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There are no concrete numbers or official statistics that show how many people are homeless and what is the real situation with homelessness in Bulgaria. However, there is a trend that can be observed – the numbers are increasing. As of 2013, as many as 1,370 people have been registered in temporary accommodation facilities. The real number is likely much higher since this only accounts for people with government-issued IDs who have signed up in those facilities.

Urban Nomads

There are many reasons and circumstances that lead to people losing their home. The most vulnerable groups of people that end up without shelter are refugees, the Roma minority, elderly people who have become a burden to their families or young adults who have previously been in foster home facilities.

Most of the participants of a survey that Urban Nomads, a project that is aiming at improving living conditions for the homeless in Bulgaria, conducted stated that what they really hope for is a job and a place to stay, contrary to stereotypes some still believe in. The organization believes in the value that homeless people can give to society and are dedicated to helping them by constructing tiny portable houses from recycled materials. People do not just choose to live on the streets and those who are in that situation have been through a lot to end up like that.

Government Addressing Homelessness in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union. According to Eurostat statistics from 2015, 40 percent of the country’s citizens live at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In 2013, there were 13 centers for temporary accommodation in the country that served 442 people, as well as six shelters and 13 centers for homeless children.

The policies designed to tackle the problem operate mainly on the municipal level but there are problems that prevent their success. The major issue with the social services available is the lack of adequate funding and good financial management. To add to this, the coordination and project management also need improvement. As a result, the needs of people exceed what is provided by the country, affecting homelessness in Bulgaria.

Initiatives that Help Homeless People in Bulgaria

Winter, the most difficult time for people who live on the streets, is here,  and there are several initiatives that aim to alleviate homelessness in Bulgaria in these times. Caritas is a nonprofit organization that works with homeless people in Bulgaria. Their goal is to help those who are most vulnerable: refugees, migrants, the elderly and the homeless are helped to lead a fair and dignified life. Along with social centers in major cities they provide mobile services- domestic care for elderly and support for people on the streets. Caritas has helped over 4,000 people in Sofia and provides food, hygiene kits, medicine and assistance.

There are also other initiatives. In Sofia, a restaurant will donate food to those who are in need during the winter. Volunteers from the Bulgarian Red Cross opened a winter dining room in the town of Ruse. They expect to provide warm meals, a bath and clothes to around 40 people in need every day. In Pernik, two rooms from the hospital will be given to homeless people during the cold months, according to the mayor. Dobrich opened the doors to its house of temporary accommodation. The house for homeless people will be open 24 hours a day and has the capacity to house eight people.

These organizations and initiatives, along with government activities, help people who do not have access to the basics of living a dignified life and improve the situation of homelessness in Bulgaria. And truly, everything to make these people suffer less helps, but the issue of homelessness should be tackled on a more structural level by reintegrating these people into society and helping them find a sustainable way of providing for themselves.

– Aleksandra Sirakova
Photo: Flickr

Top Malaria NonprofitsMalaria is the most deadly disease facing the world’s poor today. In 2016, roughly 445,000 people died due to malaria, and the illness still remains in 91 countries and threatens half of the world’s population. The fight against malaria is far from over, and many nonprofits are still working on achieving a world without malaria. Here are five of the top malaria nonprofits to be aware. 

Malaria No More  

Malaria No More (MNM) launched in 2006 alongside the President’s Malaria Initiative. The goal of the organization is to create “a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite.” MNM aims to end malaria by mobilizing advocates and securing funding to combat malaria. Their work focuses on three countries, including Kenya.

MNM started work in Kenya in 2014, and their work’s focus is to protect pregnant women and babies who are both at a higher risk for contracting malaria than any other populations. In Kenya, MNM partners with several other nonprofits to make malaria a top political priority. MNM also spreads awareness about malaria through meetings with politicians and events with celebrities.

As a result of MNM’s work, roughly 1,800 mothers and pregnant women received mosquito nets, two Kenyan counties increased funding for malaria elimination and millions of people received information on malaria treatment and prevention via radio.

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Another one of the many nonprofits combating malaria is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since its inception in 1863, the goal of ICRC is to assist victims of war and poverty. Since malaria threatens so many impoverished nations, the organization aids in combating malaria.

