Nikita Rotsky – BORGEN http://www.borgenmagazine.com Humanity, Politics & You Wed, 26 Sep 2018 08:30:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 A Poverty-Free Future: Prospective Agricultural Program in Turkey http://www.borgenmagazine.com/agricultural-program-in-turkey/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 08:30:38 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=115867 ANKARA — Turkey has voiced its growing concern over the direction in which agriculture is headed. A much needed response came from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in dealing with the on-going topic: research done by FAO shows agriculture employs 27 percent of the country’s workforce and generates 9 percent of [...]

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ANKARA — Turkey has voiced its growing concern over the direction in which agriculture is headed. A much needed response came from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in dealing with the on-going topic: research done by FAO shows agriculture employs 27 percent of the country’s workforce and generates 9 percent of the gross national product.

Seeking to revive a distinct portion of its economy, the country accepted outside help in order to adapt a new agricultural program.

A portion of Turkey’s agricultural issues derive from drought-related matters as the government in both local and national levels responds to droughts mostly as a re-active emergency. Overall, there is a lack of guiding documents, strategies, training and participation programs geared towards agriculture. This gap limits the possibilities for consistent and harmonious integration of management principles and plans, and thereby decreases the country’s readiness to better include drought in Turkey’s national programs and joint-action plans.

This deficiency cannot continue.

There is an obligation to employ a much more integrated system to better the lives of constituents, as well as all parties involved in the circumstance.

The diverse ecology of Turkey demands attention to be divided down to a regional degree, in order to make the most of the contributed funds. The current economy is already well-positioned to utilize the abundant natural resources and structure-sustainable initiatives to alleviate drought impacts. Throughout the second phase of the Turkey Partnership Program, FAO will enact the Turkish Agricultural Drought Action Plan, in an attempt to outline priority areas to address permanent preparedness and drought mitigation measures.

The present agricultural program fails to meet the conditions of the country as whole; therefore, the presence of guidance from start, application, finish and follow-up could create an increase in profitability for laborers and the land cultivated.

The annual rainfall varies greatly throughout Turkey with an annual rainfall of 630 millimeters. Even though the coastal regions surrounding the Mediterranean and Black Sea experience heavy rainfall, much of the central, southern, and south-east regions fail to receive such bounty. One of the main goals of FAO in the upcoming years is to acquire a firm grasp on the climatic variety of Turkey as a whole and appropriately address and support each of its regions.

The organization aims to influence the political sector with scientific data, which will cause a re-direction towards commitment on development aimed at reducing internally inherent risks as well as building communities with resilience to drought.

The research has already caused a unification and cooperation between the Ministry of Forestry & Water Works and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. A more collaborative work force will help to get rid of existing restrictions. The main issue that emerges out of drought-related issues is the efficiency of irrigation methods, including water-efficient sprinkling and drip irrigation technologies. These types of technologies are only used on 6 percent of the total irrigation area, while 94 percent of the area remains insufficiently addressed.

Additionally, irrigation often causes depletion and contamination of surface and groundwater.

To overcome these problems, Turkey must find sustainable uses of natural resources, raise awareness on climate change impacts, provide technical assistance and training programs and develop agricultural data for more effective decision making. A more connected farming population will be able to reach a higher yield of crops, as well as reduce environmental imprints. Local origination of these methods will be the long-term symbol of success in Turkey.

A positive result from the cited routes will play into policy making and the creation of new agricultural guidelines. Much of the responsibility will be absorbed by the Special Provincial Administration, in order to evaluate and enhance areas including soil protection, prevention of erosion, education, health, agriculture, industry and trade.

There is also an added responsibility on the agricultural sector in regards to the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey.

Currently, Turkey has the highest number of Syrian refugees globally with 2,854,968 residing within the nation’s borders. FAO will strive to merge improving the lives of refugees with improving the agricultural sector.

Due to the background of the majority of Syrian refugees, agriculture will be a proper route to take in an attempt to provide food security, livelihood and coordination. The Syrian Refugee Resilience Plan will primarily target the southern border and areas of major food production and export, with special focus on Izmir and Istanbul.

By taking the proper measures of providing technical support, job placement, access to the labor market and introduction to new technology systems, Turkey will become a much more beneficial country of residence for the Syrian population.

The leadership of FAO must be met with the cooperation of the Turkish government in order to utilize agriculture and agricultural practices to the benefit of the nation’s population. A suppressing governmental regime has cast its shadow long enough over laborers; however, coordination with third party organizations could go onto serve as the basis of a bipartisan Turkish society.

