The Good News – BORGEN http://www.borgenmagazine.com Humanity, Politics & You Tue, 23 Jan 2018 15:30:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Four Disability Rights Activists Making an Impact Around the World http://www.borgenmagazine.com/disability-rights-activists/ Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:30:39 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=123962 SEATTLE — People with disabilities make up more than 15 percent of the world’s population, but their human rights are often overlooked. As a result of these inequalities and injustices, there are many people who dedicate their time and their voices to the cause. These four disability rights activists work toward equality for people with disabilities [...]

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SEATTLE — People with disabilities make up more than 15 percent of the world’s population, but their human rights are often overlooked. As a result of these inequalities and injustices, there are many people who dedicate their time and their voices to the cause. These four disability rights activists work toward equality for people with disabilities around the world.

Yetnebersh Nigussie

At the age of five, Yetnebersh Nigussie went blind. Born into a low-income family in a rural part of Ethiopia, Yetnebersh’s family thought it best if she enrolled in a boarding school for girls with disabilities.

Yetnebersh later studied law at Addis Ababa University with only two other women in her class. With a law degree under her belt, Yetnebersh set out to advocate for other people with disabilities by working for almost 20 activist organizations.

In 2005, she founded the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD). The organization fights for equal rights and equal access to opportunity for Ethiopians with disabilities. ECDD aims to improve the livelihoods of Ethiopian people with disabilities by providing vocational skills and job search training, and by issuing grants to working disabled individuals. The organization also fights to make healthcare and education more accessible to people, mainly women and children, with disabilities.

Yetnebersh’s hard work has not gone unrecognized. In 2017, Yetnebersh won the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “alternative Nobel prize”, for her “inspiring work promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.”

 

Javed Abidi

Javed Abidi was born to a financially secure family in the agricultural trade city of Aligarh, India. At birth, Javed had sclerosis of the spine that was misdiagnosed and mistreated, causing him to be confined to a wheelchair for life.

Javed left for the United States for treatment and to study journalism and communications at Wright State University. Although he was a competitive applicant, Javed struggled to find employment in India, citing his disability as the biggest hindrance to being hired.

His activism helped pass the Persons with Disabilities Act in 1995 and he became the director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People in 1997. Currently, Javed also serves as vice chair of the International Disability Alliance, which fights for the rights of disabled people on a global scale.

In this role, Javed seeks to remind the public that more disability rights activists and movements need to focus on the global south: “15 percent of the world’s population live with a disability,” said Javed in an interview with Live Mint. “Of this, as many as 80 percent live in countries of the global south. Yet the leadership and the mechanisms that shape policies […] are controlled by people from the developed world, who have absolutely no idea what it means to be a person with disability.”

Tiffany Brar

Tiffany was diagnosed with a retinal disease after birth and lost her sight. After studying at many specialized schools in India, Tiffany went on to earn a degree in English literature from the Government Women’s College. Tiffany’s work with the visually impaired began immediately after graduation when she worked for Braille Without Borders.

Through this work, Tiffany discovered that few other visually impaired people living in India shared her fate. Most of the visually impaired individuals she encountered rarely left home, were undereducated or lacked the skills and training needed for employment. As a result, Tiffany founded the Jyothirgamaya Foundation, a school for the blind where students are taught computer skills, English and other academic subjects.

Tiffany states that her experience with visual impairment inspired her to focus on life skills at the foundation as well: “The only word blind people are taught is…you can’t…you can’t…you can’t. Even my father was very overprotective but I had it in me that I must walk alone, travel alone…live by myself …and now I want to empower others.” The students at the Jyothirgamaya Foundation are taught mobility and orientation so they can travel and live freely early in life, an experience that Tiffany was not able to have herself.

Peter Ogik

Disability rights activist Peter Ogik was born in Jinja, Uganda to two parents who had never seen someone with albinism before. As a result, Peter’s albino appearance at birth was a shock. While Peter’s family accepted and loved him fully, the rest of the neighborhood and his parents’ friends assumed Peter was cursed and distanced themselves from him.

Peter excelled in school despite the constant bullying and limited funds available for food and supplies. However, even after high school and university, Peter struggled to find work: “I remember applying for a job, and the owner of the business responded: ‘I can’t give you a job, you’d scare my customers.’”

In 2013, Peter, along with a few others from his university, formed the Source Nile Union of Persons with Albinism. The organization seeks to raise awareness about albinism in Nigeria and Uganda as well as providing materials for skin protection and skin cancer treatment.

