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The Action Thread Part Two


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MEDIO AMBIENTE

El Parlamento Europeo prohibe los plásticos de un solo uso

“Esto es esencial para el planeta”.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
La contaminación plástica está causando un daño inmenso a los ecosistemas del mundo, y los gobiernos están comenzando a frenar la producción de plástico de conformidad con los Objetivos Mundiales de las Naciones Unidas. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.


El Parlamento Europeo votó este miércoles y aprobó la prohibición de varios plásticos de un solo uso, incluidos los tenedores, cucharas, cuchillos, sorbetes y platos.

 

La votación representa un gran paso en la lucha mundial para reducir la contaminación plástica.

 

La ley entrará en vigencia en toda la Unión Europea en 2021, pero se espera que los países comiencen el proceso de transición de inmediato. La votación también incluyó la obligación para que los miembros de la UE alcancen el 90% de los objetivos de recolección de botellas de plástico para 2030 y los estándares adecuados para el uso de plástico reciclado. También se solicitarán nuevos requisitos de empaque que describan el impacto ambiental de la contaminación plástica para productos tales como toallitas húmedas.

 

"Esta legislación reducirá los daños al medio ambiente en 22.000 millones de euros, el costo estimado de la contaminación plástica en Europa para 2030", dijo Frédérique Ries, un político belga y miembro del Parlamento Europeo, en un comunicado de prensa.

 

"Europa ahora tiene un modelo legislativo para defender y promover a nivel internacional, dada la naturaleza global del problema de la contaminación marina con plásticos", agregó. "Esto es esencial para el planeta".

 

La lucha contra la contaminación plástica se ha globalizado en los últimos años, ya que los países reconocen la naturaleza insostenible de la producción de plástico y la creciente carga de daños ambientales causados por este material.

 

Más de 8 millones de toneladas de plástico ingresan a los océanos del mundo cada año, algo así como vaciar un camión de basura lleno de plástico en el océano cada minuto. La contaminación plástica daña la vida marina y contamina los alimentos y el agua disponible para los seres humanos.

 

Actúa: Firma ahora

 
 
 
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El colapso de los sistemas de reciclaje en el último año también ha estimulado que se trabaje para eliminar el plástico. Siguiendo una ley en China que prohíbe la importación de varios tipos de plástico basura, muchos países han estado luchando para lidiar con volúmenes sin precedentes de desechos plásticos en sus propias fronteras. En los Estados Unidos, muchos municipios han dejado de reciclar por completo porque es demasiado caro.

 

La UE también se había acostumbrado a enviar su plástico a China y otros países, y las recientes prohibiciones han causado serios cálculos.

 

La nueva ley está parcialmente inspirada en este desarrollo.

 

A nivel mundial, más de 60 países han tomado medidas contra la contaminación plástica en los últimos años. Mientras tanto, los fabricantes han estado invirtiendo en alternativas plásticas, y los ciudadanos ya están defendiendo un estilo de vida sin desperdicios.

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WATER & SANITATION

These Kits Provide Menstrual Health Education and Jobs for Incarcerated People

“It’s a basic human need that we’re meeting.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
People affected by period poverty all around the world lack access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and/or waste management. To end extreme poverty, we must ensure all people have access to water and sanitation in correctional facilities. You can help us take action on this issue here

There are currently 80 incarcerated women who don’t have the resources to manage their periods with pride and dignity at the Mawelawela Women’s Correctional Institution in eSwatini, a small country in Southern Africa. 

That's why this weekend, Days for Girls International (DfG), an organization that offers menstrual health solutions to underserved people around the world, is setting up an enterprise in Mawelawela to help incarcerated people sustainably take care of themselves, and their communities, with education and products. 

On Saturday, April Haberman, a DfG development officer based in Washington State, is taking her daughter and five other high school girls to bring sustainable menstrual hygiene management kits to women at Mawelawela. The eSwatini country director will follow up on their visit and teach the women how to sew and assemble kits to generate income. The program will be the first to give incarcerated people a chance to earn a living while in a correctional facility by making the kits. Once they leave, they have some savings and a skillset to provide for themselves. 

