The Borgen Project http://borgenproject.org Downsize Poverty Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:41:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Meet the Team: Janelle Millshttp://borgenproject.org/meet-team-janelle-mills/ http://borgenproject.org/meet-team-janelle-mills/#comments Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:39:36 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91790 Name: Janelle Mills Location: Deland, Florida Role: Staff Writer How did you get interested in global issues? I have always been passionate about social justice and being the voice for those who can’t necessarily speak for themselves. Global issues just seemed to fit in with what I already stood for perfectly. To me, global issues […]

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Janelle Mills
Name: Janelle Mills
Location: Deland, Florida
Role: Staff Writer

How did you get interested in global issues?
I have always been passionate about social justice and being the voice for those who can’t necessarily speak for themselves. Global issues just seemed to fit in with what I already stood for perfectly. To me, global issues encompass a highly marginalized group more easily ignored than acknowledged and because of this I’m drawn to the cause.

What do you do when you’re not fighting global poverty?
When I’m not working at my full-time job, you can find me at the closest gym where I can work out and play basketball to stay in shape. When I’m not running around I am likely writing some poetry with my headphones in my ears completely isolated from the world around me.

What have you learned/found interesting about The Borgen Project?
The most interesting thing about The Borgen Project is the emphasis put on fighting global poverty at the political level. Its unlike any other organization I’ve looked into. It’s also empowering how The Borgen Project encourages its staff to make themselves known to their political leaders. It affirms that everyday people are just as important as the political figures who represent them.

Rather than ignoring the issues, I get the opportunity to address the problem and bring it to the forefront of the everyone’s consciousness. One of the the most interesting aspects of The Borgen Project to me would have to be the emphasis that is put on how important each member of the organization truly is. It is a very distinct way to remind people that no action is too small and small actions put together can create quite an effect.

- McKenzie Templeton

 

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Pack H2Ohttp://borgenproject.org/pack-h2o-2/ http://borgenproject.org/pack-h2o-2/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91401 Though 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, over 780 million people are without access to clean water around the world. That is over 2.5 times the United States population. Of that statistic, Water.org reports: “More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes.” A vast majority of […]

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Pack_H2O
Though 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, over 780 million people are without access to clean water around the world. That is over 2.5 times the United States population. Of that statistic, Water.org reports: “More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes.” A vast majority of those deaths occur in developing countries.

Water scarcity affects more areas than some may realize and exists on every continent. The idea of water scarcity can be a scary thought, but it is more than that. Water is a harsh reality for millions of people around the world.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) reported water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century alone. Though there is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people, it is unevenly distributed, polluted and sustainably mismanaged.

Water scarcity manifests itself in physical and economic ways and can be caused by obstacles we have no control over, such as climate change.

Fighting the water crisis at hand can seem like a daunting task, especially when one considers how vast water scarcity spans. However, there are many determined organizations set to take on this seemingly uphill battle and make a change that so many countries desperately need.

An innovative solution by the name Pack H2O was born following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti where David Fischer, CEO of Greif, Inc. witnessed women struggling to carry the clean water available to their home in old dirty containers and jerrycans.

Pack H2O is a backpack designed to lighten the burden of those carrying water from their access points to their home. The innovative design includes a removable liner that is sanitized simply with exposure to sunlight, a puncture-resistant outer shell and a spout to dispense the collected water.

This collapsible backpack is also seven times lighter and seven times smaller than the average jerrycan making one trip to the access point for clean water much more efficient and productive.

Not only does Pack H20 provide an easier way to transport water, but with its invention came micro-business opportunities for developing communities around the world by providing positions from assembly and decorations to liner sales and distribution.

Since its introduction to the world, Pack H2O has received several honors for the strides made in fighting the water crisis including Popular Science magazine’s 2012 Best of What’s New Award in the Green category, Global Green USA’s Industrial Design Award, and the 2013 Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Honorable Mention for Excellence in Public Interest Design.

