BORGEN http://www.borgenmagazine.com Humanity, Politics & You Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:30:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Five Facts About Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Her Work http://www.borgenmagazine.com/five-facts-about-winnie-madikizela-mandela-and-her-work/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:30:30 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126482 SEATTLE — On April 2, the heartbreaking news came out of South Africa that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid campaigner, had passed away at 81 years old. The family of Madikizela announced that she had passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa after battling a long illness. Madikizela-Mandela [...]

The post Five Facts About Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Her Work appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — On April 2, the heartbreaking news came out of South Africa that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid campaigner, had passed away at 81 years old.

The family of Madikizela announced that she had passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa after battling a long illness. Madikizela-Mandela had been in and out of the hospital since the beginning of the year.

Madikizela-Mandela, best known as the “Mother of the Nation”, was known for her work against white minority rule and the fight against apartheid. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation laws in South Africa from 1948 until 1994. The laws forced all non-white citizens to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities. Even though the laws were abolished in 1994, the generational effects of apartheid and oppression still continue.

In remembrance of Madikizela-Mandela and her influence, here are five facts about her and the ever-important work she did for this world.

She was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including the 27 years he was imprisoned

Madikizela-Mandela has been recognized for continuing her husband’s fight against apartheid while he was jailed. She quickly became an international symbol of resistance against the laws.

“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one of its most recognizable faces,” one statement said.

Even though the couple divorced in 1996, the work Madikizela did in collaboration with her husband and her international campaign for his release had an enormous impact. These events helped bring the world’s attention to the fight for racial equality in her country.

Madikizela-Mandela had been jailed while pregnant

The Madikizela-Mandela household was no stranger to police raids and chaos. Before Mandela was arrested, Madikizela noted that the frequent raids and her husband’s busy schedule with legal cases and trials made for a lonely married life. Even so, Madikizela found herself pregnant with her first child in July 1958.

Even while pregnant, Madikizela did not take a break from her work. In October of that same year, Madikizela took part of a mass action that mobilized women to protest against the government. During the protest, a thousand women, including Madikizela, were arrested.

The arrested women decided not to apply for immediate bail, but rather to stay imprisoned for two weeks to continue their protest. During those two weeks, a four months pregnant Madikizela saw firsthand the trauma and terrible conditions forced onto South African prisoners.

She became a link to the outside world for Mandela

Not only did Madikizela become the spokesperson for the movement while her husband was in jail, she became his public voice. While imprisoned, Madikizela would update Mandela about the changes taking place in their country and news about the movement, since Mandela was banned from reading newspapers.

Because of this, and because she became such a strong voice for her ex-husband, Madikizela was best known outside South Africa because of Mandela. However, in South Africa, she was the mouthpiece and face for the whole movement.

“She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists”.

She was kept in solitary confinement and tortured

In 1969, Madikizela was arrested under the Terrorism Act, which allowed the arrest of anyone perceived as dangerous without a warrant. She was detained for an indefinite period of time, interrogated and kept in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or a relative.

Madikizela was kept in solitary confinement for 13 months. For the first 200 days, she had no contact with another human besides her interrogator. She was forced to stay awake for five days and five nights in an attempt to break her will. In an attempt to get information out of her, the interrogators brought in another prisoner, whom they tortured until Madikizela finally relented and told them whatever they wanted to hear.

Madikizela spent a total of 17 months in prison. Even after being released, and being sent back to prison for another five years almost immediately, Madikizela’s spirit never broke. She told the authorities “you can not intimidate people like me anymore”. Her conviction and determination only grew under the police’s ruthless torture.

She stayed a member of South Africa’s parliament up until her death

After her ex-husband was elected president, Madikizela worked closely with him and stayed within South Africa’s parliament.

Even though multiple controversies followed Madikizela, leading her to resign from politics for a few years at a time, she stayed in Parliament for the better part of her life. Even while going in and out of the hospital this year, Madikizela worked diligently in office.

Madikizela’s work transcended from South Africa and reached world news, leading her to become a very influential and important person in history. From gaining world attention when her then-husband was imprisoned, to her own imprisonment, Madikizela never strayed from her fight against apartheid.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa praised Madikizela’s work, saying she was “a voice for the voiceless”. Madikizela was a loud, outspoken, and strong voice. Her influence is clear, her dedication inspirational and her fight everlasting.

– Marissa Wandzel

Photo: Flickr

The post Five Facts About Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Her Work appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Spotlight: Senator Elizabeth Warren http://www.borgenmagazine.com/spotlight-senator-elizabeth-warren/ Sun, 22 Apr 2018 08:30:54 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126472 WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the upcoming 2018 Senate elections, many have their eyes on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has announced that she will be running for re-election. Senator Elizabeth Warren is well known for her fight for progressive action regarding women and children, nationally and internationally. Her support of several foreign assistance bills and [...]

