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The Action Thread Part Two


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08/04/2019

Opportunity: Musicians/Music Tutors (Music Generation Galway City and Galway County)

Opportunity: Musicians/Music Tutors (Music Generation Galway City and Galway County)

Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) invites applications for the positions of Music Generation Musician/Music Tutors in Galway City and County.

Music Generation Musicians/Music Tutors will be appointed by GRETB in Galway City and County, and will be responsible for delivering performance music education programmes on behalf of the Local Music Education Partnership.

Further particulars and application forms are available from galwayroscommon.etb.ie

The closing date for receipt of completed application forms is 12 noon, 23 April 2019

Late applications will not be accepted.

Galway & Roscommon ETB is an equal opportunities employer.

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ENVIRONMENT

5 Countries Hold 70% of the World’s Remaining Wilderness

“Wild places are facing the same extinction crisis as species.”

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Biodiversity is essential to the healthy functioning of ecosystems around the world and helps mitigate climate change. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Unspoiled wilderness is an increasingly rare phenomenon as humans open up more and more landscape to industrial activity and settlement, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Nature.

The report found that 70% of the world’s remaining untouched wilderness exists in just five countries, and these areas are preserved largely because they’re far from human civilization, suggesting that countries just haven’t gotten to them yet.

As a sign of that, 77% of the world’s land and 87% of the world’s oceans have so far been modified by humans.

“Numerous studies are revealing that Earth’s remaining wilderness areas are increasingly important buffers against the effects of climate change and other human impacts,” James Watson, the report’s lead author and director of the science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, wrote in an article for Nature. “But, so far, the contribution of intact ecosystems has not been an explicit target in any international policy framework, such as the United Nations’ Strategic Plan for Biodiversity or the Paris climate agreement.”

“This must change if we are to prevent Earth’s intact ecosystems from disappearing completely,” he wrote.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

The researchers behind the report, from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), created a map to show where these landscapes and marine environments exist.

The largest remaining tracts of pristine wilderness are the vast forests and plains of Northern Canada, Alaska, and Russia.

In recent years, industrial interests have made inroads in these regions to extract fossil fuels and harvest wood.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 12.53.22 PM.pngScreenshot from the report

Russia also holds most of the world’s remaining untouched marine environments.

Brazil is another member of this group because of the Amazon rainforest, the largest tropical forest in the world. Notwithstanding a brief period of environmental regulation that protected the forest in the mid to late 2000s and early 2010s, the Amazon has faced relentless destruction over the past several decades, and has shrunken by 20%. The country’s new president Jair Bolsonaro is expected to be greenlight logging, mining, and more throughout the Amazon.

Read More: What Brazil's New President Means for Poverty, Inequality, and More

The final country holding the bulk of the world’s wilderness is Australia, which is home to vast deserts.

Zooming out, 94% of the world’s remaining wilderness exists in just 20 countries.

The research highlights the need for these countries to adopt strong environmental measures to protect these landscapes to maintain ecological balance and integrity.

It also emphasizes an inequality of natural resources around the world, a matter which will become of increasing concern as water resources become strained in the decades ahead. By 2050, more than 5 billion people are expected to be affected by water shortages.

Read More: Animal Populations Have Dropped by 60% Since 1970

Untouched wilderness is crucial to generating, cleaning, and distributing water around the world, and could help to mitigate the looming water crisis.

These landscapes also clean the air and act as carbon sinks, regulate the global environment, buffer countries from natural disasters, and they’re critical refuges for countless species.

The precedent for conservation, however, is not especially promising, according to the authors.

Globally, the world has lost 1.2 million square miles to human activity between 1993 and 2009, which is around 20 times the size of Germany.

Read More: 87% of the World’s Oceans Are Dying: Report

“Wild places are facing the same extinction crisis as species. Similarly to species extinction, the erosion of the wilderness is essentially irreversible,” Watson said in the article. “Research has shown that the first impacts of industry on wilderness areas are the most damaging. And once it has been eroded, an intact ecosystem and its many values can never be fully restored.”

“Already we have lost so much,” he added. “We must grasp this opportunity to secure the wilderness before it disappears forever.”

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HIV/AIDS

These Zambian acrobats are flipping HIV taboos on their head

28 September 2018 3:47PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This post was originally written by Emma Batha. Editing by Claire Cozens for Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Zambian slum of Chibolya is notorious for crime and drugs, but acrobat Gift Chansa wants to get the township’s youth hooked on a very different high – circus.

Chansa is co-founder of Circus Zambia, the country’s first social circus, which provides disadvantaged young people with education and job opportunities while teaching them everything from unicycling and fire-eating to tumbling and juggling.

The circus also runs a “Clowns for Condoms” project to help tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia, where myths persist that the disease is linked to witchcraft.

Set up in 2015, Circus Zambia has already gained international attention, performing in Britain, the United States, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands and across Africa.

