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The Action Thread Part Two


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GIRLS AND WOMEN Girl power goes global with #WhatIReallyReallyWant

 

July 5 2016  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
IF YOU CARE, ACT. ADD YOUR NAME TODAY International Womens Day 2017
 
  

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the Spice Girls dominated the music world!

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Today, Project Everyone—in partnership with Getty Images and SAWA—have released a remake of the iconic “Wannabe” music video, this time with artists from around the globe telling world leaders what girls and women really want in order to achieve the Global Goals:

 

The video features Gigi Lamayne and Moneoa from South Africa, Seyi Shay from Nigeria, Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez from Sri Lanka, M.O from the UK, Taylor Hatala from Canada and Larsen Thompson from the U.S.

The Global Goals are a solid plan to end poverty and address inequalities over the next 15 years, but they can only succeed if they address the needs of girls and women. Issues like quality education, an end to violence, an end to child marriage, and equal pay for equal work need to be top of every governments’ agenda in order to give the Goals a great start.

You can celebrate 20 years of girl power by sharing the film on social media, or posting your own photo telling world leaders what you want for women and girls! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WhatIReallyReallyWant!

 

Via ONE

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Via Global Citizen

 
CITIZENSHIP 11 Times President Obama Spoke to Global Citizens in His Farewell Address

By Joe McCarthy|

 Jan. 11, 2017
obama_farewell_speech.jpg__1500x670_q85_AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Barack Obama delivered his final speech as US president on Tuesday night. He returned to Chicago where he got his start as an organizer to reflect upon his roots and think about the future. True to his style, Obama assured the audience that he was more optimistic today than he was when he entered office, despite all the potential reasons for apprehension. 

“Yes, we can,” he said at the end of the evening, echoing his first presidential campaign eight years ago. “Yes, we did. Yes, we can.” 

Read More: President Obama Just Delivered a Stunning Tribute to Michelle, Malia, and Sasha

As always, he wore the mantle of a unifier, frequently reminding people to imagine what it would be like to inhabit someone else’s life. 

“If our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation,” he said, “then each one of us needs to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said, 'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'”

Throughout the speech, whether Obama was identifying threats to American democracy — inequality, racial division, political confirmation bias, and zero sum politics — or tallying up his presidential achievements, issues core to the idea of global citizenship were threaded throughout. 

Here are 11 Global Citizen values from the speech:

Help Refugees

 

“I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees or work for peace and, above all, to look out for each other.”

Read More: This 6-Year-Old Boy Asked Obama to 'Please Bring Omran to Our Home’

Respect Immigrants

 

“If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children — because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America’s workforce.”

Read More: Obama Has Nearly Cut Yearly Deportations of Illegal Immigrants in Half Since 2009

Protect Human Rights Around the World

 

“We cannot withdraw from big global fights to expand democracy and human rights and women’s rights and LGBT rights.”

Read More: 7 of the Most Important Protests of 2016

Do Something About Climate Change

 

“Without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change. They’ll be busy dealing with its effects. More environmental disasters, more economic disruptions, waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.”

Read More: 'Before the Flood': 9 Things We Learned From Leonardo DiCaprio's Climate Change Film

Fight Inequality

 

"If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves."

Read More: 12 Female Activists You Didn’t Know Are Changing the World

Create Economic Opportunity

 

“Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. And the good news is that today the economy is growing again. Wages, incomes, home values and retirement accounts are all rising again. Poverty is falling again.”

Read More: Obama's Farewell Letter to America: 'We Have Laid a New Foundation'

Be an Active Citizen

 

”If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.”

Read More: We're All Global Citizens, Not Just the Elite

 Oppose Nationalist Aggression

 

“For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism and chauvinism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.”

“So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid.”

Read More: 7 Words That Made 2016 So Very 2016

Protect the Right to Vote

 

“When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote.”

Read More: What Democracy and Voting Rights Look Like Around the World

Be Tolerant and Compassionate

 

Praising his daughters as examples: “You are smart and you are beautiful. But more importantly, you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of passion.”

Read More: President Obama Just Delivered a Stunning Tribute to Michelle, Malia, and Sasha

Embrace Change

 

“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward.”

