In the year of 2011, 57 million primary-aged school children were not enrolled in school in developing countries. The number of secondary-aged school children was even more staggering. With these statistics, the Global Partnership for Education went to action for the organization saw a continuous trend throughout these developing countries.

When children are not given the opportunity to receive a proper education, their chances of a better life are extremely dismal. When children are not properly educated, they only become a factor in contributing to the cycles of global poverty. This is the key argument The Global Partnership for Education is making, an organization taking steps towards improving the lives of numerous children in developing countries. This organization is the only multilateral partnership which is completely devoted to helping these children receive an education and an equal opportunity.

Across the globe in countries such as Niger and Chad, there is a hindrance in a child’s education due to extreme poverty. Due to living in areas which are stricken by poverty, young girls are unable to obtain the proper education due to the cost. Young girls are then married off at a very young age due to economic reasons and security. Girls are not seen as individual human beings. They are seen as an economic burden and are only valued as a source of money or dowry through marriage, states Equality Now. Insecurity and poverty are contributing factors which lead the child’s parents to force their young daughters into marriage. Marriage is used as a survival tactic, for if the young girl is married, she is more likely to survive, Equality Now states. Though the parents may believe this is the best opportunity for their children, it is possibly the worst opportunity for them. By marrying them off at such a young age, not only do they lose an opportunity at gaining an education, but also face domestic violence, health issues, and continue the cycle of poverty. “Niger has the highest child marriage rate at 74.5%, where Chad follows close behind at 71.5%” states the P.A.P. Blog. With these horrifying statistics, it can prove that with child marriage rates being so high, their countries poverty level must be increasingly high as well. With statistics such as these, the Global Partnership for Education observed that matters would only get worse if they did not step in to help this cause.

This organization was established in the year of 2002, and throughout its expansion, has helped children in over 50 developing countries obtain a proper education. By investing in education and through coordinating the proper resources, the Global Partnership for Education has seen an inflating number of children returning to school. By offering children the opportunity of an education, the next generation will be comprised of well educated individuals who are helping to bring their country out of poverty with their knowledge.

The Global Partnership for Education has a strategic plan between the years of 2012 and 2015 in which they plan to complete five key objectives. These five objectives are to help conflicted states to develop an educational plan, to help young girls complete primary school and to continue their education in secondary school in a safe environment, to help dramatically improve children’s numeracy and literacy skills, to help teachers obtain a proper education and to enhance their effectiveness through training, and finally to continue funding and support of education to these developing countries.

Throughout the years, this organization has revealed how beneficial an education can be to one’s country. Investing in an individuals education is one of the most effective strategies for defeating global poverty, and has been noted for improving numerous other factors within a developing country as well. By investing in an education in developing countries, there are several positive outcomes. The Global Partnership for Education states that investing in an education “saves children’s lives, boosts economic growth, raises crop yields, fosters peace, promotes girls and women’s rights, increases income, makes people healthier, and most importantly reduces global poverty”.

The Global Partnership of Education explains that education has many positive aspects. An education can help an individual provide for themselves and their family, can help sustain economic growth, can help prevent the spread of disease such as HIV and AIDS, and can also help fight against graft and corruption. This organization has proven that the investment in an education is truly profound, and can make an enormous difference within developing countries.

Education is not only an influential role in every individual’s personal life, it also benefits society as a whole. If everyone in the world had an equal opportunity at an education, the world would no longer have to face the horrible issue of global poverty. Overall, as The Global Partnership for Education has explained, education is a critical factor in reducing global poverty and can enhance numerous individuals’ lives. It is one of the most influential decisions and investments a country can make for its people. Though many do not realize this, education goes far beyond arithmetic, writing, and reading. For beyond these three educational elements is the future of one’s country, the end to inequality, and the key to reducing global poverty.

– Grace Elizabeth Beal

Sources: Global Partnership

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The United States of America spent 20 percent of the federal budget on defense in 2011. That amount was increased to 24 percent in 2012. In addition, $682 billion was spent on military funding alone last year. This gigantic expense ended up making the United States number one in terms of defense spending last year. China followed with $166 billion, which is less than a quarter of what America spent.

