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recovery after the Beirut ExplosionOn Aug. 4, 2020, a warehouse fire at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon led to a large explosion. There was a significant amount of property damage and loss of life. The blast leveled the surrounding dockside area and sent shock waves throughout much of the city, causing widespread destruction. It was reported that at least 200 people were killed and over 5,000 were injured. In addition, 300,000 are estimated to be left homeless. This explosion is considered to be “unquestionably one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, far bigger than any conventional weapon” according to the BBC. Thankfully, UNICEF stepped in to aid in recovery after the Beirut explosion with multiple programs directed at short-term and long-term benefits.

UNICEF Aids in Recovery After the Beirut Explosion

It is difficult to imagine the devastating impact that a disaster of this magnitude has on people. This is especially true for families and children living in the affected areas. In the days immediately following the explosion, UNICEF reported that 80,000 children had been displaced, at least 12 children’s hospitals and other family healthcare facilities were destroyed. Many schools reported varying levels of damages and numerous children were missing or separated from their families. Thankfully, UNICEF stepped in to help children and families struggling with the short- and long-term effects of this disaster. They instituted multiple programs providing both immediate relief and continuing assistance in rebuilding.

These are just some of the ways that UNICEF has helped Beirut recover after the explosion.

WASH Program

One of the first actions taken by UNICEF for recovery after the Beirut explosion was to restore water service to damaged homes and facilities. In the past, the organization has provided Lebanese families with clean and accessible water through the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program. After the explosion, this program was reoriented to focus on restoring and repairing water supplies in Beirut. Working with partner NGOs LebRelief and DPNA, UNICEF conducted house-to-house surveys and technical assessments of the damage and required assistance. In buildings such as schools and hospitals that sustained heavy damage, UNICEF and DPNA installed 1,000-liter water tanks. They repaired damaged or leaking pipes quickly so that these facilities could continue serving the community. Many of these installations and repairs are also being performed by Lebanese youth through a UNICEF program. It trains them on how to re-establish water connections for future career skills. Additionally, UNICEF and LebRelief restored water service to homes with vulnerable families affected by the explosion. They operated quickly to have water connections reestablished within days.

Hygiene and Baby Care Kits

Another important aspect of UNICEF’s response program in Beirut was to provide hygiene and baby care kits to vulnerable families, such as those with young children and damaged water service. These kits provide necessary supplies for dental, feminine and personal hygiene. There are also separate baby care kits containing creams, basic clothing and diapers. They are intended to support a family of five for up to one month and are delivered door-to-door as well as at temporary distribution centers. Through partnerships with various local organizations such as Medair, the Lebanese Red Cross, Concern Worldwide and Solidarités International, UNICEF was able to gather 10,000 kits and rapidly distribute over 5,000 of them by early September.

Safe Parks

The Beirut explosion caused long-lasting damage that necessitates assistance even after the initial need for emergency response has ended. This is especially true for many children, who must now deal with the trauma and destruction of the explosion on top of the changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Schools are closed and many homes are destroyed. As a part of recovery after the Beirut explosion, children need a place where they can be physically safe and find some form of normalcy and fun. UNICEF established safe parks in the heavily affected areas of Geitawi, Basta and Karatina. These parks provide children with psychosocial support and basic education in a safe space. The parks allow them time to play and develop since schools in Beirut are closed indefinitely. Children struggling with the trauma after the explosion can benefit from the stability and support provided by these safe parks. They can play games, do simple lessons and learn about coronavirus safety. This is a valuable escape for children struggling emotionally or physically with the disaster’s aftermath.

Emergency Cash Grant for Recovery After the Beirut Explosion

Even over a month after the initial incident, UNICEF is still providing assistance to families living with the impact of the Beirut explosion. They launched an Emergency Cash Grant program on September 15 to provide financial support to vulnerable and struggling families. The grant is available to households in the most affected areas with children, people with disabilities, people over 70 or a female head of the household. Through this program, up to three vulnerable household members will receive a one-time cash grant of 840,000 Lebanese pounds. The money provided by UNICEF will allow families struggling with the effects of the explosion on top of the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis to support themselves and recover from the damage caused by this disaster. Applications for this grant are available online and at various in-person registration sites. UNICEF is raising awareness for the program through community outreach in affected areas.