Peter presents his disability activism in different forms such as film, music and entertainment and aims to demonstrate that the possibilities for people with disabilities are endless: “After all, it’s just a skin that is missing the color,” Peter says “but we have the potential to do everything.”

People with disabilities are more likely to have less education, fewer opportunities for employment, poor health outcomes and higher poverty rates compared to people without disabilities. Thanks to people like these disability rights activists, this group of disadvantaged people will have their voices heard and needs met.

– Danielle Poindexter

Photo: Flickr

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Improving Society and Fighting Poverty with Teaspoons of Change http://www.borgenmagazine.com/teaspoons-of-change/ Sun, 14 Jan 2018 09:30:05 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=123551 SEATTLE — Teaspoons of Change is a concept brought to life with an equation: small actions multiplied by lots of people equals big change. Teaspoons of Change founder d’Arcy Lunn’s goal, dream and life’s work is eliminating global poverty. In 2014, Lunn, an avid cyclist and fitness fan, took on a 1,000-kilometer trek and 1,500-kilometer [...]

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SEATTLE — Teaspoons of Change is a concept brought to life with an equation: small actions multiplied by lots of people equals big change.

Teaspoons of Change founder d’Arcy Lunn’s goal, dream and life’s work is eliminating global poverty. In 2014, Lunn, an avid cyclist and fitness fan, took on a 1,000-kilometer trek and 1,500-kilometer bike ride across Japan with one real goal in mind: to contemplate and reflect on positive impacts and outcomes that are born of choices and actions of individuals.

His takeaway? Social change is possible when individuals are helping others, but also when individuals are mindful of choices and actions in their own daily lives. Social change is even more achievable when individuals realize that lots of other individuals are mindful, as well.  Lunn created the Teaspoons of Change concept to inspire and remind people that their small actions, even just a teaspoon’s worth, matter every single day, especially when combined with the actions of others.

Our Daily Choices: Small, but Significant

In addition to simply making “good” choices, Lunn hopes those choices will align with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development – 17 goals, to be exact, developed in 2015 by 193 world leaders. The goals include the elimination of poverty, zero hunger, affordable and clean energy, gender equality, responsible consumption and production, climate action and sustainable cities and communities.

Just a few Teaspoons of Change suggested in coordination with the Global Goals:

  • Walk — good for you and the environment.
  • Ride your bike. Same as above and you can go even further.
  • Use less hot water. Save on energy and water at the same time.
  • Know your trash. Research exactly which, where and how trash items can be recycled.
  • Consume less. Be mindful of whether you need it, or just want it.
  • If you consume, do it locally. Let your money work for your community.
  • Buy secondhand when possible.
  • Take care of your things. They will last longer.
  • Take care of your health. Less visits to the doctor benefits more than just you.
  • Know the businesses you patronize. Be sure they put people before profit.
  • Grow some of your own food. Develop a relationship with it.
  • Reduce your meat consumption.
  • Instead of buying gifts, give your time.

Lunn’s Resume

As evidenced by Lunn’s impressive body of work as an activist, advocate and volunteer, he pours his energy and daily decision into serving his goal of eliminating poverty across the globe.

Lunn is a member of Rotary International, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Peace Studies as a Rotary Peace Fellow. Every year, Rotary bestows up to 100 professionals worldwide with fellowships to study at one of their peace centers, with the purpose of developing leaders of careers in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and resolution. Lunn’s studies take place at International Christian University — Rotary’s peace center in Tokyo, Japan.

In 2012, the Australia-based Lunn promoted the Live Below the Line campaign’s challenge to subsist for five days on $1.50 a day – just like 1.4 billion people living below the global poverty line. Most people who accept the challenge adapt it to their regular daily routine, but Lunn upped the ante by biking, then walking, 400 miles from Portland, Oregon to Whistler, British Columbia. He sustained on $1.50 a day (with his own strict rules of no food handouts and no dumpster diving) for the entire three-week journey, even working in a mile-long swim on days he wasn’t traveling.

During his Live Below the Line expedition, he maintained at least one aspect of his “normal” life – Lunn continued speaking engagements at schools, churches and Rotary clubs all along his 400-mile path. Over the past 17 years, Lunn has given global awareness and education presentations to schools, businesses, governmental and non-governmental organizations, service clubs and more.