The post Spotlight: Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the upcoming 2018 Senate elections, many have their eyes on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has announced that she will be running for re-election. Senator Elizabeth Warren is well known for her fight for progressive action regarding women and children, nationally and internationally. Her support of several foreign assistance bills and resolutions exemplifies the importance of the U.S. lending a helping hand to those in need.

Regarding women and children, Senator Elizabeth Warren has cosponsored these three crucial bills which support the wellbeing of women and children in impoverished countries:

S.1730 – Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2017

Approximately three million preventable deaths occur each year due to malnutrition, pregnancy and childbirth. Women and children in impoverished nations are suffering from causes that are avoidable but lack the funds and strategy to tackle the issue.

This legislation would call on the U.S. to create a plan to focus on the unique and basic needs of impoverished countries, to lower the maternal, infant and childhood mortality rates. It would require the U.S. to set, track and report goals which support this cause, encourage USAID to use pay-for-outcome financing arrangements and encourage the nations toward self-sustainability.

S.1580 – Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act

Sixty-five million people have been displaced from their homes, half of whom are under the age of 18. This legislation was introduced to prioritize the access of primary and secondary education for these approximately 32.5 million children who are now refugees. It is crucial for these children to receive a quality education, and to specifically ensure that girls are included in these foreign assistance programs.

This bill will encourage nations to provide these refugees with safe and quality education, “enhance training and capacity-building for national governments hosting refugees” and promote the hosting of said refugees and innovative solutions to accommodate them. It will evaluate the effect of education on the lives of girls with reduce rates of forced labor, sex trafficking, child marriage and gender-based violence.

S.1178 – Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2017

International adoptions into the U.S. have decreased a drastic 72 percent since 2004, and globally by half. Now more than ever, children around the world are in need of adoption into stable environments. The Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2017 will restructure international adoption to the US, so more children in need are provided with safe, loving and quality families in a timely manner. This legislation would call for the U.S. to replace the current Office of Children’s Issues with a new Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security (VCFS).

This office will center around family preservation and reunification, as well as international adoptions. The VCFS will create annual reports to Congress on the assistance the U.S. is providing to promote its goal of family preservation in foreign nations. This bill would also ensure that international child welfare and homes for vulnerable children are part of the conversation of U.S. foreign policy and international diplomacy.

While many political critics are unsure of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s stance on foreign aid and foreign policy, one thing is clear: Warren cares about the wellbeing and success of women, children and families around the globe.

When Senator Elizabeth Warren last spoke to The Borgen Project, she said: “Women and girls are tough, smart, and they are critical to international peace and security, both now and in the future. Our foreign assistance helps women and girls do more than survive – it breaks down barriers and stereotypes, makes their voices heard, and creates a more level playing field in countries around the world.”

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Google

The post Spotlight: Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
New Reforms Target Gender Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa http://www.borgenmagazine.com/gender-inequality-in-sub-saharan-africa/ Sat, 21 Apr 2018 08:30:43 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126487 SEATTLE — The World Bank recently published its report “Women, Business and the Law 2018”, tracking key indicators of gender equality across countries. According to the report, four of the five most improved economies were in sub-Saharan Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Overall, the report indicated that the largest [...]

The post New Reforms Target Gender Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — The World Bank recently published its report “Women, Business and the Law 2018”, tracking key indicators of gender equality across countries. According to the report, four of the five most improved economies were in sub-Saharan Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Overall, the report indicated that the largest number of reforms to combat gender inequality were in sub-Saharan Africa.

Women in sub-Saharan Africa still face legal barriers to equality. Out of 36 countries worldwide with no domestic violence laws, 19 are located in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the World Bank report indicates that there have been recent efforts to lessen gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank report tracks seven key indicators of workplace parity: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit and protecting women from violence. These indicators track metrics like equality before the law, paid maternity leave policies, right to equal education, access to bank loans and mortgages and legal protections from violence and sexual harassment. All four of the most improved economies passed reforms in three or more of the World Bank’s categories, indicating positive developments in the fight against gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked 153rd out of 188 countries for gender equality on the 2015 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report. Women hold only 8.2 percent of Parliament seats. Women still cannot act as head of household. Tax deductions or credits are given to male taxpayers automatically. 

However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo improved in three areas tracked by the World Bank. New reforms have increased women’s ability to build credit, access institutions and get a job. A new law prohibits gender discrimination by creditors at financial institutions. Women’s access to institutions was strengthened by altering its family code so that married women are no longer obligated to obey their husbands and have the right to mutually choose their home. Additionally, married women now have the same rights as married men to sign contracts, open bank accounts and register businesses. Gender-based discrimination in hiring and promotions is now prohibited. Finally, restrictions that previously prevented women from working at night in public or private industrial establishments were lifted.

