics of society,” he said. “All the pushback that’s happening today, it makes ... sense for both of us to spend every ounce of time and focus on being a loud voice and [giving] voice to the voiceless.” 

Hafez, quietly, is showing that he’s at the forefront of that important struggle. 

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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Music Generation Offaly Westmeath welcome La Fantástica Banda to the Mullingar Arts Centre this October for two concerts!

They will perform with the Irish Midlands Youth Orchestra on the 8th for families and on the 9th for schools.

Interested schools should check outwww.musicgenerationoffalywestmeath.ie for details on booking - limited places available!

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OCT. 4, 2017

KFC & Fast Food Brands Are Bringing a New Health Concern to Africa: Obesity

A growing middle-class is consuming more processed foods, and staying sedentary.

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Much of the news coming out of the African continent lately has been about rising rates of hunger and famine, which is currently threatening millions in the Horn of Africa. But it’s not so often that you hear about the opposite of this.

While it’s true that hunger remains a massive concern in Africa, parts of the continent are now suffering from a much different health crisis — obesity.

 

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According to a growing body of research, Africa’s incipient middle class is increasingly spending money on foods high in fats and sugars, especially in urban areas undergoing rapid development. The Malabo Montpellier Panel (MMP), a team of agriculture experts working in Africa, recently reported that processed foods account for 70-80% of the middle class’s food budget.

 

“Africa is a latecomer in the obesity epidemic, but one with fast-growing prevalences,” Joachim von Braun, an economics professor at the University of Bonn and panel co-chair, told the Guardian.     

According to The New York Times , one fast food chain in particular is spreading quickly through sub-Saharan Africa: KFC. 

The restaurant has 850 locations in South Africa and has recently spread to Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana. In Ghana, where KFC has become a sudden status symbol, obesity rates have grown more than 650% since 1980, according to the report 

“Eating local foods in some places is frowned upon. People see the European type as civilized," Charles Agyemang, a native of Ghana who now studies obesity at the University of Amsterdam, told the  Times 

The owner of KFC, YUM! Brands, told the Times the company takes health in Africa seriously, offers healthy options and believes in a balanced lifestyle. It also sponsors a youth cricket league in South Africa.  

The MPP’s report notes that this is due in large part to changing lifestyles of the middle class — of which unhealthy eating habits are but one piece of the puzzle.

Read More: Not-so-SUPERmarkets: how grocery stores spur the global obesity epidemic

“A shift in dietary patterns and physical activity levels is leading to a nutrition transition, with an increased prevalence of overweight and obesity levels,” the report reads. “Changes in eating habits, such as the consumption of cheap, nutrient-poor, highly processed foods, combined with a reduced physical workload from increasingly deskbound economic activities, have increased obesity levels at a much faster rate than undernutrition has been reduced.”

Children in Africa seem to be especially vulnerable to the consequences of these changes. Levels of childhood obesity have risen from 4% in 1990, to 7% in 2011. At the current rate of increase, that number is expected to reach 11% by 2025, according to the MPP.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goals two (zero hunger) and three (good health and well being), which are uniquely intertwined.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that there is an epidemiological relationship between undernutrition and obesity, saying, “undernutrition early in life – and even in utero – may predispose to overweight and non communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.”

Over 70 million African children under the age of five suffer from growth stunting and or acute malnutrition due to lack of proper food, according to UNICEF. Even if they are fortunate enough to reach the middle class, the legacy of hunger will predispose them to obesity-related chronic diseases later in life.

Read More: Obesity on the Rise as Fight Against Hunger Slows in Asia, UN Report Finds

The New York Times’ West Africa Bureau Chief Dionne Searcey recently pointed out that American fast-food companies have been one of the quickest to take advantage of Africa’s growing middle class, where their restaurants have come to represent a status symbol in many countries.

Additionally, in regions where so many are affected by hunger, being overweight is not necessarily seen as a negative.

“Attempts at curbing obesity have butted up against long held societal views: girth can be a welcome sight here,” she wrote about Ghana, a country exemplifying the move towards fast food in Africa. “To many, weight gain is an acceptable side effect of a shift from hunger to joyful consumption.”

Read More: As Drought Ravages Kenya, a Record Number of Children Go Hungry, UNICEF Reports

Whether socially acceptable or not, in areas that lack the adequate medical infrastructure to effectively treat chronic conditions, the consumption of processed and fast foods poses a health risk.

 


“A surprising number of friends and colleagues here have high blood pressure or diabetes,” she wrote. “These health issues technically are manageable, but in places where medical care is expensive and less available than in the West, chronic diseases can quickly get out of control.”

Andrew McMaster is an editorial intern at Global Citizen. He believes that every voice is significant, and through thoughtful listening we can hear how every person is interrelated. Outside of the office he enjoys cooking, writing, and backpacking.

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OCT. 4, 2017

This Syrian Refugee Just Won a Top UK Poetry Prize — And She’s Only 13

She’s only been speaking English for a year.

Daniele Selby

By Daniele Selby

 

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Amineh Abou Kerech has not been home since she was 8 years old. Now living in England as refugees, Kerech and her family were forced to flee Syria five years ago.