Chansa grew up in Chibolya, a poor Lusaka township which one Zambian journalist recently likened to Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is an image the charismatic acrobat is keen to dispel. He says young people are discriminated against and refused jobs simply for mentioning they come from Chibolya.

“When you grow up there, no one takes you seriously,” Chansa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during a tour of Britain this month.

“So we wanted to say, ‘Look, not everybody is a criminal. There are young people coming up that are knowledgeable … young people that are ready to take over the world’. And that’s why we created the platform Circus Zambia.”

 

Source: BBC What’s New? Circus Zambia UK Tour, August 2018

 

While in London, Chansa met Queen Elizabeth to receive the Queen’s Young Leader Award which recognises “exceptional people” from across the Commonwealth who are transforming lives in their communities and beyond.

Drink & drugs

The eldest of six children, Chansa never knew his father. He was raised by his mother and grandparents, who provided him with his distinctive name, calling him a “a gift to the family”.

There were no parks, libraries or youth centres in the township so Chansa and his friends, including Circus Zambia co-founder Benard Kaumba, amused themselves with acrobatic contests in the street.

In 2014, Chansa and Kaumba were invited to train at a circus school in northern China under a scheme sponsored by Beijing after their talents were spotted by a Chinese circus troupe visiting Lusaka.

Chansa, 27, and Kaumba, 28, say if they had not discovered circus they could have easily been dragged into a world of drink and drugs.

“Things were hard for me. Circus kept me busy and helped me stay away from bad influences,” said Kaumba, dressed in his brightly coloured African-print tumbling costume.

“When you go back and see your friends, you see their life is just drugs,” he added, reeling off a list of illicit substances available on the streets of Chibolya.

Today the circus boasts 15 performers and works with 80 children. It has new premises which include a library, class room and training room and is raising money to finish building a theatre.

Zambian-acrobats_body.jpg

Source: Circus Zambia

Circus Zambia is part of a growing global movement of social circuses including Circus Kathmandu in Nepal, created by survivors of trafficking, and Circolombia in Colombia, which works with children from areas where gangs and drugs are rife.

Through circus skills, marginalised young people learn self-esteem, discipline, trust and team-work as well as physical fitness and creative expression.

Social circuses also use entertainment as a tool to engage communities on social or health issues such as alcohol abuse or HIV/AIDS.

Juju myths

Two years ago, Chansa watched a young friend die of HIV/AIDS after he refused medicine, believing he had been cursed. Chansa is now determined to help tackle widespread ignorance around an epidemic that has left one in six people in Lusaka HIV positive.

“In Zambia it’s hard to talk about sex, nobody talks about sex,” said Chansa, who believes the HIV rate is even higher in Chibolya.

“A lot of people will say (HIV/AIDS) is witchcraft, it’s juju, and then they won’t take their medicine – and then they die. We want to say it’s not juju.”

Last year Circus Zambia launched Clowns for Condoms, an initiative that uses circus to bust taboos around HIV, increase awareness and distribute condoms.

Chansa says their colourful wigs and costumes help overcome barriers.

“It’s easy to attract people when you go into the community and people see you dressed as clowns,” he said. “You can (talk to) them just there and then, so that’s why we use circus.”

Chansa wants to expand Circus Zambia to other regions and ensure it has a secure future for the next generation of performers.

He is also dreaming big for his own future.

“I want to be a politician,” Chansa said. “That’s my ambition – because people don’t understand what young people are going through, especially in communities like mine.”

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

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WHY 2019 IS A CRITICAL YEAR IN THE FIGHT TO END AIDS

This year, nearly ONE MILLION people will die from a disease that can be treated with just one pill that costs 20 cents per day. 

This week, 7,000 young girls will be newly infected with a preventable disease. 

Today, 500 babies will be needlessly born with HIV.

As you’re reading this, a teenager will be newly infected with a virus… we’ve been fighting for 30+ years. 

These are not headlines of the past, but the story of today. AIDS is still a crisis and it won’t be over unless we act now.

RED Swaziland July 2018-162.jpg

THE GOOD NEWS? WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT THIS — AND END IT. ONCE AND FOR ALL. SAY HELLO TO THE GLOBAL FUND.

The Global Fund was founded in 2002 to accelerate the end of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as epidemics.

The Global Fund is an organization made up of partners including governments, civil society and the private sector, and they mobilize and invest nearly $4 billion a year to support life-saving programs in more than 140 countries— programs that are set up and run by the very same people are directly impacted by these diseases. These programs not only combat these diseases, but  ultimately revitalize entire communities, strengthen local health systems and improve economies. Bill Gates has called the Global Fund “one of the kindest things people have ever done for one another.”

100% of the money (RED) raises goes to the Global Fund—this has helped save millions of lives and provide critical prevention, treatment and care services. 