Kenya

On the 2015 UNDP Human Development Report, Kenya ranked 135th for gender equality. Women hold 20.8 percent of Parliament seats.

Kenya improved in three of the World Bank’s key indicator areas: protecting women from violence, going to court and building credit. Kenya passed its first domestic violence law protecting partners (even non-cohabiting partners), spouses, ex-spouses and other family members from physical, psychological and economic abuse. Legal aid is now provided in civil cases through the Legal Aid Act. Access to credit information was improved when Kenya released records from two utility companies reporting positive and negative payment history.

Despite these improvements, women in Kenya still encounter legal barriers to equality. For example, married men who hold M-Pesa and M-Shwari accounts with Safaricom cannot name their wives as beneficiaries. Kenya can further improve gender parity by allowing a widow access to her deceased husband’s bank accounts and implementing other similar reforms.

Tanzania

Tanzania ranked 129th on the 2015 report. Women hold 36 percent of seats in Parliament. Gender inequality in Tanzania stems from pervasive social power imbalances that are reinforced by unequal distribution of land and resources.

Tanzania has introduced new reforms relating to going to court, providing incentives to work and building credit. Legal aid in civil cases for indigent people is now offered under the Legal Aid Act of 2017. Primary education is now both free and compulsory. Finally, access to credit information was improved when Tanzania released information from retailers.

Furthermore, UNDP has engaged in a series of initiatives in Tanzania to increase women’s access to opportunity. The organization aims to increase the number of women holding elected positions by training candidates and teaching political parties about the importance of gender inclusion. UNDP also works to improve the economic capacity of Tanzanian women by introducing new technological interventions, developing entrepreneurial skills and helping women access additional financing.

Zambia

Zambia ranked 124th out of 188 countries for gender inequality on the 2015 UNDP Human Development Report. Only 12.7 percent of Parliament seats are held by women. There are still legal barriers to equality in Zambia. For example, women cannot apply for passports in the same way as men.

However, Zambia improved in three of the World Bank’s key indicator areas: going to court, building credit and getting a job. A new Gender Equality Commission was established under the Gender Equity and Equality Act. The Act also prohibits gender discrimination by employees and mandates equal pay. Additionally, access to credit cannot be denied based on gender or marital status. Finally, new legislation enacts civil penalties for sexual harassment in the workplace.

Overall, these reforms show promising change occurring in regards to gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s new legislation in the seven areas tracked by the World Bank indicates improving conditions for women, particularly in the workplace.

– Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

The post New Reforms Target Gender Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Queen Elizabeth II’s Impact on Poverty http://www.borgenmagazine.com/queen-elizabeth-iis-impact-on-poverty/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:30:02 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126495 SEATTLE — Queen for more than 66 years, Elizabeth II holds the title of the longest-reigning ruler in the history of Britain, surpassing Queen Victoria in 2015. People from all corners of the globe know of Queen Elizabeth II, and she has been an icon for decades. While she may not have tangible political power, [...]

The post Queen Elizabeth II’s Impact on Poverty appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — Queen for more than 66 years, Elizabeth II holds the title of the longest-reigning ruler in the history of Britain, surpassing Queen Victoria in 2015. People from all corners of the globe know of Queen Elizabeth II, and she has been an icon for decades. While she may not have tangible political power, the scope of her influence is undeniable. In her role as Queen, she has a variety of jobs, ranging from hosting diplomacy events to influencing trends, but one of her most important roles is that of philanthropist. She has committed her life to serving others, and her example has set a precedent for the entire royal family. Queen Elizabeth II’s impact on poverty around the world has created a legacy that will last for centuries.

Queen Elizabeth II has served as patron for more than 600 charity organizations, the majority of which she has served for more than 60 years. These organizations include the British Red Cross, Cancer Research U.K., Blind Veterans U.K. and Save the Children U.K. By serving as patron to these charities, the queen directs the public’s attention to important causes and helps them to raise more money than they could otherwise. She does this partly by making appearances at events put on by these charities. Most members of the royal family have a number of charities that they support, but the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, are patrons to the greatest number.

In 2012 alone, the queen helped these organizations raise £1.4 billion. This cements her position as one of the most impactful philanthropists in the world. In addition to this impressive track record, she also donates her own money to causes close to her heart. In 2015, she sent personal money to Nepal after hearing the news of the earthquake that devastated the country.