He has reached more than 70,000 people face-to-face with over 750 presentations to date, and his career positions are just a few among many that fight to eliminate global poverty:

  • Developer of Happy, Simply – a tiny homes project for sustainable living.
  • Campaign Manager for The End of Polio
  • Consultant Ambassador for UNICEF U-Report
  • Youth and Schools Manager for Global Citizen

Through Teaspoons of Change, d’Arcy Lunn reminds us that our small actions are significant, that large groups of people working toward the same goals can achieve true greatness and that every human being is worth our time, our energy, our respect and our consideration, every single day.

– Jaymie Greenway
Photo: Flickr

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Naja Lingerie Promotes Empowerment in Colombia http://www.borgenmagazine.com/naja-lingerie-empowerment/ Tue, 02 Jan 2018 09:30:52 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=123249 BOGOTÁ — Naja is a new e-commerce lingerie company launched in December 2013 that flips the typical script of lingerie production to make beautifully designed underwear and bras at relatively economical prices for and by women. CEO and founder the lingerie brand Catalina Girald states: “The whole industry is about seduction, and most of the images you [...]

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BOGOTÁ — Naja is a new e-commerce lingerie company launched in December 2013 that flips the typical script of lingerie production to make beautifully designed underwear and bras at relatively economical prices for and by women. CEO and founder the lingerie brand Catalina Girald states: “The whole industry is about seduction, and most of the images you see of women are ‘come and get me.’”

But with the support and collaboration of her friend and Puerto Rican actress, Gina Rodriguez, who is best known from her comedy-drama series Jane the Virgin, Girald strove to change the narrative to: “Let’s present women as strong and intelligent. You wear lingerie everyday, so it needs to be about you.”

Naja Lingerie: Who They Are & What They Do

Headquartered in Girald’s hometown of Medellín, Colombia, Naja employs single mothers and female heads of household to flexibly work from home and care for their children. They are paid “above market wages with healthcare benefits,” as stated on their webpage. One of the incredible benefits this company has for its employees is providing their children with books, school supplies, uniforms and all school meals paid by the company itself.

In addition, Naja helps educate and employ “displaced” women in Colombia through its Underwear for Hope program, which donates a percentage of each purchase to the Golondrinas Foundation in Medellín. From there, the latter uses the donations for their single mothers’ sewing program instructed by nuns and, in turn, Girald hires the trained single mothers to work for Naja.

Naja and Single Mothers

These single mothers are responsible for producing the complimentary wash-bags that accompany the bra. This program allows “the marginalized Colombian women to work from home and become their own ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ with 2 percent of its revenue donated to local charities that provide continuing education to these women,” Girald is recognized significantly for creating a company that gives back to its women.

Naja is an incredible company changing the lives of the women involved in its conception and production in addition to those that purchase the clothing. Women are being empowered by this new brand of lingerie, which includes motivational quotes and a unique style that calls upon strength and confidence. Two powerful and independent women are initiating a brand and movement that’s shifting the standard of the industry as a whole.

Naja and Beyond 

Naja is only the beginning for Catalina Girald. She plans to expand the Underwear for Hope program to the United States and is determined to grow the brand and its charitable outreach capabilities:

“I see Naja as a lifestyle brand that’s inclusive of all women, so I’d like to be able to expand our size range. I’d also like to see it move beyond lingerie to include sleepwear, sheets and anything related to bedroom and bathroom. That’s how I see it evolving. And keeping it at an affordable price point.”

Assisting in the alleviation of these poverty-stricken women and their families will aide the world economy as a whole. Rodriguez describes this sentiment as “ensuring that women are employed is ensuring that the next generation is educated, this is good for society as a whole and helps in the elimination of poverty.”

As an eco-conscious company that preserves the ecosystem through digital printing technologies, Naja operates with inkjet printers to imprint designs onto the fabric, and sublimation printing (heat that transfers dye onto the fabric). The process is not only efficient, but it also reduces the extreme water usage of traditional dyeing systems. The company utilizes readily available raw materials such as recycled plastic bottles to complete new collections in the timely manner of 4-6 months.

Unique Naja 

The production of a reasonable and limited amount of pieces occurs in order for the company to recognize the demand from their consumers’ purchases and to create more, if requested, in the timely manner of 2-3 weeks’ time.

Girald has noticed with other lingerie brands that “each year, tons of apparel goes to landfills and a lot of that is excess merchandise” that accumulates as a result of most companies’ minimum order requirement of 10,000 units of individual designs. Even though the high-quality of their brand is prevalent, Naja doesn’t believe that their consumers must pay top dollar for such luxuries; thus, they strive to make the material the most comfortable and luxurious as possible.