Read More: Michelle Obama’s Final Speech: 'I Hope I've Made You Proud'

 
TAKE ACTION Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved
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Written by Joe McCarthy

 

Joe McCarthy is a Content Creator at Global Citizen. He believes apathy is the biggest threat to creating a more just world and tries his hardest to stay open-minded and curious. Living in New York keeps him aware of how interconnected our world is, how every action has ripples.

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Via ONE

204
AGRICULTURE Surviving on Sand

 

9 January 2017 1:01PM UTC  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
  

In partnership with One Acre Fund, ONE will follow a small community called Luucho in Western Kenya through the agricultural season.

A sense of anxiety looms large in Luucho village. A months-long drought wiped out more than half of the village’s crops, leaving many homes in desperate need of food.

DSC0337-1024x680.jpgLike most villages in western Kenya, Luucho plants two times a year. Farmers who lost their crops during the first season, when rains failed to arrive between May and June, banked their hopes on the second harvest. But another wave of drought has struck again since last October, dashing all their expectations. Now, withering plants covered in brown dust dance lazily in the light wind, thirsting for the return of rain. There is not much hope to save them – farmers normally harvest their second-season crops in December, and the damage has already been done.

“This has been the strangest year of my life,” says Mary Nekesa, a 55-year-old mother of five. “I depend on farming, but now how am I going to feed my family?”DSC0411-1024x743.jpgAt the start of the season, Mary had huge expectations. She planted a half-acre plot of maize, and like in the past, she hoped to harvest at least 12 bags of grain. Thinking she’d have plenty of food for her family, she had even planned to sell a few extra bags of maize to buy a dairy cow, which she had been longing after for years. But because of the drought, she only harvested two bags—hardly enough to feed her children for two months, let alone buy a cow.

On this morning, Mary is standing in the shallows of Khalaba River, half a mile away from her home. The Khalaba flows between two deeply eroded banks covered in thick vegetation. It’s a tributary to the River Nzoia, which pours its waters into Lake Victoria. The river is Mary’s last lifeline. She swings a small bucket in and out of the water, spewing a blast of wet sand on the river bank with each wave.

“I couldn’t sit and watch my children starve,” Mary says. “The only other way I could provide food for them is by harvesting sand.”

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Sand is used for all kinds of things in Kenya’s construction industry, including making bricks and concrete to build houses, bridges, and roads. Drawing sand from the river is backbreaking work for Mary, who needs to fill up a whole truck in order to find customers. She usually sells each load to a middleman for a throw-away price of $10. It’s a lucrative business, but not for Mary. Those middlemen can resell what she has collected for $40 to $50 per truckload.

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Harvesting sand is a difficult job, especially in drought. During the rainy season, the waters usually swell up and sweep sand down the river, so that it only takes about a day to draw enough out to fill a truck. With this year’s dry weather, it now takes Mary three days, working from morning until evening.

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“I’m not able to sleep much nowadays,” says Mary, who rises as early as 3 a.m. each day, because the thought of her hungry children disturbs her sleep. “Every evening at dinner, I sit and watch as my children eat. The thought that if I don’t work harder the following day my children might sleep hungry fills me with fear. I will do anything to make sure my children have food.”

Sand harvesting is an activity mostly carried out by men, and as the only female sand harvester in Luucho, Mary has raised mixed reactions in the village. While some men respect her courage and strength, others feel she is competing for a man’s job, or that her body will soon fail from exertion. However, most women in Luucho are motivated by Mary’s willingness to take up this kind of work.

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“We were all shocked when we saw Mary harvesting sand. She is like a man!” says Felistus Nanjala, Mary’s friend and neighbour. “I feel very encouraged by her commitment to take up this work in order to take care of her family.”

Mary says she won’t stop her work, even when the rains return. With her children in school, she is in need of money all year round, and she hopes her new job will provide enough to supplement her income from farming.

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After a full day at the river, Mary walks along a narrow dirt path to her home. She picks up a hoe and starts clearing weeds from her farm. Although it is still some time before her next planting season, Mary wants to be ready when the next drop of rain lands in Luucho.

One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, they invest in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. One Acre Fund provides a complete service bundle of seeds and fertiliser, financing, training, and market facilitation—and delivers these services within walking distance of the 400,000 rural farmers they serve. They measure success in their ability to make farmers more prosperous and they always put Farmers First.