When one thinks of a backpack, water scarcity or the water crisis are the last things to come to mind if they even come up at all. Pack H20 has changed the way one may think of things by taking something as familiar as a backpack and altering it and the lives of those that use it.

The Pack H20 team’s goal is a simple one: to deliver a water backpack to every person who needs one.

- Janelle Mills

Sources: Pack H20, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Greif, Water.org, UN
Photo: Secure

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What’s the Matter with Mexico’s Margaritas?http://borgenproject.org/whats-matter-mexicos-margaritas/ http://borgenproject.org/whats-matter-mexicos-margaritas/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91272 They are small, green and Mexico’s staple fruit, but they are also rising steadily in price. Mexico’s lime prices are soaring upwards of 50% each month this year, and it is taking a devastating toll on the Mexican working class. The prices are currently at an all-time high. What is the cause of the hyperinflation? […]

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Mexican Margaritas Decrease in Portion
They are small, green and Mexico’s staple fruit, but they are also rising steadily in price.

Mexico’s lime prices are soaring upwards of 50% each month this year, and it is taking a devastating toll on the Mexican working class. The prices are currently at an all-time high.

What is the cause of the hyperinflation? Limes have always been the most dependable fruit to sell in Mexico, so what are the reasons behind this sudden disruption?

Tax reform has caused a spike in inflation this year, and products such as sodas, junk foods and now limes are all incredibly expensive.

Limes were added to the list of pricey groceries after a disease struck the citrus fruits in Colima, Mexico. The disease is called “huanglongbing” (or “citrus greening disease”) and it infects fruit by way of tiny insects that infect both the tree and the fruit. The trees are left producing bitter, hardened limes until it ultimately dies.

Climate change is also to blame. “With the arrival of winter there has been a cold snap in nearby states,” stated Juan Leana Malpica, a Morelos state lime grower. The fruit do not taste as fresh; the quality of the Mexican limes is suffering.

A bartender from Mexico City, Manuel Ambrosio, states that because of the lack of limes he is unable to give his customers the same sized portion margaritas as before. Customers are upset that the quality of the fruit has gotten worse and Ambrosio’s business is declining because of it.

Margarita sales are down 30% because of the poor lime conditions and Ambrosio stated that “this is the worst [he’s] seen prices in four years.”

A safe fix is hard to find though. The violent outbreaks in Michoacan make the importation of limes difficult for growers because they do not want to risk putting their products on the roads. Vigilante groups are destroying dangerous drug cartels, and the threat of having lime growers’ livelihood intercepted is too high and too much of a hazard.

The United States is concerned about the risk of imported limes bringing in disease. Some importation services have been limited, including airlines, and this is also bringing up costs in Mexico.

Mexico is attempting to squelch this problem by cutting off infected lime tree branches and using nitrogen in October 2014 to make the trees flower “in February, March and April” of 2015. Rafael Abriz Cervantes of the Agriculture Ministry also mentioned that technology is being tested in hopes that it will help remedy the situation and bring back their staple fruit.

- Becka Felcon

Sources: BloombergCNNLA Times
Photo: Westword

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Malnutrition in Somaliahttp://borgenproject.org/malnutrition-somalia/ http://borgenproject.org/malnutrition-somalia/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91404 Even if a person is getting enough food to eat sometimes those foods are not the right foods, which leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition can make daily life difficult for people living in developing countries. A child’s learning abilities become lower and physical work becomes extremely tiring and impossible to perform. According to UNICEF there are […]

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Malnutrition_in_Somali
Even if a person is getting enough food to eat sometimes those foods are not the right foods, which leads to malnutrition.

Malnutrition can make daily life difficult for people living in developing countries. A child’s learning abilities become lower and physical work becomes extremely tiring and impossible to perform. According to UNICEF there are 200,000 malnourished children in Somalia. UNICEF supports stabilization centers in Somalia which help malnourished men, women and children gain access to resources that are not normally available to the community. The stabilization centers admit severely malnourished children under the age of five.