Besides reducing cost and increasing quality, the company also promotes a healthy self-image and a sense of empowerment through their unique interior stitching of motivational quotes in the bra cups and the crotch of the underwear themselves.

These women aren’t only trying to better their own lives, but with the skills they’ve learned with the Underwear for Hope Program, they have become artisans in their own right. The designs created for Naja tell a unique story about the hands that produced such high-quality pieces as well as delineate a unique tale of empowering cultural movement within itself.

-Nicole Suarez
Photo: Flickr

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Culture in a Box: GlobeIn Gives Global Artisans a Secure Future http://www.borgenmagazine.com/globein-global-artisans/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 09:30:16 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=123008 SEATTLE — Subscription boxes have been around for quite a while, bringing consumers products to their doorsteps. Many revolve around makeup and beauty — the vanity of the world — although there now appears to be a subscription box for items ranging from the epic fandoms of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, to gentlemen’s [...]

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SEATTLE — Subscription boxes have been around for quite a while, bringing consumers products to their doorsteps. Many revolve around makeup and beauty — the vanity of the world — although there now appears to be a subscription box for items ranging from the epic fandoms of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, to gentlemen’s elite clothing and everything in between.

From there, the concept of “unboxing” came around to publicize companies even more as it shows potential subscribers what could be included in their monthly boxes. It also gives people a chance to view the ratings given by experienced consumers and take the plunge to delve into the frenzy. There is a new approach brewing: culture in a box.

What is GlobeIn?

GlobeIn is a monthly global artisan box that features exclusive, handcrafted creations prepared around a theme that brings its consumers breathtaking artifacts denoting culture; it connects people in a way that travel isn’t required. In the box, there is a card with the biographical information about the artist and their picture where the conversation begins between the consumer and the artisan. It tells a story about a human being, taking advantage of their art to sustain their families. Although many of these artisans are entrepreneurs themselves, they don’t currently possess a secure outlet for their family businesses to thrive.

These artisans and entrepreneurs have incredible artistic talent, and just require financial assistance. GlobeIn became that miracle, serving as the missing link in its aid for these family businesses. It was indispensable to share that art and culture with the world through an online marketplace that garnered a grander audience. It began as a startup based in San Francisco, California, which launched back in March 2013, with one purpose in mind – alleviate global poverty through art.

The Timeline

This project was initially conceived in 2011 when co-founder Anastasia Miron “hopped on a bus to Mexico and started helping local artists sell their wares online,” as stated by CEO Vladimir Ermakov. He is an engineer, holding a master’s degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon. The “microlending movement” – people in developing countries being lent a small amount of money to start their business — became one of his most prominent focuses. This led to his GlobeIn company using that same technology to help artisans take their budding businesses one step further.

In July of this year, GlobeIn officially became “Fair Trade” — a title that now made what it had been from the start legal. It was founded on the vision of empowering artisans around the globe and assisting them through fair wages that come in through the jobs that their creations generate. With this, GlobeIn’s main purpose was fulfilled by alleviating poverty as well as establishing sustainable development. They also believe in providing a clean, protected environment via the artifacts sent to their consumers.

The Mission

At the core, the artisans have the talent, motivation and passion for their art. Thus, it is imperative to build upon their independence so they recognize that they are behind their families’ and the consumers who receive their pieces’ happiness. GlobeIn fosters this long-term relationship, and helps artists realize that their dreams can become a source of revenue.

Finally, the most important aspect is the artisans’ cultural heritage and identity being respected. Key components of this company and its subscription box include the culture of its artisan and artifacts in addition to the promotion of global unity and awareness to its consumers. GlobeIn is a phenomenal company that began as a mere idea and grew into a global market, garnering monetary funds for their artisans and a new glimpse into the world for their consumers. It brings awareness to the different ways that someone attempts to protect and provide for their families.

It is a beautiful notion to assist these people in this way, as the consumers will see a new side of the world and an enchanting backstory to connect with as humans. This is a unique company that brings awareness to the social problems existing in underdeveloped countries and also prompts consumers to see that by supporting artisans, they give them a better life and receive a one-of-a-kind creation that will last them for a lifetime in return.