In contrast, the Department of State and Other International Programs made up only 1 percent of the federal budget last year. Of the government’s overall budget in 2012, $47 billion was spent in this area. This funding does not target one specific area, but instead goes to multiple efforts such as exports, world hunger, health, national security, the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan, investments, education, and other projects.

There are nine official sectors that separate international affairs funding. They are as follows: peace and security; democracy, human rights, and governance; health; education and social services; economic development; environment; humanitarian assistance; program management; and multi-sector. Beneath these nine sectors are forty-four other sectors that divide funding even further.

Defense spending is also divided into sectors, or categories. The categories are as follows: military defense, civil defense, veterans, foreign military aid, foreign economic aid, R and D defense, and defense n.e.c. (not elsewhere classified).

Let’s take a look at the individual breakdown. When it comes down to individual spending, defense continues to take a larger chunk of funds than does international affairs. The United States spends, in essence, the equivalent of $73 per American citizen each year on foreign aid. At the same time, the U.S. spends $1,763 per person on defense each year.

$30 billion per year is needed to solve world hunger – only $30 billion. When juxtaposed with the staggering amount of money spent on defense and military ventures, this number is very easily attainable. $30 billion could stop world hunger and pull billions of people out of poverty.

The large amount of money used for defense could be decreased – that’s a real possibility. If some of that sector was spent on world hunger instead of all these areas – if there was one specific section intended just for fighting world hunger – it could be eradicated.

– Samantha Davis

Sources: Whitehouse.govStatista.comThe GuardianWashington Post
Photo: Shutterstock

Mauritania was the last country to officially abolish slavery in 1981, and slavery was only recognized as a criminal offense in 2007–almost 150 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the US. Despite the 2007 law, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the 3.4 million Mauritanians still live in a state of slavery today, and only one person has been successfully prosecuted for slavery in Mauritania, a meager success for the victims and all those fighting for the abolition of slavery.

How is it possible that between 340,000 and 680,000 Mauritanians are still modern day slaves? For the first time, a journalist, John Sutter, was able to enter Mauritania and directly report the accounts of slaves and of former owners.

He recounts the story of Moulkheir Mint Yarba, a young woman who, as a slave’s child, automatically became a slave herself. After being separated from her parents at an early age to live with her master, she lived with sheep and camels during her childhood. After reaching puberty, she was repeatedly raped by her master. She told CNN reporter Shutter that “All of [her] children were born into slavery. And all of her children were the result of rape by her master.”

But Moulkheir resigned herself to her condition, she “couldn’t see beyond her small, enslaved world,” until the day her owner killed her baby. It happened while she was herding sheep. As she was returning from the desert, she came back to a haunting vision: her newborn daughter was left by her owner to die in the desert sun. The master wanted to punish her for bearing a child–his child. He said she “would work faster without the child on her back.”

This case is far from being an isolated incident. A 2012 United Nations survey estimated that “for every 100,000 live births in the country, 510 women die from pregnancy, with significant disparities between the death rates of Black slaves and Arab owners. An even greater concern is that due to female slaves being forced to have children with their owners, an estimated 71.3 births per 1,000 live births are adolescents who suffer extreme mental and physical abuse.”

Slavery in Mauritania is not just physical, it is not only about shackles and chains; it is also psychological. Slavery is so highly embedded in mentalities that it has become the normative state of mind for most Mauritanians. Slaves are led to believe that the state of slavery in which they evolve is “normal.” A leader of an abolitionist group told Shutter that “the multigenerational slave, the slave descending from many generations, he is a slave even in his own head. And he is totally submissive. He is ready to sacrifice himself, even, for his own master” for he believes he will go to heaven if he serves his owner well.