Many more charitable actions demonstrate Queen Elizabeth II’s impact on poverty. She hosts several garden parties at Buckingham Palace every year, raising money for various organizations that help those in need. The Queen also donated the money from her 90th birthday medal to 76 charities of her patronage. In her old age, the charities that she has assisted for decades still remain a priority.

At the end of 2016, the queen passed down 25 patronages, including patronage of Save the Children U.K., Animal Health Trust and the Institution of Civil Engineers, to other members of the royal family in order to make sure they would always have royal patrons. At 91 years old, the Queen still holds the role of patron for hundreds of different charities in Britain. Her enthusiasm and dedication have ensured that Queen Elizabeth II’s impact on poverty will serve as an example for the royal family for years to come.

– Julia McCartney

Photo: Flickr

The post Queen Elizabeth II’s Impact on Poverty appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
The Intersection of Poverty, Crime and Inequality in Nigeria http://www.borgenmagazine.com/crime-and-inequality-in-nigeria/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:30:57 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126497 SEATTLE — A young woman in Bauchi State, Nigeria, had her legs cut off by her machete-wielding husband. Adamu Hussaini Maidoya claimed he did it to prevent her from ever leaving their home. He was never punished. Crimes of this magnitude are not rare. Nigeria continues to be a patriarchal country with large income, gender [...]

The post The Intersection of Poverty, Crime and Inequality in Nigeria appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — A young woman in Bauchi State, Nigeria, had her legs cut off by her machete-wielding husband. Adamu Hussaini Maidoya claimed he did it to prevent her from ever leaving their home. He was never punished. Crimes of this magnitude are not rare. Nigeria continues to be a patriarchal country with large income, gender and social inequalities. And where there is a large schism in equality, there is crime.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter, and yet, 100 million of the country’s 185 million people live on less than $1 a day. Oil exports continue to grow the country’s economy, but these mass fortunes are settling in the pockets of a few. From 2004 to 2010, Nigeria saw the number of those living in poverty increase from 69 million to 112 million people, while at the same time, the number of millionaires increased by 44 percent. According to Oxfam International, it would take $24 billion to eradicate Nigeria’s poverty. That’s $5.9 billion less than the net worth of the five wealthiest individuals combined.

Compounding its economic inequality, Nigeria experiences huge gaps in gender inequality as well. It is estimated that of the 78 million women that live in the country, 54 million of them are poor. This number is even more disturbing when noting that 60-79 percent of women make up the rural labor force. These figures explain why some view women as Nigeria’s “hidden resource.” However, due to its patriarchal system, they often lack the resources necessary to climb out of poverty, such as education, healthcare, protection and political involvement. The Global Gender Gap Index ranks Nigeria 125th out of 145 countries.

There have been many government programs aimed at alleviating poverty, crime and inequality in Nigeria. The National Accelerated Food Protection Program in 1972 was devoted entirely to funding agriculture. In 1985, there was the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure. Others came along: Green Revolution, Operation Feed the Nation, the National Poverty Eradication Program. These programs have had limited success, as the issue is more systemic and psychologically ingrained.

Even with the variety of poverty alleviation programs, corruption continues to impede progress. Transparency International has ranked the Nigerian government 136th out of 176 in its corruption index. Deliberate measures have been taken to ensure income disparities. Resources are often spent in unfair and inefficient ways. The budget routinely allocates the smallest amount of funding for necessities like education, healthcare and protection. Multinational corporations and large businesses benefit from large tax waivers, holidays, loopholes and a regressive tax system – a system in which the burden of taxation falls on poorer companies and individuals.

In 2016, Nigeria had 125,790 crimes reported; more than 45,000 of those were against individuals. The country is consistently ranked as having one the highest crime rates in the world. The issue of crime and inequality in Nigeria suggest that certain social deviant theories are at play.

Robert K. Merton, a sociologist, developed strain theory in 1938. Strain theory suggests that when poorer people perceive inequality, they feel less of a commitment to social norms. They still strive for social acceptance, but their beliefs of how to attain their goals may not fit within a standard social model. For example, a Nigerian man who sells drugs to feed his family, or a teenager who steals money to by himself a new set of clothes, simply to not appear so poor.

Unfortunately, as these actions grow and seep out into the world of the poor, a label becomes them – a drug dealer deemed nothing more than a drug dealer, a thief no more than a thief, poor no more than poor. Labeling theory suggests that they will become repeat offenders, as society has forced these identities upon them. When labels like these persist in a patriarchal society, it becomes clear how and why the dynamics work the way they do. The high crime rate in Nigeria indicates an angry acknowledgment of the conspicuous and overt consumptions of the wealthy.