– Nicole Suárez

Photo: Flickr

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Nigerian Fish Farmers Increase Profits with New Equipment http://www.borgenmagazine.com/nigerian-fish-farmers-profits/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 09:30:47 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=122060 SEATTLE — Fish are a staple of the Nigerian diet and they constitute 60 percent of meat sold in Nigerian markets. Regardless of the popularity of fish, the fish farming business is not particularly profitable for Nigerian farmers. Nigeria imports 90 percent of fish sold, giving little room for local fish farmers to develop successful [...]

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SEATTLE — Fish are a staple of the Nigerian diet and they constitute 60 percent of meat sold in Nigerian markets. Regardless of the popularity of fish, the fish farming business is not particularly profitable for Nigerian farmers.

Nigeria imports 90 percent of fish sold, giving little room for local fish farmers to develop successful businesses. Often, farmers sell their fish at around $500 per kilogram, but it may take seven months to grow and cultivate one kilogram of fish, leaving them with a very small profit for a lot of labor.

Before sale, most Nigerian fish farmers purchase fingerlings, most often catfish as it is the most popular fish on the market, from a trusted source and raise their fish near their homes. Others rely on ponds and rivers to catch wild catfish.

There are numerous risks in raising and selling fish, and these risks are often not worth the profit the farmers receive. However, some fish farmers and businesses are relying on specialized equipment and machines that can increase the profit margin and reduce the unpredictability of aquaculture.

Mobile fish ponds
Businesses in aquaculture are largely dependent on environmental factors. While the state of the weather, the season and water parameters are out of a fish farmer’s control, they greatly affect the chance of making a profit. A slight change in the water or weather could lead to disease and death. Many Nigerian fish farmers have no choice but to catch fish from the local river and move them directly to sale.

While no one can control the environment, fish farmers can purchase or create mobile fish ponds to create personalized ecosystems for their fingerlings. The ponds, usually made of plastic or concrete, allow fish farmers to control the amount, type and temperature of the water that enters the pond with tanks. This way, they no longer have to depend on unpredictable local rivers to raise their fish. The ponds can culture anywhere from a few hundred to over 1,000 fish fingerlings. The ponds are particularly ideal for urban farmers who can now create ecosystems in their backyards.

Feeding machines
Fish are particularly sensitive to inadequate feeding measures, but nutritional fish feed can be very expensive. As a result, fish feed makes up 80 percent of the variable cost of fish farming and can significantly lower the profit margin.

It is not easy to feed fish properly. There are floating and sinking feeds, and some feeds require additives to provide the fish with adequate nutrition. For a busy fish farmer with numerous mobile ponds, they not only have to be knowledgeable of different feed types, they also need a way to mass produce and formulate the feeds to save time and money.

With the use of fish feed mills, the farmer only needs to know the proper ingredients for creating feed. The feed mill does most of the work by forming floating pellets out of grains and other materials. The feed mills can run for hours on end, allowing the farmer to attend to other aspects of their business. By mass producing their own feed, farmers can save money and cultivate more fish.

Processed fish
The first two innovations can save time, effort and money for fish farmers, but there are some unavoidable risks that come with selling fresh fish. Fresh fish has a short shelf life and, if the fish does not sell immediately, the produce will rot and the farmer loses money. This scenario is quite common, given that local farmers struggle to compete with the prices of imported fish.

The only way to avoid these risks is to process some of the fish produce. Machines that can smoke and process fish are becoming more popular among Nigerian fish farmers.

Smoking machines can create opportunities for the fish business in any season. Smoked fish can last from three to six months and, as long as there are some fish to cultivate, it can be produced and packaged throughout the year. By not having to rely on the sale of fresh fish, farmers reduce their risk and variable costs. Additionally, processed food products are more valuable than fresh foods, and therefore allow for a higher profit margin.

All of these innovations can increase the profitability of fish farming, but they carry heavy upfront costs. Complex machines like the Smoking King are not affordable for a lot of Nigerian fish farmers looking to improve their businesses.

The World Bank funds the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), which provides training, equipment and funds for agricultural businesses and workers in many West African countries. In 2015, WAAPP constructed numerous mobile fishing ponds, both plastic and concrete, in participating Nigerian villages.

Recently, WAAPP provided some fish farming businesses in Lagos, Nigeria with new equipment. Rotemi Omodehin was one of the farmers to receive a processing machine called the Smoking King. Omodehin says the machine improved the profitability of his business. “Anyone doing this business without adding value cannot make good profit,” he says in an interview with The World Bank.

These methods and programs are all key parts of the process to increase profits for fish farmers and improve their lives. Continued emphasis on these innovations can have a major impact on alleviating poverty for farmers in Nigeria.