The ICRC also focuses on encouraging and assisting communities to band together and fight malaria. In 2008, the organization and its partners distributed 60,000 nets to Burkina Faso and helped educate its people on the importance of nets and how to hang them properly.

The President’s Malaria Initiative

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) started in 2006 with the goal of reducing the malaria death rate by 50 percent. The PMI offers several services to the people of sub-Saharan Africa, including insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, intermittent preventative treatments for pregnant women, and seasonal chemoprevention treatments.

Since the formation of the PMI, more than 5 million houses received an indoor residual spraying, which protects more than 20 million people. The PMI also distributed 40 million treated nets. Overall, the malaria rate in sub-Saharan Africa dropped 54 percent in the past 17 years.

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the many nonprofits combating malaria. Founded in 1948, WHO oversees international health through the United Nations and aims to improve health systems and respond to health crises all over the world. Their oversight and work includex fighting to eradicate malaria.

In 2015, the E-2020 plan, which aims to eliminate malaria in 21 countries by 2020, began. WHO is one of several supporters of this initiative and works with 21 countries to reach the elimination of malaria.

Comoros is one of the countries that WHO works with. In 2014, the number of reported indigenous malaria cases reached 53,000; in 2016, that number fell to 1,066. This decrease was the result of a treatment campaign, indoor spraying and the delivery of insecticide-treated nets by WHO.

Nothing But Nets 

Nothing but Nets supplies nets to areas that are vulnerable to malaria. The organization also raises awareness about malaria and mobilizes citizens to take action by contacting their representative or starting a fundraising campaign.

Nothing but Nets raised $65 million for 12 million mosquito nets to be sent to families all over the world. Most of these nets go to sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is most common and deadly. In 2000, only two percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa owned mosquito nets; in 2017, 53 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa possessed a net.

As you can see, these top malaria nonprofits have made it their mission to put a stop to this disease sooner rather than later.

–  Drew Garbe

Photo: Flickr

help GuatemalaCurrently, in Guatemala, 200 people are missing, 110 people are deceased and more than 1.7 million people have been impacted by the eruption of the Fuego volcano that began on June 3. It was the nation’s most severe volcanic eruption in 45 years and the size of this disaster has compelled many around the world to act.

Images of the volcano’s victims and its devastating impact are easily accessible on social media, as are advocacy and volunteer opportunities. Keep reading for a few examples of how to help Guatemala’s Fuego victims and bring awareness to the crisis.

Advocacy on Social Media

Social media has made advocacy from home possible and is one of the easiest ways to get involved in a cause. Several hashtags have popped up on social media platforms since the eruption began as a way to raise awareness along with fundraising and donation opportunities. With a simple search on Instagram or Twitter for any of the hashtags mentioned below, users can see pictures and updates on life in Guatemala after the volcano.

Examples of popular hashtags include:

  • #PrayForGuatemala
  • #GuatemalaEstoyContigo
  • #TodosPorGuate
  • #VolcanDeFuego
  • #FuerzaGuatemala

Finding Volunteers on Facebook

Another social media site that has offered ways to help Guatemala is Facebook. Beyond matching donations, the Crisis Response page on Facebook for the volcanic eruption has become a way for locals to find and give help. Facebook users can post to the page and list what they are offering or need, their location and how to get in contact with them.

Scrolling through the page shows people offering food, shelter or supplies, requesting help and asking for volunteers in specific locations. What is even more impressive is the number of posts that have already been completed or closed. This is yet another example of a relatively easy and effective way to help victims of Fuego’s eruption.

Red Cross Volunteers Working Hard

The Red Cross, led by the CruzRojaGT or Guatemalan arm of the organization, has been working tirelessly to provide rescue operations and support to Guatemalans. This organization has no intention of leaving soon and is putting long-term plans into place in order to keep helping survivors of this crisis.

The organization administered an emergency appeal to maintain programs in Guatemala to support 6,000 vulnerable people for at least a year. More than two weeks after the initial eruption, there are still 1,600 volunteers helping families evacuated during the eruption.

