Education Needs Driving Humanitarian Aid to BrazilBrazil has the fifth largest population on the globe. Despite its reputation for luxurious resorts, crystal waters and festivals, it still struggles to employ its residents. This is mainly due to a large social gap, where the richest 1 percent control 50 percent of the economy. “Chronic poverty”, or the idea that someone born into poverty has very slim chances of rising above it, is a huge factor. Humanitarian aid to Brazil is set to decrease these numbers.

Poverty in Brazil is attributed mostly to child abandonment. Mothers and fathers are leaving their children in the streets due to low incomes, health problems such as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and a lack of resources for their other offspring. With the harsh conditions on the streets, few children live to see their 18th year.

There are roughly eight million impoverished children living in Brazil. Due to a lack of education and resources, they resort to street performing, thievery and begging to survive. In many cases, they are taken in by drug lords and other criminals and used as drug runners and prostitutes. With little to no proper nutrition, they are feeding themselves with the refuse found in garbage bins and dumps. Without an education or a family to support them, they will most likely remain unable to become employed.

A lack of education is a terrible dilemma for the 26 percent of the population who live below the poverty line. According to the Brazil Without Misery Program, 4.8 million people are living on no income whatsoever. The program teamed up with Bolsa Familia to give humanitarian aid to Brazil and its people. They provide education and basic nutritional needs to low-income families around the country. The families receive cash benefits, and in return, they must work to keep their children in school and follow the basic health and vaccination program.

The United States is set to donate $815,000 to Brazil this year. The aid is deepening the bond between the two countries and is providing humanitarian aid to Brazil in ways that are desperately needed. The money is planned to be used to deploy new technologies in healthcare and to decrease the AIDS problem spreading among young mothers. This will hopefully lower the numbers of orphaned children, and in the process, will increase the chances of them receiving an education.

With projects around the country working to promote education and healthcare among the youth, the government has started making these needs their focus. It is providing internal humanitarian aid to Brazil itself. Women are receiving better hygiene education, children are receiving healthcare and the government is working to house homeless teens and provide them with schooling.

Politicians are fighting to make civilian welfare a priority. They are working to have the government approach the poor rather than the other way around. Promoting civilian education and welfare has greatly benefited the economy as well as other countries in the process. For instance, the World Food Programme opened an office in Brazil, overseeing school feeding and food security for families and students. The program provides meal assistance for 50 countries, including 47 million children.

Brazil has since seen positive growth in linking public policy with school meals and security. School attendance has increased steadily by 200,000 annually for the past 10 years. Education is becoming a priority for families as well as the country itself.

Brazil has elevated in ranks in recent years, becoming the ninth-largest economy in the world. This shift has led to it becoming a donor country for the first time in 2008, giving 53 percent of its donations to Africa and the rest to surrounding countries in Latin America.

While the country continues to receive assistance and is working tirelessly to promote education with a wider reach, Brazil is spreading its wings and dipping into the donor pool. The world has yet to see the difference this growing country can make.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to Togo

In 2005, consecutive food and nutrition crises combined with political violence left Togo crippled as a society and in dire need of basic essentials for survival. Over the next eight years, 10 million people faced food shortages and 1.4 million children were at risk for malnutrition.

Despite the conditions leaving the country in dire straits, humanitarian aid to Togo has been present both within its borders and beyond. More than 20,000 Togolese fled after the presidential election in 2005 to the nearby country of Benin to take refuge. Apportioned under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel, €1.05 million was given to refugees through the Humanitarian Aid department of the European Union. Meeting refugees’ needs in terms of food aid, temporary shelter, primary health care and access to water, sanitation and essential items was the focus of the commission’s humanitarian aid. This also covered expenses for any refugee who wanted to return home to Togo, in accordance with the policy of voluntary return and international rules.

During the following years, Togo received various assistance from multiple countries. In 2012, €174 million was given to the emergency humanitarian response from the European Commission. In 2016, the United States gave $13.5 million in aid to develop the health, security and education spheres. Through the Humanitarian Assistance Program and the Department of Defense, schools and clinics receive funding and an HIV/AIDS prevention program is in place, as well as several civil engineering projects.

In 2017, AFRICOM was the only construction aid program in Togo. AFRICOM, in partner with the U.S. Army Corps Engineers European District, has $1.8 million in recent construction and renovation projects in progress. Humanitarian aid to Togo has built schools, medical clinics and garbage depots.

