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Every Last One CampaignWorld Vision is a humanitarian organization established in 1950 to help vulnerable people “reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” Since its start, World Vision has assisted in several crises throughout the world such as the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa in the 1990s. In 2015, World Vision launched a campaign known as Every Last One. The campaign spans eight years and amounts to $1 billion. Overall, its goal is to provide relief, assistance and opportunities to approximately 60 million vulnerable people worldwide by 2023. The aid seeks to empower people “to lift themselves out of poverty.”

Campaign Context and Details

World Vision notes that around 689 million people all over the world live in extreme poverty. This specifically translates into subsisting on less than $1.90 a day. The COVID-19 epidemic has introduced additional challenges to vulnerable people across the globe. According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially thrust 150 million people into extreme poverty by the close of 2021. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse decades of poverty reduction progress globally as well as strides made in education and health.

For this reason, the humanitarian organization has framed its Every Last One campaign in terms of “life, hope and a future.” The life aspect involves providing people with “access to clean water and essential healthcare” services. Hope refers to training and equipping teachers, parents and pastors with the skills and resources needed to “protect children from violence” and supply emergency relief aid to people facing natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.

Finally, the concept of a future focuses on economically empowering people to create “improved and resilient livelihoods” through education initiatives, books and training as well as recovery loans for those affected by the pandemic. In all its work, World Vision strives for gender equality, acknowledging that empowering girls and women is essential for reducing global poverty. To date, the call for donations and investments continues.

Financial Transparency and Accountability

World Vision has provided evidence that the Every Last One campaign is economically viable. On its website, the humanitarian organization has posted its financial reports and financial highlights of 2020 as a gesture of accountability. These highlights indicate that the organization has dedicated 88% of its operating expenses toward initiatives that help “children, families and communities in need,” with the remaining 12% set aside for management and fundraising efforts.

Moreover, the organization’s financial reports indicate that it received a grand total of $1,233 million in revenue in 2020, the majority of which came in through “private cash contributions.” It has also worked on decreasing overhead expenses by 3% from 2019 through improved stewardship practices. These figures indicate that World Vision has a sustainable system in place to make the most impact and ensure that disadvantaged people receive the most benefit.

Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals

World’s Vision’s Every Last One campaign may prove instrumental in assisting the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The U.N.’s target to end global poverty by 2030 is the first among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicated in the United Nations’ Agenda. The Agenda itself recognizes that meeting such a goal within the given time frame would require massive global mobilization and collaboration among various groups and organizations. Therefore, World Vision’s own initiative may play a significant role in realizing the U.N. SDGs.

– Jared Faircloth
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty In SyriaFor the past decade, Syria has been the center of a brutal civil war. As a result, millions of Syrians face the everyday threats of violence, hunger and disease that wartime poverty brings about. Those most vulnerable to the effects of poverty include Syria’s children. A closer look at child poverty in Syria provides insight into the lives of Syrian children.

