Author: Sydney Cooney

Sydney writes for The Borgen Project from Jericho, VT. Her academic interests include English Literature and Language, Creative Writing and Business Administration. Sydney loves foreign languages and community service. She also sings in choirs; having sung in choirs since she was 10 years old. Sydney has even sung in Carnegie Hall before!

Technology is not the first form of aid that comes to mind when addressing the global refugee crisis. Food, shelter, safety, asylum, and resettlement programs all sound much more important and necessary for helping refugees. What most people don’t know, though, is that a surprising number of refugees own cell phones, even smartphones. In 2015, a study of the refugee camp in Za’atari, Jordan — the second-largest refugee camp in the world — showed that 86 percent of young people in the camp owned mobile phones. Of those refugees, 50 percent used their cell phones to access the internet every…

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NAIROBI — As any college student knows, textbooks for school don’t come cheap, and this same problem of expensive materials affects students and education in Kenya. Back in 2012, Mr. Ndungu, a local schoolteacher, wanted to start a school in his area. He was able to provide his students with the building space, food and even uniforms but the necessary textbooks were too costly. Textbooks are not commonplace in Kenya, and to order them in bulk often carries extra charges concerning shipping and copyrights. Seeing this large problem, Ndungu asked his son, Tonee Ndungu — who has experience in technology…

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KABUL — The United States has a long history of involvement in Afghanistan. Thousands of troops and millions of dollars have gone into recovering the developing nation from years of war. But as many Americans fear, there’s been little progress in restoring peace and stability to the country. Leadership is poor, and violence is still rampant. Some of the greatest threats facing the country, though, is illiteracy and the state of education in Afghanistan. Around 60 percent of adults cannot read and 75 percent of students drop out of school by age 15, resulting in 3.6 million children who aren’t…

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SEATTLE — The Central African country of Cameroon is one of the most diverse nations in the world. It’s known as “all Africa in one country,” with significant differences in its many geographic and ethnic groups. Today, Cameroon is an amalgamation of several British and French colonies that gained independence in the 1960s and united as one republic. This union, however, has not led to unity. Instead, there’s been a constant tension between Cameroon’s French-speaking majority population and its minority of English-speakers. The main source of these tensions has been constitutional human rights in Cameroon. The Cameroonian Anglophones, which make…

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CAIRO — General Electric, America’s long-standing digital industrial company, recently agreed to a massive locomotive deal with Egyptian National Railways (ENR). The deal includes 100 Light Evolution Series locomotives usable for passengers or for freight. It also covers a 15-year agreement to keep supplying parts, technical support and upgrades to ENR to improve Egypt’s railway infrastructure. This deal will increase ENR’s fleet from 80 locomotives to 180 GE engines. The transaction is worth about $575 million, a huge investment from GE. But GE sees this as more than just an opportunity to grow financially. The company sees it as an…

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ABUJA — Nigeria lost its title of Africa’s largest economy a couple of months ago due to a decreasing GDP. Analysts are quick to point to low petroleum prices and militancy in oil-producing areas, but Nigerian author Okechukwu Ofili has a different theory: Nigeria’s staggeringly low literacy rate. Okadabooks is his solution to this problem. In 1997, Nigeria’s adult literacy rate was 49 percent, but as of Nigeria’s 2006 census, that rate has only risen to 54 percent of all Nigerian adults. In an age where both individual and national development depends on a steady grasp of information, Nigeria is…

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NEW DELHI — In December 2015, India agreed to the Paris Agreement, pledging to reduce emissions and invest in renewable energy. India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi also set an ambitious goal to reach 100,000 megawatts of national solar energy by 2022. This move received responses of surprise and skepticism. Given its heavy reliance on coal for energy, such a transformation from fossil fuels to solar power in India seemed outrageous to some. Other backlash argued that the resources for such an expensive program would be better used in aid programs for the fifth of India’s population living below the poverty…

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