The fields of food security, agricultural/rural development, management of natural resources, an agricultural program and food safety will be essential routes towards a poverty-free future for Turkish citizens and Syrian refugees.

Efe Ulucay
Photo: Flickr

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Paving the Way: How Public Housing Shapes Chilean Future http://www.borgenmagazine.com/public-housing-shapes-chilean-future/ Sun, 08 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=115839 SANTIAGO — The case of social housing is a subtopic of poverty that is experienced on a both communal and global level. A Chilean based architecture firm Elemental, lead by Alejandro Aravena has taken a big step in 2004 towards shifting the view point on the real-life application of such programs. Aravena highlights the reasoning [...]

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SANTIAGO — The case of social housing is a subtopic of poverty that is experienced on a both communal and global level. A Chilean based architecture firm Elemental, lead by Alejandro Aravena has taken a big step in 2004 towards shifting the view point on the real-life application of such programs. Aravena highlights the reasoning behind his approach: “The need for social housing is becoming more pressing, with three billion people now living in cities and a third of them living below the poverty line.”

Further apprehension of statistics assembled by the World Bank illustrates that currently 14.4 percent of Chile’s population falls under the national poverty line compared to 29.1 percent in 2006. A decrease in national poverty factors into the daily lives of Chilean population.

Uniquely Elemental

The main reason behind what makes Elemental stand out is their atypical concept in regards to social housing. The Quinto Monroy Housing project includes 93 apartments with a measurement of 36 square meters built for each unit in a 5,000 square meter land allocated in total. At an initial glance, 36 square meters suggests an inhabitable environment, however, an incremental plan made it possible to do so. An incremental plan is defined as a system in which, “the government funds construction of half a good house, with residents completing the other portion as resources allow.”

This places a role in the hands of the residents; a chance to shape their own living space. This was done with the vision of, “alleviating poverty and eliminating slums using a participatory approach that engages local communities in early stages of the design process.” The particular style of design stands out from the social housing projects of the past, primarily due to its location.

Central Location Proves Essential

Providing a central location eradicates dividing societal factors that most social housing programs face due to their inconvenient location. Aravena discloses the practice of what is known as, reduce and displace: “Reduce the size of the houses, threaten the quality of life of its inhabitants and displace them to underserved peripheries where land costs nothing, segregating people from the opportunities that made them come to cities in the first place.”

The incremental public housing plan has encouraged the residents to earn their way into middle class and paved the way for an economically stable future. Elemental argues that, “a middle class family lives reasonably well in around 70 to 80 square meters. The measurement results from taking various conditions of life; ranging from’ a healthy level of nutrition intake to nonfood spending.”

The declared living space grants the residents to fulfill their dreams and not live entirely under the mentality of survival.

Affordable Housing Boosts Economy

Supplementing the egalitarian path taken by Aravena, Center for Housing Policy discusses the “role of affordable housing in creating jobs and stimulating local economic development.” The non-profit organization gives increasing importance to the direct relation between public housing and the local economy. In a 2011 report, it is shown that, “local economy benefits directly from the funds spent on materials and labor.” The arrival of an incoming diverse group of families will also bring a sense of community and the prospect of a fresh start.

Encouraging the residents of Quinta Monroy to strive towards an economically independent future was the key throughout the development of the social housing plan. Elemental has set an inspiring example in “examining the growing gap between architecture and social need.” While many of the local and national governmental organizations view social housing as a risky investment, quite the opposite is true when they are considered on a long-term basis.

Center for Housing Policy notes, “investment in social housing leverages social and private funds and results in both direct, indirect and induced economic activity.”

An induced economic activity is the main characteristic of an economy growing at a healthy level, while acting on an inclusive level to all of its participants and not a select group of individuals. This way, the civil barriers will eventually rise to be non-existent between classes. The very belief system has shifted, “a 30 year old slum to a social housing plan, able to accommodate 93 families.”

The settlement of featured families meant a stimulation in local economical activity. Seeking to comply with the necessities of each family will equate in “educational institutions, social services, dining businesses, professional services, whole and retail trade.” The mentioned branches will serve as the foundation of a self-sufficient community, while at the same time generate jobs for the surrounding population.

Not Just One Step, but Three

Aravena and his team at Elemental took on two other social housing projects throughout Chile, including Lo Barnechea and Villa Verde. All three projects share the characteristic of being designed from a participatory angle. In 2016, the design group made the plans public by, “releasing them as an open-source resource to help tackle the global affordable housing crisis.”