10 Facts About Child Poverty in Syria

  1. Roughly six million Syrian children rely on humanitarian assistance. Syrian children are among the most vulnerable groups in the Syrian civil war. The war has affected more than 11.1 million Syrians, almost half of whom are children.
  2. Children are unable to attend school. The civil war greatly fuels child poverty in Syria. As parents struggle to afford to send their children to school, many teachers are unpaid and destitute school buildings are collapsing. Nearly 2.5 million Syrian children are unable to attend school. This number does not include the 750,000 displaced Syrian children in nearby countries who also have no access to education. According to World Vision, the Syrian conflict has “reversed two decades of educational progress.”
  3. More than half of all Syrian children suffer from hunger. An estimated 60% of the nation’s children are suffering from hunger and 28% endure stunting as a consequence of malnutrition. The percentage of Syrian people suffering from food insecurity is currently the highest it has ever been since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. With 6.2 million children currently living in hunger, the numbers are only rising, having increased by roughly 35% from November 2020 to February 2021.
  4. Child labor is increasing. Faced with the threat of extreme child poverty in Syria, many school-aged boys drop out of school to support their families. These boys regularly work in unsafe situations for little pay. The research study “Survey on Child Labour in Agriculture in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon: The Case of Syrian Refugees” provides statistics on Syrian child labor. The 2019 study concluded that about 70% of Syrian refugee “children between 4 and 18 years old” were employed, “with an average age of 12.9 years.” Additionally, about 75% of these children worked in the agricultural sector. In this sector, about 30% of working children have experienced injuries.
  5. Boys are targets for child soldiers. As boys drop out of school to support their families, they are at higher risk of being recruited as child soldiers. With no income to provide for their children, many families resort to sending their young boys for training as child soldiers, believing that it is the best option. In 2021 alone, almost 840 children were recruited as child soldiers, among other roles, with 797 of these children being boys.
  6. Child marriage is rampant. Many families resort to child marriage to solve their economic situations. Sexual abuse of young girls also runs rampant in crowded refugee camps. Desperate to save their daughters from “child trafficking and sexual exploitation” and unable to economically provide for their children, many families arrange marriages for teenage girls. Out of girls aged 15-19, about 3.8% give birth every year.
  7. Weather has significant impacts. Millions of displaced and homeless children in Northwest Syria face brutal winters. Their only shelter from the harsh cold is often a tent or severely damaged and unsafe buildings that serve as emergency shelters. Roughly 75% of all Syrian children killed in 2020 came from this part of the country.
  8. COVID-19 exacerbates poverty: The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated child poverty in Syria. In addition to the 11.1 million Syrians already in need of urgent humanitarian aid, an additional 1.1 million Syrians have found themselves in poverty as a consequence of the pandemic. COVID-19 has also caused the gross domestic product to fall by up to 15% in the nation’s nearby countries, meaning that Syrian refugees seeking refuge in neighboring countries have fallen further into poverty.
  9. Infrastructure is failing. Only 53% of hospitals are currently in service, greatly adding to child poverty in Syria. Since the start of the war, more than 25,000 children have been killed, a number that is only increasing due to limited healthcare services and lack of access to clean water.
  10. Children are vulnerable to diseases. Poor sanitation caused by a lack of infrastructure, resources and clean water makes Syrian children vulnerable to cholera and other diarrheal diseases. The lack of accessible healthcare means many children miss their regular health checkups. Extremely cold weather in the northwest part of Syria also makes children susceptible to pneumonia.

Addressing Child Poverty in Syria

To address the issue of child poverty in Syria, UNICEF has sent humanitarian assistance on the ground. UNICEF’s efforts focus on children’s education, health and sanitation, among other goals. In 2020 alone, UNICEF “screened 2.6 million Syrian children and women for acute malnutrition,” improved water services for 3.2 million people and vaccinated roughly 2.6 million children against polio. UNICEF also “supported 2.2 million children with education services in formal settings.”

While the conflict in Syria continues, vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected. The efforts of UNICEF ensure the protection and well-being of millions of Syrian children, reducing child poverty in Syria.

– Caroline Bersch
Photo: Unsplash

water purification in LesothoLesotho is a small, mountainous country surrounded by South Africa. In recent years, the country has become a prominent player in regional water trading. Exports to South Africa and surrounding nations have provided a major revenue source, accounting for 10% of the country’s GDP. Despite this, clean drinking water is hard to access due to high levels of poverty. A lack of infrastructure and water purification in Lesotho means that the country’s most impoverished people struggle to obtain this critical resource. However, three companies, WASCO, Pure Aqua and World Vision, are working to solve this problem.

Water Purification in Lesotho

The United Nations reports that “In Lesotho, water, sanitation and hygiene lie at the center of the poverty cycle in which almost two out of every three Basotho live in poverty.” According to the World Bank, water is linked to the development of a country and is connected to almost every Sustainable Development Goal. Access to water is imperative for “protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks” such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Explaining how water supports economic growth, the World Bank states that “water is a vital factor of production, so diminishing water supplies translates into slower growth.” As such, increasing access to clean and safe water directly correlates with global poverty reduction.

Hence, improving water purification in Lesotho as well as distribution and infrastructure are key to improving living conditions and fighting widespread poverty.

WASCO: Clean Water

Lesotho’s government is invested in improving water access for its citizens. In the year 1992, the Lesotho government created the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). WASA’s goal was to provide water access and sewer services to the cities of Lesotho.

In 2010, the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) replaced WASA. According to the Lesotho Ministry of Water, WASCO provides safe drinking water to 300,000 city dwellers. Additionally, almost 50% of city locations have water connections manned by WASCO and another 13% connect to sewer systems maintained by WASCO.