– Danielle Poindexter

Photo: Flickr

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The Development Promise of Kenya Vision 2030 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/kenya-vision-2030/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 09:30:45 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=122572 SEATTLE — Kenya has a mission to create a better country for its people. To accomplish this mission, the country has established a long-term development project called Kenya Vision 2030. This project started in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2030. The Vision The vision of Kenya Vision 2030 is simple: to provide [...]

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SEATTLE — Kenya has a mission to create a better country for its people. To accomplish this mission, the country has established a long-term development project called Kenya Vision 2030. This project started in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2030.

The Vision
The vision of Kenya Vision 2030 is simple: to provide a higher quality of life for its citizens so they can feel comfortable in the environment they are living in. Kenya wants its people to be able to feed itself, to speak its mind through democracy, to have reliable and safe transportation, to increase employment and tourist traffic, to have quality hospital service for citizens and to advance in technology.

The Pillars
The government is honing in on the economic, social and political pillars. Each pillar will have a different impact on the country but will contribute to the greater solution of making the residents of the country feel secure in their environment.

The economic pillar includes seven sectors: infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, trade, manufacturing, business process and financial services. Through the better development of infrastructure, for instance, will come increased national power generation and more timely transportation through Standard Gauge Rail railways.

The social pillar focuses on human social welfare through education, health, environment, housing, social development, youth and sports. A recruitment of 28,000 teachers and reconstruction of schools for a more stable education sector is a goal to be accomplished. Additionally, the government would like to build 200,000 new housing units a year in order to expand the ability for residents to own their own homes.

The political pillar is solely focused on public sector reforms. The goal is to establish a more people-based and result-oriented governing system that provides higher levels of democracy. After 20 years of failed constitutional reform attempts, a new constitution was signed in 2010. This constitution allows the Kenyan government to work through the executive branch to eliminate corruption. Under this constitution are several other acts that will work towards more democratic involvement within the government.

The Projects
Each project expected to be completed within the time period of Kenya Vision 2030 is grouped into five-year Medium-Term Plans (MTP). The first MTP was completed between 2008 and 2012. Otherwise known as the Flagship Projects, each pillar was addressed and had specific lists of goals to be accomplished. Tourism, agriculture, governance and security, population and urbanization, employment, infrastructure and education were just some of the sectors that underwent development.

The second MTP, which began in 2013, will be completed at the end of this year. This plan will steer the economy in the right direction in order to reach an average 10 percent gross domestic product growth rate per annum. The plan is also to reduce poverty and inequality through the many social and political pillars.

If successful, Kenya Vision 2030 will create a more stable life for Kenyan citizens. Through the three pillars and the multiple projects in the pillars’ sectors, there is much work to be done in order to reach the overall goal. Through hard work over the remaining 13 years, the goal may just be achievable.

– Brianna Summ
Photo: Flickr

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The Improvement and Success of Humanitarian Aid to South Sudan http://www.borgenmagazine.com/humanitarian-aid-to-south-sudan/ Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:30:16 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=120118 JUBA — The current Civil War in South Sudan has displaced more than 2 million people internally and 2 million more have become refugees — mainly in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The situation in these asylum camps is difficult since basic needs as water, food and shelter are scarce. Despite this, diverse organizations and institutions [...]

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JUBA — The current Civil War in South Sudan has displaced more than 2 million people internally and 2 million more have become refugees — mainly in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The situation in these asylum camps is difficult since basic needs as water, food and shelter are scarce. Despite this, diverse organizations and institutions have brought humanitarian aid to South Sudan refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). In some areas, aid assistance has been a totally success — The Borgen Project highlights the most remarkable accomplishments in South Sudan, the newest country in the world.

Education and Infrastructure

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) work in South Sudan has been constant since 2013, when the conflict in the East-Central African country started. The organization reached several of its goals in terms of health care and infrastructure, with education and coverage of basic needs being the most successful items.

For instance, last year 41,000 South Sudanese children enrolled in primary school. In addition, 272,000 IDPs were assisted with relief items and emergency shelters. Another UNHCR remarkable success is the new Pamir refugee camp, which has a capacity of 20,000 people and is able to accommodate new arrivals and relocate refugees.