Mauritanian slavery is “the slavery American plantation owners dreamed of”. Shutter’s shocking documentary effectively shows the true state of slavery in Mauritania, interviewing actual slaves and former slave owners. Although the abolitionist movement’s influence is increasing abroad, Mauritania’s situation on slavery is widely unknown. The subject is so taboo that Mauritanian officials deny the very existence of slavery in their country. Abolitionists have told Shutter that some have been captured and tortured by government officials so that they wouldn’t speak out.

Mauritania is a developing country. The life expectancy is 57 years old, but great disparities exist between slaves and owners. A slave’s health comes last, and some have never been to the doctor. But slaves stay with their owners despite their evident exploitation and maltreatment. Indeed, for many, freedom means starvation, and many of those who escape end up returning to their homes because they cannot afford a life on their own.

– Lauren Yeh

Sources: Forbes, FemInspire, CNN

The idea of health care is very different for people all across the globe. For those living in developed countries, the benefits of accessible health care improve the quality of human life dramatically. When a person isn’t feeling good and wishes to get treatment, they can go to the doctor and get the medicine they need. When an emergency or health scare impacts a family, immediate support can help save lives. But what about those without access to these resources? Help in these situations can be much more difficult to receive. Developing countries often don’t have any ability to receive treatment from doctors and emergency services.

Partners in Health looks to provide that support to those unable to receive health care. Founded in 1987 to assist indigenous citizens of Haiti, PIH feels it is their moral duty to treat the sick in poor regions worldwide. With the support of official international health institutions and thousands of generous donors, PIH has the resources ready to address those in need immediately. The organization received nearly 64 million US dollars in charitable donations in 2011 alone.

Their work vastly covers an array of health concerns. PIH holds programs in cancer and disease, cholera, HIV/AIDs, surgical procedures, maternal and child health, and mental health fields. These programs treat those in need in places such as Haiti, Rwanda, Mexico, Peru, and many other countries. The impact of the foundation of health centers and hospitals in these international communities is enormous.

People worldwide live daily at risk to diseases and changes in health. What separates some citizens from others is the ability to treat these problems right when they happen. Partners in Health is an organization determined to make sure every global citizen has the same access to health care and treatment. For more information on how you can make a donation and become involved with this important organization, visit

William Norris

Sources: Partners in Health, Charity Navigator
Photo: Aid for Africa

The Howard G. Buffett Global Water Initiative recognizes the importance of having access to clean water, especially in areas where this is a life changing phenomenon. The Global Water Initiative has, since 2007, taken it upon itself to keep in check water quality, and availability, and make sure it is used without any wastage. They claim their principles to be based on three main facets: recover water quality, sustaining or encouraging agricultural lifestyle, and giving power to farmers, especially women, to keep the economy and agriculture going. In places that are struck by poverty, the Global Water Initiative’s three-fold principles help three different parts of the infrastructure.

First, the GWI helps at an individual level. Maintaining water quality will give individuals safe water, clean of any deadly diseases or pathogens. A good and stable water supply would also keep away dehydration and other potentially deadly side effects of lack of access to water. Additionally, using water to invigorate the agriculture, if successful, would address issues of malnuitrituion and hunger as well. Locally grown goods can help locally starving people, thus dealing with yet another issues that normally plagues the extremely poor. From an individual level, the GWI would help on a more community-based level as well.

Second, something as simple as access to the water can also improve something as big and far reaching as the economy. For farmers, access to clean water, and education about how to optimize the limited water they have access to, would result in a strengthened economy. This economy would in turn help the people: more jobs would lead to more employment, more money for the families, better educated children, etc.

Finally, the GWI would greatly help poorer and developing nations in the long term. It would not only set up an economy for the future, but also help break the cycle of poverty that is prevalent in a lot of developing nations because of lack of access to simple things such as food and water. The Global Water Initiative also hopes to empower women, which would attempt to undo any previous gender discrimination. It would bring women entrepreneurs and farmers the opportunities they need to take care of their families; opportunities that in another situation they might be denied because of their gender.

– Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: Howard G. Buffett Foundation,
Photo: World Water Week

Through the United Nations, all the world’s countries and leading development institutions agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals, established in 2000, are to be reached by 2015. The seventh goal is to ensure environmental sustainability. As this is an ambitious and complex goal, it was divided into four categories. The third category is to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; in other words, make water more accessible for everyone. The good news is that this goal has been reached five years early!

This means that two billion people gained access to improved drinking sources and over 240,000 people a day gained access to improved sanitation facilities from 1990 to 2011. Incredible work. However, the story does not end here. What about the 2.5 billion people who still lack access to improved sanitation facilities, and the 768 million people who continue to lack access to an improved source of drinking water?

Water is important–it is the source of life–therefore, it was made into one of the MDGs. Moreover, 70 percent of water is used in agriculture. This demonstrates reliance on water to produce the food needed for survival. We depend on water just as much as the millions in Africa who depend on it, but who do not have it.

Over 40 percent of all people without improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa. To continue addressing this vital need the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has three major partnerships and strategies in the works.

First, through the USAID’s The Grand Challenges for Development initiative, USAID is partnering with Sweden to address the goal of Securing Water for Food. This program has three main areas of focus: water reuse and efficiency, water capture and storage, and salinity. The program focuses on engaging science and technology innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses, and academics to find innovative methods to gain better water efficiency and sustainable development.

Second, led by the USAID, Feed the Future is partnering with several universities to gather scientific expertise and innovative ideas through innovation labs. Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This program is currently partnering with Kansas State University, Tufts University, and Oregon State University. Their collaborative research focuses on areas such as adaptive livestock systems to climate change, enhancing production of nutritious peas and gardening crops, creating more profitable market solutions for farmers in dryland areas of Africa, and demonstrating the impact of water and sanitation on nutritional security. The program is also establishing a consortium of institutions to focus on developing evidence-based research needed to inform effective policies at national, regional and global levels.

Third, the USAID has announced an expansion of services through their Water and Development Alliance (WADA) program. WADA is a partnership between the USAID and the Coca-Cola Company. WADA addresses water needs in developing countries, and the new expansion will provide more than 190,000 people with improved clean water and/or improved sanitation services by the end of 2015. WADA will support the development of infrastructure for clean water, which will benefit at least 65,000 people in Nigeria. WADA will also install sanitation facilities in schools and provide hygiene education, which will benefit 50,000 school children in Zambia. Lastly, WADA will provide clean water kiosks, benefiting more than 35,000 people in Ghana.

Through these various partnerships, the USAID continues to find innovative ways to ensure all people have sustainable access to life giving water.

– Caressa Kruth

Sources: United Nations, USAID, allAfrica, The Guardian

Sexual Violence Somalia Increase Failed State
Somalia has long been submerged in political turmoil, which has forced many to flee. As of October 2012, there were 1.3 million Somalians displaced from their homes, the majority of whom are living in refugee camps. Furthermore, the trauma of homelessness and sexual violence has become prolific, as such sites offer little protection for girls and women, particularly those separated from their families.

As Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International explains, “Many of the women we met live in shelters made of cloth and plastic sheeting which provide no security at all; in the context of the lawlessness which generally prevails in the country and the lack of security in these camps, it is hardly surprising that these horrific abuses are occurring.”

In the last year, UNICEF estimates that there were at least 2,200 instances of reported sexual and gender-based violence. At least one-third of the victims were children. Unfortunately, 70 percent of these crimes against women and girls were perpetrated by armed men wearing official government uniforms. Evidently, those meant to protect Somalian citizens have instead chosen to take advantage of their power.

As happens too often in the developing world, the investigations surrounding such reported crimes have been limited or non-existent. There are few legal precedents for rape prosecutions in Somalia, and thus, few women even report the crimes. For the few who do report them, stigmatization remains a looming threat. Tellingly, the instances of such crimes could be much more prolific than ever imagined.

Rovera adds, “The inability and unwillingness of the Somali authorities to investigate these crimes and bring the attackers to justice leaves survivors of sexual violence even more isolated and contributes to a climate of impunity in which attackers know they can get away with these crimes.”