WASCO’s work has primarily targeted urban centers. However, a large portion of Lesotho’s population lives in rural locations where infrastructure is nearly nonexistent. Moreover, “80% of the rural population” obtains their drinking water from unfiltered and unprotected water sources in these rural regions. The next step for WASCO is improving water purification in Lesotho’s countryside. Providing clean water access to those living in rural Lesotho will help end the ongoing poverty cycle in the nation.

Pure Aqua: Filtration and Cleaning Systems

Given that Lesotho’s water supply is larger than the country’s demand, providing water to those in poverty, especially in rural areas, is a matter of economically affordable innovation. Pure Aqua is a company headquartered in California that aims to provide “efficient, high-grade water treatment solutions for people and places all over the world.”

The company has more than 20 years of experience providing water purification systems to nations around the world. The company uses different technologies depending on the water source in a local area. For example, Pure Aqua treats surface water with its Ultrafiltration System, while brackish groundwater can be put through reverse osmosis or UV treatment, among other methods.

World Vision: Water for Children and Families

Lastly, World Vision is a global humanitarian organization that works to improve the welfare of children. One of World Vision’s main goals is providing access to clean water and improving sanitation standards. World Vision seeks to improve water purification in Lesotho by drilling new boreholes where people can draw water from the ground. These untapped sources are likely to be cleaner than surface water or previously available groundwater.

On top of this, World Vision performs repairs, upgrades and maintenance to existing infrastructure. With this support, the organization also aims to provide hygiene and sanitation education to children and adults. As a result of its work, World Vision reports that, in Lesotho, “33,874 people [have] gained access to clean water sources” and “18,780 people are benefiting from improved sanitation facilities.”

The Future of Water Purification in Lesotho

Fortunately, these technologies and approaches to water purification show that it is possible to improve the lives of those living in poverty with relatively inexpensive filtration systems, repairs, education programs and more. Overall, this work is certainly making a difference in Lesotho while upholding the fundamental human right to water.

– Julia Welp
Photo: Flickr

running eventsMarathons and 5Ks offer opportunities to bond with community members, promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness of global poverty. As a result, millions of people participate in running events every year to fundraise for various causes. Since COVID-19 guidelines restrict large in-person gatherings, organizations have increasingly hosted races in which people can participate from anywhere. People can now join in from their city squares, their neighborhood parks or even their treadmills at home. As a result, greater numbers of people can contribute to the fight to end poverty.

3 Notable Running Events Addressing Global Poverty

  1. Run to Attack Poverty. This annual running event is hosted by a Texas-based organization with a global reach, Attack Poverty. Participants have the option to choose from running a 5K or a 10K, with a children’s race to include younger people too. In 2012, the organization opened a branch in Uganda called Friends of Uganda to help address issues of poverty in the country. Since its establishment, Friends of Uganda has helped address Uganda’s water shortage and provided healthcare services to thousands of Ugandans via “free mobile medical clinics.” Furthermore, friends of Uganda built a high school to accommodate roughly 104 students and established several micro-farms, all while creating job opportunities in the country. The Run to Attack Poverty race helps fund these efforts. The organization also sells Attack Poverty apparel to raise funds and spread awareness of the cause.
  2. 5K Run to End Poverty: The Acacia insurance group hosted this running event in support of Global Citizen’s fight against poverty. Acacia companies urged employees to partake in a virtual 5K to raise donations for the Global Citizen nonprofit. For every employee registered to run the 5K, Acacia donated to Global Citizen’s fight to end global poverty. Anyone at all, however, could register for a $15 donation to Global Citizen. The 5K was to be completed within 48 hours and allowed participants to run anywhere in the world, logging their runs via the atlasGO app.
  3. Global 6K for Water: The global nonprofit World Vision hosted this running event on May 22, 2021. The purpose of the run was to “bring life-changing clean water to those who need it most.” To gain as many participants as possible, World Vision encouraged people all around the world to participate, regardless of whether the individual chooses to “walk, jog or stroller-run.” Aside from the charitable run, for every $1 donation World Vision receives, the organization donates about 65 cents to community-based programs in almost 100 countries around the world. The remaining 35 cents goes toward impact maximization, which translates to investments in monitoring, fundraising, experts and more.