Take Action: Prioritizing Menstrual Hygiene Management is Key to Ensuring Girls Can Stay in School

 

Actúa: Take Action

 
 
 
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“The government doesn’t supply anything,” Haberman told Global Citizen, referring to the lack of menstrual hygiene management and personal hygiene products in eSwatini correctional facilities. 

“If family and friends aren’t supporting menstrual hygiene management, they resort to using the mattresses or newspapers to manage their periods,” she explained. 

When incarcerated people don’t have access to adequate menstrual hygiene management, which is a common occurrence, they are at risk of infections, the spread of diseases, and causing plumbing issues. At least 500 million women and girls globally lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management (MHM). The exact number is unknown, but the lack of resources causes many young girls to miss school, and women to miss work, which harms their potential for economic growth. 

 

Together, with the help of volunteers and donors, we are able to give days of dignity, health and education back to girls all over the world!#DfGSpotlight #BalanceforBetter

 
 
 
 

DfG consulted thousands of girls and women around the world and went through 27 iterations to design several versions of menstrual hygiene kits. Many people don't have access to clean water to manage their periods safely, which is why the kits include waterproof shields and absorbent liners that use little water and limit waste. The products last three years, dry quickly, and save money compared to using disposable menstrual products. Deluxe versions of the kit come with washcloths, soap, and underwear. 

Read More: Maine Congressman Claims Free Period Products Don't Belong in Jail Because It's Not a 'Country Club'

The organization isn’t only focused on menstrual products. DfG doesn’t distribute kits anywhere without an ambassador of women’s health training, which covers basic anatomy, puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted infections, self-defense, and trafficking. 

DfG first started servicing incarcerated people at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, Washington. Washington State provides incarcerated people with period products, but five years ago, the organization visited a correctional facility there on a whim to teach incarcerated women how to make kits. The incarcerated women responded well to the initiative and the program grew from there.
DfG_at_womensprison_WA_group photo.jpgDfG women at a Washington correctional facility.
Image: Courtesy of Days for Girls.

Now at the Washington Corrections Center, incarcerated people can't wait to join the program. In order to sew for DfG, they need to have three years of good behavior in a row to ensure the safety of those working and other incracerated people as they use sewing machines and other dangerous tools. 

Incarcerated people all around the world –– in countries such as Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda, as well as within the US –– are receiving DfG kits. Kit distribution depends on the size of the correctional facility, but DfG usually delivers between 50 and several hundred. The organization says it reaches over 1 million women and girls and over 110 countries, and it has over 15 enterprise leadership programs where people learn how to generate income by making and selling kits. 

 

These rockstar women (and many others not pictured) have been working so hard. Their new enterprise in Senegal made 60 kits just in the first two weeks of establishment and they already received an order to make 200 more! Congrats team! #dfgspotlight

 
 
 
 

One DfG advocate, Julie Tsoukalas, focuses on working with the Deaf community in Zambia, where harmful myths about menstruation circulate. 

“If a male member of your family sees your period blood, they will go blind,” is one belief Tsouk heard. People who menstruate in Zambia sometimes resort to transactional sex or sexual favors to pay for or receive sanitary products, Tsouk said. She also visited one correctional facility in Zambia in January, to distribute kits where the water is shut off at night, making it difficult for incarcerated people to manage their periods safely.

Haberman recalls speaking during a presentation about a Washington correctional facility’s contributions to nonprofit organizations over the course of the year. An incarcerated woman told Haberman one word included in the slide about DfG’s impact resonated with her.

DfG_at_womensprison_WA_sewing instruction1.jpgIncarcerated people sewing DfG kits at a Washington correctional facility.
Image: Courtesy of Days for Girls.

“The word that stuck out for me was ‘freedom,’” Haberman said the woman told her. “I love sewing for you because I don’t have my freedom any longer, but sewing for Days for Girls and giving this kit to someone else, I can give freedom to someone else, and that makes me happy.”

DfG also distributes kits to people who are preparing to leave correctional facilities. Once incarcerated people are released, their options are limited, Haberman said. If they have a criminal record it may be harder to find employment, and they don’t always have the income to purchase menstrual hygiene products.