Malnutrition causes generalized oedema, which is the abnormal swelling and buildup of fluid in the body’s tissue, mainly in younger children. Accordingly, acute malnutrition cause Somalian children to suffer from diarrhea, anemia, malaria, dehydration, high fever and vomiting. In fact, 50,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition in Somalia are at risk of death.

Once the child is healthy he or she can be discharged from the stabilization centers. Immediately after the child returns home the care at the outpatient therapeutic centers begins. These are located close to the child’s home and continue to provide services to the child and the family. Only children well enough are discharged from the stabilization centers.

The therapeutic centers’ services include a basic nutrition package which promotes treatment and the prevention of disease and illness. The packages contain micro-nutrient support, infant and young feeding information, along with maternal nutrition information. Moreover, the centers encourage the proper use of handling and cooking food as well as, managing child illness and immunizations. The children are also given a peanut-based paste to help maintain proper nourishment along with vitamin A and deworming tablets.

Mothers in Somalia do not have access to basic human necessities, and unfortunately leave their new born babies unattended for hours while foraging for food. However, UNICEF aims to end this issue by the end of 2014. In fact, UNICEF’s goal is to give over 90,000 vulnerable people the basic foods and non-food needs. The mothers will attend health and nutrient workshops provided by the therapeutic center to help promote a healthier lifestyle throughout their communities. These workshops provide information to call attention to the benefits of breastfeeding to prevent malnutrition for infants.

Furthermore, giving information on subjects like proper hygiene standards and washing hands regularly will help reduce the spreading of disease and illness. Currently, UNICEF hope to administer 1,900,000 children under the age of five with the polio vaccine, as well as 300,000 children under the age of one with the measles vaccine. These vaccines will lead to more longevity for the people of Somalia. Once these methods are instilled in the lives of Somalian women and children the communities will continue to promote and prevent these issues from reoccurring.

- Rachel Cannon 

Sources: UNICEF, WFP
Photo: UNICEF

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Treat Yourself, Help Another: A Cost Comparisonhttp://borgenproject.org/treat-help-another-cost-comparison/ http://borgenproject.org/treat-help-another-cost-comparison/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91392 It is not uncommon for people to spend a lot of money on their appearance: make-up, monthly haircuts, manicures and pedicures, and sometimes extremes such as cosmetic surgery. Feeling well groomed in a world where appearance is frequently judged gives us a boost of confidence. The most recent trend is teeth whitening, which comes in […]

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teeth-whitening
It is not uncommon for people to spend a lot of money on their appearance: make-up, monthly haircuts, manicures and pedicures, and sometimes extremes such as cosmetic surgery. Feeling well groomed in a world where appearance is frequently judged gives us a boost of confidence.

The most recent trend is teeth whitening, which comes in many forms. Celebrities constantly flaunt their pearly whites and it is no surprise that people are willing to spend extra money on products that promise them flawless, blinding white teeth. But is the cost really worth it when the same money could be better spent on causes that make a global difference?

The popular cosmetic service varies from whitening strips to whitening toothpastes to receiving professional bleaching at a dentist’s office.

Here is a cost comparison looking at how money spent on whitening products could provide mosquito nets for children fighting against the risk of malaria.

Crest Whitestrips, one of the most popular brands, range in price from $21 to $65 depending on the number of strips and the length of time one is supposed to wear the strips for. The most common version is the $30 pack, which can last people at least two months. After a year an individual can spend about $180 on whitening strips. The product claims it can whiten teeth just as effectively as a dentist’s professional whitening.