This avant-garde step taken has turned heads and laid the concrete for others to follow. An open-source resource allows for the redistribution and modification of the original content; by ensuing the following philosophy: “for rapid evolution to happen, people need to be able to experiment with and redistribute modifications.”

Open-source complements the social aspects of the Elemental design group and allows for public assistance in defining the future of social housing. Aravena expresses the reasoning behind this move – “the aim is to provide the material to government agencies and developers who might think it is too expensive to invest in well-designed social housing.” It is essential to bring a form of change to the way in which public housing is understood and analyzed by future governments. The reason being, “by 2030, out of the 5 billion people that will be living in cities, 2 billion are going to be under the line of poverty.”

The topic of public housing will not be dissolving any time soon, and the solution lies in thinking and acting on an inclusive and participatory level.

Efe Ulucay
Photo: Flickr

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Coffee Farming and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia http://www.borgenmagazine.com/coffee-farming-and-poverty-reduction/ Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:30:26 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=115741 ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia, historically known as the origin nation of the coffee plant experiences high levels of poverty, due mainly to the “combination of regional conflict and dependence on exporting primary agricultural products.” East Africa Coffee Initiative Nonetheless, to provide assistance with this process, an organization named TechnoServe – based in Washington D.C. has set [...]

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ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia, historically known as the origin nation of the coffee plant experiences high levels of poverty, due mainly to the “combination of regional conflict and dependence on exporting primary agricultural products.”

East Africa Coffee Initiative

Nonetheless, to provide assistance with this process, an organization named TechnoServe – based in Washington D.C. has set forth a project called – East Africa Coffee Initiative. TechnoServe’s vision is based on “enabling smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and increase household incomes.”

Within the Initiative, the organization narrows down on the benefits of introducing and improving certain agronomical and the wet mill programs — both of which are essential in the correlation between coffee farming and the reduction of poverty in Ethiopia.

The Coffee Process

The coffee beans that originate from Ethiopia all pass through what is known as the wet process. According to the Third Wave Coffee Source, the wet process consists of “sorting cherries by immersing them in water, where the ripe cherries sink while any remaining unripe cherries float and are skimmed from the top.”

Following this initial phase, the wet mill conductor then moves onto, “placing the cherries that sink go through a pulper, which takes away the outer skin. What remains of the cherry is placed in fermentation tanks and soaked in water to loosen the mucilage. During this process, a controlled fermentation of sugars contained within the mucilage takes place, affecting the flavor of the bean. This process usually takes between 24-36 hours, before washing this gooey substance away with water.”

Being able to control, monitor and record the exercise of the wet process has allowed farmers to “improve the quality of their Arabica coffees.” The Wet Mill program located and maximized the ability of the high-quality, washed coffee beans from Ethiopia to meet the world market’s continued demand for this particular crop.

A Focus on Farmers

Providing farmers with the skills and the knowledge of “price risk management, logistics, and linkages to international coffee buyers” has also heightened the status of the Ethiopian coffee farmers in the eyes of the coffee-importing nations reliant on its crops.

TechnoServe works with Ethiopian farmers to ensure a trusted yield. According to TechnoServe, “prior to the start of the program, there were 119 wet mills in the Jimma/Illubabor region and now there are 188.” An increase in the amount of wet mills throughout both regions equates in a higher seasonal income for the coffee farmers. The rise in the process of production is a key factor in the correlation between coffee farming and the reduction of poverty in Ethiopia.

Farm Colleges

The organization also enrolled individuals in Farm Colleges — “a farmer training program. educating smallholder coffee farmers on sustainable agronomic practices to increase their yields.” Over the course of the program, this approach saw a 42 percent increase in average yield improvement.

TechnoServe was able to provide an “analysis of wet mill profitability,” which indicated that in order for both farms and co-ops to remain relevant in the market, there needed to be certain adjustments made to the current system. “Ensuring a number of part-time volunteers” would be a great pay-off for both the producers as well as the job seekers throughout Ethiopia.

Volunteer Programs

The public will perhaps have a chance to learn about coffee farming practices and gradually take on roles that will guarantee an income through the practice of volunteering. The indication is able to be made since, “Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in the region of East Africa, but it also has a very large domestic market as well.”

Volunteering programs will therefore play a crucial role in being the driving force behind Ethiopia’s economy. they will help enable an inclusive market, while also maintain a healthy level of competition. In addition, having direct access to world markets will eliminate the uncertainty found throughout the Ethiopian farmer population.

Gender Equality

By creating an inclusive market in regards to coffee, Ethiopia will also be able to address issues of “gender equality and women’s empowerment” in addition to the foreseeable correlation between coffee production and reduction of poverty. This modus operandi will continue to remove hurdles placed in front of the Ethiopian female population.