In addition, this February the UNHCR installed a 13 km water pipeline to Kalobeyei Settlement. This project will ensure clean water to over 22,000 refugees in this asylum camp. It’s expected that the pipeline stimulates economic growth and self-reliance of refugees through agriculture. The Kalobeyei Settlement is located in Kenya, but when the conflict in South Sudan broke out in 2013, the UNHCR requested additional land for the expansion of camp. In 2015, the settlement hosted 183,000 refugees. This humanitarian aid to South Sudan will principally help children and women — the most affected social sectors of the violence.

Food Assistance

Almost 6 million people in South Sudan face high levels of food insecurity. Thanks to humanitarian assistance, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has reduced the number of people in crisis. By February of this year, South Sudan had been declared with a severe famine crisis; this was contained almost immediately.

In order to ensure food security to South Sudanese refugees, the UHCR and FAO have distributed seeds and agricultural tools to 2000,000 asylum seekers and their communities. With this project, international organizations will provide self-sufficiency — when a person does not need any economic aid or assistance — to combat food crisis.

However, 45,000 South Sudanese still experience famine conditions — a problem that has brought concern to numerous organizations, including Action Against Hunger whose efforts have been significant in the South Sudanese territory. Action Against Hunger workers have given nutritional support to over 75,000 people in the country, and they’ve helped 117,936 individuals gain economic self-sufficiency.

The life conditions in refugees camps and inside South Sudan are difficult; however, various projects implemented in emergency zones have vastly improved the situation. Humanitarian aid to South Sudan is successful, thanks to the continued efforts of several organizations.

Dario Ledesma
Photo: Flickr

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A Look at Declining Poverty in Kazakhstan http://www.borgenmagazine.com/poverty-in-kazakhstan/ Sun, 12 Nov 2017 09:30:49 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=119310 SEATTLE — Kazakhstan is blessed with abundant natural resources like vast mineral deposits and oil fields. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a strong political system even though it became independent only 25 years ago. The rate of poverty (below subsistence level) in Kazakhstan is estimated to have declined [...]

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SEATTLE — Kazakhstan is blessed with abundant natural resources like vast mineral deposits and oil fields. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a strong political system even though it became independent only 25 years ago.

The rate of poverty (below subsistence level) in Kazakhstan is estimated to have declined from 50 percent in 2012 to around 2.8 percent in 2014. The country’s agriculture sector employs one-fourth of the population but accounts for only 5 percent of GDP. Kazakhstan is especially vulnerable to price fluctuations of commodities. A fall in oil prices has a negative impact on its national income.

Moreover, the country faces income inequality and regional variations in poverty levels. The regions of Akmola, Karagandy and East Kazakhstan have the highest level of inequality and are among the poorest in the country, even though their GDP per capita is growing the fastest. It could be said that the face of poverty in Kazakhstan is its regional disparity.

Though the poverty rate looks low, the relative (median consumption level) poverty in Kazakhstan could be as much as 20 percent of the population. Food represents 60 percent of the overall consumption of poor households.

Facts about poverty in Kazakhstan

  1. Rural poverty is higher than urban poverty. However, 14 percent of the poor live in cities, probably because they migrated in search of work.
  2. The largest share of the poor are children (around 35 percent) and they are at the greatest risk. Pension rates have ensured that the retired are well above the poverty line.
  3. Poverty is inversely related to education, but almost 10 percent of the educated remain poor.
  4. The agricultural sector employs many but provides very low wages, making those employed by it susceptible to poverty.
  5. Landowners are at higher risk of poverty in Kazakhstan. 6.6 percent of landowners are poor compared to 2.4 percent who do not own land.

Though Kazakhstan has achieved 100 percent literacy, it still lacks access to clean water, sanitation facilities, health services and prevention against HIV. The government provides a social protection system that includes social insurance benefits, social assistance and social services. It also has many inclusive growth plans for alleviating poverty in Kazakhstan like the Accelerated Industrialization Development Program and the Business Road Map – 2020 Program for job creation and sustenance.

According to the World Bank, the social transfers primarily help households that receive pensions, but has failed to counter poverty in Kazakhstan. The biggest challenge for the government remains the creation of high-quality and productive job opportunities while maintaining its social spending commitments to strengthen the safety net for people living in extreme poverty. According to the report, Kazakhstan has a real chance to raise rural incomes by improving its agricultural sector, given its scale of available agricultural resources.

Tripti Sinha
Photo: Flickr

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International Day of the Girl 2017 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/international-day-of-the-girl-2017/ Sat, 11 Nov 2017 09:30:09 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=120238 In 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 66/170, declaring October 11 to be the International Day of the Girl (also called International Day of the Girl Child.) According to the U.N., “the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” [...]