The explosion in Beirut was a terrible tragedy that left many families struggling to get back on their feet. UNICEF’s numerous assistance programs are an invaluable aid to this city’s recovery efforts.

Allie Beutel
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR), a landlocked country in Central Africa, has one of the highest rates of hunger in the world. In fact, it ranks second-to-last on the 2019 Human Development Index. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country has struggled with weak markets, low productivity, gender inequality and hunger following years of political instability and conflict.

Hunger in the Central African Republic has become a more drastic concern as a result of a 2013 coup, which ousted President François Bozizé and led to a 36% reduction in the country’s GDP. The country’s ongoing civil war, with renewed violence starting in 2017, has displaced people from their homes and has led to rising food prices due to weakened food production. While much of the country is self-sufficient in food crops like cassava, peanuts and millet, the tsetse fly has hindered livestock development.

Natural Impacts on Agriculture

In the Central African Republic, the tsetse fly has contributed to a disease called animal trypanosomiasis, a fatal disease that impacts cattle and wild animals. The tsetse fly is responsible for killing off a significant portion of CAR’s livestock. Tsetse flies also cause sleeping sickness in humans. This can lead to seizures, central nervous system failure, fever and weight loss. With little food or clean water, people with sleeping sickness are often unable to recover from these symptoms.

According to researcher Paterne Mombe in a Wilson Center interview, the government of CAR enacted agricultural policies over the last 50 years that shifted focus towards importing food instead of growing it themselves. This has resulted in underperforming agricultural output. As a result of poor agricultural practices, Mombe stated that this has led to conflict against the government, the destruction of farmland and lack of policy reform. From 2012 to 2016, agricultural production of the country dropped to 65%.

Of the country’s 4.8 million people, 79% live in poverty, caused by not only displacement and conflict but also a below-average agricultural season and COVID-19 prevention measures. Although the rainfall level in 2020 has been generally average, the vegetation index is slightly in deficit due to the low rainfall that occurred between January and February 2020, subsequently leading to increasing prices for agricultural goods. The CDC has deemed the COVID-19 risk in CAR as high, meaning that movement restrictions have contributed to sharp increases in the price of essential food items, diminishing the ability of poor households to purchase food. The IPC predicts that COVID-19 will “have a drastic impact” on the economy and food supply chains.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Central African Republic

According to USAID, there were more than 697,000 IDPs in CAR in March 2020, as well as 616,000 Central African refugees in neighboring countries. Although the Government and 14 armed groups in the country signed a Peace Agreement in 2019, escalating conflict in the northeast of the country displaced another approximately 27,000 people between December 2019 and March 2020. As much of the population relies heavily on farming for their food, those who have experienced displacement have struggled to adjust to new climates or geographies; others have fled to areas prone to high food prices, poor access to clean water and few employment opportunities.

Concerning hunger in the Central African Republic, the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report found that 750,000 people are in a food insecurity emergency (which is a phase below famine), while 1.6 million are in a food insecurity crisis (which is a stage below emergency). Around February 2013, estimates determined that slightly over 20% of the country’s population were in urgent need of assistance, as opposed to over 40% in 2020.

CAR Ranks Unhealthiest Country in the World

The United Nations reported that an estimated 1.3 million people in CAR will require assistance to prevent and treat malnutrition in 2020, which includes nearly 50,000 children under 5 years of age suffering from severe malnutrition. A study by researchers at the University of Seattle in 2016 found that CAR ranks first in unhealthiest countries, due to malnutrition, AIDS and lack of resources. The UN World Food Programme has also noted that around 40% of children aged between 6 months and 5 years are stunted due to a lack of nutrients in their diet. The IPC has projected that some households in northwestern, southeastern and southwestern CAR will require emergency food assistance in the coming months to avoid emergency levels of acute food insecurity.