Talking about menstrual hygiene management is the first step toward educating others, normalizing menstruation, and getting people involved in advocacy, Haberman said.

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Thirty @TVAelementary students are assembling 100 washable feminine hygiene kits to girls and women in Ghana - in support of Days for Girls international charitable organization. @CTVWindsor

 
 
 
 

“We often say people would rather talk about diarrhea than periods,” she said. “Toilet paper is provided when you have diarrhea –– imagine having diarrhea five straight days and not having toilet paper. It’s the same thing when a woman menstruates for an average of five days.”

Haberman encourages people to host fundraisers, donate, join one of DfG’s 1,000 chapters, or start one to stand up for menstrual equity. 

“It’s not a luxury,” Haberman said. “It’s a basic human need that we’re meeting and it brings dignity and better health.”

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CULTURE

5 things we discovered about Bill Gates from his Reddit AMA

February 27 2019 | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Over the last decade, Bill Gates has transformed himself into an icon of philanthropy as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, he took a spot in the virtual hot seat and turned the mic over to the Reddit community for an in-depth Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.

Here are five of the most intriguing questions and responses:

What would you still like to achieve that you haven’t? — Swcomisac

thisisbillgates: The goal of the Foundation is that all kids grow up healthy – no matter where they are born. That means getting rid of malaria and many of the other diseases that affect poor countries. It should be achievable in my lifetime.


It’s well known you are an avid reader – what are a few books that come to your mind when asked to recommend reading materials for anyone that can have a true impact on their life – either professionally or personally? — TheQueenIsASpy

thisisbillgates: I read a lot of non-fiction. There are so many great book. I do reviews on gatesnotes.com. I am reading Hacking Darwin now – about gene editing getting very popular and what policies should control the usage. I love books that explain things like Smil’s Energy and Civilization or all of Pinker’s books. Factfulness by the Roslings is very readable – a great place to start to get a framework for the progress of humanity.


What’s a piece of technology that’s theoretical now that you wish you could make possible immediately? — Ironsheik84

thisisbillgates: However if I had one wish to make a new technology it would be a solution to malnutrition. Almost half the kids in poor countries grow up without their body or brain developing fully so they miss most of their potential. Second would be an HIV vaccine.


If you could go back in time and give your younger-self advice what would you say? — ImStarks

thisisbillgates: I was overly intense and socially inept. I would try and make myself more self-aware without getting rid of the focus and desire to learn.


I work in health-care in South Africa and I just want to say thank you for the work that your foundation has been doing for HIV research here. My question is how do I feel like I’m doing enough? With all the pain and suffering that I see every day, it’s hard to feel like I am actually making a difference in the grand scheme of things. How do you deal with feeling like it’s a never-ending struggle to actually make a difference and help people? — 511234

thisisbillgates: Your point is a great one. As soon as you get engaged in solving problems you have to face how tough things are. You need to focus on how much you can improve things and feel good about that. We need more people to visit Africa to see the progress but also to see how much needs to be done. Nothing is as good as meeting people who have to live with malaria or HIV or see their children die. People like yourself who work on the front lines deserve immense credit. Over time the deaths and suffering will go down but I am sure some days that is hard to see.


BONUS:

Hello, how’s your day going and what have you been watching on Netflix and/or TV right now? — ABrownForestShark

thisisbillgates: Melinda and I watch things like Silicon Valley, This is Us, A Million Little Things. I watched The Americans with my son (too violent for Melinda). I watched Narcos by myself. Billions, Lie to Me, Friday Night Lights, American Vandal, Black Mirror. There are so many good shows — people tell me about them but I can’t watch them all!

Want to hear more from Bill? Check out the annual letterpenned by him and Melinda Gates.

*Questions and answers have been shortened for clarity. Image via Flickr

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WATER & SANITATION

Period Poverty: Everything You Need to Know

It is a global sanitation issue affecting boys and girls around the world.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
More than 800 million people menstruate daily. The world must act to end period poverty and guarantee clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. Promoting menstrual equity is key to supporting women and young girls. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Women and young girls who menstruate are ostracized from basic activities, like eating certain foods, or socializing, all over the world. The cultural shame attached to menstruation and a shortage of resources stop women from going to school and working every day. Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management.