Running to Reduce Poverty

Even in a new, socially distanced landscape, both companies and nonprofits have utilized running events to raise awareness and donations to combat global poverty. Furthermore, companies and organizations like Acacia and World Vision have opened their races to more people through flexible start times and locations. As events like these continue, everyone can help support those who live in poverty, one step at a time.

Chloe Young
Photo: Flickr

Women's Health in Papua New GuineaWomen’s health in Papua New Guinea is wrought with struggles, stemming from both inadequate healthcare centers and the country’s law. The gender inequity of the situation sees men receiving more comprehensive medical care than women. Unfortunately, Papua New Guinea’s adherence to its healthcare policies does not include extending further care to women. Many of those who identify as women on official documents get pushed under the general term of “population,” resulting in a lack of gender-specific reports on women’s overall medical conditions. Women’s health in Papua New Guinea needs prioritizing, especially in the maternity category. With 230 deaths per 100,000 live births, the country has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Pacific.

Women’s Health in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a mainly patriarchal society where women are often discriminated against and looked down upon due to gender norms. Many women do not achieve higher education, which then perpetuates a cycle of early marriages and motherhood at a young age. This cycle has made it difficult for women to establish themselves within the workforce. Even within the workforce, it is relatively uncommon for women to receive fair benefits and wages. Discrimination against women presents a significant barrier to women’s health in Papua New Guinea.

The Effect of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea

Unfortunately, many women in Papua New Guinea cannot afford healthcare even if it were available and accessible. In households, women are responsible for the majority of unpaid care work and domestic duties. With school closures amid COVID-19, the domestic workload of women has only increased. The pandemic has exacerbated the financial struggle for many with job losses and wage cuts.

With vulnerable populations unable to leave their homes during COVID-19, gender-based violence is on the rise. With quarantines and lockdowns underway, many essential service centers had to close their doors, leaving vulnerable populations without help. Furthermore, many organizations that provided funding for women’s health centers had to divert the funding toward addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The insurgence of COVID-19 made already inaccessible services even more difficult to obtain. Though the number of COVID-19 cases reported in official documents is already high, studies and institutions suspect that the number is actually much higher. The pandemic brings high mortality rates and government-instilled quarantines have led to businesses temporarily closing or shutting down completely. The COVID-19 pandemic strains healthcare in Papua New Guinea. As a result, women’s health has not taken priority.

World Vision

To combat the gender inequality in healthcare, groups such as World Vision have projects dedicated to specifically aiding women in Papua New Guinea. World Vision’s project, the Papua New Guinea Health and Nutrition Project, focuses on the health of mothers and children. Since its establishment, the project has helped 28,628 people by providing essential medicines and treatments, including HIV treatment.

Additionally, the program trained 200 people and stationed them as community health workers and birth assistants. One of the project’s biggest objectives was providing access to healthcare centers for pregnant and lactating women. This kind of aid will ensure lower maternal mortality rates as prenatal conditions can be diagnosed and treated more easily if mothers regularly access healthcare services.

UN Women

U.N. Women has made it a goal to bring more awareness to societal gender issues, creating awareness programs that encourage female leadership roles in society and politics. U.N. Women encourages the involvement of women in governmental decisions to address discrimination against women and the resulting impact on women’s health. U.N. Women believes that female-led organizations encourage women to better their communities. The impact and efforts of individuals can be used as stepping stones to work toward more extensive healthcare access outside of the pandemic.

Looking Ahead

Organizations are trying to alleviate the negative impact of COVID-19 on healthcare. Furthermore, organizations are putting women’s health at the center of healthcare priorities. With the establishment of female-targeted health centers, women who either lost or struggled to access healthcare, including vaccinations, will receive the prioritized care necessary for their well-being. These organizations continue to push for changes to both mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure that women’s health in Papua New Guinea improves for the better.

Seren Dere
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in KenyaKenya is currently home to 46 million people. Over 35% of them suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition each year, with 2.6 million facing a food insecurity crisis. The state of food insecurity in this country is serious, with the country ranking 86 out of 117 countries on the 2019 Global Hunger Index. Children are especially at risk, with just under a third of those who are food insecure suffering from stunted growth.  This is one of the many common issues related to hunger and poor nutrition. The rampant hunger in Kenya is a dire situation. However, there are some efforts to fight this crisis.

