Archive for January, 2011

So She Can be Somebody Tomorrow

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Children in Grand Bassa with school curriculum materials provided with support from Concern. Photo: Ester Havens, Liberia

By Jenny Hobbs, Education Coordinator, Liberia

When a girl starts school in Liberia, she arrives full of enthusiasm and hope. Squeezing onto a bench with children her age—under a corrugated roof, in a make-shift building—she looks to her teacher ready to learn. But, without books to read from, a desk to lean on or a pencil to hold, progress is slow. Her teacher is an untrained, unqualified, unpaid volunteer. He struggles to control the overcrowded class and yearns for a curriculum to follow, textbooks to use or a decent blackboard to write on.

Concern Liberia is working to address these issues in 30 remote schools in Grand Bassa County. Constructing classrooms, separate toilets for boys and girls and providing furniture is just the start. Textbooks and other essential learning items like blackboards, pencils and copybooks are also being distributed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Promoting Grassroots Recovery in Pakistan

Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Concern conducts a hygiene session in Abas Khan with program participants. Photo: Joop Koopman, Concern Worldwide

By Joop Koopman, Press Officer, Concern Worldwide US

Seen from the air, the greenness and neat outlines of the farm fields of Punjab stand in sharp contrast with Sindh Province, its much poorer and more desert-like neighbor to the south.

My colleague Susan Finucane and I are flying from Karachi on Pakistan’s southern coast into the Punjabi city of Multan, an historically significant garrison town in the heart of the country that is today a well-kept, clean-swept bustling city. The relative privilege of the place and the orderliness of local traffic are a far cry from the chaos of urban streets we have just left behind in Sindh.

The ordered lushness observed from altitude makes sense. Punjab is literally the ‘land of five rivers’, fertile, relatively affluent and crucial to Pakistan as a grower of wheat and other crops. A kind of cognitive dissonance takes hold.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti One Year On: What is Needed Now

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 8:41 am

Concern was on the ground distributing water to Haitians just 48 hours after the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Photo: Haiti, Concern Worldwide

By Jennifer Jalovec, Haiti Emergency Program Coordinator, Concern Worldwide

My journey to Haiti really began with 9/11. I had been working in marketing and promotions for broadcast and print media in New York at the time, a job I had held for nine years. In the days following the attack, I started to question what I was doing with my life and if I were making any kind of positive impact in the lives of others.

Fast forward to 2005: I joined the Peace Corps at age 35, and my humanitarian career was off and running. Today, I am the Emergency Coordinator for Concern Worldwide in Haiti, overseeing a recovery program for the poorest country in western hemisphere, which is still reeling from the devastating earthquake that struck it a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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