Response to the Central African Republic’s Hunger Crisis

In response to heightened food insecurity in CAR, the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental organizations, have worked to prevent and treat malnutrition with funding from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace. In collaboration with the European Commission and countries like Germany and South Korea, WFP has provided emergency food and nutrition assistance to conflict-affected people throughout the country. These efforts reached over 920,000 people in 2018.

The WFP has recently scaled up its general food distributions and has conducted a food security program for children under 5 and pregnant and nursing mothers. It has also helped strengthen CAR’s Zero Hunger policies, including doubling producer incomes and adapting food systems to eliminate waste. The WFP also offers rehabilitation programs like Food Assistance for Assets, which provides people with work like repairing roads and bridges. Another program is Purchase for Progress, which helps poor farmers gain access to reliable markets to sell crops at a surplus.

Started in 2007, the organization ACTED provides emergency relief to the most vulnerable and displaced populations. It also works to strengthen the resilience of populations and local authorities. ACTED currently has teams in Ouham Pendé, Ouaka, Basse Kotto, Mbomou, Haut Mbomou and the capital Bangui. Meanwhile, other organizations like Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps and Oxfam International are helping combat food insecurity through food-for-assets activities, food vouchers and local agriculture initiatives.

However, as COVID-19 continues to negatively impact the lives of thousands of civilians in CAR, hunger in the Central African Republic needs increased attention and aid to battle the rise of acute malnutrition in the midst of a civil war. The IPC advises that organizations implement urgent actions targeted at the most critical regions to facilitate access to food, put in place measures to prevent and combat COVID-19’s spread and improve food utilization by facilitating the access of populations to drinking water sources and awareness of hygiene and sanitation protocols.

– Noah Sheidlower
Photo: Flickr

Living on Less
The term “extreme poverty” is often used in political and humanitarian discussions. However, what does it really mean? About 734 million people around the globe live in extreme poverty. This means they live on $2 or less every day. It can be difficult for many people to grasp this concept. As a result, discussions about extreme poverty often focus on statistics in order to rationalize the issue. To truly comprehend what living in extreme poverty is like, statistics are not the only important information to take into consideration. Anecdotes and firsthand accounts from people living in this type of poverty are necessary for comprehensive understanding. They are the ones who can truly tell about their experiences and everyday lives as people living on less than $2 a day.

Serin Dossa of Lagos, Nigeria

Serin wakes up every day and begins making Koko, or porridge, to sell throughout the day. She makes the equivalent of $1.12 each day. Her husband does not have a job. Consequently, she has to take out loans to feed her family, including her young children. Although she works to save her money, it is difficult to do so when her family members fall sick so frequently due to unhygienic living conditions. She is the provider for the family like so many other Nigerian women in communities like hers.

Lal Mohammed of Kolkata, India

Lal pulls people and packages behind him on his rickshaw every day not because he likes to, but because it is the only stable job he can find. He supports himself, his wife and their three children. Lal takes the bus into the city every day where he then picks up his rickshaw and begins his long day of work. He sometimes walks up to 10 kilometers in just one day. Lal hopes his children will grow up to have a better education than himself. However, their family simply cannot afford to have any savings.

Akolgo A. of Salpiiga, Ghana

Akolgo is a peasant farmer, and his only source of income is his crop yield. In 2017, he put all of his money towards his farm crops in hopes of raising money to rebuild his home that was falling apart. Although he raised enough money to do so, his house flooded later that same year. His family has been homeless ever since. He receives $26 every three months from his government, but this is far too little money to rebuild his home how his family needs it to be.

Devli Bai of Rajasthan, India

Devli works as a day laborer doing manual labor. She takes the bus into the nearby city each day and waits for a contractor to hire her for the day. Her most common tasks include shoveling rocks and carrying rocks on her head at construction sites. She typically earns a little more than $2 each day, but the cost of her daily bus tickets dwindle that amount down so that she is living on less than $2 a day. She is divorced from her husband and raising her two children alone.

Who is Helping?