Coffee is a “key commodity in Ethiopia and supports over one million households and accounts for over 30 percent of annual exports.” Although, according to EqualExchange, “annually, the average Ethiopian coffee farmer earns about $900 per year. The women who work in the coffee warehouses can make as little as $20 per month.”

Ethiopian farmers must continue the farming practices introduced during this initiative for, primarily, a better understanding of the world market and its demand for coffee.

This understanding will equate in less economic dependence and will also help to better address poverty within the nation’s borders. This way, there will be an increase of jobs created domestically. Ethiopia will see its way out of poverty and stride for a prosperous future through the adaptation and implementation of this mindset in addition to important coffee farming developments.

Efe Ulucay
Photo: Flickr

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Resource Rights Key to Water Quality in Ecuador http://www.borgenmagazine.com/resource-rights-water-quality-in-ecuador/ Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:30:36 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=115014 QUITO —  Ecuador, a Western South American country of 16 million people, borders the Pacific Ocean at the equator and lies between Colombia and Peru. It is a tropical country with many bodies of water. For more than a decade, Ecuador has been concerned about its water supply, but the government has taken consistent action [...]

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QUITO —  Ecuador, a Western South American country of 16 million people, borders the Pacific Ocean at the equator and lies between Colombia and Peru. It is a tropical country with many bodies of water. For more than a decade, Ecuador has been concerned about its water supply, but the government has taken consistent action to build assistance organizations and release helpful information to improve the water quality in Ecuador.

In September 1998, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ecuador released a Water Resources Assessment which analyzed the country’s existing water sources and possible opportunities to work together to maximize use of those water sources. At the time of the assessment, the country faced a water supply crisis due to an uneven amount of rainfall in each region.

Some regions in Ecuador go months without rain — some see 250 millimeters of rain annually, and other areas see as much as 6,000 millimeters per year. Only 10 percent of available water was being used for irrigation and domestic and industrial purposes in the late ’90s. The assessment claimed that at the time, more small water supply systems needed to be implemented throughout the country, and existing ones needed repair.

Some regions of Ecuador were in a period of severe drought, and experts at the time of the assessment noted the country would only get drier if lack of rainfall persisted. Ecuador was also experiencing polluted and contaminated waterways. As of the publication of this 1998 report, only 61 percent of Ecuador’s large population had access to potable water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to offer various solutions after the initial assessment. One suggestion was to offer technical training and assistance to Ecuadorian government officials to encourage increased planning, developing, and management of the country’s water resources. Another recommendation to Ecuador was systematic watershed planning which would evaluate alternate uses of water, identify conflicts of competing water uses and make changes through educated decisions.

Just nine years later, Ecuador, home to more than 2,000 rivers and streams which provide the country with almost all of its liquid resource, was named the “Water Capital of the World” by the Panamerican Health Organization in 2007. Despite the country’s abundance of water, the water crisis continued as many government-established projects were overly ambitious, and built to manage more water than was available, leading to deterioration of existing water infrastructure and resource limitation as a result of overconsumption. Additionally, there was increased public unrest and outcry over lack of transparency and room for local public participation when it came to proposed and approved hydroelectric projects.

By 2010, Ecuadorian residents were protesting more aggressively, as per the news of large multinational corporations seeking to own and control water sources. In the same year, the Ecuadorian government sought to pass a bill called the Hydraulic Resources Law, which would allow large corporations to acquire concessions to provide water to the public, and to make all decisions on water rights at the state level. Such a decision would exclude traditional local water management systems and public voices in the process.

With that said, one suggestion according to a 2015 case study on drinking water in Ecuador is that the country’s water quality might improve if water governance does.

A number of organizations in Ecuador and internationally have been fighting for improved water quality in Ecuador. OHorizons, a nonprofit that works to make lives better for communities in need of safe and clean water, has worked in Ecuador since its inception. The organization has helped the country construct and implement 200 BioSand filters in the El Oro province, and has given more than 1,000 people access to clean water for more than 15 years.

Water Ecuador, also known as Aquality, is a nonprofit founded in 2007 with a focus on improving health in Ecuador. The organization focused first on building water centers on the country’s coast to better small communities’ drinking water, and in 2015, it assumed a research-based focus in order to grow its global scope and give clean water to all.

These organizations and many more have been and still are doing incredible work to provide clean water to Ecuadorians and to support the government in attainable and effective water management solutions. Though the country has struggled for many years to improve water access and quality, its consistent struggle has only created more working organizations and accessible information, which will hopefully eventually eradicate poor water quality in Ecuador.

