Archive for the Field Challenge Friday Category

A Way Forward for Children in Kenya’s Urban Slums

Posted on Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Children in class in the Future Kids School in Mathare slum, Nairobi. Photo: Kenya, Concern Worldwide

By Sylvia Wong, Education Officer, Concern Worldwide US

Last month, I was in Kenya visiting Concern’s education and nutrition programs with high school students and teachers. The drought crisis in the Horn of Africa still hadn’t hit the headlines, but one week after we left the US that changed and news spread around the globe that “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” was upon us. The most severe drought in 60 years along with record highs in food and fuel costs meant that over 12 million people were facing extreme hunger and potential starvation in East Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Life-Changing Business: Rabbits Provide Lifeline

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 8:00 am

Stefano and his wife pictured with one of their rabbits. Photo: Joseph Scott, Malawi, Concern Worldwide

As the rains pound mercilessly in the small village of Chikanga – Stefano and his neighbours hope that, this season, their crops will make it.

The rainfall pattern of the last two farming seasons has been unpredictable, with rains disappearing mid-season and leaving any crops to the mercy of the sun.

After two hours of thunderous downpours, Stefano, a father of five from Lilongwe, goes out to survey his rabbit kraal and chicken pen, dodging the children playing and shouting all around him.

Unlike the past years, Stefano has a sense of calm and security. Whether there are going to be floods, drought ,or normal rainfall, he is better positioned than ever before to withstand potential disaster.

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Can Text Messages Save Lives in Niger?

Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010 at 6:00 am

Agaycha Awikguini, a 50-year-old widow receives her first emergency cash transfer from Concern. Photo: Niger, Concern Worldwide

Niger is on the brink of what will be a major catastrophe if the world does not act now. As part of Concern’s Emergency Response Team, I am no stranger to crises: that is why I was sent to Niger on January 10, just two days before the Haiti earthquake.

Millet is the crop that keeps most people alive here. The majority of the country’s population of 15.2 million live by farming or herding livestock—without rain, they do not earn enough income to get by or grow enough food to eat.

The rains last year were erratic, when they came at all. That caused widespread, massive crop failures and 60 percent of the country’s population is now facing hunger. Unless immediate action is taken, close to 378,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition.

A week after I arrived here, I got a call from Haiti from the Head of Concern’s Emergency Unit ,  saying they were in desperate need of extra hands. But he and I agreed that I needed to stay in Niger. I told him, “The crisis here is going to be big, too. And in just a few months, it’s likely that this team will also be in serious need of emergency reinforcements to respond.”

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Cambodian Mother of Five Becomes an Agent of Change

Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 6:00 am

Mrs Sokhom pictured feeding the chickens that managed to provide her with a lifeline. Photo: Cambodia, Concern Worldwide

I have been in Cambodia for just nine months now, and the hectic nature of the lifestyle in Phnom Penh is matched only by the sheer volume of work that needs to be tackled on a weekly basis.

Then again, I have come to expect this when working with Concern, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is easy, particularly in an office-based role such as mine, to get immersed in the Mekong-like flood of different things coming across your desk. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peace prospects brighten dreams in South Sudan

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2010 at 7:30 pm

In the absence of school buildings, children in South Sudan attend class under the shade of trees. Photo: Nina Gehm, Concern Worldwide

For nearly two years now, I have worked in South Sudan, helping Concern empower the poorest of the poor through programs in education, farming, nutrition, and water.

Even though I live here and I witness daily examples of the hardships people face just trying to survive, the statistics never fail to dishearten me.

Consider for example that a 15-year-old girl has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than of finishing school.

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Forced marriages still common for school girls in Malawi

Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Phombe Primary School in Nsanje, Malawi where Concern is working to improve conditions for children. Photo: Malawi, Concern Worldwide

Martha is a shy yet intelligent twelve-year-old girl from Nsanje, in Malawi. This year, she was supposed to earn her primary school leaving certificate (PSLC).

Her teachers believed she would make it to high school, as she had been the best student in her class since the first grade. Last school term, she was also at the top of her class.

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