Although these stories are upsetting, they are crucial in understanding what living on less than $2 a day really looks like. The good news is there are several organizations doing great work to help those who live in extreme poverty. With over 70 years of experience, Oxfam International works with over 90 countries across the globe. In 2019 it directly helped 19.5 million people with their programs. It focuses on collaboration with communities who need help the most and long-lasting solutions driven by innovation.

The Organization for Poverty Alleviation and Development is another nonprofit organization. It is currently working on 31 global projects across several countries. One of its aims is to tackle issues one at a time in whichever community needs its help the most at a given time. It also has well-established emergency relief and response programs to prepare for the unexpected.

Another nonprofit fighting extreme poverty is Concern Worldwide. Its reach extends to 23 countries and its initiatives in those countries are guided by six central themes of poverty. In 2019 alone, Concern Worldwide helped 11.5 million people through their emergency response programs and 15.1 million people through their long-term development programs.

Living on less than $2 a day is something no human should have to endure, which is why nonprofits like these are so important in our contemporary global community.

Natalie Tarbox
Photo: Flickr

annual races against global povertyFor runners (or aspiring runners) who hope to combat global injustices while running, the following annual runs against global poverty are an easy way to combine physical and humanitarian passions. Some occur across the United States, while others are international, bringing together participants thousands of miles apart. Starting with a race in which runners run with the recipients of their donations, this list concludes with an extremely long race for those who don’t want to train for one. Here are seven annual races against global poverty.

7 Annual Races Against Global Poverty

  1. In Kinyarwanda, “Komera” means “be strong, have courage.” The organization by this name sponsors female scholars in Rwanda, paying for their full tuition and school expenses, and provides them a community of support and sport as a form of development. Every June, Komera hosts a fun run in Rwanda in support of empowerment and education for girls. This event is mirrored in Boston and San Francisco on the same day, as well as any other locations where people choose to individually host.
  2. The Aga Khan Foundation is a humanitarian aid organization that works in more than 30 countries in both Africa and Asia. Its initiatives cover integrated development, civil society, early child development, access to electricity and economic inclusion. Not only do they have countless walks and runs across the country throughout the year, but also host golf tournaments.
  3. The global Christian humanitarian organization World Vision has been tackling poverty and injustice, especially affecting children, since 1950. They now help more than 3.5 million children in almost 100 countries. Their mission includes social and spiritual transformation of communities through public awareness campaigns, as well as emergency relief. Their Global 6K for Water occurs annually on May 4 in nearly every state (with almost 100 runs in California alone). Proceeds go to providing clean water to those who don’t have it; according to the organization, “every step you take is one they won’t have to.”
  4. RACE for the Orphans stands for “Raising Awareness Compassion and Education” about what orphans around the world need. Each run raises money in the form of grants for American families to help them afford adopting international orphans. RACE for the Orphans hopes to reduce the staggering number of orphans in the world (more than 150 million). Starting in 2013, the annual race in Georgia backs new adoptive families the first Saturday of May.
  5. Concern Worldwide is a humanitarian organization that works with people across the globe living in extreme poverty. This annual four mile run in New York City started in the 1990s to raise money for programs ranging from development work to emergency response. Dara Burke, the organization’s Vice President for Individual Giving & Events, told The Borgen Project that hundreds of “people from all walks of life show up” each year on a Saturday in April to deliver “tangible hope” to Haiti and other recipients of the run’s proceeds.
  6. Hundreds of people in Illinois participate in the annual 5K walk/run for education to support Food for the Poor and Hope for Haitians in May. Food for the Poor combats issues ranging from malnutrition to lack of medical care in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Their partner, Hope for Haitians, focuses on building houses and establishing clean water sources while establishing community self-sufficiency through education programs particularly in Haiti.
  7. Knowing that it’s difficult to change one’s daily schedule to run a 5K, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS designed a virtual, collective “walk,” called #30000Miles, reaching the capitals of all countries in mainland Africa. The walk starts on September 1 and ends once the participants have reached 30,000 miles. The proceeds help the organization support HIV positive children and their families in four countries in Africa, providing medical and educational support, as well as emergency relief and livelihood programs.