Lately most brands that carry average toothpaste and mouthwash also carry versions of those toothpastes and mouthwashes in whitening versions, ranging from Colgate and Crest to Sensodyne. These toothpastes and mouthwashes, although less costly than whitestrips or professional whitening, do usually cost more than the average product. They range from $5 to about $20 per item and do not necessarily produce the desired result. Depending on how much you pay and when you replace your toothpaste or mouthwash, the average person brushing twice daily can spend upwards of $30 to $120 dollars annually.

There are two versions of professional teeth whitening: Custom Bleaching Trays and Laser Teeth Whitening. Teeth Whitening Trays can cost anywhere between $150 to $1,500 per treatment, and Laser Teeth Whitening can cost a very expensive $500 to $2,500 per session. These treatments can take many different sessions in order to get the desired results.

Project Mosquito Net is a non-profit whose mission is to raise enough money to provide “insecticide treated bed nets to children and pregnant mothers in Kenya to prevent malaria infections and deaths.” One child is estimated to die every 30 seconds from malaria.

A mosquito net only costs $5 each, meaning that the average cost of a whitening toothpaste could provide one child or a pregnant woman with a net that could save their lives. If ten people donated the cost of one Laser Teeth Whitening session 1,000 children would be protected against deadly malaria.

Theoretically if 10 people donated their annual spending on $30 Crest Whitestrips, 360 nets would be able to be provided to children in Kenya. This puts into perspective how many lives could be changed if just a few people decided to help others instead of treating themselves.

Next time you purchase a whitening toothpaste, a box of Crest Whitestrips, or an expensive laser treatment, think about helping a young child or a pregnant woman in Kenya by providing them with protection against disease. You just might save a life.

- Becka Felcon

Sources: Dentistry for Madison, Smile Sensation, NBC News, Project Mosquito Net
Photo: Healthy Palm

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The Relentless President of Syriahttp://borgenproject.org/relentless-president-syria/ http://borgenproject.org/relentless-president-syria/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=90808 Once an apolitical ophthalmologist in London, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has proven himself to be a more ruthless leader than the average Western-based eye doctor. The civil war, raging for over three years in Syria, has demolished entire cities, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced even more. While most dictators […]

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bashar_al_assad_opt
Once an apolitical ophthalmologist in London, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has proven himself to be a more ruthless leader than the average Western-based eye doctor. The civil war, raging for over three years in Syria, has demolished entire cities, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced even more. While most dictators would have stepped down by this point, Assad continues to exert a perverted power over the masses.

Hezbollah even claims he has won. The Shi’a Islamic militant group has notoriously supported and fought beside the Syrian government in efforts to defeat the rebels attempting to oust Assad from power. As such, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced in a newspaper interview that any attempts at a military overthrow of the Syrian government have failed.

Nasrallah also expressed, in the same interview, his views on the origin of the war itself. Rather than a fight against corruption and for democracy, freedom and justice, Nasrallah believes the Syrian rebels mostly wanted to change the policies of the Syrian government in terms of Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance movement. But whatever the primary goals of each individual rebel might be, Nasrallah does not think they stand a chance anymore. Incapable of waging a war large enough to take down Assad, the rebels may very well be weakening.

According to Lebanese sources, Assad is planning to run for reelection in July with a new campaign starting in May. The move, supported by Russia as a method of avoiding a power vacuum in the country, is rejected by the opposition. The extensive destruction caused by the civil war, in addition to the fact that many citizens are currently living in refugee camps in neighboring countries, makes it extraordinarily difficult for a reasonable number of people to freely and fairly exercise their right to vote.

It is not surprising, then, that the United States is taking extra measures to bring down Hezbollah. In an effort to undermine Hezbollah’s assistance of the Syrian regime, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill entitled the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act. The bill, if passed, will impose sanctions on any financial institutions found to be aiding Hezbollah in some effect. Hezbollah in recent times has wrought havoc on the region in ways the U.S. clearly does not appreciate, causing the Western nation to speak out against the terrorist organization that has had such a large affect on the civil war in Syria.

