Information and news on advocacy.

Special Education in refugee camps
Lack of education is a contributing factor to the cycle of poverty. The 1989 ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ and the 1951 ‘Refugee Convention’ emphasizes the fact that access to education is a basic human right. However, approximately half of the world’s refugee children are out of schools. Access to schooling becomes increasingly difficult when countries enter conflicts and develop refugee camps.

The United Nations passed the ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ in 2006. The declaration clearly stated disabled peoples’ right to an education. This right is only accessible in 28 percent out of 193 states, and although there are many initiatives to support special education in refugee camps, further support is needed to help refugees with disabilities obtain and maintain the education they need.

Classification of Disabilities

Disability can be categorized into two branches: mental disability and physical disability. A mental disability is any mental disorder that affects the everyday life of an individual, and examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia. A physical disability is an impairment of the body and/or a person’s motor abilities. These are either acquired at birth or as a result of a traumatic experience and include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and amputations.

Obstacles Faced by Refugee Children

Special education in refugee camps is not an easy task to accomplish, and there are many obstacles that refugee children with disabilities must face in order to receive an education. The first obstacle is very simple to notice — the challenge of getting to school. In many large refugee camps, there are typically no more than a few schools that children can go to and children usually walk to school. For people with physical disabilities, transportation can pose a great problem, especially as most infrastructure is not built to accommodate disabilities. For example, an 8-year-old girl named Hayam lives in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan and suffers from muscular dystrophy. Hayam had to take a quarter-mile walk to her school every day, and her illness made this very difficult.

Another obstacle for people with disabilities is the misunderstanding of physical and mental disabilities in many communities. In many cases, people are taught to fear and look down on people who have disabilities. There are situations in which parents of able-bodied children do not want to have students with disabilities in the same classroom as their child for fear that their child’s education will be harmed.

Furthermore, integration into schools for refugee students can be a difficult task due to political, cultural, religious or linguistic differences. It can be extremely hard for schools to deal with these differences and misconceptions if they lack necessary resources, and such status is incredibly harmful to refugee children with disabilities as it can make it very difficult for them to receive schooling. Refugees are also likely to have PTSD and other related mental disorders due to witnessed trauma, and such effects can harshly affect education if there are no treatments for mental disorders that make it difficult for children to pay attention in class or attend school at all.

Organizational Support

UNICEF and Mercy Corps helped 100 students in the Za’atari refugee camps in Jordan. The two organizations have given wheelchairs to students who have physical disabilities and cannot walk. In another part of the world, the Karen Women Organization (KWO) works in Burma to support special education in refugee camps and rights for the disabled. Not only does KWO aim to ensure increased levels of education, but the organization also aims to support and expand care to children who have disabilities and educate the community.

In 2003, the KWO started the Special Education (SE) Project that runs in every Karen refugee camp. SE Project gives instruction to teachers in the schools and families at home to fully maximize the disabled child’s well-being and reach their goal of integration into society. KWO also helps to combat the misconceptions by creating various activities and workshops for those who are able-bodied and those who are not.

A nongovernmental organization helping refugees receive mental healthcare is the International Medical Corps (IMC). The IMC knows that mental illness is a huge limiting factor for education and they work to make sure there are ways that refugee children can acquire treatment. The group works with local partners in refugee camps to create spaces to talk and provide activities for children and adolescents to develop healthy habits and create relationships. IMC connects children to local youth support and sets up sustainable mental healthcare.

An Unalienable Right

Education is an unalienable right of every person, and special education in refugee camps is crucial for enabling the most endangered people to achieve this right. It is critically important that various organizations and governments continue to build systems that support the abilities of all, especially those most vulnerable.

– Isabella Niemeyer

Photo: Flickr

Success in Educating Girls
Currently, there are 31 million young girls, starting at age five that are not in a school setting. In fact, there is a whole host of startling statistics about the condition of girls across the globe:

  • One in 9 girls are married before the age of 15
  • Internationally, 65 million girls are not attending school
  • 774 million people are illiterate across the globe, with two-thirds of that number being females

These numbers are not pleasant to acknowledge but their content is a reality. Thankfully, there are many movements and organizations today who are trying to empower woman and having success in educating girls.

