Author: Shivani Ekkanath

Shivani is an Indian writer for The Borgen Project living in Singapore. Her hobbies are music, dance and writing. She loves reading about current affairs, political relations and other social issues.

SINGAPORE — Since its inception in 2010, the Singapore Committee for  U.N. Women has made great headway in achieving the 5th U.N. Sustainable Development goal. After the merger between organizations within the United Nations, the outreach of U.N. Woman steadily grew. As a featured writer for the Borgen Project, I recently got the opportunity to interview and interact with the Singapore Committee for U.N. Women and participate in a volunteering initiative. The experience helped me develop a unique outlook with regards to their regional presence and beneficiaries, and their initiatives and collaborations. Unfortunately, trafficking is a lucrative mainstay business in South East…

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GENEVA, Switzerland — The Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (Gavi) is a pioneering Vaccine Alliance that has developed into a renowned and diverse organization. Consequently, they believe in the equalitarian provision of healthcare services and vaccination. Affiliated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, their work has been versatile in developing countries and especially among low-income groups. Counteracting child mortality rate is also an imperative issue that Gavi addresses. As of 2015, Gavi has reached more than 500 million children since its inception in the late 1990s. Making vaccination readily available and sustainable is what Gavi envisages for its future. Gavi’s primary objectives…

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HARGEISA, Somaliland — As a nation that gained independence in 1991 from the despotic rule of General Siad Baree, Somaliland is working to overcome poverty but still has to grapple with severe income disparities and a 38 percent rural poverty rate. Economic reform in Somaliland is a sustainable solution to bolster and galvanize the economy. In January 2016, the country’s government agreed to scale up initiatives to achieve its U.N. Sustainable Development goals by 2030. Despite this, Somaliland’s economy does not have the financial framework and economic capacity to sustain its 3.5 million people. The country is failing to meet its Millennium…

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MAHARASHTRA, India — Negative growth in the farming sector has crippled the Indian state of Maharashtra for the past three years. Climate changes and fluctuating weather patterns have resulted in income declines among farmers in Maharashtra, who now work under immense pressure. According to the National Sample Survey Organization, the average monthly income for farmers is Rs 6,246 per month, or around $96. Located in the western region of the country, India’s third largest state has the highest farmer suicide rates. Between October 2015 and June 2016, 1,417 farmer suicides were registered in Maharashtra. Many farmers in the state suffer from diseases…

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MONROVIA, Liberia — Despite a violent history, poverty and outbreaks of Ebola, Liberia’s steady recovery continues. Bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivorie in the southern plateau of western Africa, Liberia is home to over 4 million people, 63.8 percent of whom live below the poverty line. Liberia became Africa’s first republic when it was founded in 1822, but after decades of peaceful governance, it suffered a civil war lasting from 1989 to 1997. Warlords and rebel contingents contributed to political unrest in the country. During the presidency of Charles Taylor, who lead Liberia from 1997 to 2003, the U.N. placed a series of sanctions…

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SEATTLE — Overcoming open defection rates in developing countries and attenuating sanitation issues has been the vision that the World Toilet Organization has epitomized since its inception by Jack Sim in the year, 2001. Like UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) team, the World Toilet Organization staunchly believes that sanitation and poverty share a direct link, as one in three people do not have access to adequate sanitation. The organization has been especially prominent in alleviating the conditions in the ‘floating villages’ of Cambodia to boost school attendance for girls, as being forced to leave school for practicing poor sanitation has been…

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SEATTLE — When the number of hhildren engaged in child labor in India peaked at 12.6 million in 2001, decisive actions towards alleviating the problem gained momentum. The concerted efforts of Save the Children International, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, National Child Labor Projects (NCLP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have led to a 65 percent decline in child labor and a focus on formalizing child labor law in India. India’s original Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was passed in 1986, and in 2012, an attempt was made to make the bill more comprehensive. Unfortunately, the presence of various loopholes,…

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SEATTLE — Civil war and discord in Africa’s youngest nation have forced more than 840,000 South Sudanese refugees to flee their homes. According to a recent report by Al Jazeera, this number is likely to rise even higher this year. The flood of refugees has put a significant amount of pressure on international organizations like the UNHCR and Save the Children, as well as South Sudan’s neighboring countries. The crisis began in 2011 when South Sudan split from Sudan in accordance with a peace agreement. In December 2013, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir accused his deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him. Because Kiir is…

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SEATTLE — An estimated 863 million people in the world collectively live in slums, according to the UN-Habitat. Slums are shanty establishments or ‘informal’ housing normally considered sights of destitution and extreme poverty. But despite the ramshackle housing and lack of sanitation, the dawn of slum tourism is ubiquitous in many developing countries where such structures are prevalent. The inception of slum tourism can be traced back to the 19th century when the affluent sectors of society in London began visiting the more impoverished East End and engaged in many charitable events. This was copied on the Lower East side of Manhattan. The…

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MUMBAI, India — Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, is located at the heart of India’s bustling financial capital, Mumbai. It is home to over 1 million individuals who live under varying degrees of poverty and spreads over 2.02 kilometers (500 acres). Recently, I had the opportunity to take a full tour of Dharavi accompanied by Slum Tourism Group Slum Gods, who also work collaboratively with local NGOs to reinvest profits to help local children. Dharavi is nearly 150 years old. Its history dates back to the late 19th century, when the area was a mangrove swamp. It was a vital fishing ground for the Koli…

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