Clearly, immediate action must be taken not only to mollify the volatile national issues facing Somalia, but also to provide immediate security to its women. With a million displaced persons, security for its most vulnerable should stand as Somalia’s number one priority.

– Anna Purcell

Sources: United Nations, Amnesty International
Photo: PhotoPin


According to a recently published study in Science, there may be a link between climate change, such as drought and increases in temperature, and human conflict around the world. This study documents all major regions of the world, including Brazil, China, Germany, Somalia, and the United States, and finds that changes in normal temperature or rainfall are strongly correlated with conflict, both in history and in the world today.

In history, hotter temperatures or changes in rainfall may have contributed to greater occurrences of wars, riots, and domestic violence. This correlation is more readily seen in poorer countries, because deviations from normal weather conditions can threaten economic and food security in rural areas by interfering with trade and agriculture.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University. They reanalyzed previous data from 60 other research papers and analyzed data such as the rates of domestic violence in India, collapses of ancient empires, civil wars in relation to climatic shifts.

The research team accounted for many possible combinations such as different climates, regions, and time periods. One of the study’s authors Marshall Burke explains that the climate in developing countries is linked with conflict, because climate significantly affects economic conditions by affecting food security.

Although the correlation between climate change and human conflict has been cause for debate in the scientific community, the new research has found that even small deviations in normal temperatures cause sizeable impacts on human interaction and violence.

According to researchers, there are several hypotheses on why climate change affects levels of conflict. Although there are probably many pathways that link violence and climate that are dependent on time period, region, and economic conditions, some studies hypothesize that climate change may reduce the quality of natural resources that are important for the livelihoods of many people. This economic insecurity then can increase the risks of violence of this nation by desperate people in unstable economic conditions. Then, indirectly, the climate change may affect the capacity of the governance to provide security and peace.

Burke also explains how these findings highlight the need for farming techniques that are more tolerant to weather shifts, because in the next 40 years, world temperatures are estimated to continue to rise at alarming rates.

– Rahul Shah 

Sources: SciDev, Huffington Post, Scientific Paper
Photo: Stanford University

Bodo Oil Spill Nigeria Reject Shell Compensation Offer
Nigeria – The Bodo community has rejected an offer by Shell Oil for $46 million as compensation for two oil spills that destroyed the fishing community’s waters in 2008.

Senior partner Martyn Day of London’s Leigh Day law firm represented members of the Bodo community in the negotiations with Shell, and said that their offer would leave each villager with just $1,700. According to Leigh Day, that is not enough to make up for the damage done by Shell.

As much as 600,000 barrels of oil were spilled, contaminating 30 square miles of waterways and mangroves which once provided for the Bodo people. An estimated 13,000 fishermen have lost their livelihoods, and 31,000 people from villages around the affected waterways have been devastated by the oil spills.

Shell cannot deny that they are ultimately responsible for the spills, but claims that the Bodo people and their legal representatives are exaggerating the amount of oil spilled, and the impact the spills have had on the community. Shell also points the finger at alleged oil thieves, who they claim hacked their way into the pipelines and caused the spill.

Shell offered the Bodo community a slightly higher settlement this time around, but it was not enough to rectify the damage done to the people, their land, and their means of existence.

“We told them in 2009 and we tell them again now, the people of Bodo are a proud and fiercely determined community,” said Chief Kogbara. “Our habitat and income have been destroyed by Shell oil. The claim against Shell will not resolve until they recognize this and pay us fully and fairly for what they have done.”

Martyn Day, who represents the Bodo community in the talks, says his clients “will not be bought off cheaply,” and says the $46 million dollar offer is “derisory and insulting.”

The time it takes for Shell oil to make $46 million in profits is less than one day.

How long will it take for the Bodo lagoon and it’s waterways to recover from the ecological damage done by the oil spills?

Shell and the Bodo community will resume discussions about the clean-up in September.

Jennifer Bills

Sources: AlJazeera America, The Guardian
Photo: Amnesty International UK