Developments in Literacy

Developments in Literacy (DIL) is an organization managing 124 child-friendly schools across three Pakistani provinces. Currently, 24 percent of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line. With that sobering state of being in mind, DIL’s goal is simple: the organization strives to offer safe spaces for students to learn and teachers to train. DIL is providing education for students from nursery age all the way until grade 10.

Developments in Literacy is also steadfast in providing girl-friendly education. In DIL schools, the enrollment rate of girl students is at 67 percent and almost 90 percent of the staff is female. These centers offer a “child-centered approach with an emphasis on gender sensitivity and inclusiveness for all.” The main goal of this organization is to ensure that no child, male or female, be left behind or uneducated due to life circumstances in Pakistan.

Girl Effect

Girl Effect works in Asia and Africa and mostly focuses on a girl’s holistic journey into adulthood. Originally founded by the Nike Foundation in 2004, Girl Effect is now its own non-profit organization consisting of media, mobile and brand experts as well as developers. Girl Effect aims to create brands that can chart a course for a young girl from day one.

The organization also gives girls outlets to express themselves openly and research anything they may question. One of Girl Effect’s brands is Ni Nyampinga, the name meaning ‘beautiful girl inside and out who makes wise decisions’ in Rwanda’s native language. It is a multi-platform consisting of a magazine, radio show and a talk show all made by girls, for girls. Ni Nyampinga is a country-wide movement making an impact — 8 in 10 of the citizens of Rwanda have heard of it and half of the citizens over age 10 have listened to the program.

Wiser

Wiser imagines a world where young women and girls are healthy, educated and in control of their own decisions. In Kenya today, there are 3,000 secondary schools educating 620,000 students but only 40 percent of these students are girls. The basis of the Wiser organization is to work with girls who may be poverty-stricken, affected by HIV/AIDS or impacted by gender-based violence.

The Wiser Girls Secondary School in Kenya provides clothing, learning materials, housing and essential medicine to their borders. Kenya has a population of 43.5 million and 1.6 million are living with HIV. All the Wiser girls receive extensive sexual reproductive education, sanitary napkins and cleanliness training. The school has done so well that it has been ranked in the top 1 percent of secondary schools in Migori County.

Commit 2 Change

In India, Commit 2 Change (C2C) works with orphan girls who are 13-18 years old. The girls in these homes are more often than not abounded by their families. The reasons for desertion can range from having HIV, the family being too poor or simply being born a girl. Due to these reasons, many girls in India are now at risk for sex trafficking and early marriage. Commit 2 Change has seen that the best way to make an impact is by focusing on girls in secondary education.

Secondary education starts at the age of 14 and is where the highest drop-out rates occur; by catching the girls at this crucial point of development, C2C believes that they can help teach girls ways to tackle problems in the outside world. Commit 2 Change helps with tuition fees, school supplies and even training programs. Just by studying an extra year in secondary school, C2C has found that it boosts wages by 15 percent and 95 percent of the girls helped by Commit 2 Change believe their education is the pathway to success.

Success in Educating Girls

Successfully educating girls can increase their economic standing, decrease HIV risk and encourage later-in-life marriages. While there is still room for global improvement, these four organizations are going above and beyond in advocating for girls and serve as role models for organizations across the world.

– Jennifer O’Brien
Photo: Flickr

The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr

 

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits
Progress is happening. In 2000, the world’s leaders set out to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty in half by the year 2015. Not only were they successful, but they achieved their goal seven years early thanks to global poverty advocacy nonprofits. Now, the world’s most prosperous nations have decided to end world hunger entirely by the year 2030.

While The Borgen Project fights endlessly to assist in this goal, it also recognizes that this is a battle that cannot be fought alone. The Borgen Project takes this opportunity to acknowledge the crucial work being done by its fellow advocates by presenting its pick of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits.