Olivia Cyr

Photo: Flickr

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How to Help People in Thailand http://www.borgenmagazine.com/how-to-help-people-in-thailand/ Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:30:15 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=114693 BANGKOK — Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. Known for the tropical beaches, Thailand is a great place for vacations and tourism is the economic mainstay for Thailand. Thailand has a population of 68 million, among whom 7.2 percent of the people still live in poverty. Thailand’s GDP grew by less than 2.5 percent a [...]

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BANGKOK — Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. Known for the tropical beaches, Thailand is a great place for vacations and tourism is the economic mainstay for Thailand. Thailand has a population of 68 million, among whom 7.2 percent of the people still live in poverty. Thailand’s GDP grew by less than 2.5 percent a year in 2014 and 2016.

Throughout the past decade, Thailand did see development in economic, especially in urban areas like Bangkok. However, while the poverty rate in urban areas dropped, many people in the rural areas continue to live in extreme poverty. Many people in the world are struggling with figuring out how to help people in Thailand. Here are some things that can be done to help the people in Thailand.

Sponsoring a kid

Human trafficking is still a huge problem in Thailand. Men in Thailand are trafficked into and out of the country and forced to work in industries, while women and children are trafficked by international criminal gangs to work in the sex industry.

UNICEF estimated that more than one million children in Thailand live in vulnerable conditions in Thailand. These children usually do not have access to proper healthcare, and are forced to live on the streets. About 290,000 children were abandoned by their parents due to HIV/AIDS.

According to Thailand official figures, 8 percent of children between the age of 5 to 14 are involved in work. However, the real figure is believed to be higher. While children in developed countries are in school, countless children in Thailand are living on the streets and starving.

Volunteering in Thailand

There are many types of volunteering opportunities in Thailand such as teaching program, healthcare projects and animal caring programs. Many schools in Thailand are in need of teachers. Hospitals are also in need of people with proper medical skills. Volunteering is not only a good way to help the people in Thailand, but also a great way to learn about the people and culture in Thailand.

Supporting organizations that are helping Thailand

The easiest way to answer the question of how to help people in Thailand is to donate to an organization that are helping Thailand. Many organizations are trying their best to help the people in Thailand. By donating to these organizations, you are also helping the people in Thailand, because most of these organizations are nonprofit and cannot function without donations.

These are some strategies for how to help people in Thailand. Many people and children are living in extreme poverty in Thailand. With help, they might be able live a better life.

Mike Liu

Photo: Flickr

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Why Is Somalia Poor? http://www.borgenmagazine.com/why-is-somalia-poor/ Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:30:18 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=113176 SEATTLE — Somalia is a hotbed of extreme poverty. The region has experienced massive conflict and famine. The average life expectancy in Somalia is 52 years, the majority of the population lives on less than $2 a day, a quarter of the population struggles to meet their basic food needs and nearly one in 10 [...]

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SEATTLE — Somalia is a hotbed of extreme poverty. The region has experienced massive conflict and famine. The average life expectancy in Somalia is 52 years, the majority of the population lives on less than $2 a day, a quarter of the population struggles to meet their basic food needs and nearly one in 10 infants born in Somalia will die before their first birthday. According to the Fragile States Index, Somalia is considered one of the most fragile states in the world, second only to South Sudan. In encountering such an extreme situation in desperate need of humanitarian aid, one may ask “Why is Somalia poor?”

When answering “Why is Somalia poor?” one cannot ignore the political strife in Somalia. In 1991, the Somali rebellion successfully overthrew dictator Siad Barre, who ruled the nation for over 20 years. Different rebel factions began to compete for influence in the new transitional government. The conflict between the rebels ignited the Somali Civil War, which has raged on for more than 25 years.

Though the plights of war are tragic, the most damaging impact of the Somali Civil War is the lack of a strong and stable central government. Somalia remains broken into factions. In 1991, Somaliland broke off into an autonomous region and was followed by Puntland in 1998. What further complicates matters for the Somali government is the presence of Al-Shabab, an Islamist terrorist organization formally aligned with Al-Qaeda. Though Al-Shabab lacks control over Somalia’s major cities, it controls much of Somalia’s farmland. This has made providing foreign aid for these regions difficult, since the U.S. and the U.N. do not want to give additional resources to terrorists.

The Somali Civil War and the lack of a stable governing body have also exacerbated the impact of natural disasters and disease in Somalia. This occurred most notably with the 2011 East Africa drought which brought a famine that killed 250,000 in Somalia. In a nation with a functioning government at peace, a famine would not have had to occur, especially if there was sufficient aid from the international community.