These annual races against global poverty are in the United States, but there are countless races around the world. They are all a great way to combine fitness and poverty reduction and runners can raise much more for the organization by pushing themselves in their fundraising.

– Daria Locher
Photo: Pixabay

Irish Foreign Aid
Irish foreign aid is distributed by Irish Aid, a program within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The main focus of Irish Aid is to reduce hunger and improve resilience. This means that Irish Aid focuses on developing economic growth, improving governance and holding governments accountable for human rights. Much of their work and funding is focused in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ireland and the UN

During the United Nations negotiations to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were to feature in the United Nations program “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Ireland worked alongside Kenya to facilitate intergovernmental negotiations in 2014 and by mid-2015 the negotiations were complete.

This is an important milestone for Irish foreign aid. Ireland has yet to meet the United Nation’s standard of .7 percent of a nation’s gross national income (GNI) for foreign aid; the nation currently only spends .33 percent. Although Irish foreign aid spending is not at expected United Nation levels, it is still effective.

Impact of Irish Aid

Like many other nations and their foreign aid agencies, Irish Aid uses a grant system to make use of its allocated money. In 2012, Irish Aid granted 100 million euros to the organization Concern Worldwide. Irish Aid and Concern Worldwide have been partners ever since.

A similar partnership was struck again in 2017, and the grant money would be used to fund programs all across Africa in 17 different countries. Irish Aid and Concern Worldwide are working together on the Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project, amongst others.

Concern Worldwide

According to Concern Worldwide, nearly 45 percent of children in Zambia are undernourished, which can lead to health difficulties later in life and hinder a child’s performance in school.

Concern Worldwide works to combat this deficiency by bringing together both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. This cooperation will help the government learn how to effectively manage this issue. Concern Worldwide also provides advanced training for farmers, including improved techniques to increase crop yield and preserve the environment.

Educational Efforts

Education is another important area for Irish foreign aid. On the Irish Aid website, stories can be found about individuals, individual programs and their respective successes. In the realm of education, one young Ugandan man is an exceptional success story. Munyes Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Business studies with education in a country where nearly 4 out of 5 adults cannot read or write.

Although his parents worked incredibly hard, they were unable to afford to send him to secondary school, let alone college. However, Munyes was able to go to college due to Irish Aid; after graduating, he now works as a community facilitator in Uganda. Munyes is a great example of how investment in people can turn out to be one of the best investments a nation, organization or person can make. Money was spent on one person, and that person can go on to help hundreds of people.

One Step At a Time

Although Irish Aid is changing peoples’ lives all over the world, it can still do better. Better funding and direction from their government can go a long way.

Although Ireland’s government does not yet have a plan to reach the target of .07 percent, credit should still be given to the nation. Ireland was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis but continued to do its part to help around the world. Hopefully, as the Irish economy continues to grow, its government will begin to form a coherent strategy for improving its foreign aid efforts.

As with any important issue, the best change will happen when a government is called higher by its people and its media (specifically The Irish Times). With concentrated efforts reflective of populations near and abroad, Ireland can only do good.

– Nick DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Important Poverty Nonprofits
The world is full of people trying to do good, some of whom are well known and acknowledged for the work they do. Many change-makers, however, fly under the radar and do not receive the recognition they deserve for the profound changes they have generated. Some important poverty nonprofits have been working to mitigate poverty and disease worldwide for years, and they are the ones who could benefit greatly from volunteers. The following are five groups whose efforts should not go unnoticed by the world.