 

Top 10 Global Poverty Advocacy Nonprofits

  1. Action Against Hunger – For the past 40 years, Action Against Hunger has been saving the lives of undernourished children. The organization has provided access to clean drinking water, food and healthcare services to more than 20 million people across 50 countries. Recognizing the amazing work being done, Charity Navigator has given Action Against Hunger its highest rating for the past 13 years. This organization was also awarded the title of “Best in America” from Independent Charities in America.
  2. The Hunger Project – The Hunger Project fights for “the sustainable end of world hunger.” In order to achieve this, the organization focuses on empowering women. It workshops with communities in order to determine what the community considers a priority and works in tandem to develop a long-term plan to achieve this goal. The Hunger Project operates across Africa, South Asia and Latin America. To date, the Hunger Project has worked with more than 16,000 communities.
  3. Global Food Banking Network The Global Food Banking Network delivers over 940 million pounds of food to those in need every year by redistributing surplus food. Their network of food banks spans across 29 countries. The organization works both to develop new food banks in impoverished communities as well as supporting the ones that already exist. In Hong Kong, the Global Food Banking Network started implementing an IT Starter Kit that will enable an additional 260,000 pounds of food to be delivered each year through improved efficiency. They hope, that with success, they will be able to spread this innovation to other countries.
  4. Heifer International – Heifer International has over 70 years of experience working with individuals in 25 different countries. Through its program Passing on the Gift, supporters are able to donate an animal. That animal is then gifted to a farming family, but in return, the family must give the animal’s first female offspring to another family in need. While over the years the logistics of the program have fluctuated, the notion of continuing the goodwill of others has remained a core component of their approach.
  5. Rise Against HungerIn 2017, Rise Against Hunger benefited 1.4 million people across 74 countries. The organization’s 398,000 volunteers package meals for food insecure peoples. To date, more than 441 million meals have been delivered. In addition, the organization assists communities in expanding their agricultural production capabilities, acquiring business skills and garnishing an understanding of how to best operate markets.
  6. The ONE Campaign – Similar to The Borgen Project, The ONE Campaign seeks to implement change through lobbying for the world’s poor. In 9 years, the organization’s 9 million volunteers have secured $37.5 billion for funding health initiatives that treat preventable diseases in African communities. The organization has lobbied for legislation in the U.S., Canada and EU that would help fight corruption.
  7. Freedom From Hunger – Freedom from Hunger micro-finances small businesses in impoverished communities. In 2016, 5.7 million people benefited from these programs. Recognizing the need for additional resources, the organization also provides information on agricultural techniques, savings programs, family planning and accessing healthcare. In 2012, Philanthropedia ranked Freedom from Hunger 5 out of 119 international microfinance organizations.
  8. The Alliance to End Hunger – The Alliance to End Hunger is a 90 member coalition of both private and public institutions that seek solutions to those living in extreme poverty. Its National Alliance Partnership Program supports communities in more than 60 countries, including Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The organization advocates by getting numerous diverse stakeholders to invest in the same cause. The Alliance to End Hunger works with USAID, USDA, WFP,  FAO and the IFAD.
  9. MEDLIFE – Founded in 2005, MEDLIFE is an organization that actively addresses medical concerns of impoverished communities. The organization operates in underserved areas outside of the capital cities of Peru and Nicaragua as well as rural areas throughout Ecuador and Tanzania. In these countries, the organization sends volunteers to run mobile clinics, provide basic health education and work on community development projects. These projects include providing classrooms, daycare centers and restroom facilities.
  10. Hunger Relief International – Hunger Relief International focuses on developing long-term plans to address the developmental needs of impoverished communities in Haiti and Guatemala, such as nutrition, water and sanitation and child protection. In 2016, the organization regularly supplied 27 Haitian orphanages with high-quality food baskets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Hunger Relief International worked to ensure the safety of 1,500 children. The organization also distributed over 2,000 personal hygiene kits to children in need.

This list of the top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits provides only a glimpse into the numerous efforts being made to assist the world’s poor. The Borgen Project would like to extend its thanks to the countless other organizations working for this same cause and encourage the reader to join any these top 10 global poverty advocacy nonprofits and others in the campaign to end world hunger.

– Joanna Dooley

Photo: Flickr

sports changing the world
Sports provide unique opportunities in a child’s life; sometimes, they are the only opportunity some children have to escape poverty. The following is a list of four sports organizations that are changing the world by using sports and sport-driven programs to help youth and communities across the globe enact social change and improve their impoverished situations.

Lengo Football Academy

Lengo Football Academy offers impoverished children and orphans in Tanzania opportunities through football. Emanuel Saakai started the first Lengo (Swahili for ‘goal’) Academy in the northern town of Arusha to give new opportunities to disadvantaged and street kids (both boys and girls). Saakai believes that the hard work necessary to excel in sports helps youths instill a sense of teamwork, respect and passion that will then translate to successes in other avenues of their lives. He has since created an eight-week program in Australia — where he acts as a qualified Football Federation Australia coach — whose proceeds go toward the program in Tanzania.