Stable governments like that of Kenya have been able to avert famine through providing aid to farmers and food vouchers to the general public. However, this drought occurred during the height of Al-Shabab’s power and Western nations were unwilling to send aid to areas controlled by the organization. This year, the region is experiencing another drought, and if Somalia and other East African nations do not get the aid they need, it could be the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen since 1945.

Though Somalia has been in crisis for more than 25 years, the fight for peace in Somalia is far from insurmountable. The first establishment of a Somali Parliament in more than 20 years was in 2012. In 2016, the Somali government announced a National Development Plan that aims to reduce poverty, repair infrastructure and strengthen the efficacy of government policy. In May 2017, U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres announced that current conditions in Somalia make it possible for Somali victory over Al-Shabab.

So why is Somalia poor? The 26-year-long war has brought bloodshed and instability to the region and serves as a major obstacle to development. Devastating famine made possible by the conflict has served to impoverish the Somali population even further. The effects of the famine were even more destructive due to an insufficient humanitarian response from the Somali government and the international community. Though Somalia faces one of the most disastrous crises in recent history, there is still a path forward to Somali development.

Carson Hughes
Photo: Flickr

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Current Methods of Treating Common Diseases in Australia http://www.borgenmagazine.com/treating-common-diseases-in-australia/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:30:28 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=111226 CANBERRA — In March 2017, 4.1 million Australians were reported to have no vaccinations against diseases. This increases Australians’ risk of illness, death and transmitted infections across the country’s communities. However, there are proposed reforms in medical practices to treat common diseases in Australia. Q Fever Q fever, a disease transmitted from Australia’s livestock, causes [...]

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CANBERRA — In March 2017, 4.1 million Australians were reported to have no vaccinations against diseases. This increases Australians’ risk of illness, death and transmitted infections across the country’s communities. However, there are proposed reforms in medical practices to treat common diseases in Australia.

Q Fever

Q fever, a disease transmitted from Australia’s livestock, causes a prolonged and debilitating illness in humans. University of Queensland researchers are investigating the role that farms and airborne dispersion play in spreading the infection. The researchers will use geographical systems to track the disease’s transmission and find the bacterium responsible for Q fever.

With the number of Q fever cases increasing in South Australia, nonprofit Livestock SA is reminding residents why vaccination is important. The organization is also urging Australia’s government to support a national program that would subsidize vaccination costs. The program would make vaccinations more affordable for residents over 15 years old who live in rural areas.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer accounts for 80 percent of Australian cancer cases each year. Firstcheck, a New Zealand app used to detect skin cancer, was recently launched in Australia. Users submit photos of moles to the app, allowing a skin specialist to review the picture and determine if skin cancer has been spotted. Hayden Laird, the app’s cofounder, says that finding skin cancer early means a better chance of curing it.

TROG Cancer Research, a clinical trial group, found that surgery combined with radiotherapy is more effective than traditional chemotherapy for skin cancer treatment. TROG also found that chemotherapy does not improve cure rates. This information could help residents avoid the side effects of skin cancer chemotherapy. Similar medical findings could help decrease the rate of common diseases in Australia.

Trachoma

Trachoma, a disease that causes blindness from swelling eyes, has infected nearly five percent of the country’s children. The rate is presently much smaller compared to 20 percent of residents who were infected in 2009. Trachoma was originally eliminated from mainstream Australia for 100 years. With the disease’s return, the World Health Organization intends to eliminate Trachoma by 2020.

The Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trust (QEJT), a charitable foundation, created the Safe Eyes program. The program helps Australia’s Aboriginal communities, those most impacted by trachoma, develop strategies to reduce prevalence in remote areas. QEJT plans for these strategies to spread beyond the Aboriginal communities and reach all Australians.

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease, an acute bacterial infection, causes an Australian to die within hours if left untreated. Australian doctors now have vaccinations available for the five main strains of the disease. Bexsero, the vaccine for strain B, was unavailable after high demands in 2016. It is expected to return to Australia’s market this year.

In January 2017, Australia’s federal government promised a national level response to Meningococcal disease. The country’s chief medical officer organized a focus group to study the epidemiology of the disease’s M strain and intends to consider risk factors. Options for addressing the disease in existing processes will also be considered.

Australia’s government and other parties are working hard to control and prevent these diseases. Vaccinations will continue to be recommended for all Australians. With these efforts in place, the rate of common diseases in Australia could significantly decrease.

Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

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Positive Changes in Haiti Bring Hope for the Nation’s Bright Future http://www.borgenmagazine.com/positive-changes-in-haiti/ Wed, 02 Aug 2017 14:30:57 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=110489 PORT-AU-PRINCE — Government instability, natural disasters and other factors have contributed to Haiti’s impoverished conditions. A cholera outbreak claimed 9,500 Haitian lives in 2010, and Hurricane Matthew increased the country’s devastation in 2016. However, various works are creating positive changes in Haiti. Reforms are in place to strengthen Haiti’s stability and development, as said by [...]

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PORT-AU-PRINCE — Government instability, natural disasters and other factors have contributed to Haiti’s impoverished conditions. A cholera outbreak claimed 9,500 Haitian lives in 2010, and Hurricane Matthew increased the country’s devastation in 2016. However, various works are creating positive changes in Haiti.

Reforms are in place to strengthen Haiti’s stability and development, as said by the U.N. Security Council president in June 2017. Providing basic services, creating jobs and changing security sectors are some of the proposed reforms. The U.N. Security Council plans to stop Haiti’s cholera outbreak as well.

Many Haitians lack access to family planning programs. Haiti’s eminent panel, consisting of four renowned officials, intends to provide this access, which will improve children’s health and provide education and other benefits to Haitian families. The strategy could cut the mortality rate of children under age five by 70 percent.

Haïti Priorise is a Canadian government-funded research project that has worked with many entities to improve Haiti’s economic, environmental and social wellness. One of the project’s proposals involves saving the lives of nearly 4,000 newborn Haitians annually. Another proposal stresses the necessity to reduce the country’s domestic violence rate, resolve legal systems and improve government services.

Positive changes in Haiti are also being seen through the work of an audiologist, Carrie Spangler, who is spending early July 2017 to help 54 children at The Haiti Deaf Academy and Haiti Deaf Children’s home. The facilities themselves provide the children with food, support, clothing and education. Spangler’s mission is to help the children realize they are loved, valued and able to fulfill their goals.

Helping Hands 4 Haiti, launched by couple Jonathan and Michelle Carver, is a ministry dedicated to helping Haitian schools and orphanages. As noted by a pastor who visited Haiti, the orphans had families but no longer lived with them because the parents could not support them. But smiles and hugs remind those children that they are never alone.

In June 2017, Artibonite, Haiti’s rice growing region, was discovered to have enough grain to feed the whole country. President Jovenel Moïse promised in February to make rural areas more productive, and the dredging work taking place in Artibonite shows that he is keeping his word. This is especially good news for Haitians who remember past leaders with false promises.

Raising awareness of Haiti’s needs is a significant service as well, as proven by Swan Meadow School students who wrote an article on the country’s problems and aid strategies. Elwood and Anita Martin, grandparents to three of the school’s students, have plans to build a new health clinic for Haiti’s rural areas. Donors and 30 volunteers are helping the couple complete the project.

In June 2017, Canton High School students felt the desire to help Haiti after hearing of Hurricane Matthew. The students raised $1,505 to buy and pre-package 23,000 meals to send to the country. Groups that help Haiti’s orphaned children will receive the meals consisting of nutritional powder, rice, vegetables and lentils.

These efforts show that many people are working hard to improve Haiti’s living conditions. With so many aid strategies taking place, positive changes in Haiti have a good chance of continuing. If these strategies inspire other people to help, many Haitians could recover from previous disasters.

Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

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A Global Debate: Human Rights in the Russian Federation http://www.borgenmagazine.com/human-rights-in-the-russian-federation/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:30:44 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=109637 MOSCOW — An international struggle has formed between the government of the Russian Federation and the European Court of Human Rights. A series of bills and laws passing through the Russian Parliament pose possible threats to human rights in the Russian Federation including certain freedoms of association and speech. The European Court of Human Rights, [...]

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MOSCOW — An international struggle has formed between the government of the Russian Federation and the European Court of Human Rights. A series of bills and laws passing through the Russian Parliament pose possible threats to human rights in the Russian Federation including certain freedoms of association and speech. The European Court of Human Rights, as well as organizations like Humans Rights Watch, have condemned Russia for the recent regressive legislation that is reminiscent of Soviet Union era discrimination.

Much of the tension formed over a 2013 law. The Russian Parliament, or Duma, passed the law that fines “nontraditional” sexual relationships among minors but fails to clarify what constitutes nontraditional. Therefore, concern arose from the Russian LGBT community of whether or not violent hate groups or their own government would persecute them based on the lifestyles of its Russian citizens.