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922
GIRLS AND WOMEN Meet the “Queen of Katwe:” Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy from Uganda

 

September 8 2016  | By: SAMANTHA URBAN
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty
 
 
  

This week, Queen of Katwe will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga, the film is already garnering some buzz. But did you know that it’s about a ONE member?

 

That’s right: The film centers around the life of Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy from Katwe, Uganda. Like many children in Africa, she comes from poverty—her father and her sister died from complications with AIDS, and her mother worked long hours just to put food on the table. Due to school fees, Phiona had to drop out when she was just 9—but she joined a chess program run by the Sports Outreach Institute. By 2012, she was a three-time junior girls’ champion of Uganda!

Her additional achievements include being selected to represent Africa at the World Chess Olympiad and earning the title of Woman Candidate Master.

phiona_metusi_600px.jpg

Photo credit: Stephanie Sinclair

In 2014, Phiona helped us launch the ONE Girls and Women initiative, bringing issues of poverty and gender inequality to life through curated content. Now, at age 20, she’ll be able to see her story on the big screen!

Want more? Follow ONE on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook—and become a member today!

 

Via ONE

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Via Global Citizen

 
ENVIRONMENT China Will End Ivory Trade This Year in a Big Win for Elephants

By Colleen Curry|

 Jan. 3, 2017
savanna_elephants.jpg__1500x670_q85_crop

What a great way to start 2017.

The biggest threat against one of the world’s most stunning — and endangered — animals has just been eliminated.

China announced on Friday that it would ban all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017, a decision that could help save the African elephant, a major target of poachers for its valuable ivory tusks.

China has the largest ivory market in the world, according to the BBC. Some 70% of all ivory taken from elephants ends up in the country, where it can be sold for up to $550 per pound.

Read More: In Fight Against Elephant Poachers, Zimbabwe Turns to Drones

The high-profile fight to end poaching and save elephants has rallied environmental groups and celebrities, as well as Prince William of the United Kingdom, who called China’s decision “a turning point in the race to save elephants.”

The British royal had said last year that he was afraid elephants would be extinct by the time his infant daughter Princess Charlotte turned 25.

“We need all countries to step up to the plate and do their part to end the illegal wildlife trade and save our iconic species before it is too late,” he said.

Read More: These pooches are sniffing out illegal ivory poachers

The World Wildlife Foundation said China’s decision was “historic” and the Natural Resources Defense Council said the timeline to end the largest ivory market in the world within a year could be the thing that “brings elephants back from the brink of extinction.”

Populations of elephants across Africa have decreased by a third over the past seven years amid a surge in poaching, the BBC reported. Around 20,000 elephants are killed on the continent every year for their tusks, according to the Washington Post.

The population of elephants now stands at about 400,000 to 500,000 today, down from about 1.2 million 25 years ago.

In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama jointly pledged to end the ivory trade in their countries.

 
TAKE ACTION Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved
 

Written by Colleen Curry

 

Colleen Curry is a senior editor at Global Citizen. She has covered domestic and international news for outlets including ABC News, VICE News, and The New York Times, with a particular focus on women's issues, criminal justice, and LGBT rights. She is also pursuing her Master's in Creative Writing, and has had nonfiction published by Sports Illustrated and Marie Claire.

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

 

They Never Told Her That Girls Could Become Scientists

January 7, 20177:00 AM ET

ESTHER LANDHUIS

img_20161220_104231-1--55-2b2ea581e8da8a
 

Mireille Kamariza, a graduate student in Stanford, is trying to develop a faster test to diagnose TB.

Fred Tomlin/Courtesy of Mireille Kamariza

By many standards, Mireille Kamariza is at the top of the world.

She's a graduate student at one of the world's top universities, working on her Ph.D. with one of the world's top chemists. And she's tackling a tough problem — tuberculosis — that sickens nearly 10 million people a year.

Earlier this year, 27-year-old Kamariza and her adviser unveiled a potential breakthrough in fighting TB: a way to detect the culprit bacteria faster and more accurately.

But for Kamariza, the fight against TB is not just about scientific progress and prestige. It's personal.