The American Red Cross is offering help as well, with programs set up to help people find loved ones they may have lost contact with in Guatemala. Beyond donating to the cause, sharing this information and keeping up to date on the current conditions are great ways to get involved with the Red Cross efforts.

Donations Flow In to Help Guatemala

In horrible times of crisis, sometimes the only positives are outpourings of support from the global community. There are many organizations and nonprofits accepting donations to provide help to burn victims, shelters, supplies and future rebuilding. GoFundMe set up a page with verified campaigns aiming to raise money to help Guatemala. Many of these funds were started by Guatemalans or people with ties to the country and some have already raised over $100,000.

This is partially made possible by the thousands of social media users who have used hashtags and posts to bring awareness to these causes and the ongoing impacts of the eruption. After the dust settles in Guatemala, it is important to keep sharing and being advocates for the millions of people impacted by Fuego’s eruption and to bring awareness to this crisis.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

venezuela refugee crisisCurrently, the world remains in the midst of the most calamitous refugee crisis since the ending of the Second World War in 1945. Owing to the escalating long term economic crisis in Venezuela, there has been a lesser known but equally grave humanitarian emergency plaguing Latin America countries.

Consequently, the Venezuela refugee crisis is contributing to a great deal of destabilization in the region and is putting insurmountable pressures on food security, education, healthcare, and land. However, at present, international aid seems to be more majorly directed toward addressing important issues of the Syrian and Rohingya crisis.

The dictatorial nature of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s government is largely blamed for the debilitating state of the Venezuelan economy, especially with the rise in government debt, plunge in oil prices and the 2600 percent inflation rate that hit the country in the 2017. The illiberal policies of the government have been criticized for the financial mismanagement, economic misallocation, and political turmoil impacting the country.

Moreover, the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, is vulnerable to the threat of becoming the breeding ground for an increase in trafficking and organized crime owing to the recent succession of violent clashes and demonstrations.

Due to the Venezuela refugee crisis, over 10 percent of the population has already left the country, with a large number fleeing to neighboring countries like Colombia and Brazil. In turn, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has had to block informal refugee routes and deploy troops to stem the rapid influx of refugees. 600,000 individuals have been displaced, and a record number of individuals are crossing the border every day. A further 60,000 people are also currently seeking asylum in the United States.

According to a recent report by The Hill, the Venezuela refugee crisis could grow to be more severe than the Syrian crisis this year.

At this juncture, it is necessary to mitigate the short term problems of the Venezuela refugee crisis. In 2017, the Red Cross set up a reception facility next to the Simon Bolivar Bridge, an important landmark in the Colombia- Venezuela border, to help contain the massive influx of refugees. A number of first aid tents were also set up to prevent the further spread of chronic diseases in the area. Many Venezuelans are also subscribing to the migration card which enables them to cross the border to get daily rations of food, water, and other important necessities.

Additionally, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid pledged that the EU would be allocating 3 million euros toward helping Venezuela, and a further 6 million euros toward assisting Colombia cope with the problem.

A majority of the aid and cooperation is being spearheaded by neighboring countries like Colombia and Brazil. Given the scale of the problem, a regional approach is of vital importance.

Colombia is trying to work in collaboration with the Venezuelan government to deal with the surge in the number of refugees sustainably. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recently declared that the country is prepared to receive international humanitarian assistance in dealing with the Venezuela refugee crisis. He also proposed that an estimate $30 million would be needed to build an assistance center to house refugees

Hopefully, over the course of the year, international organizations like the Inter- American Development Bank, and the World Bank will amplify efforts in providing more financial aid to sufficiently mitigate the crisis.

Overall, the Venezuela refugee crisis is significant as it addresses the wider context of the political and social ramifications entailed by the refugee debacles in countries like Syria, Lake Chad, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Solutions are primarily embedded in solving the impacts of mass migration and its associated issues in a more sustainable manner suited to the sheer gamut of the problem.

