Author: Larkin Smith

Larkin writes for The Borgen Project from Chicago, where she studies at the University of Chicago. She is an improvisational actor and sings in an a cappella group.

OMAN — Oman is leading the modernization of education in the Middle East. The innovative expansion of educational access and quality is due to governmental investment in e-learning: a virtual enhancement to the traditional classroom. In the past four decades, the Omani society has undergone a considerable transformation in societal priorities and educational access. In 1970, there were only 900 boys in primary school; in 1995, there were 470,000 primary students, boys and girls. This impressive growth is due to Oman’s focus on education for all. In 1995, the Ministry of Education established a unified 10-year basic educational system for…

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GHANA — Inventive school feeding programs in Ghana address its low rates of school attendance. Harnessing the efficiency of local agricultural production and digital supplements, these programs create jobs for the community, increase national food security and enhance student enrollment rates. School feeding programs in Ghana provide an important support system for children in resource-poor households. Not only do meals supply an incentive for students to attend school in the first place, but also they prevent chronic hunger, improve cognitive development and attribute to long-term educational success. School meals have statistically been proven to increase student health and education. According…

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SEATTLE — Digital competence is now a vital aspect of both education and employment. Worldwide, providing digital literacy for children is essential for ensuring their success, empowerment and future contribution to global economic growth. Adeptness with digital media used to be a specialized skill set; now, it is seen as the key to prosperity and job creation. A lack of equitable access to digital skills widens the gender gap. In developing countries, women are 25 percent less likely than men to access the internet. Additionally, differences in digital proficiency obstruct socioeconomic mobility, increasing global inequality. A comprehensive national digital education gives…

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SEATTLE — In Sub-Saharan Africa, the digital revolution is transforming livelihoods by providing mobile solutions to local financial, health and educational crises. Mobile phone and internet usage have proliferated in Sub-Saharan Africa at a breakneck speed, propelling the region into the 21st century. According to a Gallup Poll in 2013, nearly two-thirds of households in Sub-Saharan Africa owned at least one mobile phone — a number that has only continued to increase. Despite this statistic, electricity rates remain low, leaving 138 million internet users with no power in their homes. The digital revolution in Africa was sparked in 2009. Due…

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SEATTLE — Geospatial data is transforming the way aid organizations approach international development. Geographic analytics identify the locations of populations that require the most assistance, providing support to the United Nations (U.N) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to address global poverty sustainably, protecting the planet in tandem with the people. With a distinct concern for human rights and equality, the Agenda intends to build on the successes and amend the failures of the Millennium Development Goals. Geospatial data can be used as a tool for informed-decision making in global challenges, as it…

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SEATTLE — A dangerous strain of avian influenza has rampaged through West and Central Africa, most recently targeting Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Cameroonian government have initiated a strict emergency response in order to minimize the economic and public damage from the spread of avian flu in Cameroon. The avian influenza virus – H5N1 – is highly pathogenic, killing birds at an extremely high rate. While the WHO reports that the virus is rarely able to infect humans, the livelihoods of poultry farmers and consumers are endangered nonetheless.…

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SEATTLE — UNAIDS intensified its momentum with 90-90-90: an ambitious goal to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The initiative intends to fight against HIV by mobilizing global solidarity and accountability in the improvement of access to antiretroviral therapy. While treatment is available for those living with HIV, there are substantial restrictions on the breadth of its coverage. Aid organizations have made impressive progress in the provision of treatment — supplying antiretroviral therapy to 17 million in 2015 — yet even further measures must be taken. Geographic inequities must be rectified in order to win the conclusive fight against HIV. Eastern and…

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MONROVIA, Liberia — The Ebola virus spread rapidly in Liberia in the spring of 2014, yet efficient health communication strategies managed to greatly reduce the infection rate. For future global emergencies, the success of social and behavioral change communication with Ebola in Liberia should be used as an example for action. After the initial cases on the Guinean border of Liberia, Ebola quickly reached the capital city of Monrovia. By September 2014, the healthcare system was completely overwhelmed by Ebola patients and the disease had claimed 1,000 lives. Despite the expansion of Ebola treatment units, medical approaches alone were not restraining…

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CHICAGO — Connect with Respect is an innovative curricular supplement that promotes gender equality and girls’ safety in school. Through comprehensive learning activities that foster critical thinking and communication skills, Connect with Respect aims to substantially reduce gender-based violence, beginning in early secondary school. While girls’ education worldwide has recently made considerable advances, many girls still experience gender-based violence within, around or on the way to school. Due to culturally and institutionally normalized gender inequity, girls are subject to verbal, physical, sexual and psychological violence in their educational infrastructures. This unacceptable breach of girls’ safety in school is particularly prevalent…

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VIENTIANE, Laos — The disparity in primary education participation between rural and urban youth in Laos has kindled an international reaction. As a result, enhanced incentives and objectives have been put into action for the promotion of primary rural education in Laos. Since the adoption of the Lao Constitution in 1991, widespread, compulsory primary education has been considered a governmental priority. The implementation of this ideal, however, has faced severe challenges due to the significant ethnic, linguistic and geographic diversity in the country. There are 49 unique ethnic groups in Laos, spread over 145 districts. While only a little more than…

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