On the other hand, Russian political leaders have spoken up on the reasoning behind the law and state that the intent of the law is not to invoke discrimination, but to protect children from sexual malevolence. Dmitry Dedov, a Russian judge on the European Court of Human Rights, cited that over 50,000 children fall victim to sexual abuse annually, mostly from men, and deemed the legislation necessary in the interest to protect a “child’s perception of private and family life.”

Ultimately, the efforts of the bill were halted by the European Court of Human Rights as the court found it “unacceptable under the European Convention” according to the New York Times.

In 2016, Human Rights Watch, an organization dedicated to protect human rights and save lives from persecution, took notice of the Duma’s gradual infringement on human rights in the Russian Federation. This was demonstrated through the Yarovaya Law that passed in July 2016. According to Human Rights Watch, the law “requires that cellular and internet providers store all communications data for six months and that all metadata up to three years for potential access by security services.”

President Vladimir Putin signed the law allegedly to counter terrorism and extremism. However, many of those who were prosecuted for violating the Yarovaya Law were using their freedom of speech to openly write online that Crimea was Ukrainian territory, not Russian.

Protecting human rights in the Russian Federation while maintaining Russia’s cooperation to work with European political collectives is dependent on how the Russian Parliament manages its controversial legislation. Much of the reasoning behind the provocative laws is rooted in Russia’s impulse to preserve the morale of the public, even at the expensive of personal liberty.

Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s spokesman, responded to the demands of 80 humanitarian organizations to withdraw Russia’s seat at the UN Human Rights Council by saying, “If these organizations were as consistent and resolute in condemning the actions of these terrorists and supporting those who fight against these terrorists, then we would view their activity as more convincing and in accordance with reality.”

It is now evident that compromise must result between humanitarian organizations and the Russian Parliament to implement protective legislation over human rights in the Russian Federation that agrees with the religious, traditional sociopolitical sphere of Russia.

Kaitlin Hocker

Photo: Flickr

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An Improvement: Agribusiness Solution for Poverty in Bhutan http://www.borgenmagazine.com/causes-of-poverty-in-bhutan/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:30:03 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=109641 THIMPU — Bhutan’s poverty stems from its history of isolation instead of modernization. Up until the 1960’s, the country lacked basic technology and elementary public services such as hospitals or post offices. In 1961, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck decided to end the seclusion from the outside world and integrate the Kingdom of Bhutan into modern [...]

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THIMPU — Bhutan’s poverty stems from its history of isolation instead of modernization. Up until the 1960’s, the country lacked basic technology and elementary public services such as hospitals or post offices. In 1961, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck decided to end the seclusion from the outside world and integrate the Kingdom of Bhutan into modern society to develop it economically and to improve standard of living.

However, the Buddhist kingdom still lacks the economic means to eradicate the causes of poverty in Bhutan, which prevent it from becoming an agricultural powerhouse.

With 12 percent of the population living below the national poverty line and 70 percent of the population living in rural areas, the causes of poverty in Bhutan are especially harsh on its agricultural industry. Bhutan’s dependency on agriculture as a means of economic security is paradoxical. Agriculture is the main form of industry in Bhutan, but it also diminishes economic diversity within the country because there are not many job opportunities outside of the agricultural sector.

Another phenomenon that contributes to poverty within the rural community is the pressure of an increasing population accompanied by limited resources. Without advanced farming techniques or improved irrigation facilities, Bhutan struggles provide enough agricultural yields to maintain its internal economy, and to establish itself in the agricultural economy of the world.

Fortunately, the Royal Government of Bhutan has not turned a deaf ear toward its poor. In 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture introduced an agricultural program for farmers to grow organic produce in hopes of boosting the country’s economic autonomy. By introducing government-funded training to farmers who grow organic crops, Bhutan will make itself more appealing to the demands of developed international economies.

In addition, the government formed a multi-stage plan, known as the Five Year Plan, for economic prosperity in 1961 that since strengthened its infrastructure. It also lessened the poverty in Bhutan by introducing modern hydroelectric projects.

Lessening the primary causes of poverty in Bhutan can be achieved through the World Bank’s current recommendations. First, if Bhutan is to truly take off in agribusiness it needs more favorable government policies and incentives for farmers. In addition, the World Bank also recommends that Bhutan “[put]in place, for the poor and vulnerable segments of the population, formal social protection mechanisms along with access to finance mechanisms like targeted micro-credit programs and crop insurance.”

The economic restraints Bhutan faces in today’s global market demand reform, but they do not condemn Bhutan to the economic isolation it faced only fifty years ago.

Kaitlin Hocker

Photo: Flickr

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