Although still recovering from issues in the past, humanitarian aid to Togo is still effective. With time and an increase of aid, true normalcy will exist in Togo, but currently the citizens are grateful for what they have. “Only God can learn the joy I have in my heart. We were waiting a long time for this project,” said village chief Togbui Yegbe Kokou Kini from Gblainvie, Togo. His statement exemplifies the success of humanitarian aid across Togo.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to MaliMali is a landlocked country of 17 million people located in West Africa. It is a country in which poverty and disease are commonplace, and only 33 percent of people are literate. As with many of its West African neighbors, Mali experiences frequent droughts and violence and Malians rely heavily on humanitarian efforts. In 2016, humanitarian aid to Mali totaled $354 million. Largely in response to the conflict in the northern parts of the country, these funds were expected to influence 127 projects and reach more than one million Malians.

The Bamako Agreement

The 2016 Mali Humanitarian Response Plan followed a peace and reconciliation agreement the year prior, otherwise known as the Bamako Agreement. The Bamako Agreement was a response to the continued violence from a 2012 uprising of Tuareg-led rebels. It sought to bring peace between separatists and Mali loyalists and to provide better representation in government affairs.

However, due to limited funding, the Bamako Agreement did not immediately live up to its potential. One of the most negatively affected areas was Mali’s healthcare sector.  Mali is a country in which only 24 percent of citizens have access to improved sanitation and 6,000 died from HIV/AIDS in 2016. As a result, access to proper healthcare is a major concern. Underfunding following the Bamako Agreement was reflected by health concerns such as increased infant mortality and the spread of disease.

Not willing to accept a failed Bamako Agreement, the 2016 allocation of funds sought to improve humanitarian aid to Mali. This was done by allocating funds appropriately to the most urgent needs such as health, water and nutrition. It also created a more coordinated success strategy between humanitarian groups.

Humanitarian Aid to Mali: Moving Forward

While the situation in Mali remains perilous, there are encouraging signs of a turnaround. The country is stabilized compared to the time before the Bamako Agreement. The $354 million dispersed in a scrupulous manner will have lasting benefits for the people of Mali.

By further coordinating humanitarian aid to Mali, organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have the resources to make a difference. The WHO is seeking additional funds from the U.S. to improve health information systems, increase access to health clinics and create better responses to calamities. The need is clear and the U.S. should increase aid efforts to better an improving, but still volatile, situation in Mali.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to SenegalSenegal is a country on the western coast of Africa. Though it has enjoyed political stability for several decades, it is dependent on foreign aid. In fact, 46.7 percent of Senegal’s population lives below the poverty line. Additionally, 17.1 percent of children in Senegal suffer from malnutrition.

A prevalent issue in Senegal is the exploitation of children. Approximately 15 percent of children between the ages of four and 15 are forced to do labor, mostly farm work. An estimated 100,000 children roam the streets begging for money.

Furthermore, there are numerous health concerns in Senegal. For instance, anemia affects 60 percent of all women. Because most of the country does not have easy access to healthcare, this also increases the spread of dangerous diseases such as cholera or malaria.

However, several organizations and countries have become involved in helping Senegal. When observing the success of humanitarian aid to Senegal, there are many encouraging factors.

European humanitarian aid was able to treat 20,400 malnourished children in 2017. The World Food Program (WFP) has also been involved with providing nutritional aid to Senegal. Throughout 2017 they provided assistance to 37,000 people threatened by malnutrition. WFP is also on course to provide school meals to 160,000 children at 818 primary schools during the 2017-2018 school year.

In order to combat malnutrition in the long run, it is important to improve Senegal’s agricultural situation. This is exactly what the Millennium Challenge Corporation did. Rice is an essential element of Senegal’s nutrition and trade. However, due to outdated water delivery systems, rice farming has become difficult. MCC has invested $170 million in Senegal River’s irrigation systems. This is part of a five-year plan to invest $540 million.

This upgraded irrigation system has enabled farmers to grow more rice, onions and tomatoes, increasing their profits and enabling the country to be able to feed itself. One local farmer, Ibrahim Ba, was able to harvest an additional 2640 pounds of rice as part of the first yield utilizing irrigation. As farming conditions continue to improve, excess proceeds can go towards healthcare, better schooling, better farming equipment and other areas that will greatly improve the quality of life for Senegalese farmers.

Another indicator of the success of humanitarian aid to Senegal is the improved healthcare situation. USAID has been key in assisting the Senegalese government in addressing their healthcare issues. One crucial program has been the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). It has been instrumental in lowering the under-five mortality rate by 55 percent over the last eight years and decreasing the infant mortality rate by 17 percent over the last four years. Additionally, PMI trained 1,474 health workers to be able to diagnose and treat malaria.