Despite the current situation, there are indications of improvements and signs of hope. In 2014, the Nigerian Economic Report showed a positive short-term economic growth and estimates continued macroeconomic stability. In 2017, the World Bank announced its plan to give $1 billion to support Nigeria’s Power Sector Recovery Program. These developments can help alleviate poverty and reduce inequality if managed properly. The path to solving crime and inequality in Nigeria may be slow and full of obstacles, but if Nigerians continue to break from their labels, no more young wives will have to lose legs to large knives.

– Aaron Stein

Photo: Flickr

The post The Intersection of Poverty, Crime and Inequality in Nigeria appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Senate Passes AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, Preparing for Presidential Signature http://www.borgenmagazine.com/agoa-and-mca-modernization-act-passes/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:30:00 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126517 SEATTLE — On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act unanimously. This Act will strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two programs that have proven effective in improving the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. The MCC spurs economic [...]

The post Senate Passes AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, Preparing for Presidential Signature appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act unanimously. This Act will strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two programs that have proven effective in improving the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MCC spurs economic development, allowing developing countries to address deficiencies in communications, transportation and energy networks. AGOA offers duty-free access to the U.S. market for most exports from eligible sub-Saharan African nations; it was enacted in 2000 and has been renewed until 2025. By authorizing the MCC to develop a second, concurrent compact and requiring the promotion of AGOA, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will accelerate the economic growth of developing countries and strengthen the domestic economy and job market.

“It is critical that we do all that we can in Congress to encourage sustainable economic growth in developing countries and expand American businesses’ access to overseas markets,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Chris Coons (D-DE) said. House Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) elaborated on the domestic implications, stating that “expanding these programs advances our position as international leaders, strengthens our domestic job market and economy, while protecting our national security interests.”

The MCC and AGOA programs use metrics such as economic freedom, rule of law and government investment in people to fund developing nations. The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will ensure that only the most qualified countries receive a second compact, protecting U.S. taxpayers from fraud and confirming that funds are allocated to programs with a proven track record.

“This bill ensures that MCC has all the tools it needs to deliver smart, efficient, and effective U.S. development assistance,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) stated. “Compacts that cross borders, expand markets, and strengthen regional growth have the potential to lead to even higher rates of return on investment and larger scale reductions in poverty,” he said.

“Foreign aid is an investment, and investing in programs with a proven track record is crucial in the fight against global poverty,” The Borgen Project president and founder Clint Borgen said. “The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would be a victory for development both at home and abroad.”

During the 114th session, supporters of The Borgen Project held more than 170 meetings with Congress to gain support for the M-CORE Act, which was merged with another bill to create the Senate version of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act. In the current 115th session, Borgen Project supporters have held more than 200 meetings. Collectively, 9,100 emails were sent to Congress from supporters of The Borgen Project requesting support for this bill.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would cost U.S. taxpayers less than $500,000 over a four-year period (2018-2022).

– The Borgen Project

Photo: Flickr

The post Senate Passes AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, Preparing for Presidential Signature appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Spotlight: Senator Bernie Sanders and American Politics http://www.borgenmagazine.com/spotlight-bernie-sanders/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:30:26 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126477 During the 2016 presidential election, a lot of buzz circled around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held a large fan base of millennials. Many people, including the news media, claim Senator Sanders is ‘redefining’ American politics. Bernie Sanders is well known for his democratic and socialist beliefs. What many do not know, though, is that [...]

The post Spotlight: Senator Bernie Sanders and American Politics appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
During the 2016 presidential election, a lot of buzz circled around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held a large fan base of millennials. Many people, including the news media, claim Senator Sanders is ‘redefining’ American politics.

Bernie Sanders is well known for his democratic and socialist beliefs. What many do not know, though, is that Senator Sanders is registered as an Independent, so he sponsors and co-sponsors several bipartisan bills. Many of these bills regard important foreign relations and assistance because part of Senator Sander’s campaign is compassion for others and human rights.

Senator Sanders co-sponsored the following three bills which have been introduced into legislation, and that exemplify his concern for foreign assistance and human rights on a global scale.

S.2307, the International Violence Against Women Act of 2014

Sponsored by New Hampshire Senator Shaheen, this bill would ensure that the U.S. takes a leading role in stopping violence against women and girls on a global level. Many senators, including Sanders, feel this is an issue of inequality that must be combatted. This bill requires the Ambassador-at-Large to advance and update the U.S. strategy to prevent and respond to this sort of violence annually for a total of six years.

In a Huffington Post article by Senator Sanders, he states, “Not only are we not going to retreat on women’s rights, we are going to expand them. We are going forward, not backward.” This quote from 2012 exemplifies his longstanding support and campaign for women’s equality—everywhere.