Hezbollah’s actions have not only resulted in a less than desirable outcome in Syria- they have also caused some lashing out in Lebanon. Many of Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims, who support the Syrian rebels, have reportedly attacked Hezbollah bases in acts of revenge fro the organization’s action in Syria. These attacks serve to augment a mounting fear that Syria’s civil war could spread, such that a civil war erupts in neighboring Lebanon as well. Assad’s power is clear. One can only hope that Syria’s destruction is not fatally contagious.

- Jaclyn Stutz

Sources: Al-Monitor, Al Arabiya, The Guardian, Haaretz
Photo: Accuracy In Media

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USAID Official Questioned On Aid in Afghanistanhttp://borgenproject.org/usaid-official-questioned-aid-afghanistan/ http://borgenproject.org/usaid-official-questioned-aid-afghanistan/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:39 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=90946 The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent approximately $17 billion in Afghanistan since 2001. In a recent letter from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the general counsel claims that USAID has not been diligent in monitoring the use of money to prevent contract aid from being used by groups linked […]

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afghanistan_aid_USAID
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent approximately $17 billion in Afghanistan since 2001. In a recent letter from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the general counsel claims that USAID has not been diligent in monitoring the use of money to prevent contract aid from being used by groups linked to terrorist organizations.

The letter declares that USAID has purposely withheld information regarding these funds and the fact that the Afghan government did not exercise oversight regarding the appropriation of those funds. John Sopko, the inspector general for SIGAR, stated “USAID kept this information from Congress and the American people.”

Yet a spokesperson for USAID, Matthew Herrick, has denied any wrongdoing on behalf of the agency. Herrick claimed that USAID complied with all requests from members of Congress and their staff to show documents relating to the matter.

In order to ensure the money was not spent in a fraudulent manner, the House Subcommittee on National Security questioned the USAID Assistant Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Donald L. Samper. Members on the subcommittee called into question the ability of Afghan ministries to oversee the allocation of USAID funds.

In a country notorious for its corruption, USAID conducted internal risk reviews of its dealings in the country. But Rep. John Tierney of Massachusetts stated that although USAID conducted risk reviews of seven of the thirteen Afghan ministries and made 333 recommendations on how to lessen the risk to USAID funds, the agency provided direct assistance to the seven ministries and only required 24 of the 333 recommendations to be implemented.

Sopko called for the Afghan government to take more concrete steps to increase its oversight of USAID-funded projects and decrease corruption before USAID doles out any more funding for development assistance. Overseeing the proper delegation of funding to Afghanistan has been emphasized recently. In 2012 the US government concluded that a contractor working there had links to networks that provided parts of improvised explosive devices to be used against US troops.

This latest revelation comes amidst another scandal in which the USAID spearheaded a so-called covert “Cuban Twitter” project codenamed ZunZuneo. As a result, the federal agency has been under increasingly strict scrutiny from Congress.

- Jeff Meyer

Sources: UPI, USA Today
Photo: The Guardian

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Women’s Education in Violence Prone Countrieshttp://borgenproject.org/womens-education-in-violence-prone-countries/ http://borgenproject.org/womens-education-in-violence-prone-countries/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:30 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=90355 In recent days, U.S. Senator Ed Royce (CA-R) announced that on April 3 the Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Women’s education in violence prone countries and how it can promote the creation of economic opportunities and counter radicalism. The hearing will count with the presence of three experts on women’s education. In […]

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malala_yousafzai_womens_education_rights
In recent days, U.S. Senator Ed Royce (CA-R) announced that on April 3 the Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Women’s education in violence prone countries and how it can promote the creation of economic opportunities and counter radicalism. The hearing will count with the presence of three experts on women’s education. In the words of Royce, the aim of the hearing is to assess “how a failure to appreciate its importance can result in missed opportunities for development and counter-radicalism.”