But Kerech, now 13, turned her pain into poetry — award-winning poetry, in fact. The teenager was awarded the Betjeman poetry prize, a national prize awarded to writers between the age of 10 and 13 in the UK, for her poem “Lament for Syria.”

After fleeing their home in Darayya — a suburb of Damascus that has become a “symbol of the rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad” and has been a hotbed of violence since 2012 — Kerech and her family escaped to Egypt where they remained for four years before moving to Oxford, England, just last summer, the Guardian reported.

Take Action: Your Words Can Make a Difference. Send a Letter to a Refugee Today.

Since moving to the UK, the young poet has been working hard to master English, and her hard work is reflected in “Lament for Syria,” written half in English and half in Arabic.

“When I remember my Syria I feel so sad and I cry and start writing about her,” Kerech told the Guardian. Her father expressed surprise over Kerech’s win — not because he didn’t believe in her talents, but because he was focused on the future, rather than reflecting on the past. “I used to write simple things, but after the war, after the hard time that we had, we didn’t think that we needed to write anything,” he said. “We survived.”

In her award-winning poem, Kerech writes from her current perspective and hopes for the future in English.

Read more: The Syrian Artist Telling Refugee Stories Through Suitcases

“I’m trying to design a country/that will go with my poetry/and not get in the way when I’m thinking,/where soldiers don’t walk over my face.” She continues, “I’m trying to design a City/of Love, Peace, Concord and Virtue,/free of mess, war, wreckage and misery.”

In Arabic she paints a picture of her Syria, a land in peacetime.

“a land where people pick up a discarded piece of bread/So that it does not get trampled on … a place where a mother teaches her son not to step on an ant at the end of the day.”

“Syria./I will not write poetry for anyone else,” Kerech promises in her poem.

Though she misses her home, Kerech told the Guardian, “I feel so happy here [in England] because I have a future and things won’t be scary any more.” 

“Everything will be good and we will always be in peace,” she said.

Global Citizen campaigns for the protection of refugees and their rights. You can take action here.

Daniele is an Editorial Coordinator at Global Citizen. She believes that education and the equal provision of human rights will empower change. She studied music and psychology at Vassar before earning her Masters of International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Daniele brings with her an unhealthy love of chili and chocolate, and a small, fluffy dog from the Little Red Dot (Singapore) to the Big Apple.

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OCT. 4, 2017

This Plastic-Eating Fungus Just Might Save Humanity

One man’s Aspergillus tubingensis is another man’s treasure.

alan_levine-landfill-flickr.jpgFlickr/Alan Levine
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There's a common saying that, "One many's trash is another man's treasure."

For one group of scientists, this old adage may actually have some truth to it. 

According to the World Economic Forum, a team of botanists may have discovered a solution to the world’s mounting plastic problem in an unexpected place: a garbage dump in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

The team of researchers, who work at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany, discovered a plastic-eating fungus called Aspergillus tubingensis while collecting soil samples at the Pakistan landfill. 

 

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In partnership with: Blue Marine Foundation

 

“We wanted to identify solutions which already existed in nature, but finding microorganisms which can do the job isn’t easy,” Dr. Sehroon Khan of the World Agroforestry Centre and Kunming Institute of Biology said. “We decided to take samples from a rubbish dump in Islamabad, Pakistan, to see if anything was feeding on the plastic in the same way that other organisms feed on dead plant or animal matter.”

The fungus they discovered works to naturally biodegrade a certain type of plastic called polyester polyurethane — which is found in synthetic leather, adhesives, and car parts, according to Fast Company — by secreting an enzyme that breaks down molecular bonds. 

 

 

According to DAWN, the process takes just a matter of weeks, whereas plastics normally take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills on their own.

Even biodegradable plastics, such as polylactic acid (PLA), which is a type of plastic made from corn, take between 47 and 90 days to decompose

 

Read More: Scientists Discover Plastic-Eating Caterpillars That Could Help Fight Waste

The issue of plastic waste is fast becoming one of the greatest threats to natural ecosystems on land and in the ocean. 

Plastic waste is polluting the world’s oceans at a rate of 8 million metric tons per year, throttling seals, turtles, and other sea creatures, and even seeping into drinking water. By 2050, it’s estimated that the ocean will have more plastic than fish

What doesn’t land in the oceans more often than not ends up clogging city streets, polluting natural environments, and wasting away in landfills around the world. Around the world, 79% of all plastic is either littered into the natural environment or collected in landfills, according to National Geographic. 

Read More: 83% of All Tap Water Around the World Has Plastic Fibers In It

By 2050, 12 billion metric tons of plastic will have accumulated in landfills around the world, National Geographic reported. 

 

Harmful chemicals from plastics buried in landfills can also seep into groundwater supplies, leading to adverse health consequences for humans and animals alike. 

Researchers at Kunming Institute plan to study whether the plastic-eating fungus will be able to be used in waste treatment plants and plastic-waste-contaminated soils. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the 15th of which is protecting life on land. You can take action here

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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