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OneWorldOneFuture
Last month, deputy prime minister of Ireland, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, and the Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, launched the new policy One World, One Future: Ireland’s Policy for International Development. Through this new policy, Ireland is emphasizing its commitment to “a vision of a sustainable and just world,” to defeat the ugly reality that some people only realize through a statistic while others experience it firsthand every day: approximately 1 billion starving people. The battle against poverty faces many challenges which include climate change, rising energy and food prices, and the global economic crisis.

Irish Aid established three main goals to try and accommodate the changing conditions: to reduce hunger and improve resilience, to have sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, and finally, to achieve better governance, and human rights and accountability which includes gender equality. When meeting these goals, Irish Aid will continue its progress based on its assessment of previous achievements; Irish Aid helped 46 million more kids go to school in Africa, and decreased poverty for ethnic minorities in Vietnam by 17%.

As Irish Aid recognizes the vulnerability of “fragile states,” it declared Sierra Leone as a new key partner country for hopes of establishing better and stronger relationships with these so-called fragile states. Thus, as these relationships grow and strengthen, better progress can take place towards sustainable development.

– Leen Abdallah
Source: Relief Web
Photo: Google

Ami_Vitale_Guinea_bissau_life_expectancy_photography_international_Affairs_USAID_disease_global_health_opt

In the United States, the average person will live to be 78 years old. In that time, they’ll likely get married, have children of their own, have a long career and then spend roughly 13 years in retirement. For most of us, this seems like the natural progression of life. In many places around the world however, many people won’t live to see the day they become grandparents and the idea of retirement is just a pie in the sky.

What does low life expectancy tell us?

The World Bank defines life expectancy at birth as the number of years a newborn can be expected to live, assuming no change in the living conditions of the country present at birth. When life expectancy in a country is low, it indicates a lack in some of the basic necessities required to live a long, healthy life.

This often includes things such as clean drinking water, nutritious food, hygienic living conditions and adequate health care. But in some cases, it is far more complicated than that. AIDS related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa for example, have been driving down average life expectancy for decades. Conflict, war and genocide also contribute to a shorter average life span.

The following is a list of 10 countries with the lowest life expectancy numbers on the planet, the 10 worst places to be born. For comparison, life expectancy in the United States was 48 in the year 1900.

10. Mozambique

Life expectancy: 50 years

9. Chad

Life expectancy: 50 years

8. Zambia

Life expectancy: 49 years

7. Afghanistan

Life expectancy: 49 years

6. Swaziland

Life expectancy: 49 years

 5. The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Life expectancy: 48 years

 4. Central African Republic

Life expectancy: 48 years

3. Guinea-Bissau

Life expectancy: 48 years

 2. Lesotho

Life expectancy: 48 years

 1. Sierra Leone

Life expectancy: 48 years

These figures express the importance of global health initiatives undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other health actors on the world stage. Many government health ministries and non-governmental health organizations are also stepping up to meet these challenges. These efforts are imperative for global development and their continued persistence can eventually lead to long and healthy lives for people in these countries.

– Erin N. Ponsonby

Sources:World Bank, Washington Post, Berkeley
Photo:Alexia Foundation

motorbike
UNICEF donated 73 motorbikes to nonprofit organizations to help them better and more effectively monitor and implement their water and sanitation projects in Sierra Leone. These projects are to build or revamp wells and sanitation spaces in communities, schools, and health centers.

By giving these nonprofit organizations access to motorbikes, UNICEF is hoping to help reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The motorbikes are thought to help by accelerating the efforts being made to improve access to water and, thus, contribute to the push for anti-poverty that the Millennium Development Goals are in place for.

As of now, only 57 percent of people in Sierra Leone have access to clean drinkable water with access to such water in rural areas being much rarer than in more urban areas. Accordingly, only 48 percent of people have access to clean water sources in rural areas, whereas 76 percent of those living in urban households have access. A significant amount of the water consumed in rural areas are sourced to surface water, which is vulnerable to a multitude of waterborne diseases. This makes it imperative to improve water conditions and provisions and rural areas. The motorbikes will help make this possible by enabling NGOs to bring life-saving facilities to areas that are very remote and hard to access. They will also cut down on the amount of time necessary to get from local to local, allowing for NGO members to monitor their projects faster and easier.

Earnest Sesay, Director of Family Homes Movement, one of the NGOs that received motorbikes from UNICEF,  said “On behalf of the implementing partners of UNCEF WASH, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for this donation. With these motorbikes the hurdles of reaching out to remote communities will be a problem of the past.”

– Angela Hooks

Source: AllAfrica

South-South Cooperation
Thanks in part to the sponsorship and coordination of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), an unlikely partnership has emerged between two nations separated by a distance of 8,000 miles. The country of Vietnam, through the combined partnership of the South-South Cooperation, has agreed to lend their considerable soil and farming expertise to improve food security in Sierra Leone.

Vietnam, unlike many other developing countries, has been successful in overcoming specific topsoil and growing limitations, enabling a net production of rice large enough to feed their citizens. Subsequently, it is these very same geographic and agricultural challenges that must be overcome in order to establish food security in Sierra Leone.

The envoy, comprised of ministers from several branches of the government of Sierra Leone, met with Vietnamese officials through the South-South Cooperation Program. During the visit, both countries expressed their continued desire to collaborate with one another for mutual development and agricultural investment, a sentiment approved by the FAO.

A future proposal for rice cultivation in Tormabum and production of pre-basic and foundational seeds will be facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam.

This UN-sponsored partnership between the disparate nations has been progressing wonderfully over the last few years, with Vietnamese experts having traveled to Sierra Leone twice before and a Sierra Leonean envoy making the trip to Vietnam on a previous occasion. With each passing visit, more goals were reached and more progress was made towards achieving food security in Sierra Leone.

The South-South Cooperation between Vietnam for food security in Sierra Leone is a bright spot in regards to global poverty reduction, and a reason to be optimistic about the work of the FAO and the United Nations as a whole.

Brian Turner