Archive for July, 2010

Speaking out for Women: MDGs

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 2:49 pm

A plea to the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals
by Guest Blogger, Flynn Coleman

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen:

What if just one of the Millennium Goals—achieving significant progress toward Gender Equality by 2015—met its target and in the process ensured that the other MDGs would be realized as well?

On March 8th, the world marked the 100th International Women’s Day. Women now earn half of the world’s science degrees conferred, yet their share of academic leadership positions, Nobel prizes and high paying jobs in fields like computer science and engineering reveal a large discrepancy between their abilities and their ultimate rewards, as compared to their male counterparts.
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Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

By Elke Leidel

Concern is building transitional shelter for 2,500 people at a new site it designed at Tabarre Issa.

Concern is building transitional shelter for 2,500 people at a new site it designed at Tabarre Issa.

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—July 12, 2010) It was a hot afternoon on Jan. 12, the day that marked the beginning of the toughest, most agonizing stretch of my professional career.

Fast forward to today, the six-month point after the quake. The UN and an army of aid agencies have provided emergency shelter—in the form of tents and tarpaulins—to 354,573 households, which actually accounts for more than 1.7 million people. Survivors are scattered across 1,100 camps, their shelter being precarious at best now that the hurricane season has begun. The work for the longer haul is now underway.

Along with other NGOs, Concern is entering the medium to long-term phase of the earthquake response: to provide displaced families with durable housing for the coming couple of years, pending the construction of permanent residences. This will absorb a significant portion of the billions of dollars raised and pledged worldwide. The real hard work has now begun—there are plans to construct a total of 125,308 transitional shelters, at least 1200 of which will be built by Concern. And yes, there are lots of obstacles. The government is still in the process of reorganizing itself and not much will change until after the fall elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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Empowering Niger: One Teacher at a Time

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010 at 8:16 am

Concern-supported teachers’ training session gets underway in Djinguiniss, Niger. Photo: Amayele Dia, Niger, Concern Worldwide

By Amayele Dia, Program Support Officer, Niger

Niger is the least developed country on the planet—according to the United Nations Human Development Index. Its people survive on very little, most on far less than $1 a day, and every year in Niger, the population endures what is called a “hunger gap”—a period of roughly 4 months when the food from the last harvest has run out, but the next harvest is not yet ready. In some years, like this one, failed rains lead to crop failure, and the hunger gap is much longer and much more serious.

Niger is one of the toughest countries imaginable in which to live or to work. My job is to help Concern tackle the root causes of poverty here through such programs as education—to give the poorest people in this very vulnerable nation a foothold to begin the long, hard climb out of extreme poverty.

No contribution in this country is too small to make a difference—and if education is supported by the international community here, it will be a powerful, liberating social and economic force. But it is a step-by-step battle, and the stakes are high. Read the rest of this entry »

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