The Farming Issue

Nearly 75% of Kenyans rely on agriculture for all or part of their incomes. The industry makes up about a third of the Kenyan economy, but only one-fifth of the land in Kenya is suitable for farming. A lack of reliable irrigation forces farmers to rely on rain as their primary water source. Reliance on nature makes planting and harvesting unpredictable and risky. This is combed with the population boom in Kenya over the past 25 years. This has left the food supply limited at best and extremely vulnerable to weather patterns and natural disasters.

Domestic farmers are the main food providers in Kenya. The industry needs a robust workforce to keep up with the heavy demands of an ever-increasing population. However, the younger generation is uninterested in farm work and current farmers are getting too old for the job. Conversely, lack of employment also perpetuates hunger in Kenya. Millions of Kenyans are unemployed or underpaid, and many can’t afford to buy food in the first place. Poor infrastructure and high domestic taxes levied on farmers for transporting their goods are the cause of such steep food prices. These exorbitant transportation fees leave much of the population hungry.

Despite all of this, the issue of hunger in Kenya has generally improved over the past decades. Further, many organizations continue to battle this crisis and expand food access to the millions of struggling Kenyans.

World Vision

The Christian nonprofit World Vision tackles child poverty and injustice worldwide. The organization first branched out to Kenya in 2017. Upon arrival, World Vision volunteers saw villages suffering from drought and hunger. They noticed people eating animals like hyenas and vultures while others mourning the loss of their livestock, the remains of which were everywhere.

In the first year of its project, World Vision reached 3.5 million individuals. The organization was able to provide clean water, health care, and nutritional support. World Vision knows that hunger in Kenya is far from solved and doesn’t plan on stopping its efforts. The nonprofit has hope in expanding water and nutrition access as a way to help alleviate the suffering in this country.

Action Against Hunger

The “world’s hunger specialist,” Action Against Hunger, is a nonprofit working to end hunger with our lifetime. It provides global aid to children and families to treat and prevent malnutrition. The organization has worked in Kenya since 2002.

Its work has included implementing programs on health, water, sanitation, refugees, and childcare. The nonprofit has been able to expand access to health treatments, screenings, and services for those suffering from malnutrition. It also supported thousands of herders by providing livestock vaccinations and training animal health experts.

In 2019, the organization reached over 1.9 million people with its nutrition and health programs and nearly 50,000 people with its water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives. Additionally, it aided over 40,000 people with its food security and livelihood programs. This all added up to over two million people in 2019 alone, a huge effort for a team of only 43 employees.

Conclusion

Hunger in Kenya is a severe issue that has cost the lives and livelihoods of millions of individuals and families. Children are at severe risk of malnutrition and related diseases, while the farming industry is struggling to provide even a portion of the country’s necessary food supply. Aggressive and comprehensive government or international intervention to shore up farmers and expand their capacity to produce are absent. It is organizations like World Vision and Action Against Hunger that have to pick up the slack. Fortunately, they have been able to reach and save the lives of millions of Kenyans. The issue lives on, but the efforts of nonprofits continue to provide hope.

Connor Bradbury
Photo: Flickr

Women’s Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Worldwide, governments register the identity and nationality of 73% of people at birth. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 75% of children are without birth certificates. This means that there is no record proving the identity of three in four Congolese children. Political unrest in the DRC has allowed the lack of documentation to go largely unaddressed, but the persistence of this problem deepens injustices that girls and women predominantly face. Here is some information about birth certificates and women’s rights in the DRC.

Child Marriage in the DRC

Thirty-seven percent of girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are subject to child marriage. One reason for the survival of this practice is the inability to prove that it has occurred. There is no proof of age for a girl without a birth certificate, which increases the risk that she could marry before the age of 15, the legal age for a girl to marry in the DRC. Child marriages are particularly harmful to women, as sexual violence is prevalent in the DRC. In fact, 52% of women have reported experiencing domestic violence. The DRC Family Code, enacted in 1998, details protections for women against domestic violence, but many women are unaware of the code and do not seek justice in cases of abuse. Instead, they often justify wife-beating. Documenting every child born in the DRC is a small step that could reduce child marriages.

The Benefits of Birth Certificates in the DRC

Birth certificates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provide access to a wide range of services. For example, education and healthcare are unavailable without any proof of identity. The gender gap already limits the opportunity for women to receive an education with a primary enrollment rate of 54%, and the lack of birth certificates amplifies this injustice. Birth certificates also provide proof of ancestry, which is necessary to claim an inheritance. This flaw in the DRC’s system reinforces the disparity between men and women and the frailty of women’s rights.