Kamariza grew up in the small African country of Burundi, where many around her were stricken with TB. A close relative lived with the disease for years — and eventually died from it. It was common for people in her town to get sick with TB and "wait to see if you'd die — and if you survived, you'd just kind of live with it."

World Health Organization report released in October states that an estimated 10.4 million people were infected with TB in 2015, up from previous years — and 1.8 million died from the disease.

 

 

 

TB is still a stigmatized disease in Burundi, so Kamariza doesn't want to be specific about her relative's identity. But, she says, he most likely didn't get treated "because he didn't know you could be treated, and even if he did know, [treatment] was far from where he was — and expensive."

Kamariza's journey hasn't been easy. In Burundi, it's rare for girls to attend college — not to mention work with world-class scientists.

"Science was something that Europeans and Americans did," she says. "It was for other people — not for me." When she was in high school, she didn't have a clue about science careers. Neither did her parents.

"I never dreamed [Kamariza] would become a scientist because it is a career path that is unknown in Burundi," says Denise Sinankwa, Kamariza's mother.

Sinankwa had her hands full when Kamariza was young. She and her husband were raising four kids during a bloody civil war. Nearly 300,000 civilians were killed. The family moved a lot, and Sinankwa often worked multiple jobs to feed the family.

But Sinankwa still pushed Kamariza to do well in school. She wanted her daughter to land a good-paying job and be able to support herself.

Kamariza considers herself lucky. She attended a government-managed Catholic school, where "things were more rigorous" than other public schools. The "nuns' school" instilled a mindset most of her peers lacked because generally girls "were raised to be a wife," she says.

Kamariza wanted to pursue studies in the U.S., where her second-oldest brother had already landed. So, when she was 17, Kamariza packed up her belongings and traveled with her third brother half way around the world. She went to San Diego in the fall of 2006 and moved into a tiny studio apartment with her brothers. The four worked various jobs at grocery stores, restaurants, retail shops — "whatever we could get to pay the bills," Kamariza says. Their earnings also paid for classes at a junior college.

Then Kamariza's hard work started to pay off.

At San Diego Mesa College, she found a life-changing mentor. Her chemistry teacher, Saloua Saidane, was a fellow French-speaking African. Born to illiterate parents in Tunisia, Saidane was one of 12 children and knew what it was like to be a poor immigrant kid pouring herself into school as the only way to a better future.

"Kamariza was serene yet determined," Saidane says. "She worked hard. She saw the opportunity to have a good life, a life different from what she left behind."

Saidane started Kamariza's journey into science. "She really pushed me and kept motivating me and telling me I should aim high. Whatever she told me, I did," Kamariza says.

After quitting her job at Safeway to focus on school, Kamariza got into the University of California, San Diego, and began undergraduate studies. Through a National Institutes of Health diversity scholarship, Kamariza spent summers doing biology research. In 2012, she joined Carolyn Bertozzi's lab — then at the University of California, Berkeley, now at Stanford University — as a graduate student.

Kamariza wanted to focus on infectious disease. So she started brainstorming with another graduate student to figure out a quicker, better way to diagnose TB.

They eventually came up with a new test that recognizes a sugar, called trehalose, that is uniquely found in TB bacteria. In the presence of a special substance, TB bacteria cells glow green, making the microbes easy to spot on microscope slides of an infected person's mucus or saliva.

Current TB tests are laborious and not very sensitive — some infections are missed. TB cultures are more reliable but take six weeks to produce a result. Kamariza — and other researchers elsewhere — are creating methods that could make TB diagnoses simpler and more accurate.

Kamariza's method looked promising this year when she and her colleagues tested it on a small batch of samples from patients in South Africa. But the tools are still in the developmental phase. Larger, more rigorous studies are needed for the method to be considered for use in clinics.

Though unfinished, the research drew heavy crowds when Kamariza presented her data on a poster at a TB conference in September in Paris. Considering her improbable journey — from a child witnessing the tragedy of this disease to a young researcher contributing toward its eradication — "the whole experience is surreal," Kamariza says.

"A lot of hard work, a bit of luck, perseverance and relentless support from friends and family are what got me here," says Kamariza, She hopes her experience can "encourage others like me to pursue their passions, no matter the obstacles."

 

Via ONE

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