– Shivani Ekkanath

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Facts About Humanitarian AidThroughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, the global community has made a concentrated effort toward ending world poverty. Very often, Americans hear of the term “humanitarian aid” without a transparent knowledge of what that aid does or who and where it goes to. Below are nine interesting facts about humanitarian aid, including some of the origins of organized aid, countries and organizations that provide aid and the countries that benefit from humanitarian aid provisions.

Humanitarian Aid Facts

  1. One of the less well-known facts about humanitarian aid is that it is thought to have originated toward the tail end of the nineteenth century. The first global aid relief effort came about during the Great Northern Chinese Famine of 1876-79 that killed nearly 10 million of China’s rural population. British missionary Timothy Richard called attention to the famine and raised what is valued at $7-10 million today in an organized relief effort to end the famine.
  2. Modern western imagery of humanitarian aid came about during the 1983-1985 Ethiopian famine. BBC reporting from Michael Buerk showcased imagery of the “Biblical famine” that shocked the world.
  3. The publicity surrounding the Ethiopian famine led to a worldwide western effort to raise money and bring an end to the plight. Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof organized the Live Aid event that raised over €30 million and set the precedent for humanitarian aid fundraising events across the globe.
  4. Every year, the amount of humanitarian aid contributed by developed countries to places where aid is needed has increased. In 2017, the global community contributed $27.3 billion of foreign aid toward humanitarian relief efforts.
  5. According to Development Initiative, approximately 164 million individuals are in direct need of humanitarian aid. Those in the direst need of relief include the 65.6 million individuals displaced from their home countries and individuals that live in the world’s most dangerous countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
  6. Another interesting fact about humanitarian aid is that the largest humanitarian aid organization fighting world hunger is the World Food Programme (WFP). Each year, the WFP reaches about 90 million individuals in approximately 80 countries.
  7. Humanitarian aid is also donated in large quantities toward natural disaster relief. To illustrate, Red Cross relief efforts toward the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti raised approximately $488 million.
  8. In 2014, United States spent about $2.7 billion of its foreign aid budget on humanitarian aid. This money is mostly used to care for refugees who have been displaced from their home countries.
  9. One of the more serious facts about humanitarian aid is that relief workers have a tough and dangerous job. In 2017, over 150 employees were attacked while trying to conduct their work. However, many would argue that the risk is worth the lives that these individuals save.

Based on these facts about humanitarian aid, it is clear that global aid is vital to creating a global community of countries that care about one another. The global aid network creates a myriad of positive outcomes in global health, development and politics, truly saving the lives of many.

– Daniel Levy

Photo: Pixabay

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros Assists the Poor and the Needy
One of the least developed countries in the world, the Republic of Comoros has one of the highest population density in Africa. The three-island archipelago is located between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean, with a population of about 800,000 people.

A Country Hungry for Change

Between the 1997-2014 period, Comoros was the third country on the list of world’s hungriest countries. The Borgen Project reported in 2014 that Comoros was “one of nineteen nations still labeled as ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ on the Global Hunger Index, leaving 870 million without food.”

According to the Index, countries with the lowest levels of food security (such as Comoros) are either engaged in or have recently emerged from war. Interestingly, Comoros ranked 159 (out of 188) on the United Nation’s Human Development Index in 2015.

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros

Aid organizations have aimed to provide health, relief and other humanitarian aid to Comoros. The Islamic Relief International Organization has assisted over 1 million people from 2006-2018, giving almost $3 million to uplift the poor and the needy. Almost $2 million has gone to establish health dispensaries and centers for men, women and especially malnourished children in the country.

Last year, Tadateru Konoé, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), visited Comoros and emphasized the development of humanitarian assistance efforts to bolster Africa’s island nations prone to natural disasters.

“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,” he said.

Earthquake Aftermath

After a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Anjouan island in March 2014, heavy rains and deep fissures caused heavy infrastructure damage and cordoned off supplies from tens of thousands of people. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) partners delivered emergency hygiene, water and sanitation supplies that provided relief to those displaced by the disaster.

In its Country Strategy Paper for Comoros (2008-2013), the European Union (EU) provided €63 million in total to tackle three major priorities as part of the 10th European Development Fund: governance, transport and education. Cyclonic rehabilitation was also added to the entire agenda, which comported Comoros’ development strategy as defined in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Document.