Five Important Poverty Nonprofits

  1. Mothers2mothers – This group focuses on alleviating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa while empowering women and mothers living with and/or around the disease. Africa is lacking heavily in healthcare workers. Mothers2mothers is an important poverty nonprofit that hires and trains HIV-positive women to fill these roles, thus providing them with the opportunity to gain financial security for their families and giving the community access to much-needed healthcare. Through this method, thousands of jobs have been created and hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved.
  2. Partners in Health (PIH) – Founded in 1987 by world-renowned doctor Paul Farmer, PIH has made great strides in eradicating life-threatening epidemics, such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, in third-world countries. PIH focuses on building lasting healthcare systems in countries that are severely lacking and providing this service to the poor, who would not typically be able to afford it. To do their incredible work, PIH relies heavily on donations.
  3. Kiva – Kiva is a nonprofit that provides low-income, entrepreneurial women and students with loans to start their own small businesses. They described their mission as “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Kiva has proven that even small loans can create lasting change in the lives of those who need it. Recipients of loans through Kiva have gone on to build small businesses that allow them to support their families and stimulate the economy of their communities.
  4. Charity: water – This is a nonprofit that works to provide clean drinking water to developing countries. Charity: water uses donations to build wells that would eliminate the need for people to walk miles away to get to a water source. They also provide sand filters and rainwater catchments that promote cleanliness in drinking water, which helps to lessen the spread of disease in impoverished communities.
  5. Concern Worldwide – This organization focuses on long-term solutions in third-world countries. Concern Worldwide responds to emergencies like environmental disasters and genocide. Their past projects have included providing food and nutrition to the starving after the 1973 Ethiopian famine. They are currently working with Syrian refugees in The Middle East.

These five are just a few of many important poverty nonprofits that work to make a positive change in the world, no matter how small. Contributions to groups like these have the ability to create a ripple effect in the lives and communities of those who truly need it. Getting involved can come in any form from promoting the causes online to volunteering time to help with projects. When it comes to making a change, there is no contribution too small.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

How an Individual's Impact on Poverty Reduction Can Make a Difference
The Borgen Project was started with one person who wanted to make a difference. Clint Borgen started his endeavor to create The Borgen Project after seeing the poverty and conflict during the genocide in Kosovo. When he returned, he moved to Alaska to join a fishing expedition in order to make money to start his organization. The Borgen Project started with one person’s bold ideas and passionate heart setting to eradicate global poverty. There are many other ambitious individuals, like Clint Borgen, that have started organizations focusing on reducing poverty. The following organizations show how an individual’s impact on poverty reduction can generate a movement leading to organizations that work toward a world with less poverty.

  1. ONE is an international organization that focuses on action and campaigning to end extreme poverty and prevent diseases. The co-founders for ONE are Bono, the lead singer of U2 and Bobby Shriver, son of the founder of The Peace Corps. These two passionate men came together to start ONE, an international campaign and advocacy organization of more than nine million people around the world. This organization prioritizes social justice and equality in the world. ONE utilizes its advocacy power to encourage government programs to make lives better around the world. It is funded almost entirely through foundations and corporations.
  2. Concern Worldwide has focused on working with the world’s most vulnerable people for 50 years. This organization was founded by John and Kay O’Loughlin-Kennedy in response to the famine that occurred when the province of Biafra tried to secede from Nigeria. In 1968, this organization, then called Africa Concern, focused in Africa sending supplies to the people affected in Biafra. In 1970, Africa Concern turned into Concern Worldwide with volunteers encouraged to respond to natural disasters causing poverty in other communities as well. Today, Concern Worldwide focuses on emergencies, health, nutrition, education and livelihoods to reduce poverty. This organization operates on donations and utilizes 90 percent of its funds for relief and development.
  3. Trickle Up envisions a world where no one lives in extreme poverty or vulnerability. In 1979, Mildred Robbins Leet founded this organization with the goal to help people out of poverty. The group’s work aims to help women, people with disabilities, refugees and other economically and socially excluded people. Its goal is to continue lifting millions of people out of extreme poverty and to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Instead of giving individuals money, Trickle Up provides people with seed capital grants, skills training and the support to create small businesses in order to help individuals reach economic self-sufficiency. Trickle Up’s approach starts with stabilizing one’s family, planning and building a livelihood, connecting and saving in groups, investing and growing businesses and finding an individual voice to advocate when people need to speak up in their communities. This organization tracks its individual impact on poverty reduction by focusing on the changes people experience in their quality of life. They keep track of data on how the organization helps others combat hunger, build livelihoods, gain access to savings and credit and empower individuals for social involvement.

