Posted on Friday, August 10th, 2012 at 1:20 pm
Tom Arnold with children from Mankhwazi Village, Nkhotakota District, Malawi
I am writing this blog some hours after a wonderful young Irish woman called Katie Taylor won an Olympic Gold Medal for boxing. The country is ‘en fete’ and all our economic problems seem a little lighter.
Britain has had a wonderful two weeks of the Olympics. The magnificent opening ceremony set the tone. Since then, the organization of the Games has been outstandingly good. British athletes have won more medals than anyone expected.
In 1992, Queen Elizabeth spoke about her ‘annus horribilis’ or her horrible year during her 40thyear of her accession to the throne. Twenty years on, as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, this seems to be a year of wonders, an “annus mirabilis” for Britain.
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Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 7:58 am
By Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide
Tom Arnold with Beverly Oda of the Canadian International Development Agency and Etharin Cousin of the UN World Food Programme
I have just returned from a whirlwind visit to Washington, DC and Chicago, where I participated in a number of events around the G8 and NATO Summits focused on food and nutrition security. Among so many world leaders and high-level representatives from civil society and academia, I felt a sense of critical mass beginning to form in the fight to end global hunger.
It’s a feeling I’ve had before – perhaps not this strong – only to be disappointed when promises went unfulfilled. We must keep calling our leaders to persevere, especially those in the G8, to ensure that does not happen this time.
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Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 1:00 pm
By Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide
Two month old Ejereya Kahale sitting with her mother in Kargi, Kenya
Almost 1,000 days ago, on July 10, 2009, the G8 met at L’Aquila, Italy and issued a joint statement launching the ‘L’Aquila Food Security Initiative’ (AFSI), committing the member nations to a $22-billion investment over three years aimed at responding to the ‘urgent need for decisive action to free humankind from hunger.’
Of the roughly 385,000 children born on that day, many of the poorest of them would have died in infancy and early childhood. Those who survived would now be nearing the critical 1,000th day between their mother’s pregnancy and their second birthday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 4:11 pm
Paul O’Brien, Overseas Director, Concern Worldwide
Last week, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg announced a contribution of $33 million to support food security, nutrition and short-term cash assistance efforts across the West African region of the Sahel, bringing USAID’s total humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $270 million in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The announcement caused barely a ripple in the US media, and many who heard the news may have even asked ‘What crisis?’ or ‘What’s the Sahel?’ As aid organizations, it is our responsibility to issue and amplify calls to action to respond in the Sahel, and to broadcast the important message that coordinated action now will save lives and prevent costly interventions later – and we have the evidence.
Millet is the staple crop that keeps most people alive in Niger, but this year, drought and poor harvests threaten to leave 13 million people in need of emergency food assistance by April. Photo: Tim Peek for Concern Worldwide US, Tahoua town, Niger
Right now, a series of factors—including volatile spikes in food prices, failed harvests and cyclical drought—have triggered widespread food shortages across the Sahel, according to the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network. Levels of malnutrition among children under five have already reached the internationally recognized emergency threshold of 15 percent in parts of many affected countries, which include Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 8:29 am
Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs speaking on June 13 during the morning session of the 1,000 days event in Washington, DC. Photo: Washington, Concern Worldwide
By Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide and David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
Today we join more than 350 high-level government officials, leaders of civil society organizations, and activists from all over the world to galvanize political momentum to scale up nutrition initiatives that will help save the lives of at least 1 million children annually.
During “1,000 Days to Scale Up Nutrition for Mothers & Children: Building Political Commitment,” we’ll discuss the critical importance of proper nutrition, particularly during the 1,000 days from pregnancy to 2 years old. Conclusive evidence points to the devastating impact of malnutrition on infant and child mortality, and its irreversible, long-term effects on health and cognitive and physical development. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Concern promotes the growing of vegetables such as cabbage. Above, a farmer, Mufungulwa Kalunga, explains his success story to fellow farmers during a field day in Mongu. Photo: Zambia, Concern Worldwide
By Rakesh Katal, Concern Worldwide Country Director, Zambia
Zambia’s economy continues to show encouraging growth, which now stands at seven percent. And in the past year, Zambia’s agricultural sector produced a record food surplus, with a grain harvest of 2.8 million tons that literally overwhelmed storage capacity. This surplus was underpinned by subsidies for small-scale farmers, generous minimum price guarantees offered by the Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency and good rainfall in previous years. Nonetheless, the very poorest and most vulnerable families are still struggling to survive.
The terrain in remote areas of Zambia is rough; to reach communities you must cross rivers, wetlands and vast swathes of sandy territory. Concern is the only development organization working in some of these remote areas, such as districts in the Western Province. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 7:21 am
Concern Worldwide is investing in women farmers in Malawi like Ariema Benetala to improve nutrition of mothers and children during the 1,000 days from pregnancy to age 2. Photo: Kathyothyo, Malawi, Pieternella Pieterse for Concern Worldwide
By Anita McCabe, Country Director, Concern Worldwide Malawi
As the hot, dry breeze wafts through the lakeside district of Nkhotakota, Malawi, a group of women sing as they take turns to water their near-ripe crop of maize. Further downstream, another group is busy making seed beds in preparation for another crop.
Like many women in developing countries, these women face a particular set of responsibilities and vulnerabilities when it comes to providing food for their families. Not only are they the primary caregivers, they are also the producers of food and the income earners. Women farmers in rural areas of Malawi grow, buy, sell, and cook food in order to feed their children. In fact, in all the countries in which I’ve worked during my time with Concern Worldwide, I’ve seen how very hard women must work to ensure the survival of their families, and the burdens they bear. Read the rest of this entry »