Lengo Football Academy helps its youth off the field as well. All of its participants are financially aided through primary and secondary education by Lengo. More importantly, enrollment in school is a requirement to participate in Lengo, ensuring its young footballers will go to class.

Lengo is also developing a 12-month employment program for graduating students to combat the rampant unemployment in Tanzania. The graduating students will be able to take jobs as coaches, referees, drivers, administrators and operators. They are also provided money management skills to ensure they are on their way to developing stable, successful lifestyles after the program ends.

Love.fútbol

The task of love.fútbol is to create durable, low-maintenance fútbol pitches in impoverished communities around the world. It is a community-driven endeavor. It provides the raw materials and support, but it insists that the local community helps with the building projects. For its inaugural build in Guatemala, love.fútbol saw a 90 percent participation rate in the rural village of Villa Nueva.

Love.fútbol is about more than sport. During the building process, it works with each community using asset mapping exercises to help the communities identify and use their strengths to their full potential. It also develops social capital networks, engaging the community to “connect with shared resources, building collective goodwill and strengthening relationships across numerous local individuals and organizations.” Love.fútbol and its 5,800 volunteers have had an impact on 29 communities in 8 different countries since its inception, using sports and play to bring about social change in poor communities across the globe.

Street Football World

Street Football World is like Love.fútbol in that it uses football and the model of community-driven football projects to enact social change. It even joined forces with love.fútbol in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Street Football World strives to use football-driven programs to enact social change around the world in eight key areas, ranging from employability and education to health and the environment. Street Football World even creates ‘pop-up’ stadiums and arenas for communities to use for special events and programs, providing theatres of play for impoverished youths in underprivileged areas.

The organization has a multitude of programs that span all seven continents, aiding and enabling millions of people all across the world by using football as a catalyst. Street Football World partners with a number of football institutions, companies, governments and foundations, ranging from FIFA to The U.S. Department of State. It was recently chosen as Berlin’s ambassador for Germany’s bid to host the UEFA Euro 2024 games. In 2015, founder and CEO Jürgen Griesbeck was featured alongside Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama in Beyond Sport’s ‘Inspirational 50,’ a list celebrating those using sport to “push boundaries, inspire generations and ultimately, make the world a better place.”

Beyond Sport

Beyond Sport, based in The U.K., differs from the rest of these four sports organizations that are changing the world in that it is an advocacy group. Beyond Sport is a global organization that advocates and celebrates the use of sports to address social issues with the ultimate goal of making the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It works with sports organizations directly, along with governments and businesses alike, on how sports can help achieve both social and business goals and successes.

Over the last decade, it has provided more than $1.5 million in funds and distributed $7 million toward long-term strategic goals. Beyond Sport has a vast network of partners, including the major U.S. sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL and WNBA) that boast a whopping 2,822 projects with 2,690 organizations in 154 countries across 56 sports.

These four sports organizations that are changing the world are great examples of how engaging kids in sports activities can not only change the individual lives of those playing but also those in the communities involved. Through sports and community building activities, these organizations are improving lives around the world.

– Nick Hodges

Photo: Flickr

children in Ecuador
A simple Google search for “Ecuador orphans,” expected to provide factual information, instead it presents a plethora of pages touting orphanages to donate to, opportunities to volunteer in Ecuador, children to adopt and personal fundraising pages. Even with some keyword tweaking, clearly orphans in Ecuador have abundant needs, but very few scholarly or news articles provide coverage of the issues. In an effort to fill that apparent statistical lack, orphans in Ecuador relate to the country’s poverty and crime rates in eight factual ways.

