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What is Davos
For the last 50 years, world leaders have been flying across the world to take part in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) facilitated conversations that might leave people wondering what is Davos, exactly? The small Swiss town, Davos, is home to the annual meeting held by WEF where invited elite address global issues and how to solve them.

In 2019, there were 3,000 people that joined together in the Swiss Alps to propose new initiatives for various issues, including how to help those in developing countries. The organization has been present in the creation of successful initiatives to provide vaccines and water to those in poverty as well as in the development of a project to prevent sickle cell disease in Ghana.

Gavi the Vaccine Alliance

Nearly two decades ago, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance launched at Davos, an organization that aims to provide vaccines and immunizations to children living in poverty. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $750 million to get the organization running.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also founded Gavi and began partnering with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2008. UNICEF distributes vaccines and immunizations on behalf of Gavi, having spent $1 billion in 2014. In 2018, UNICEF distributed products to nearly 70 countries for Gavi, and plans on doing the same in 2019, according to its shipment plans.

Gavi’s goal is to immunize 300 million children between 2016 and 2020, already having provided 700 million children with immunizations. When people living in poverty receive vaccines to common diseases, it removes a financial burden and could eventually allow them to alleviate their poverty, according to a Harvard Health Policy Review article.

Water.org’s Clean Water Initiative

At the 2017 Davos meeting, Matt Damon and Gary White, founders of Water.org, announced the organization’s partnership with Stella Artois in providing water to 3.5 million people. According to WHO, 2.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe water in their home which can lead to the spread of diseases and death. To combat this phenomenon, Water.org is selling Stella Artois chalices and using a portion of the profits for WaterCredit, a system that allows local communities to take out loans to improve their water situation. This can mean different solutions for different communities allowing them a choice that best serves their needs, according to NPR. This partnership is just one of the initiatives in place by Water.org; Water.org and Stella Artois have been working together since 2015 and have helped over 1.7 million people gain access to clean water.

Sickle Cell Screening in Ghana

At the 2019 Davos meeting, the government of Ghana signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, to treat sickle cell disease within the country. Two percent of Ghanian newborns are born with sickle cell disease, according to a 2005 study of over 200,000 newborns. Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, stated at Davos that he hopes that the MOU will allow for the placement of treatment centers in all regional hospitals and the screening of every newborn while also collecting and analyzing data on the disease.

As of March 2019, 5,600 doses of Hydroxyurea, a daily drug treatment for the disease, went to Ghana for sale at a reduced price, according to Ghana Business News. By September 2019, 40,000 more doses should enter the country.

In answering the question, “what is Davos?”, it is a small city where big leaders have been working towards making changes for more than 20 years, like the alleviation of poverty through acts such as providing vaccines, clean water services and disease screenings to countries in need. At varying levels of success, these initiatives have reached millions of people suffering from poverty and seem to be maintaining momentum.

– Makenna Hall
Photo: Flickr

Education-in-cambodia
Cambodia is making strides to enhance the standard of its education system. In an attempt to do so, Cambodia’s Education, Youth and Sports Minister, Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, has reached out to Malaysia and the United States in an attempt to improve their ties and promote a relationship based on education in Cambodia.

Naron recently met with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to come to an understanding on the importance of education.

Many Cambodian students study in Malaysia, where education is a “number one” priority, according to Muhyiddin. Their mission is to raise the quality of life in both Cambodia and Malaysia by focusing on education; after the meeting, both Muhyiddin and Naron signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreeing to work together.

Muhyiddin stated, “I hope that the MoU…would spell out more areas that Malaysia and Cambodia could work together in the education sector as well as increase the number of Cambodian students studying in our country.”

The MoU will further the growing ties between Malaysia and Cambodia and aims to raise the quality of education in Cambodia, starting at a pre-school level and extending to both private and public schools.

On February 15, Cambodia also hosted an education exhibition consisting of over 30 U.S. universities and colleges in Phnom Penh to encourage Cambodian students to further their education. Cambodian students were able to discuss degree opportunities, scholarships and what they needed to do to apply to U.S. colleges and universities, with college admissions representatives.

A U.S. embassy press statement stated, “The fair highlights U.S. government support for efforts to enhance the quality of education and expand educational and career opportunities for Cambodians.”

So far, Cambodia has approximately 100,000 high school graduates who are interested in applying to college.

– Rebecca Felcon

Sources: National News Agency of Malaysia, Shanghai Daily
Photo: Cambodia Mathematics Curriculum Development Project

How is NASA Related to Development?
A recent event held by the Society for International Development in Washington, DC highlighted the SEVIR program, a joint venture of NASA and USAID. Started in 2004 the program provides essential geospatial and earth-based observations to developing countries in Central America, Africa and the Himalayas. This information is used to monitor environmental impacts and natural disaster damages.

Science experts help convert the raw data into a usable form that governments and non-governmental organizations can use. USAID provides the developmental expertise to assist in directing this information to useful topics and applicable to issues confronting developing nations. SERVIR provides information in the following areas of interest for developing nations: water, weather, biodiversity, climate, disasters, ecosystems, and air and health quality.

USAID also assists the host governments to build technological capacity. The program’s goal is for host governments to assume responsibility for the scientific data and application. In order to support this self-sustaining aspect, the program implementers work closely with the host nations.

NASA and USAID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2011 that expanded SERVIR’s programs to include food security, climate change, and environmental and energy management.

NASA and USAID also partner with the State Department and Nike on LAUNCH, a program encouraging technology innovation in the private and public sectors to help create a better world. In April the LAUNCH partners held a conference focusing on sustainable material development. Under this call for technological innovation, individuals or teams may submit project ideas. Those selected will participate in a creative immersion project with funding opportunities.

Previous recipients of LAUNCH support include projects for clean water, renewable energy, and biodegradable vaccination needles, and future projects supported by NASA and USAID feature the promotion of education in the sciences.

The SID Washington event focused on SERVIR’s projects in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. The Himalayan regional node, launched in 2010, provides satellite imagery of rural, mountain areas previously unavailable. Countries served by the Himalayan regional node include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

– Callie D. Coleman
Sources: NASA, SIDW, Nike Inc.
Photo: Engadget