S.2475, the Children in Families First act of 2014

This legislation delineates how the U.S. will support foreign countries to implement child welfare laws and policies, as well as promote protective permanent family care for these nations’ orphans. This bill also amends the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, and will create a database for adoption service providers and children around the globe who need adopting.

In a speech at Westminster College in fall 2017, Senator Sanders spoke about the importance of foreign aid. He stated:

“In my view, the United States must seek partnerships not just between governments, but between peoples. A sensible and effective foreign policy recognizes that our safety and welfare is bound up with the safety and welfare of others around the world. Every person on this planet shares a common humanity: we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water and breathe clean air, and to live in peace. That’s what being human is about.”

It is obvious that the assistance and success of international families is a foreign policy priority to Senator Sanders. You can listen to the entire speech here.

S.Res.432, Resolution Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia

This resolution is legislation to support the human rights of Ethiopians and encourage an inclusive government. Senator Sanders, and other co-signing U.S. senators, want the Ethiopian government to end excessive force by security forces, investigate the deaths of protestors caused by excessive force, and to release those protestors, journalists and activists who have been imprisoned for exercising their constitutional rights.

The bill will also call for the Ethiopian government to condemn killings of protestors and the arrests of journalists, students and activists. It also convicts the abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which has been stifling political and journalistic freedom.

The U.S. Department of State would improve U.S. assistance, review security assistance and lead efforts to develop a support strategy to improve democracy in Ethiopia. An act like this is important because Ethiopians are entitled to the right of peaceful assembly, and freedom of the press.

Support from All Sides

Senator Sanders also co-sponsors several other important global human rights acts, such as the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015 and the Global Respect Act, both of which protect and support the rights and safety of LGBT People.

With the prospects of a potential 2020 presidential campaign, the spotlight has been on Senator Bernie Sanders as a political figure unfailing and true to his political beliefs and who continues to create positive national and international change.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Bernie Sanders” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Flickr

The post Spotlight: Senator Bernie Sanders and American Politics appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Top Advocates in the Entertainment Industry http://www.borgenmagazine.com/top-advocates-in-the-entertainment-industry/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:30:01 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126463 An advocate is someone who fights for a cause. These six people are well known as some of the top advocates in the entertainment industry and have all worked to support a variety of causes, whether they be for people across the globe or for the environment. Six Top Advocates in the Entertainment Industry Ben [...]

The post Top Advocates in the Entertainment Industry appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
An advocate is someone who fights for a cause. These six people are well known as some of the top advocates in the entertainment industry and have all worked to support a variety of causes, whether they be for people across the globe or for the environment.

Six Top Advocates in the Entertainment Industry

  1. Ben Affleck
    Ben Affleck is not only one of the top advocates among actors, but is also the founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to help people living the eastern Congo, and it firmly believes that local and community-based approaches are essential to improving the region’s communities and people. The Eastern Congo Initiative has also partnered with Starbucks, Theo Chocolate and Falcon Coffees to support farmers in the region.
  2. George Clooney
    George Clooney has been in many notable films such as Ocean’s Eleven, Up in the Air and The Descendants. His advocacy, such as helping the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, finding a resolution for the Darfur conflict, Armenian genocide recognition and aiding 9/11 victims may even be more notable. Clooney has also taken part in documentaries; one in particular, Sand and Sorrow, was created to raise awareness about international crises.
  3. Matt Damon
    Matt Damon has acted in movies such as the Jason Bourne series, Good Will Hunting and Interstellar but he also can be considered one of film’s top advocates. In 2013, he was awarded the Environmental Media Award by the Environmental Media Association, and in 2014, he received the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for all of his work done through Water.org. Water.org was founded by Damon and Gary White, and strives to bring safe water and sanitation to all the people of the world through small and affordable loans. Water.org currently works in 13 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
  4. Leonardo DiCaprio
    DiCaprio founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) in 1998, which has helped 50 countries, donated $80.1 million, funded more than 200 projects and supported 132 organizations. LDF is working to promote the long-term health and well-being of every living being and habitat on Earth, including people, animals, oceans and land. In 2014, DiCaprio was designated as the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change and received the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award. He also is on the board of the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, Oceans 5 and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
  5. Elton John
    Singer and pianist Elton John is considered one of the top advocates in music. John is also the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which works towards ensuring an AIDS-free future. The primary goal of the foundation is to fight discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, as well as bringing an end to HIV infections and deaths from AIDS. So far, the foundation has donated more than $118 million and supported 1,409 projects.
  6. Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie is known both for her movies such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Salt and Maleficent and her advocacy work. Jolie was appointed a Special Envoy by UNHCR in 2012; between 2001 and 2012 she was a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR and carried out about 60 field missions during that time. In 2005, she started the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, which helps children who are fleeing persecution and coming to the U.S. alone obtain services from lawyers free of charge. In 2013, she also opened an all-girls school in Afghanistan.