This October, The Global Fund will host their sixth replenishment conference in France, the second-largest donor to the Fund. There, they will ask government and corporate leaders and private donors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by meeting their funding goal of US $14 billion.

RED Swaziland July 2018-13.jpg

It’s an ambitious ask, but US $14 billion for the Global Fund would...

  • Help get the world back on track to end HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

  • Save 16 million lives between 2021 and 2023, reducing the mortality rate by 52 percent across the three diseases by 2023, relative to 2017 levels.

  • Reduce the death toll across the three diseases to 1.3 million in 2023, down from 2.5 million in 2017, and from 4.1 million in 2005.

  • Avert 234 million infections or cases reducing the incidence rate by 42 percent across the three diseases by 2023, relative to 2017 levels.

ENDING HIV, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA BY 2030 IS WITHIN REACH, BUT NOT YET FULLY IN OUR GRASP. WITH ONLY 11 YEARS LEFT, WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE. WE MUST STEP UP THE FIGHT NOW.

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These shipping containers are being repurposed as schools
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EDUCATION

These shipping containers are being repurposed as schools

26 February 2018 11:35AM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Story by Megan Gieske; photos courtesy of Breadline Africa.

Breadline Africa started as a grant-giving organization, where those in need applied for funding and Breadline Africa raised the funds to meet them. Almost 25 years later, those in need can still apply, but assistance comes in a new shape and size — infrastructure!

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Marion Wagner, Director of Breadline Africa, says that much of South Africa’s infrastructure is unsafe. For parents who work, this can mean sending their children to schools or care centers that are overcrowded or under-equipped to deal with extreme seasonal temperatures.

Few would look at old shipping containers and re-imagine them as schools, libraries, and kitchens, but the fireproof, stable and durable containers provide a creative solution to the problem of unsafe infrastructure.

breadline3.jpg

To become a classroom or childcare creche, the shipping containers undergo a conversion process that adds sunny windows to let light and warmth in, burglar guards to keep school supplies safe at night and full kitchens with indoor gas burners and ventilation.

The shipping containers have also transformed into libraries filled with books (provided in partnership with Help 2 Read and Room to Read), floor cushions, reading benches, and doors that open onto a veranda.

breadline5.jpg

“A lot of the areas that we work in are socially and economically disadvantaged, with high unemployment, huge overcrowding, and parents very often away looking for work,” Wagner said. Breadline Africa has placed more than 350 containers in areas of need across nine provinces, providing a safe space for children in the critical after school hours. “If we can reach more and more children, we can help them choose a path out of poverty.”

breadline4.jpg

In July, the program and its partners gave Oranjekloof Moravian Primary School and their 1,240 students in the Western Cape a new library complete with 7,000 books. In thanks, school Principal Mkhului Qaba said, “What this means for the children is they have a place of refuge, a place of hope and a place of learning.”

“Without an education, they really are never going to be able to find a way out of poverty,” Wagner said.

The Breadline Africa director echoed, “For children, their safest place is not on the street.”

There are hundreds of children who will benefit from each of those 350 container sites, which can last for 20 to 30 years.

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organizations highlighted.
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Winner of the ‘alternative nobel prize’ turns desert to forest in Burkina Faso
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AGRICULTURE

Winner of the ‘alternative nobel prize’ turns desert to forest in Burkina Faso

25 September 2018 3:43PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Nellie Peyton, editing by Claire Cozens for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

A farmer from Burkina Faso who popularized an ancient farming technique to reverse desertification is among the winners of Sweden’s “alternative Nobel prize”, announced on Monday.

Yacouba Sawadogo shared this year’s award with three Saudi human rights activists and an Australian agronomist. The 3 million Swedish crown ($341,800) prize honours people who find solutions to global problems.

Sawadogo is known for turning barren land into forest using “zai” – pits dug in hardened soil that concentrate water and nutrients, allowing crops to withstand drought.

The technique has been used to restore thousands of hectares of dry land and in doing so reduce hunger in Burkina Faso and Niger since he began to teach it in the 1980s, according to the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Sawadogo said he hoped he would be able to “use the award for the future”.

“My wish is for people to take my knowledge and share it. This can benefit the youth of the country,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from his village in Burkina Faso.

The country dips into a semi-arid zone below the Sahara desert known as the Sahel, where climate change and land overuse are making it increasingly difficult to farm, experts say.

“Yacouba Sawadogo vowed to stop the desert – and he made it,” said Ole von Uexkull, executive director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

“If local communities and international experts are ready to learn from his wisdom, it will be possible to regenerate large areas of degraded land, decrease forced migration and build peace in the Sahel.”

Last year, erratic rains left nearly a million people in need of food aid across the country.

Sawadogo initially faced resistance for his unconventional technique, based on an ancient method that had fallen out of practice. Now “zai” have been adopted by aid agencies working to prevent hunger in the region.

Sawadogo told his story in a 2010 film called “The Man Who Stopped the Desert“.

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

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