Posts Tagged children

Protecting Life Where Death is Everyday Conversation

Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 9:11 am

By Megan Christensen, Health Officer, Concern Worldwide US


I have been lucky to visit many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works. In my travels, I met many people and witnessed many things, some inspiring and some heartbreaking.

My most recent trip to Sierra Leone was no different.

Concern Health Officer, Megan Christensen holding a newborn child, whose mother took the initiative to seek immediate-care at the health facility after being encouraged to do so by her husband, the community and Concern.

Sierra Leone is a country emerging from ten years of civil war and armed conflict. I saw commitment to work from the ground-up to rebuild. The people are positive and hopeful. The government is active and forward-thinking. I was there last February, and in a year and a half, I have seen progress.

This is partly because of an initiative that the government took in 2010 to provide free health care to women and children. Today, more women and children are accessing health care, and more of them are aware of when and how to access it.

However, there are still major challenges. Some clinics still struggle with having a steady stream of supplies, like antibiotics. We still don’t have all the information we need to understand why people are dying and what they are getting sick from. For example, we know that 60 percent of births are happening in birth facilities, in the presence of a trained birth attendant, but that’s only half the picture. Where is the other 40 percent giving birth?  Who is with them?  Why did they not go to a health facility?

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Off the Grid: A Dispatch from Burundi

Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 10:17 am

By Jennifer Weiss, Health Advisor, Concern Worldwide US

I started my work in Burundi around a year ago. Before I visited the country, I remember my colleague describing Burundi to me. “It’s off the grid,” she said.

Jennifer Weiss forgoes the van and continues her journey cross the rickety bridge on foot.

The comment struck me as odd. I assured her that I had lived in Africa before and was more than prepared for the work that lay ahead.  I couldn’t possibly understand what she meant by “off the grid.”

I quickly learned. Burundi, despite its geographic proximity to Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, countries with growing economies and booming tourism industries, is heartbreakingly poor. In fact, Burundi is one of the world’s five poorest countries. I knew this statistic before departure. However, it wasn’t until I arrived in Burundi’s capital city of Bujumbura that I completely understood my colleague’s description. While in other capitals there are new businesses and construction, in Bujumbura there are none to be seen. When I asked a friend of mine who had been in Burundi in the ‘80s to explain how the capital had changed since then, she frankly responded: “It hasn’t.”

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Investing in Burundi’s Greatest Asset

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2012 at 9:56 am

By Nicki Sugrue

Jean Kwizerimana, 15, is a sixth-year student at Rugendo Primary School in Burundi who received a school uniform and supplies from Concern Worldwide.

September is the beginning of the school year in Burundi, but for many children it is just like any other month. Twelve years of civil conflict, which ended in 2005, left the country scarred. Reconstruction has been slow, significantly impacting the quality of education and the standard of schools available. Many families do not have the means to send their children to school and, even when they do attend, there is a high drop-out rate due to large class sizes and a lack of school materials and infrastructure. 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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Children in Tanzania catch up on missed school

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010 at 11:37 am


Hadija (left) pictured with her mother at new water point supported by Concern. Photo: Isla Gilmore, Concern Worldwide.

Water has always been readily available to me

As a city girl it’s hard to imagine life without clean water. Being in Tanzania I have had to adapt to not being able to drink it, and constantly being cautious about boiling, filtering and washing food in clean water. But I live in Dar es Salaam and I have access to all the water I need.

Life in rural villages in Tanzania is completely different

I visited Concern Tanzania’s water programme earlier this month. Biharamulo District is in Kagera Region, close to Rwanda. It looks a bit different to other parts of the country where we work because the villages are located in hills and valleys. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 11:45 am
My Concern guest house room, and everything I brought with me to the field.

My Concern guest house room, and everything I brought with me to the field.

DENVER, COLORADO - This is going to be an interesting trip: Denver to Washington DC to Rome to Addis Ababa. I arrived at my gate in Denver to find four other people travelling straight through with me to Ethiopia.  Read the rest of this entry »

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