All of these people have done outstanding work to advocate for individuals who do not have a voice, as well as for the planet itself. Every step they take is working to end preventable diseases, aiding those in need and helping the Earth as a whole. While only six are listed here, many other people are great advocates that are successfully fighting for people, animals and the environment.

– Amber Duffus

Photo: Flickr

The post Top Advocates in the Entertainment Industry appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Educating the Happiest Least Developed Country http://www.borgenmagazine.com/educating-the-happiest-least-developed-country/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:30:51 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126401 SEATTLE — Formal education is key to producing skilled workers to develop and maintain a nation’s workforce and economy. And when considering a holistic yield on investment, a least developed nation is one of the world’s best investors in 2018. Gross domestic product (GDP) ordinarily measures the gross value of a nation’s labor; it is [...]

The post Educating the Happiest Least Developed Country appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — Formal education is key to producing skilled workers to develop and maintain a nation’s workforce and economy. And when considering a holistic yield on investment, a least developed nation is one of the world’s best investors in 2018.

Gross domestic product (GDP) ordinarily measures the gross value of a nation’s labor; it is the total value of goods and services a nation provides during a year.

In Bhutan, a Himalayan state sandwiched between India and China where most people eat what they farm, its citizens cultivate and weigh prosperity through alternative means.

With a GDP of $7 billion in 2017, Bhutan ranks 169th out of 229 nations. Out of 42 least developed nations (there are 47 in total), Bhutan ranks 31st. One-quarter of its population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Bhutan is far from affluent by conventional standards.

Yet, for a nation that instead measures economic output by gross national happiness, Bhutan ranks first among least developed nations and 97th in the world, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report.

The happiest least developed country originated the term gross national happiness. It was established in 1972 by the king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and has nine definitive domains: community vitality, cultural diversity and resilience, ecological diversity and resilience, education, good governance, health, living standards and psychological well-being.

Government interest in happiness is no novel concept. It appeared as an edict in 1729, when emperor Zhabdrung Rimpoche said, “if the government cannot create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the government to exist.”

In 2009, Bhutan’s Ministry of Education enacted the initiative Educating for Gross National Happiness. It has transformed classrooms as it enables educators to reach beyond mere academic instruction. Gross national happiness values include ecological literacy, care and concern for others and civic engagement.

The tenets of gross national happiness are fixed in the curriculum such that, at every school level, teachers are required to underscore psychosocial wellness, emotional intelligence and ecology through practicing daily meditation and teaching lessons on conservation and recycling, empathy and compassion.

Such classroom lessons are especially relevant in the happiest least developed country, whose economy is driven by hydropower, agriculture and forestry.

Strategic engagement and communication with students is a focus in public schools. “The way a teacher speaks with the children, the way a teacher behaves with the children, so much so that even while we play games, value is imparted,” says a Bhutanese public school principal.

Education in Bhutan was primarily operated through Buddhist monasteries until 1950 when it adopted Hindi education and later Western-style English, forming its secular public school system.

Although public schools in Bhutan remain nominally non-sectarian, with the integration of cultural immersion in classrooms, there is a Buddhist influence. Buddhism is Bhutan’s state religion, and 75 percent of its nearly 800,000 people adhere to it. Ninety-four percent of Bhutanese students attend public schools.

Gross national happiness concepts do overlap with those of the Buddhist faith. At Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo Monastery, students learn gross national happiness concepts, though it is not formally recognized as such. They are taught Buddhist values in achieving “enlightenment”, synonymous with what a layperson would call “happiness.”

According to a professor at Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo Monastery, “There’s a day where you get this happiness permanently…People should work on the path of happiness in this degenerate time with the little means of compassion and love and kindness.”

The complete pathway of formal education in Bhutan consists of one year of pre-primary schooling, six years of primary, two years of junior high and two years of high school. The happiest least developed country can seize upon Educating for Gross National Happiness to facilitate a “school to happiness pipeline” of sorts.

A structured, state-sponsored pipeline, however, can only be advantageous to those who actually enroll in school and continue their education. While it is inadvisable to solely attribute national happiness to government policy, there is a sizable opportunity for higher marks in a nation where educational attainment is low.

Estimates in 2012 revealed 60 percent of Bhutan is without any formal educational attainment. One in five reached grade eight and an additional one in five see grades nine through 12.

Rural areas are affected the most. The cost of schooling, distance and the need for children to work at home often preclude matriculation to Bhutan’s schools. According to a 2012 Bhutan Living Standards Report, 29 percent of urban dwellers and 54 percent of those living in rural areas have never enrolled in a formal school. Bhutan has only a 53 percent literacy rate.