Aid for Children

Humanitarian aid to Comoros is also needed to protect children against sexual violence from their teachers in religious schools. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supported legislation in the area of children rights, the fight against child labor and violence against women.

Grants from Global Partnership in Education and Education a Child have led to the rehabilitation of dozens of classrooms and construction of schools for children. UNICEF has also supported the government’s response to emergencies and ensured safe drinking water supplies, devising development plans that protected against possible outbreak of Ebola.

Reforming the Nation

The economy of Comoros is highly dependent on subsistence fishing and agricultural production. As the country lacks natural resources and a well-educated labor force, fiscal and structural reforms are necessary to promote the population’s long-term welfare.

The World Bank predicts that political stability in Comoros after the 2016 presidential elections will lead to increased economic growth and opportunities. As part of that effort, humanitarian aid to Comoros will be critical in both maintaining stability and prosperity in this burgeoning country, and benefitting the poor and the needy.

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr

15 organizations that help the world

With the myriad difficulties that face the world, it is essential to have organizations making the planet a better place. Without such generous assistance, the world would be plagued with unmanageable adversities. The following is a list of 15 organizations that help improve the world with their innovative ideas and generous efforts.

  1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an organization that works to fight hunger and its consequential effects on a global scale. It works specifically to eradicate infectious diseases and child mortality rates in struggling countries.
  1. Doctors Without Borders
    Doctors Without Borders delivers emergency aid to people in need. These efforts include helping people in situations of natural disasters, epidemics and lack of health care.
  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
    The FAO’s prime purpose is to defeat hunger. It works in 130 countries worldwide to help ensure people have access to food and are not going hungry. The organization has been fighting hunger since 1945.
  1. Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch was established in 1978 and is an organization that reports on human rights conditions in countries all over the world. With its findings, it meets with governments and financial corporations to urge for policy changes that assist the betterment of human rights around the world.
  1. Oxfam
    Oxfam is a global organization that helps improve the world through poverty-reduction efforts. It focuses on the conditions that cause poverty and works to fix the effects of such difficulties. Its efforts include disaster response, programs to help people afflicted by poverty and education improvement.
  1. Red Cross
    Founded in 1881, the Red Cross foundation works to help people in urgent need. Assisted greatly by volunteers, the Red Cross mainly provides disaster relief, support to America’s military families, health and safety services, blood donations and international services.
  1. Save the Children
    Save the Children is a nonprofit organization that focuses primarily on helping children in need. This includes emergency response, global health initiatives, HIV and Aids prevention, disaster response and creating educational opportunities. In 2016, Save the Children reached and assisted 157 million children.
  1. The Borgen Project
    The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization that aims to end poverty by working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy. The organization is an influential ally for the world’s poor that educates and mobilizes people to communicate with their Congressional leaders to ensure funding for poverty-fighting efforts are not eliminated. In 2017, the organization had volunteers in 754 U.S. cities and is one of the 15 organizations that help improve the world immensely.
  1. The World Bank
    The World Bank works with other organizations to provide extensive financial assistance to developing countries. It was established in 1944 and has more than 10,000 employees and 120 offices worldwide.
  1. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    The UNDP is an organization that aims to eradicate poverty. It implements this goal by developing policies, skills and partnerships to enable people to sustain their progress and improvement. The UNDP is in over 170 countries and territories.
  1. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    UNICEF is an organization that fights for children’s rights to shelter, nutrition, protection and equality. It does so by being children’s advocates and providing humanitarian assistance to children and their families, most often in developing countries.
  1. United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
    USAID is an international agency that provides development assistance to countries in need. It works to advance U.S. national security and “economic prosperity” by promoting self-sufficiency. It uses humanitarian response efforts to bring disaster relief and supplies to those who are struggling.
  1. World Food Programme (WFP)
    WFP’s mission is to fight world hunger and provide people around the world the quality food they need to survive. It does this by working with U.S. policymakers and other foundations to organize financial resources, as well as develop necessary policies to assist the fight against worldwide hunger.
  1. World Health Organization (WHO)
    Of the 15 organizations that help improve the world, WHO is among the largest. The WHO is an organization that works directly with governments and various partners to ensure a healthier future for people all around the world. It fights infectious diseases and works directly with mothers and children to improve and maintain their health.
  1. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
    The WWF is an international nongovernmental organization working to conserve nature and reduce extreme threats. It also aims to increase awareness to prevent further damage to the earth and its inhabitants.