Take Action: Urge The Australian Government to Show Leadership on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Actúa: Sign Petition

 
 
 
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A handful of US states have passed laws mandating schools provide period products to students, deeming them as essential as toilet paper, but more work needs to be done. Federal prisons only made menstrual products free in 2018. Activists recently organized a petition and march to put pressure on the Department of Education to eradicate period poverty in the US. They called on the government to treat period products as health necessities, support policies that protect students who menstruate, and fund period products in school bathrooms. 

“Meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health,” Sanjay Wijesekera, former UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene said

Inadequate menstrual hygiene is not a unique problem women in the US face. It affects populations in the developed and developing world, and women living in poverty are especially vulnerable.

Here’s everything you need to know about this serious human rights concern.

Who is affected?

Menstrual health is not just a women’s issue. Globally, 2.3 million people live without basic sanitation services and in developing countries, only 27% of people have adequate handwashing facilities at home, according to UNICEF. Not being able to use these facilities makes it harder for women and young girls to manage their periods safely and with dignity. 

Girls with special needs and disabilities disproportionately do not have access to the facilities and resources they need for proper menstrual hygiene. Living in conflict-affected areas, or in the aftermath of natural disasters, also makes it more difficult for women and girls to manage their periods. 

Related StoriesApril 24, 20184 Million Kenyan Schoolgirls Are Going to Receive Free Sanitary PadsMay 26, 2017CHIME FOR CHANGEThese Girls Are Sewing Re-Usable Period Pads to Keep Girls in School

Young boys benefit from menstrual hygiene education, too. Educating girls and boys on menstruation at an early age at home and school promotes healthy habits and breaks stigmas around the natural process. Achieving menstrual equity means access to sanitary products, proper toilets, hand washing facilities, sanitation and hygiene education, and waste management for people around the world all. 

What are the main causes?

Menstruation is stigmatized around the world. In Nepal, for example, menstruating women are seen as impure by their community and banishedto huts during their cycles. While menstrual huts are technically illegal, families continue taking the risk because myths and misconceptions are deeply rooted in Nepalese culture. The non-governmental agency WoMena conducted a study in Uganda and found many girls skipped school while on their period to avoid teasing by classmates. 

Meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls is a fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health.

Sanjay Wijesekera, former UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Many girls and women also cannot afford menstrual materials. The tampon tax, known as the “pink tax,” is named for the frequent marketing of the color pink toward women. Although some countries around the world have lifted the tax on period products as luxury items, others continue to use it as a form of gender-based discrimination. Ending the tax worldwide will notsingle-handedly make period products affordable — too many people cannot pay for them at all and are often torn between purchasing food or menstrual supplies. In Bangladesh, many families cannot afford menstrual products and use old clothing, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). And in India, only 12% of menstruators have access to sanitary products, leaving the rest to use unsafe materials like rags and sawdust as an alternative, the Indian ministry of health reported

Why is it a problem?

Poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections, according to UNICEF. It also stops women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth. Young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to enter child marriages and experience an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complicationsas a result.

 

Girls' periods affect their #SDGs, especially school attendance. #Tanzania's WomenChoice Industries produce affordable menstrual products to end period poverty. They're also the winner of our #SDGsAndHer Competition w/ @WorldBank, @wharton & @UN_Women! http://ow.ly/hYrn50ikAdf 

 
 
 
 

Period shame has negative mental effects as well. It disempowers women, causing them to feel embarrassed about a normal biological process. 

Read More: These South African Women Are Using Menstruation Cups to Change the World

“Me and my sisters all hid our sanitary cloths under the bed to dry, out of shame,” Anita Koroma told the organization Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) of growing up in Sierra Leone.

On the contrary, menstruators should feel proud and confident in their ability to thrive within their societies. 

How can we stop it?