Besides assisting in the fight against malaria, USAID has trained health workers to aid during childbirth. These workers helped deliver 18,336 babies and have made visits to 54,530 recent mothers in 2015.

Crucially, USAID has also improved the education system in Senegal. Not only have they been able to build 46 middle schools throughout the country since 2007, but they have also improved the enrollment rates for those schools. Specifically, regions with USAID educational assistance enroll more girls in middle school.

Humanitarian aid to Senegal has seen successes in many major areas throughout the past several years. As these programs continue, all indications show that the country will continue to make strides to address poverty and the problems that still exist.

– Zachary Pappas

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to st. lucia
The European Union (EU) currently stands as the largest supporter of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia. In 1979, the same year as St. Lucia’s independence, a formal relationship between the two entities was established. The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme articulates the programming framework that will facilitate St. Lucia-EU co-operation from 2014 to 2020. The EDF’s involvement with St. Lucia focuses on employment generation via private sector development.

The EU’s Humanitarian Aid Department, ECHO, was present when St. Lucia needed aid most. After Hurricane Tomas in 2010, ECHO responded with emergency and post-emergency aid to assist with restoring the island. In July 2011, the U.S. stepped in and St. Lucia received $17 million from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to build it’s natural climate resilience to gain inclusion from the Caribbean Regional Program. Vulnerable, under-developed countries are normally given top priority by the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund, and this trend has come to include this small island of St. Lucia.

In January 2014 after a Christmas Eve storm, Britain gave St. Lucia 1 million Eastern Caribbean dollars for vital emergency humanitarian aid support to help with mass amounts of fatalities and wreckage. In March, India donated $500,000 of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia to help with the damage left behind from the Christmas Eve rains. These efforts totaled about $100 million dollars — a significant amount of aid for the recovering island nation.

Later that year, St. Lucia was one of the 10 Eastern Caribbean islands to receive a portion of the €80 million in development co-operation aid. In 2016, the main focus of the EU in St. Lucia was the construction of a new hospital, for which they contributed €37 million.

The goal of EU co-operation is to enhance the quality of life of the people in the beneficiary countries through “targeted and sustainable programmes.” St. Lucia is one of the fortunate countries to be a part of the EU agenda and to really benefit from their efforts. Humanitarian aid to St. Lucia may not be given by many, but it’s at least consistent by one.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to Russia
The Russian economy has been something of a roller coaster over the course of the past three decades. The rapid economic transformation after the fall of the Soviet Union is responsible for the economic hardship the country endured in its aftermath, and resulted in many countries providing humanitarian aid to Russia over the past thirty years.

While still not without its problems, Russia has gone from a recipient of foreign aid to a major donor at the international level. Its story is well worth examining, as it demonstrates that humanitarian aid to Russia has been largely successful, that countries do “graduate” from foreign aid and also that former recipients of foreign aid can put themselves in a position to turn around and become donors, benefitting other developing nations while simultaneously advancing their own interests.

The Soviet Union was a major donor of foreign aid, providing it to many countries. After its collapse, however, Russia endured years of economic hardship. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, humanitarian aid to Russia in various forms was regularly provided by the international community. Russia continues to receive small amounts of foreign aid from donors like the United States, although this aid has transitioned in recent years from being mostly humanitarian in nature and development-oriented to supporting governance and international law enforcement efforts.

Just last year, the United Kingdom elected to stop providing humanitarian aid to Russia out of a desire to aid “only the poorest people in the poorest countries.” This indicates that, from the point of view of the U.K., Russia has “graduated” from foreign aid, despite the widespread belief that doing so is impossible for a developing country.

While some would debate whether Russia specifically is no longer in need of aid, it is accepted that the country no longer needs as much as it once did. This would imply that foreign aid played a role in Russia’s return to economic self-sufficiency. Without debating specifics, Russia is an excellent example of how there is a return on investment when providing foreign aid.

Over the past several years, Russia has even begun providing foreign aid to other developing countries. While its foreign aid budget is still the lowest of the G8 countries, it is by no means insignificant, and it seldom decreases.

While Russia prefers to channel most of its aid through multilateral organizations, the Russian government has also indicated that it would like to expand its capacity for foreign aid and create a dedicated agency to oversee distribution in order to enhance Russia’s international image. Most of Russia’s aid money is put toward food security and vaccine distribution programs, which means that humanitarian aid to Russia has indirectly resulted in aid being provided to other countries, meaning that the return on investment far outstrips the amount initially provided.