These are only 15 organizations that help improve the world. There are many more that work together with partners to help make the world a better and safer place to live. Their generosity helps people on a daily basis live healthier and happier lives, and it is troublesome to think of where the world would be without such assistance.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr

blood donation rates multiplied in haitiAfter the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, health challenges greatly increased. Thousands of men, women and children were seriously injured or their livelihoods were threatened following the disaster. The National Blood Transfusion Center (NBTC) located in Port-au-Prince was destroyed, which reduced monthly national blood collections by over 46 percent.

The NBTC was responsible for the majority of blood collections as well as screening all of Haiti’s blood donations for transfusion-transmissible pathogens. Many of the men, women and children in critical conditions that were waiting for blood transfusions were thus unable to get the treatment necessary to survive. Organizations such as the Haitian Red Cross relied on foreign aid in order to collect a blood supply to help as many patients as possible.

Rapid efforts were put into place to actively repair damages and increase the scale of blood donations following the earthquake. By 2014, blood donation rates had multiplied in Haiti. Before the earthquake, blood collections were 52 percent in Port-au-Prince, which is the largest city in Haiti. As part of the recovery plan, Haiti’s Ministry of Health (MSPP) created the National Blood Safety Program (NBSP) in order to increase blood collections in outer regions of Haiti, hoping to decrease focus on the Port-au-Prince area, as this was where most of the damage was received.

Expanding the blood transfusion posts, where blood donations were completed and blood stored, was also a goal of the NBSP, as this would also encourage more active participation in blood donations throughout the entirety of Haiti. Prior to the 2010 disaster, Haiti was one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. This was only exacerbated following the destruction. Building blood transfusion posts, recruiting donors and obtaining healthy blood were intense challenges faced by health and humanitarian efforts.

However, with collaborative efforts of MSPP and the Haitian Red Cross, as well as generous donations from international relief agencies, the NBSP saw their efforts paying off within years. By building a greater geographic area for all participants to access transfusion centers, blood donation rates multiplied in Haiti. By 2012, annual blood collections exceeded pre-earthquake levels and continued to increase. By 2014, collections were 36 percent higher than in 2009. Both the international community and local community within Haiti understood the necessity for blood transfusions in the country, and volunteers rose to the occasion.

Blood donation rates multiplied in Haiti due to other efforts as well, outside of building new facilities. In 2012, Haiti initiated a new plan to continue attracting volunteers for blood donations. The country aimed to increase the percentage of voluntary blood donors to 85 percent and regular donors to 40 percent. It also sent mobile blood drivers around Haiti to network with the community and discuss the importance of blood donations. Incentives were given out, like t-shirts, books and stickers, to attract locals to the idea.

Using technology to network also became an important driver. The Haitian Red Cross Society hosts a biweekly radio show to educate listeners on the subject and encourage lifesaving behaviors. Particularly on important dates such as Blood Donor Day, the National Blood Transfusion Center produces messages on the radio and through text for people to donate blood, which can help compensate for limited stocks at different moments in time.

These combined efforts have clearly exemplified the dedication that Haiti has to reaching its goal of 100 percent donation rates in upcoming years. Its work has set an example for nations worldwide that have suffered from similar problems in obtaining efficient blood collections to treat those in need.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid to AfghanistanAfghanistan has been plagued by war since the Soviet Military Intervention of the 1970s during the Cold War era. The 16-year civil war has impacted the foreign policies of many countries over the years. The fight between the Taliban insurgency and international collation forces has resulted in mass displacement, poverty, discrimination, human rights violations and destitution.

Despite the precarious stalemate reached, there were still an aggregate 3,500 civilian casualties last year, with insuperable pressure on humanitarian agencies and aid workers. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 296,000 individuals have been internally displaced since January 2017.