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In 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 66/170, declaring October 11 to be the International Day of the Girl (also called International Day of the Girl Child.) According to the U.N., “the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”

The International Day of the Girl has been celebrated yearly since 2012, each year focusing on a different theme. The theme of the first year was child marriage. The theme of 2017 was the unique experiences of girls before, during and after crises and conflicts. Girls living in conflict zones or in other areas in crisis are often overlooked as victims, but they are also a “source of power, energy and creativity” that should be valued.

Why does it matter?

Over 100 girls die every day as a result of violence. Over 130 million girls between the ages of six and 17 are currently not in school. It has long been acknowledged that everything from climate change to conflict can have gendered effects. In other words, girls are often uniquely affected – they have specific needs that must be identified and addressed.

The U.N.’s International Day of the Girl aims to do that. It dedicates an entire day to engaging in conversations at local, federal and international levels regarding the rights and plights of girls, it inspires people to support the girls in their life and it is a national day of action for many organizations dedicated to girls’ rights.

The following organizations are a few of many that work to protect girls across the world. On October 11, and every day, they deserve your consideration and support.

  1. DayoftheGirl.org  DayoftheGirl.org is a youth-led movement that fights for the rights of youth and for gender justice. They believe that girls’ issues are intersectional and that girls are instrumental in leading social change. They work on a variety of issues, including reproductive justice, political representation, relationship abuse and sex trafficking in America.
  2. Girls Not Brides  Girls Not Brides is a coalition of over 800 civil society organizations across the world. Their goal is to bring an end to child marriage. They state, “we share the conviction that every girl has the right to lead the life that she chooses and that, by ending child marriage, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all.”
  3. The Malala Fund  The Malala Fund was co-founded in 2013 by Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. They work primarily in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Lebanon and Jordan. Their primary mission is to ensure twelve years of “free, safe, quality education” for all girls so that they can realize their full potential and bring peace to the world.

Olivia Bradley
Photo: Flickr

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MCC and Other Organizations Focus on Diminishing Hunger in Benin http://www.borgenmagazine.com/hunger-in-benin/ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:30:41 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=118869 SEATTLE — With collaborative efforts, hunger in Benin has slowly dwindled and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from $4.8 billion in 2005 to $8.5 billion in 2016. Numerous organizations strategize methods to continue Benin’s rise in production and food security. The Hunger Project narrows its focus to each individual village in Benin, calling it [...]

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SEATTLE — With collaborative efforts, hunger in Benin has slowly dwindled and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from $4.8 billion in 2005 to $8.5 billion in 2016. Numerous organizations strategize methods to continue Benin’s rise in production and food security.

The Hunger Project narrows its focus to each individual village in Benin, calling it the Epicenter Strategy. The idea is that each community can concentrate on its most pressing challenge, like clean drinking water. It also empowers the people in these Benin villages by showing them they can make a difference within their own communities.

In Benin alone, The Hunger Project serves 183 villages and 2017 marked their 20th year of fighting to end hunger in Benin.

The Epicenter Strategy has four phases that work towards making these villages self-reliant and stable within their own communities. A majority of these epicenters, or clusters of villages, are on the third phase — just on the brink of hitting that last phase — while three have already graduated to self-reliance. The self-reliant epicenters display a 72 percent decrease in chronic hunger.

In turn, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provided farmers in countries like Benin with proper tools and technologies needed for production growth.

In 2015, the SDG spoke with Bernadette Sossou, a vegetable farmer from Grand Popo, Benin, hoping to aid farmers on a more intimate level. She expressed her frustration with the high cost of merely one hectare of land.
The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) responded to Bernadette’s call for help by loaning her 2 million francs, enough for her to purchase 2 hectares of land.

They also provided her with contacts to merchants, enabling her to pay off IFDC’s loan and still make a profit of 6 million francs. As head of her household, this enabled her to feed her six children.

Furthermore, The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has worked with Benin, among 21 other countries, since 2005 to address food insecurity. So far, they have invested $4.3 billion to work towards creating and protecting access to agriculture.

MCC trains Benin farmers in successful agriculture and, in 2012, they provided Benin with various agricultural projects to work on. Their efforts have resulted in market growth, thus reducing the cost of goods.

Among other factors, these efforts to end hunger play a major role in the Benin poverty rate decreasing from 37.2 percent in 2006 to 35.2 percent in 2009. With the collective efforts of these organizations, hunger in Benin has slowly diminished and is expected to continue declining.

Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

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