The story of Russia is an excellent example of humanitarian aid that was a resounding success. Not only has Russia become capable of meeting its basic needs on its own, but it has now become a donor to other countries. While the situation in the nation is not perfect, Russia still serves as an excellent example of why foreign aid is worth every penny.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Pixabay

Humanitarian Aid to ZambiaDespite economic growth and massive Chinese investment, two-thirds of Zambia’s population lives in poverty. Expanding humanitarian aid to Zambia may reduce its poverty crisis.

Zambia has undergone rapid economic growth over the last decade as Africa’s second-largest copper producer, but the country’s dependence on copper has made it prone to falling commodity prices. Zambia’s economy is also unable to keep up with its immense population of 15.972 million. Zambia has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations with an anticipated tripling of its population by 2025.

Its total fertility rate has decreased by less than 1.5 children per woman over the last 30 years. On average, a Zambian woman will give birth to six children. Zambia’s high fertility rate derives from its lack of access to education, employment and family planning services. Its youthful demographic also plays a role in its high fertility rates; 66 percent of Zambians are under the age of 24.

The Mother and Baby Care II Project emphasizes humanitarian aid to Zambia. The project’s duration is January 2015 to December 2017 and is a follow-up to the first Mother and Baby Care Project established in 2013 and 2014. The project focuses on healthcare and improving mother and baby care in the Mongo region of the Western Province.

The Western Province is one of Zambia’s least developed regions. It faces one of the world’s highest mortality rates among mothers, newborns and children under five years old. High mortality rates stem from limited healthcare knowledge, poorly equipped medical facilities and a lack of qualified medical personnel.

Objectives of The Mother and Baby Care II Project include:

  • Support the Lewanika School of Midwifery
  • Introduce the registered nursing program
  • Ensure specialized prenatal, labor, postnatal and neonatal care
  • Equip labor piles with a new portable ultrasound
  • Promote transport for women in crisis situations
  • Establish savings support programs and food banks
  • Focus on family income security and public information campaigns

The Mother and Baby Care II Project promotes human welfare and provides basic healthcare needs to a poverty-stricken region. Projects that focus on humanitarian aid to Zambia may further the country’s development and reduce mortality rates among women and children.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to uzbekistanWith its 28.1 million people, Uzbekistan is the most heavily populated country in Central Asia. More than two-thirds of the population live in rural areas and over one-quarter live in poverty. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture, which is why agricultural development and diversification is the main goal for USAID in Uzbekistan. For instance, in 2011, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan through USAID introduced 3,000 farmers to new production techniques which doubled crop yields and increased sales.

USAID Contributing Humanitarian Aid to Uzbekistan

Other USAID activities include offering cold chain workshops to over 200 farmers, training over 1000 farmers on agriculture-related techniques and training households to dry fruits. All of these are geared toward improving farm incomes by 80 percent.

Regional threats in the country include human trafficking, illegal narcotics, extremism and terrorism. As a result, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan also goes toward addressing these issues.

Supporting TIP Survivors

For instance, U.S. assistance programs support the reintegration of trafficking in persons (TIP) survivors. Protection activities include case management of TIP survivors and providing shelters. Assistance also improves the capacity of civil society, NGOs, and other social services to prevent trafficking in persons and enhances cooperation between government and civil society.

Humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan supports a highly effective, NGO implemented anti-TIP program. It aims to improve law enforcement’s response to TIP cases. Aid to the country also helps train Uzbekistan’s defense establishment. Through distance learning and training programs, U.S. humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan also supports the country’s inspection, detection and interdiction capacities.

Due to the high poverty rates and complex human rights issues that the country faces, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan plays a crucial role in its development process. Most importantly, foreign aid allows Uzbekistan to access crucial training and advice that is necessary to successfully handle complex challenges. With continued foreign assistance, Uzbekistan will be able to reduce poverty and respond effectively to these human rights issues.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Flickr

refugees_living_in_TurkeyTurkey is a nation situated right in the heart of a three-way street: it’s the crossroads between the Mediterranean, the Balkan states and the Middle East. While Turkey has always had a rich history rife with conflict, golden ages and political changes, its economic success since 2000 has been steadily increasing. However, the success of humanitarian aid to Turkey has not come easy, and now the country faces a new dilemma: the Middle Eastern refugee crisis.