In the last three decades education opportunities have been greatly expanded, yet women are still at a disadvantage. The difference in countries like Pakistan can be as much as 30 points. While 70 percent of men over 15 years of age are considered literate, for women this only reaches 40 percent. In Afghanistan, this difference is even more astonishing where only 13 percent of women can read and write.

According to Royce, the hearing will reinforce the correlation between women and girl’s education and the promotion of economic growth, childhood development and an increase in life expectancy overall. There is strong evidence that connects women’s education and an increase in a country’s GDP. As women enter the labor force they increase the earning potential of their family. Moreover, as women tend to spend their income on children more than men, this helps increase a child’s survival more than twenty times than families supported only by men.

Pakistan is of special interest, which is why, after the hearing, the committee will move on to considering the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act (H.R. 3583). In honor of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Malala Yousafzai, this bill would require that 50 percent of the scholarships awarded under it be given to Pakistani women.

This comes at the same time when private donors have pledged to donate 1 billion to Pakistan for the support of educational programs over the next three years. According the former prime minister and now UN special envoy for education Gordon Brown, the goal is to provide education to 55 million Pakistanis over the age of ten who are considered illiterate. Pakistan’s government also wants to dedicate more resources to education in order to eventually achieve universal education. This is good news for women and girls in Pakistan, since one of the major goals of the pledge is to get a step closer to the eradication of child marriage, child labor, and gender discrimination.

- Sahar Abi Hassan

Sources: House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Brown, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Photo: Glamour

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New Approach to Closing the Education Gaphttp://borgenproject.org/new-approach-closing-education-gap/ http://borgenproject.org/new-approach-closing-education-gap/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=89654 Nearly a quarter of American children are living in poverty, says the National Center for Children in Poverty, totaling about 14 million. This is 2.5 million greater than in 2000, with the number of children living in poverty increasing 21% between 2000 and 2008. Thus, 14 million children are at an academic disadvantage from day […]

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education_lena_child_development
Nearly a quarter of American children are living in poverty, says the National Center for Children in Poverty, totaling about 14 million. This is 2.5 million greater than in 2000, with the number of children living in poverty increasing 21% between 2000 and 2008.

Thus, 14 million children are at an academic disadvantage from day one: they are on the losing side of an education achievement gap compared to children of more well-off parents.

Recent research reported in the New York Times suggests that “brain development is buoyed by continuous interaction with parents and caregivers from birth, and that even before age 2, the children of the wealthy know more words than do those of the poor.”

While there are several wide-reaching programs in place – subsidies for child-care, targeted education programs for toddlers – advocates for the poor argue that closing this gap begins in the home.

According to the McCormick Foundation, more than half of all children under 2 are cared for at home by a parent or relative on a daily basis. Thus, there has been a nationwide push to target in-home language acquisition and vocabulary expansion.

Several organizations employ a home visitation technique, with development experts training parents on how to stimulate conversation with their infants and toddlers. “We don’t want parents talking at babies,” Claire Lerner of the nonprofit development group Zero to Three said. “We want parents talking with babies.”

Linguistic development is just one of four aspects of critical early childhood development, says the World Bank, the others being physical, cognitive and socioemotional development.

While poverty places children at a developmental disadvantage, failing to enhance a child’s education and growth in the early years tightens the grip of poverty and perpetuates a cycle of impoverished existence.

To make tracking early childhood and linguistic development more accessible, philanthropists and researchers have developed LENA – the Language Environment Analysis System.

LENA is a small audio recorder that conveniently attaches to children’s clothing or slips in a small vest pocket.

The recorders “distinguish between words overheard from television or other electronics and live human conversations,” reports the New York Times. The audio recording is then analyzed by computer software and progress methodically tracked.

The LENA Research Foundation boasts the success of the “world’s first automatic language collection and analysis tool” and believes LENA can help both experts and parents improve language acquisition and development.