It is also hampered by teacher shortages, in part due to a reduction of contact hours and a one subject per teacher policy.

In spite of this harrowing educational outlook, the happiest least developed country fortunately has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. GDP growth reached 6.5 percent in 2016 and is projected to grow by an annual average of 11.1 percent between 2017 and 2019.

Considering its education system’s present challenges and unique standards, Bhutan maintains itself as one of the most efficient and intentional nations in investing in happiness, an invaluable asset beyond the grip of monetary purchasing power.

– Thomas Benjamin

Photo: Flickr

The post Educating the Happiest Least Developed Country appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
Five Companies That Combat Poverty with Entrepreneurship http://www.borgenmagazine.com/five-companies-combat-poverty-with-entrepreneurship/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:30:03 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126398 SEATTLE — The world is at a high point when it comes to entrepreneurship. As a whole, entrepreneurial businesses are seeing higher profitability than ever and are becoming more accessible as well. Ample sources of startup funding have made entrepreneurial entry easier than ever. This, combined with e-commerce and social media access, creates an ideal [...]

The post Five Companies That Combat Poverty with Entrepreneurship appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>
SEATTLE — The world is at a high point when it comes to entrepreneurship. As a whole, entrepreneurial businesses are seeing higher profitability than ever and are becoming more accessible as well. Ample sources of startup funding have made entrepreneurial entry easier than ever. This, combined with e-commerce and social media access, creates an ideal climate for entrepreneurship.

For those struggling with poverty, this is good news. Entrepreneurship creates unique opportunities to combat poverty. Technology, infrastructure improvement and job creation are three common results of entrepreneurship. In reality, the possibilities for to combat poverty with entrepreneurship are endless. For these five companies, this is especially true.

Desalitech

Dr. Richard Stover, former executive vice president of Desalitech, has years of water experience. Dr. Stover developed the closed circuit reverse osmosis technology that Desalitech uses. The technology facilitates the conversion of salt water to drinking water. Desalitech works as an alternative to other outdated reverse osmosis technologies. The company provides unique water access at a cost that is low enough to be practical.

With this technology, the company has provided many global water solutions. Desalitech has increased access to and saved billions of gallons of water worldwide. Companies like Desalitech show the impact of entrepreneurial innovation on global poverty.

SimpliPhi Power

This company started as a provider of mobile power for the film industry; the entrepreneurial technology allowed filmmakers to be more versatile on set. With mobile power, technology had greater capabilities and fewer complications.

After its success in film, SimpliPhi Power branched out. The company has since provided power in several remote areas where it was previously inaccessible. For the institutions that receive power, like schools, this is essential to success. This access provides a clear improvement in the lives of those living in poverty. Like Desalitech, SimpliPhi’s innovation combats poverty with entrepreneurship.

Liberty and Justice

This entrepreneurial company focuses on ethical apparel manufacturing. The company acts as a way for clothing buyers to connect with ethical suppliers. By working to develop suppliers, Liberty and Justice provides companies with peace of mind.

That ethical peace of mind is well-earned. Liberty and Justice’s partners in Ghana and Liberia have a 90 percent female workforce. Besides this empowerment, the company has earned several ethical and innovative awards.

How does a company combat poverty with entrepreneurship? For Liberty and Justice, creating quality employment is key. By providing economic stimulation in poverty-stricken areas, this company makes a real difference.

Uncommon Cacao

This company has a focus similar to Liberty and Justice. Both companies combat poverty with entrepreneurship. But, rather than clothing, Uncommon Cacao focuses on ethical sourcing for cocoa.

Conditions for workers involved in the chocolate industry can be cruel. Poor wages and treatment used to be the norm before Uncommon Cacao. With an entrepreneurial spirit, this company’s founders set out to make a change. Uncommon Cacao works to end poverty in more than 100 project locations. By applying a unique approach to develop each farmer, this company fights poverty. In an industry where workers lacked ethics, the entrepreneurial spirit was well applied.

1mg

Indian health startup 1mg set out in the late 2000s to simplify healthcare. At the time, understanding drug alternatives was a complicated process. Many generic options were not actually saving Indian consumers money. Most of the time, consumers were not aware of this due to the overwhelming number of options.

To bridge this information gap, 1mg had a plan. The resources they provide, including an online pharmacy and lab locator, have helped Indian consumers. Information access increased and Indian consumers are better informed about healthcare spending.

By leveraging entrepreneurship, healthcare in India benefited from 1mg. Along with the others on this list that combat poverty with entrepreneurship, it is in good company.

– Robert Stephen

Photo: Flickr

The post Five Companies That Combat Poverty with Entrepreneurship appeared first on BORGEN.

]]>