According to the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations report, there are over 3.7 million refugees living in Turkey, as of 2017. With this great number of people and a shortage of space, the European Commission has been one of the leading assistants in relieving Turkey’s overflow issue. According to the Commission, three billion euros are being pumped into Turkey’s civil protection program, and a new flagship program called the Emergency Social Safety Net will allow nearly 1.3 million refugees to meet needs such as food shortages and housing issues.

Besides the European Commission, nearly 45 independent humanitarian programs are working with the Turkish government. However, the Turkish government has recently been cracking down on different private aid organizations. According to The Century Foundation, the government’s harsh views on the apolitical NGOs in the region have forced many humanitarian groups out of the area. Because of this, the success of humanitarian aid to Turkey is much lower than in recent years.

Along with its own financial success, according to Developmental Initiatives, Turkey is also receiving over $59 billion in aid from the United States and other developed countries, as of 2015. With a high level of international trading and a fairly advanced internal economic system, Turkey is far above the margin of success for underdeveloped countries. With its own economic success, and with the help of humanitarian aid from other countries and nonprofit organizations, Turkey has a strong chance of righting itself after its current population influx is addressed.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr

Not often acquiring media headlines or the prime destination for humanitarian relief within its region, Gabon has quietly become one of the most stable countries in West Africa. Albeit much of the economic improvement can be attributed towards increasing oil prices and structural reforms, over 30 percent of the population remains below the poverty line. The success of humanitarian aid to Gabon has been erratic, with recent concerns regarding political stability causing skepticism from the international community.

Most recently, international organizations such as the Red Cross have significantly increased its assistance in wake of the violence following the presidential elections in 2016. Mistrust is a major cause for concern as government corruption allegations hinder any positive aid distribution.

Open Markets

According to the Heritage Foundation, trade is a necessity for a country that is abundant in rich natural resources, particularly in oil. The value of exports and imports taken together “equals 74 percent of GDP.” Additionally, there are investment restrictions that drastically impede any progress needed to be made.

Due to heavy tariffs and nontariff barriers, many of the Gabonese population still reside in poverty. Gabon has been part of a rigorous economic program sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who issued an 18-month stand-by credit for $119 million.

International Aid

Outside the World Bank, many other countries have continued to foster development projects to reduce the country’s dependency on oil, as well as revert a stagnant economy. Other forms of investment devoted to strengthening Gabon’s economy have enhanced the robust public infrastructure, modernized technology, promoted investment and competitiveness and improved access to electricity and water in rural areas.

According to Oxfordbusiness, in recent years, Gabon has managed to develop a stable working relationship with many areas ranging from Europe to North Africa, Asia and North America. France has long been their primary trading partner, with over 120 countries operating inside the country.

According to the French embassy in Libreville the “stock of French investment in the country reached €1.3Bn in 2013. Additionally, the European Union has been an integral source of development in the country; allocating €49, of which “was to be devoted to education and professional training, as well as improving governance in several sectors of the economy.”

The United States has also been influential by importing $ in goods from Gabon, in the form of mainly raw materials, and also “exporting $237m worth of goods” to the country. Latest figures also show China’s investment in the country has created a growing working relationship between the two countries.

Their humanitarian aid to Gabon comes in the forms of financial projects and a loan of €6m, of which was included in “recent cooperation agreements between the two countries.” Additional countries such as Morocco and Turkey have also become important sources of contribution to Gabon’s well-being.

Final Thoughts

One index which has closely monitored Gabon’s exponential growth in recent years is the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index Africa (HANCI-Africa). The objective of the HANCI-Africa is to enable civil society by putting pressure on its governments to adhere to the local population.

Essentially, the central component of this index is to separate both nutrition commitment and hunger to make government’s aware of how to better prioritize malnutrition to properly curate their agenda. The government has also taken steps to revive the economy by domestically investing in palm oil production as part of a project to veer away from its dependency on oil.

But this prospect backfired, with Gabon’s budget being “reduced by over 5 percent in 2017 – and income per capita declining in 2015 for the first time in 15 years.”

As a result, residents have lost thousands of jobs, and the government’s response has been to invest in the agricultural and mining sectors. Additionally, the influx of humanitarian aid to Gabon took a toll because of countries’ concerns on whether the money is distributed effectively.

If the growth continues to stagnate, then one can only wonder how long it will be before Gabon may need to rely even more on substantive humanitarian aid in order to lift the country out of poverty.

– Alexandre Dumouza

Photo: Flickr