LENA provides an unprecedented level of dynamic analysis that more accurately accounts for the complications involved in closing the education gap.
“…It’s like fine, vocabulary is good,” said Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley to the New York Times. “But there is a deeper commitment to literacy and conversation around the dinner table and talking to kids about ideas and political controversies that is the more colorful fabric of literacy and conversation.”

LENA can help determine the effectiveness of home visits and audio recording in the short run in improving parent-infant communication.

In the long run, researchers will be looking for advancements in “future academic performance,” reports the New York Times. “Children who receive assistance in their early years achieve more success at school,” says child rights group UNICEF. “As adults they have higher employment and earnings, better health and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those who don’t have these early opportunities.”

Thus, LENA and early childhood education is not only an investment in children, but in our global health and economy.

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The Social Entrepreneurship Movement Irelandhttp://borgenproject.org/social-entrepreneurship-movement-ireland/ http://borgenproject.org/social-entrepreneurship-movement-ireland/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:40:18 +0000 http://borgenproject.org/?p=91481 While Ireland has been in the headlines for its work towards financial recovery, it has also made a significant contribution to the growth of social entrepreneurship. Ireland is currently home to 1,400 social enterprises, which employ about 25,000 people, with an expected increase of 65,000 jobs in the next few years. The number of social […]

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ireland_social_entrepreneurship
While Ireland has been in the headlines for its work towards financial recovery, it has also made a significant contribution to the growth of social entrepreneurship.

Ireland is currently home to 1,400 social enterprises, which employ about 25,000 people, with an expected increase of 65,000 jobs in the next few years. The number of social entrepreneurs in the country has continued to increase as well, with much of the rise attributed to Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI).

The organization SEI was established in 2005 to support the growth of social enterprises. SEI believes that when a social entrepreneur is working on an innovative project, they should get the funding needed for the project to grow. By supporting these new solutions, SEI hopes that these entrepreneurs will be able to help as many people as possible.

Since 2005, it has invested a total of €5.4 million in the projects of 169 social entrepreneurs. SEI supports each project for up to 2 years. The projects SEI has supported have directly affected over 250,000 people across the country and have also created 850 jobs.

In regard to Ireland’s opportunity to become a leader in social entrepreneurship, SEI’s Head of Engagement Darren Ryan said, “There is so much potential and a conducive environment for social innovation; why couldn’t Ireland be the global leader in the development of social entrepreneurship?”

In order to support these social entrepreneurs, SEI has its annual Awards Programme, which awards funding to 9 social entrepreneurs out of about 200 applications. A number of the projects are centered on reducing unemployment and rural isolation and improving mental health.

In addition to its Awards Programme, SEI also has a Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp and its Elevator Programme. The Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp was created to help give support to rising social entrepreneurs.

The Elevator Programme entails 12 months of support and helps about 4 to 6 social entrepreneurs every year, in hopes of helping them to choose exactly what issue they want to focus on and figure out their solutions.

SEI expects that for any project it supports, the success rate will be between 50% and 75% or the failure rate will be between 25% and 50%, depending on when SEI chooses to invest.

In light of SEI’s predictions, Ryan said, “Anything higher than that and we will know we’re not taking enough risk. We want to ensure that we are always thinking big and looking for the ideas that have the potential to change Ireland.”

Along with the SEI, the global organization the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) recently expanded to Ireland. The SSE offers courses to mentor and support social entrepreneurs.

The school holds study sessions that include witnesses, experts, and social enterprise visits. The school also offers Action Learning Sets, in which people have small-group discussions to talk about their ideas.

Another important feature of the SSE is its mentoring services, where the school chooses mentors for all of its social entrepreneurs. The mentors offer the budding entrepreneurs advice and guidance as well as additional information and support to help them in their projects.

With growing resources for social entrepreneurs, Ireland is likely to be a strong leader in helping solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

- Julie Guacci

Sources: Forbes, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, School for Social Entrepreneurs
Photo: Meath Chronicle

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