Eight Facts About Poverty, Crime and Orphans in Ecuador

  1. Ecuador is part of a global crisis for children born in poverty. Of the children who live in orphanages worldwide, about 80 percent have at least one living parent. Since AIDS took the lives of so many parents, UNICEF changed its definition of an orphan in the 1990s to children, those under 18 years old, who have at least one deceased parent. Under this new lens, there are about 140 million orphans worldwide. Many of them, unsurprisingly, are located in some of the poorest countries in the world. Asia has 61 million orphans, and Africa has 52 million. Ecuador falls into the geographical location in third place for most orphans, as Latin America and the Caribbean have 10 million between them. The most common reason cited for living parents placing their children in orphanages is an inability to afford food.
  2. Developed countries have responded to poverty and orphans in Ecuador incorrectly because of this nuanced terminology. Countries like the U.S., that only consider children with two deceased parents to be orphans, tend to interpret global statistics about orphans as reflecting the number of children who need homes. Many well-intentioned efforts then provide for the needs of individual children instead of combating the poverty in their families that sent them to orphanages. Thus, parents continue sending their children away to these homes because that is where the resources are funneled.
  3. Ecuador’s government had historically attempted to respond to poverty by channeling money in the wrong places. It too has tried to help needy families by funding orphanages instead of providing social programs for individuals and families to eventually be able to take care of their families without having to send children away. This would prevent perpetuating the orphan crisis by discouraging parents who believe their children will be better provided for in orphanages than at home.
  4. Institutionalizing children has proven to have negative effects on their development behavior, causing many to remain in poverty after they leave their orphanages. The government makes little effort to monitor harsh punishments and sexual abuse, leaving children psychologically damaged and creating a barrier to fending for themselves. Even for those who do not live in abusive situations, orphanages often constrain children socially, keeping them insulated among a relatively small group of peers, and then release children suddenly into the world, with little training and life experience to prepare them emotionally or academically for obtaining jobs and housing.
  5. Restore17 connects orphans in Ecuador with the country’s crime rates. Restore17 is a charity that does not pop up in the initial onslaught of Google results for “Ecuador orphans,” but deserves to be highlighted. Their mission statement reads: “Restore17 seeks to prevent boys from being exploited by providing them with hope and a future through holistic Christ-centered care.” Tangibly, they do this by working with orphans in Ecuador at a children’s home because 70 percent of males who grow up in orphanages eventually become criminals as well as face elevated rates for suicide and depression and heightened risk of involvement in human trafficking and gangs.
  6. Restore17 seeks to interrupt this progression from orphans in Ecuador to criminals by partnering with a children’s home for boys to provide holistic care. This involves attempts to meet spiritual needs, providing hygiene products, meals, healthcare, help with homework, technical training and attempting to give them a fun childhood with outings and birthday parties. Restore17 is also attempting to provide for male orphans in Ecuador after they turn 18 by building Casa Esperanza. This home will allow them an opportunity for transition past when orphanages will house them, giving them time to enter full adulthood. The vision is to help both the truly parentless young men who still need a place to live and those who have moved back with their families. By providing a space where wifi, school supplies and tutoring and mentoring are available, Restore17 hopes to reduce the necessity of turning to lives of crime.
  7. The total rate of orphans globally is declining, and Ecuador has contributed to this by allocating more funds relieving poverty through different means than funding orphanages. Since estimates about the number of orphans peaked in 2001, the rate has decreased on an average of 7 percent a year. Ecuador has shifted to combating poverty at its root instead of after children that have already been affected to such an extent that they end up in orphanages. A government spokesperson specifically cited efforts to make homes safe for those who could not afford to do so independently. The United Nations has applauded their commitment of resources, and the numbers seem successful. The country’s poverty rate has dropped by 14 percent since 2006. Extreme poverty has decreased by 50 percent since then, boding well for the creation of fewer orphans in Ecuador.
  8. However, orphans in Ecuador from rural regions that face higher poverty rates remain at a disadvantage. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas in Ecuador, where 70 percent of the population was poor in 2000, as opposed to 13.7 percent of the urban population. The numbers of children in poverty in these rural regions are staggering. For example, in the province of Bolivar, 91 percent of children and adolescents are poor, with Chimborazo and Esmereldas following close behind. This reveals the need for Ecuador to keep addressing poverty at the source for the sake of all of these children who could become part of the orphan crisis.

Clearly, such a system that inadvertently funnels non-orphans into institutions and perpetuates poverty must be directly combated. However, organizations like Restore17 enter into the present reality to provide stable homes and equip boys to overcome poverty as men. It is a good beginning. Such efforts should help create a new financially capable and empowered generation that will be able to raise their children at home and above the poverty line.

– Charlotte Preston

Photo: Flickr

 Nigeria
Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is a core necessity for human survival that a large portion of the world, especially developing countries, still struggle to meet.

In Nigeria, UNICEF reported that close to 70 million people, out of the total population of 171 million, lacked access to clean water, while 110 million lacked access to sanitation in 2013. The impact of this shortage is dire as 124,000 children under the age of five die because of diarrhea that is mainly caused by unsafe water, bad sanitation and bad hygiene. Moreover, it decreases school enrollment and disproportionately affects girls who bare the responsibility of carrying water. Finding the solution for Nigeria’s water quality is, therefore, a pressing issue that requires all responsible parties to participate.

Obstacles In Meeting Water Quality Standards

Gbenga Ashiru, the producer of Question Time, a Nigerian news program that profiles the activities and accountability portfolio of office holders, discussed the reasons behind Africa’s largest economy reaching a peak in a shortage of potable water. He dissected what he states is the “mystery” behind the Nigerian government’s, led by the Minister of Water Resources, inability to meet water demands. Ashiru highlighted the extreme water shortage and listed the shocking statistics of potable water and sanitation coverage at 7 percent and 29 percent, respectively. 

Four months ago, the Nigerian government launched the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality to revitalize the access to safe drinking water throughout the nation to achieve goal number six of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the launching ceremony, Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, asserted that finding the solution for Nigeria’s water quality issue is the current focus of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

Nigeria’s Water Act

According to UNICEF, Nigeria has indeed taken the steps to improve this pertinent issue through the development of various policies and strategies. However, a deterioration in water quality and access portrayed by a 25 percent drop of pipe borne water supply since 1990, reveals the difficulty of translating the solution to Nigeria’s water quality issues into action. 

Nigeria’s Water Act states that the Federal government of Nigeria funds 30 percent, local government funds 10 percent, while state government covers 60 percent of the funding of water projects along with the full responsibility of operation. Suleiman Adamu, in his interview with Ashiru, argues that the Water Act is neither feasible nor effective policy in meeting water and sanitation demands and calls for an amendment of this legislation as well as the gradual privatization of this sector. 

Fostering Synergy and Collaboration

Suleiman Adamu holds the state government responsible for not meeting their end of the bargain. He explains that even in cases where the federal government went beyond the 30 percent of the funding and invested in water treatment facilities, the states failed to carry out the operations. He argues that this happens due to state government officials neglecting pressing water demands that require long periods of gestation and focus on short-term projects to show results during re-election. Therefore, the solution for Nigeria’s water quality issues lies in finding the amendment of this policy that has created obstacles for the synergy in the federal, regional and local governments. 

Since water projects are a primary responsibility of state government, bringing progress at a national scale requires synergy in state and federal government. The Minister explains that the federal government will work on achieving this collaboration through advocacy and offering supervision rather than simply giving funding without aligned priorities. 

Bilen Kassie 

Photo: Flickr

Global Health
On August 2018, The Global Health Council welcomed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Extension Act of 2018 by the House of Representatives. This legislation reauthorizes PEPFAR for 5 years and is an example of bipartisan support for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and was sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

Since 2003, PEPFAR has increased the likelihood of an AIDS-free world by providing more than 13.3 million people around the world with HIV treatments. This is but one example of The Global Health Council’s efforts to work with policymakers and community stakeholders to improve health worldwide.

What Is The Global Health Council?

Global Health Council is a nonprofit membership organization in The U.S. that identifies priority global health problems and reports them to an international and domestic audience. Formed in 1972 and originally called The National Council for International Health, The Global Health Council’s primary intention is to ensure that all who strive to improve global health have the resources they need to do so. The initiatives and programs for which The Global Health Council advocates are funded primarily through membership dues, grants, and sponsorship funding.

Danielle Heiberg, Senior Manager, Policy & Advocacy of Global Health Council told The Borgen Project that The Global Health Council contributes to the implementation of health programs worldwide by supporting its members, who, in turn, work to implement the necessary programs. “Specifically, GHC provides its members with key resources, advocates on their behalf and amplifies their work through its varied communications channels,” Heiberg told The Borgen Project.