These organizations, founded by only one or two people, represent how an individual’s impact on poverty reduction by ordinary people can generate change in the world. Clint Borgen, Bono, Bobby Shriver, John and Kay O’Loughlin-Kennedy and Mildred Robbins Leet exemplify the possibility of how one person can make a huge impact. These individuals are a testament to grassroots movements and why each person should feel empowered to make a difference.

– Jenna Walmer
Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in MozambiqueMozambique, a country located in Africa, gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Following their independence were years of conflict that ended in 1992. Mozambique is currently ranked one of the least developed countries in the world. The U.S. has been aiding the country, providing over $400 million to help people in Mozambique. However, there is more to be done.

The country faces several ongoing developmental challenges. There is unequal distribution of wealth and inequality is prevalent. Common health issues include malnutrition and as a result, stunting. It is also struggling with malaria, which is the most common cause of death among children and the general population. Mozambique also has one of the poorest water and sanitation rankings in the world; the water consumption is among the lowest in the world, even with multiple water sources.

The World Bank Group has been helping Mozambique from “economic stabilization in the 1980s, to postwar reconstruction in the early 1990s, to a comprehensive support strategy in the late 1990s.” The World Bank Group plans to help in areas of agriculture, education, environment, natural resources, health and nutrition. In addition to that, they have projects in the works to contribute an additional $1 billion worth of aid.

While these projects are still in the planning phases, Mozambique still requires immediate help. One of the ways to help people in Mozambique is by donating to organizations.

At Stop for the One, there are several ways to implement your funds, whether to help the crisis relief, drill a well, support young adults, or sponsor a child.

Another way to help people in Mozambique is at Concern Worldwide. The organization works to address food and nutrition, specifically in impoverished and isolated farming communities, as well as to women and children. As much as 90 percent is used for relief and development.

Whichever organization you choose, the donations will contribute to help people in Mozambique.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

The Importance of Creating Resilient Villages

Here in the U.S. when disasters are predicted and do strike, such as natural disasters and droughts, the government prepares and provides aid to people who need it.

Many villages and communities in developing countries do not have backup plans when it comes to shelter, food and money if economical, natural or health shocks should occur. In addition, with the increase of changing climate, villages are in need of training to adapt as the world around them changes.

A non-resilient village experiencing drought would most likely react as follows: less rain means fewer, if any, crops, which in turn makes it difficult to feed livestock such as cows.

Underfed cows will produce less milk and families may be forced to sell livestock and eat less. This causes malnutrition as well as illness to become more common, further weakening the resilience of an already ill-prepared village.

Another shock that a non-resilient village is not prepared for would be the breaking of a water pump. No one in the village knows how to maintain, fix or buy new parts for the pump.

Women and young girls are now forced to walk many miles a day to retrieve water, usually unsanitary, for the village to survive on. The results of this are not only diarrheal diseases which will cause malnutrition, but an increase in the possibility of attacks and rape on the women and girls.

Take the same two scenarios from above and re-imagine them with villages that have received resilience training.

When a drought is occurring in a resilient village, farmers will use their training, specific to their villages, to begin implementing practices to help. These practices could include planting crops in pits so that they receive rainwater run-off or planting trees to protect the soil.

There will be emergency stores of animal food and grain, and mothers understand that breastfeeding during normal and difficult times can help protect their babies against malnutrition.

When a water pump breaks in a resilient village the group placed in charge of its upkeep when it was installed will pull on specific funds saved for this occurrence. This team of villagers will be knowledgeable about the pump.

So, they will be able to find the problems and report and buy the parts needed for the repair. There will be no need to sacrifice women and children’s active roles in society, including a proper education.

These scenarios and others, put forth by Concern Worldwide, show both visually and textually the reality and the difference between a resilient and non-resilient village.

It is important that villages be taught emergency and preventative measures as well as how to adapt to a changing environment and different situations in order to ensure their survival and independence.

Drusilla Gibbs

Sources: CGIAR, Concern Worldwide (UK)
Photo: Pixabay