The first step is to normalize menstruation and destroy taboos around the natural process. Then policy must be enforced to make menstrual products, sanitation and hygiene easily accessible. Activists and advocates are demanding that governments prioritize menstrual equity policy, but historically the issue has presented a challenge. 

 

“Politicians don't like this issue because it's not sexy,” said Dr. Varina Tjon A Ten, a former parliamentarian in the Netherlands and a professor at The Hague University. 

Organizations like MINA Foundation are not waiting on the government to take action — they provide young women with menstrual products to help them stay in school. 

On a global level, the WSSCC is working to improve sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable populations. The organization aims to break the menstruation stigma and change national policy through education and behavior change with initiatives like hosting menstrual waste workshops in West and Central Africa, and promoting toilet designs that can handle menstrual material waste in India. 

“It’s simple,” head of human rights at WASH United, Hannah Neumeyer explained, “women and girls have human rights, and they have periods. One should not defeat the other.”

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HEALTH

These health workers are fighting TB one community at a time

19 March 2019 4:23PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

SIGN THE PETITION

Tell world leaders to step up the fight against preventable diseases

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Tuberculosis (TB) is the number one infectious killer in the world, but around 36% of people with TB still go undiagnosed every year. To help step up the fight against TB, countries — like Ethiopia — are adopting community health worker programs.

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At Mekelle Health Sciences College in Ethiopia, a class for health extension workers strengthens their skills as providers of services in their villages.

Ethiopia’s National Health Extension Program was founded in 2004 with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. At the time, there was a critical shortage of health services, with a ratio of one health worker per 40,000 citizens. The extension program was introduced to help bridge the gap between rural communities and health care by training health extension workers (HEWs) to provide services at a community level.

By 2016, 38,000 HEWs — the majority of whom are women — were providing health services to 15,000 villages across Ethiopia.

Health Workers in Action

Every day, HEWs — trained for a full year in basic health delivery — trek through Ethiopian communities, knocking on doors to speak with local residents and check on their health. They are trained to conduct basic health tests for preventable diseases like TB, maintain family health records, provide treatment for diseases and encourage communities to use contraceptives and get vaccinated.

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Health extension worker Workalem talks to villagers during one her frequent visits to this rural community.

Workalem Haile, a HEW in Southern Ethiopia’s Chama Hembecho village, manages the local health centre which provides care to over 2,200 families. She tests patients for disease and provides long-term care and support as her patients go through treatment.

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Workalem visits a husband and wife who are both HIV-positive and explains proper use of antiretroviral treatment.

Abinet was one of Workalem’s patients. “At the beginning, I thought it was just a common cold but I had a very serious cough. I couldn’t sleep late at night,” he said. His condition did not improve with traditional medicines, so, with help, he made his way to the local clinic where he was tested for TB. After Abinet’s results came back positive and he was prescribed the proper medication, Workalem visited him regularly over the next 6 months to support him with his treatment. Abinet says, “My health has improved because of Workalem’s help. I would like to thank her very much.”

The Impact

By 2016, over 95% of Ethiopia’s population had access to primary health care resources within 10 kilometres. Now, communities are better educated about how to limit the spread of communicable and preventable diseases, like TB, and have better access to treatment. Plus, health issues are addressed earlier and communities have better access to effective long-term care. Life expectancy in Ethiopia has increased to 64 years, jumping by 10 years since the program’s launch in 2004.

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Sister Eden, another Ethiopian HEW, regularly visits 50-year-old tuberculosis patient Desta in her home to oversee the final months of her TB care.

Excitingly, the introduction of the program didn’t just improve people’s health. The HEW program shifted gender roles and cultural norms in Ethiopia by creating a wealth of new opportunities for women to enter the workforce. “In a country where unemployment is still high, finding fulfilling work can be life changing. The health extension worker program has transformed the lives of thousands of workers who have become breadwinners for their families,” said Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopia’s former minister of health.

The Global Fund

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

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

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

Tell world leaders to step up the fight against preventable diseases

More than 17 million people are alive today because of your investments in the Global Fund’s work to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Please fully finance the Global Fund so it can save 8 million more lives over the next 3 years.

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