Global Health Council is a membership-oriented organization that offers key stakeholders a platform for coordinated global health advocacy. Membership is offered to global health organizations and to individual global health professionals. Members receive important benefits, such as “high-level delegations and networking opportunities,” according to Heiberg. By creating a platform for the unification of global health issues and using the power of collaboration and collective action, The Global Health Council uses advocacy to advance international health programs and policies, such as PEPFAR.

What Does The Global Health Council Do?

Since its inception, The Global Health Council has worked towards advocating for strong global health policies, organizing and mobilizing stakeholders across geographic regions and improving health worldwide by building support. Although The Global Health Council represents a range of global health issues, according to Heiberg, it makes global health security, global health financing, and health systems strengthening” a priority.

In addition to its current initiatives, The Global Health Council’s efforts to advance global healthcare programs are noted in its organized calendar of events. The Global Health Council promotes awareness of global health issues by sharing news via social media, a bi-weekly newsletter, its website and by hosting events. “GHC also meets with U.S. Congressional staff and other government offices to advocate for sound policy and investments,” Heiberg said.

Most recently, The Global Health Council has worked with the global health community to ensure there are U.S. investments going toward global health initiatives to have the maximum impact. The organization intends to implement and maintain a successful global health program by publishing join global health recommendations, promoting member or partner grassroots campaigns and consolidating global health funding.

“With the current administration placing less of an emphasis on foreign assistance, demonstrating how these investments and policies not only save lives around the world but also benefit Americans is crucial,” stated Heiberg. If organizations such as the Global Health Council continue to advocate for international health programs and policies, like PEPFAR, there is hope for improved health worldwide.

– Kara Roberts

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Quotes about AdvocacyAdvocacy is when an individual or group supports and influences political, economic and social decisions. The goal of an advocate is to gain support in a certain environment to create change for the better. According to Culture & Creativity, it only takes 10 percent of a population holding a strong belief to persuade the remaining population to adopt that same belief. This means that with the right amount of support, help and a common goal to better the world, people all around the world can eventually live freely and equally.

Advocates have been contributing to the world’s success for centuries. While all of these advocates come from different backgrounds and places from all around the world, they all have one thing in common- a passion to change the world for the better. Below are the top 10 quotes about advocacy from powerful people and the short biographies of these people.

Top 10 Quotes about Advocacy

  1. “When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”- Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani advocate and activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In 2013, Malala and her father Ziauddin founded a campaign called the Malala Fund to win every girl’s right for 12 years of a free and safe education. Malala’s main focus is helping Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, countries in which most of the girls miss out on secondary education.
  2. “I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”- Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was an African-American singer, poet, memoirist and civil rights advocate and activist. Angelou won three Grammy Awards for her spoken-word poetry. These accomplishments are a few of the many reasons she was nicknamed “people’s poet” and “the black woman’s poet laureate.” Angelou is most notable for her activism through her poetry and music that were mostly about the themes such as women, love, loss, struggle, discrimination and racism.
  3. “Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”- Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 and was a South African anti-apartheid political leader and philanthropist. Throughout his lifetime, Mandela remained a devoted advocate and activist for social justice and peace until his death in 2013.
  4. “No voice is too soft when that voice speaks for others.”- Janna Cachola. Janna Cachola is an actress and singer from New Zealand. Cachola made her debut in cult horror film Bella Bandida (2012) and Bad Romance (2014).
  5. “Advocacy groups and voters are not wrong to push candidates to declare their position clearly on policy issues. That is good citizenship. Hard questions should be asked of every candidate, every politician. And those public servants should be prepared to answer, but in their own words.”- Mark McKinnon. Mark McKinnon is an American political advisor, a reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. McKinnon is currently working on his show “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth”, which shows the daily chaos of the White House with behind-the-scenes access.
  6. “All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.”- Samantha Power. Samantha Power served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, Power was a Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council. During her time in office, Power’s team focused on issues regarding refugees, human rights and democracy in the U.S., Middle East, North Africa, Sudan and Myanmar. In 2016, Forbes listed her as the 41st most powerful woman in the world.
  7. “Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscious, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”- Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and bringing people of different backgrounds together through his advocacy and activism. King is known as one of the most significant people of the American civil rights movement.
  8. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian activist and leader of the Indian independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi advocated for the freedom and civil rights of the Indian people. Throughout his lifetime, he constantly addressed issues such as poverty and discrimination through protests and meetings with officials. He also built a lot of schools and hospitals.
  9. “Every important change in our society, for the good, at least, has taken place because of popular pressure-pressure from below, from the great mass of people.”- Edward Abbey. Edward Abbey was an American author and essayist remarkably known for his advocacy of environmental issues, public land policies and anarchist political views. Abbey was known for writing about the world and the effects of civilization on American land.
  10. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and he led slaves to freedom before the Civil War. Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery, is one of the most notable women in American history for her courage and advocacy of women’s rights.