Foreign aid encompasses emergency assistance, food aid, military assistance and humanitarian and development aid. Consequently, foreign aid continues to be a vital question in solving the “Afghanistan Problem”, as it has been called. Even though foreign aid to Afghanistan has been quite successful over the years, with over 2.2 million individuals reached in the last quarter of 2017 alone, it is becoming a concern for stakeholder groups, organizations and countries involved. Phantom aid is an especially significant issue in Afghanistan, as it never reaches the correct source and fails to address poverty and other associated problems.

Even though Afghanistan’s GDP has been averaging around 3.6 percent annually since 2002 and the economy is showing progress, terrorism still remains one of the most pressing issues in the country. There are many splintered terrorist groups still existing in the country. For instance, the Haqqani Terrorist Network remains one the most hostile wings of the Taliban. Terrorist groups are blocking lines of communication in Afghanistan and further destabilizing the country. Army camps and soldier are imperiled by the threat of terrorism in the country. Owing to the recent surge in violence, the Red Cross is temporarily suspending its aid operations to protect aid workers and civilians.

However, many countries are coming forward to provide foreign aid to Afghanistan. China is coming close to matching the U.S. budget of foreign aid to Afghanistan and is one of the leading donors to the country. It is working with the World Food Programme to provide emergency food aid.

India is also a vital provider of sustainable foreign aid to Afghanistan. Since 2002, India has contributed a massive $2 billion in foreign aid to the country, both in civil and military assistance. India is also very involved in reconstruction and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. The Salma Dam has been an especially crucial development. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is aiming to cement stronger ties with India. The two countries will collaborate on solving key issues like terrorism, and working towards political and economic strategies.

Furthermore, over 116 community projects will be developed in 31 major provinces in the realms of education, healthcare, flood control, renewable energy, agriculture and sanitation. India is also providing aid to fund 300 small development projects and working to bolster its military aid to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

However, according to findings by Aiddata, aid efforts remain poor due to the lack of transparency and corruption in the provision of aid to the country and the motives of stakeholder groups involved. Existing immobilities in infrastructure and other aspects are debilitating the progress of foreign aid to Afghanistan. Improving two-way communication in communities in Afghanistan will greatly improve the provision of aid. Foreign aid to Afghanistan must be sustainable for the long-term recovery of the people and the economy, and building the resilience and capacity of governments and businesses.

Shivani Ekkanath

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Mongolia

How to help people in Mongolia? Over 27 years after the revolution that would lead the Mongolia to a democratic form of government, the country faces social and economic issues that have yet to be resolved. Mongolia’s current poverty issues are mostly connected to its climate and natural disasters such as severe snow storms over the winter and droughts during the summer. The characteristic nomadic way of living is slowly fading because of how animals, as well as their owners, are gravely affected by such climate conditions.

As a country whose economy relies on agriculture and cattle raising, such natural impacts destroy Mongolia’s economy from the root. Thus, Mongolia’s poverty is higher in the rural areas than in major cities.

The Red Cross has been successfully helping Mongolia’s population during the “dzud,” a natural disaster seen only in Mongolia that is distinguished by its severe low temperatures. 2010 was the culminating point, when eight million animals were killed by the natural phenomenon.

By working hand in hand with families within the affected communities, the Red Cross has provided supplies, shelter, physical and emotional support throughout 17 different provinces across Mongolia.

 

Ways to Help People in Mongolia

 

But the different ways of how to help people in Mongolia encompass more than the effects of extreme weather, and therefore have to be tackled with a variety of concepts and strategies.

The United Nations has been working with Mongolia and its citizens to develop an integrated national system as well as macroeconomic plans, which were previously lacking. These strategies have decreased unemployment and reduced poverty due to their economic impact in the country.

The organization People in Need have been working with the country of Mongolia for decades. The NGO ensures access to healthcare for habitants in remote locations, distributes food around the country and helps rebuild rural areas after harsh weather events, among other forms of aid.

How to help people in Mongolia is a question with a simple answer. Creating and spreading awareness is key, and the companies mentioned above and many more are successfully doing this every day. There is hope for Mongolia.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr