Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
By Niall Murphy, Concern Worldwide
Juna Dely, one of the first participants in Concern's Path to a Better Life program, with her one-year-old son.
Juna Dely lives on the island of La Gonave, Haiti, with her partner Jean Wodline, his mother, and five of her six children. Between 2007 and 2009, Juna participated in Concern Worldwide‘s Chemen Lavi Miyo program, which translates to “Path to a Better Life.” The program sought to do exactly that—give Haiti’s poorest people a path to a better life through income-generating activities as well as access to health, education, and credit services based on their needs.
I met Juna because I am currently researching to see how effective the program was in breaking the cycle of poverty over the long-term. She is one of 500 female-headed households that have participated in Path to a Better Life across four of Haiti’s districts. As to be expected, I am finding that the program had many successes, but it was not without challenges. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am
By Carol Morgan, Regional Director, Central Africa Region, Concern Worldwide
Hafiza Moussa is three years old and suffering from malaria. He is receiving treatment from a Concern-supported ward (CRENI) at the regional hospital.
I recently returned from the Sahel region of Africa, where a major humanitarian crisis is now unfolding, affecting an estimated 18.7 million people. In the Tahoua region of Niger, where Concern is responding, I saw children who, completely listless from the effects of malnutrition, could not hold down therapeutic milk in overcrowded feeding centers.
The United Nations now estimates that upwards of one million children are at extreme risk of severe acute malnutrition across this semi-arid belt of land along the Sahara desert. Even in ‘non-crisis’ years, 645,000 children die in the Sahel—35 percent of which are linked to malnutrition. This grim reality will never change unless we address the root causes of cyclical hunger.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 8:23 am
By Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide
The three-day United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which started in Rio de Janeiro today (Wednesday, June 20) presents world leaders with an excellent opportunity to adopt a new approach to climate change that reflects the priorities of the developing world. Called Rio+20, it marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development attended by 179 countries which put sustainable development on the global agenda.
The Sahel region of Africa is currently facing a food security crisis that threatens more than 18 million people
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the poorest countries where Concern works, the strains caused by climate change are increasingly evident. Erratic seasons, rising droughts and floods, uncertain planting dates, and shorter growing periods for essential staples are all having an impact. For the world’s poor, who overwhelmingly depend on rain-fed agriculture for their survival, the changing patterns of climate, land availability, and food production have caused chaos.
In the Sahel region of Africa, where a current food security crisis threatens more than 18 million people, rainfall has decreased by 25 percent in the last 30 years wreaking havoc on farming communities. Other factors like deforestation, overgrazing, continuous cropping, desertification, and poor water management have also contributed to a deteriorating environment.
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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, April 4th, 2012 at 1:08 pm
By Moire O’Sullivan, Assistant Country Director Programs, Concern Worldwide Cambodia
Today, Dok Sareth went to the bank. He came home with a bag of rice.
“Before the rice bank was set up, I had to borrow rice seed to plant my rice crop,” Sareth told me on a visit to his village. “Every time I borrowed, I had to repay the loan with a 100 percent interest rate. Now because of the rice bank set up with Concern’s support, the villagers can help each other and the interest rate is much more affordable. It has made a huge difference to my life and I am extremely grateful.”
Local farmer Dok Sareth proudly shows off his rice bank. Conor Wall / July 2011 / Pursat, Cambodia
The people who Concern works with in Cambodia depend heavily on rain-fed rice production for their income. They are rural farmers who grow and sell rice on the small amounts of land that they own. Those without land work on other farmers’ paddy fields for a small daily allowance. 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 Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Mr Chinamo, aged 83, addresses the crowd at his farm in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe. Photo: Cormac Staunton, Concern Worldwide
I watch as Mr. Chinamo, an 83-year-old farmer from Gokwe North in central Zimbabwe, stands proudly in his field. Flanked by his wife Clara, he surveys his crop, picks up a bullhorn and begins to speak.
As many as 500 people are watching, the majority of them also farmers from the same district. This is the centerpiece of their “Field Day,” an age-old tradition in rural Zimbabwe. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 10:39 am
This is Ndoole who used 26 of her 28 vouchers on school fees for her children. Photo: Feargal O’Connell, Concern Worldwide, Masisi, DRC.
Trading vouchers for school fees is something we have integrated into the fairs here, and it is proving to be very successful, even among the poorest families. The person that I spoke to at the Cash Voucher Market that affected me the most used all but two of her vouchers on school fees for her kids.
Ndoole is 35. She has seven children and has been living in an informal camp for seven months since she was forced to flee conflict and her home village. She fled to a place called Bukombo where other displaced families were taking refuge. We ended up chatting with Ndoole because one of Concern’s drivers, Eddie, was helping her with her vouchers – the Cash Voucher Market is a new experience for all those participating, so some need a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 4:40 pm
Cash for Work beneficiaries (and local partner staff in green t-shirt) preparing rocks for rehabilitating the Loashi-Masisi road. Photo: Reka Sztopa, Concern Worldwide, Masisi, DRC.
Four continents, five countries, six flights, four lines of latitude, eight time zones, an early Christmas lunch in London with my family, a 90-minute wait for baggage and three hour/75km journey along awful roads through stunning scenery brought me straight to a Concern distribution in Lushebere, Masisi, North Kivu, DRC.
When I pictured arriving in Masisi I imagined maybe a team meeting, unpacking my bags or maybe even a lunch. I didn’t picture arriving in the midst of a distribution serving 600 displaced people but to be honest, it was exactly the reason I had chosen to come to DRC: the needs here are staggering.
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