To be an advocate is to have courage, independence and passion for the things that matter. These top 10 quotes about advocacy provide a glance at the passion these people had and have for their society and the future of the people. As the good saying goes: “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

– Kristen Uedoi

Photo: Flickr

Amber HeardAmber Heard is a model and actress who has dedicated her career to being more than just a “pretty face.” She is best known for her roles in Zombieland (2009), The Stepfather (2009) and The Danish Girl (2015). Heard was also featured in The Justice League (2017) as Mera, a role which she will be reprising in the upcoming Aquaman film.

The actress has always been a strong advocate for the importance of charity work and helping those who are in need. Now, through a lot of time and dedication, Amber Heard is helping Syrian refugees that need medical attention by partnering with The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

The Syrian American Medical Society

SAMS is an organization that provides medical relief to Syrian refugees by working on the front lines. The non-governmental organization (NGO) prides itself on being one of the most active and trusted organizations on the ground in Syria. Its main goal is to provide medical care to every patient who needs it.

SAMS is dedicated to providing these medical services all while promoting medical education in Syria with the assistance of hard-working humanitarians from around the globe. Its vision is to strengthen the medical community for Syria’s future. In 2017 alone, SAMS worked to provide more than 3.5 million health services to vulnerable populations, serving patients regardless of religious affiliation, race, ethnicity or political affiliation.

SAMS primarily operates in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where it has provided support to 110 medical facilities and over 3,000 personnel. Now, its programs are quickly expanding to other countries that are facing extreme poverty. For example, in 2016, it launched SAMS Global Response (SGR) to address the medical needs of vulnerable populations in Greece.

In 2017, SAMS expanded its operation to Egypt and Bangladesh where it set up to meet the increasing medical needs of those who have no access to health care. SAMS does what is called “medical missions” where it brings in skilled health professionals from around the world to provide life-saving care free of charge.    

SAMS is a leader for advocacy and works closely with policymakers both within the United States and on the global level. It advocates increasing political action to help end the crisis in Syria and allow for the voices of its workers on the ground who continue to risk their safety to save the lives of the vulnerable. It advocates for:

  • Protection of medical facilities, healthcare workers and civilians
  • Provisions for access to trapped civilians
  • Increasing involvement of NGOs in decision-making
  • Support for both Syrian refugees and host communities

Amber Heard Is Helping Syrian Refugees

SAMS asked Amber Heard to join its crew on a medical mission to help assist with the 660,000 displaced Syrians in a camp. “My biggest takeaway from this trip is the indelible mark left on my soul after spending a week on the ground here…” Heard spent a week in Jordan with SAMS to visit one of the largest camps for Syrian refugees, which also doubles as a rehabilitation center for those who have been injured.  

Amber Heard is helping Syrian refugees by starting a fundraising campaign. During her trip to Jordan, Heard met a 12-year-old girl named Weam, who is in desperate need of medical assistance. She suffers from a disease called thalassemia, which means she needs blood transfusions every 20 days. This is an expense her family simply cannot afford. Weam had been receiving treatments from an NGO; unfortunately, due to budget cuts, the treatment had to stop. There are 12 more children that have to live with this disease who also need help.  

Amber Heard is helping Syrian refugees by partnering with SAMS to offer a trip to the Aquaman premiere as well as a meet and greet with Heard and her co-star Jason Momoa. The money raised will be used to help treat the 12 children suffering from thalassemia in Jordan.

Amber Heard is using her influence to raise awareness of the important work being done by SAMS. With her fundraiser, 12 children will get the blood transfusions they need to fight thalassemia. Medical attention for Syrian refugees is an important cause, and thanks to people like Amber Heard and organization like SAMS, some of the suffering that these refugees are experiencing can be lessened.

– Olivia Hodges

Photo: Flickr