Cost and accessibility are two factors that have contributed to the lack of birth certificates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Registration is reported as free within 90 days of birth, but the political and economic state of the country has complicated the provision of this service and there is a fee for late registration. Bribery is not uncommon when it comes to obtaining a birth certificate. Registration centers are scarce and many Congolese families find it difficult to travel from rural regions to the urban centers where they can obtain birth certificates, with some women living six miles from the nearest center. Meanwhile, if there are not any financial or geographical barriers to a birth certificate, a woman may find herself unable to register her child because she is a victim of rape and the identity of the father is unknown.

World Vision’s Recommendations

In 2009, World Vision made three recommendations to the DRC to guide the country in addressing the lack of birth certificates issued: removing all administrative costs for registration and having zero tolerance for bribery, implementing mobile registration services and campaigning to spread awareness about the importance of registration. Improvements such as these could lighten the burden of obtaining a birth certificate for a Congolese child and simultaneously make progress in the fight for women’s rights in the DRC. People may be more likely to uphold women’s rights in the DRC if girls receive recognition by the government from birth.

– Payton Unger
Photo: Flickr

Period Poverty in Papua New Guinea
People in Papua New Guinea (PNG) still see the words menstruation or period as taboo. Yet, people are fighting to get the word out that a period is not something to be ashamed of and that addressing period poverty in Papua New Guinea should be a priority.

The Situation in Papua New Guinea

According to 2017 research from the Burnet Institute, an Australian medical research organization, many adolescents girls in PNG are not prepared to have their period and do not have the necessary knowledge about menstruation. As a result, findings have determined that the majority of them feel ashamed about it.

Menstruation is an important time for every adolescent girl. Educating about it helps them deal with the anxiety and anticipation that comes after, especially as understanding menstruation is important in identifying any abnormalities regarding health.

According to a Nationwide Children’s hospital blog article, “Young women should also be educated on what types of menstrual products exist and how to use menstrual products appropriately.” However, many adolescents and women in PNG do not have access to menstrual products or even proper sanitation facilities leading to period poverty and gender inequality.

Taboos About Periods in PNG

Period poverty in Papua New Guinea has been happening for many years now. From a young age, people in PNG have been teaching women, who comprise around 48% of the population, that period blood is “dirty” and “unhealthy.” In rural communities in PNG, the taboo of periods goes as far as women being separated from men and their families during menstruation because their community believes that it will bring bad luck to men and boys. In addition, women cannot even cook or go near food during menstruation because others perceive them as “unclean.”

Additionally, education about menstruation often depends on how comfortable teachers are about the subject. In many cases, girls often feel humiliated by the way teachers treat and teach the subject of menstruation, often reinforcing cultural beliefs.

Lack of Sanitation Facilities

Furthermore, the lack of sanitary places and access to menstrual products, especially in rural areas, only contributes to unsafe practices of cleaning and impacts the lives of many girls and women. Indeed, the majority of them stop going to school or work during their periods because of the fear of experiencing ridicule from their male peers.

Women and girls who live in rural areas also frequently have access to poor quality menstrual products if they can afford them at all. They often use pieces of cloth or second-hand products that can lead to “rashes, discomfort and leakage, which can cause pain and further perpetuate the cycle of shame.”

Implementation of WASH Facilities

The report from the Burnet Institute highlights some of the solutions to overcome and facilitate the management of menstruation to end period poverty and gender inequality in PNG.

One particular solution is the increment of WASH facilities in schools and workplaces. Often, they are not adequate for girls and women to use while on their periods. Some of the problems include a lack of privacy while using toilets and showers, and a deficiency of well-functioning toilets and soap and water for handwashing and personal hygiene.

The good news is that there are many organizations working toward the proper implementation of menstrual hygiene management in PNG. Papua New Guinea’s government, UNICEF and other partner organizations (World Vision, Oxfam and Infra Tech) have been working together since 2016 to carry out a five-year plan to improve water and sanitation in the four districts of PNG including Nawaeb in Morobe, Goroka in the Eastern Highlands, Hagen Central in Western Highlands and Central Bougainville District in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The program will significantly improve the quality of life of more than 70,000 people and expectations have determined that it will reach completion by 2021.

Moon Sick Care Bags

Furthermore, since 2017, women in PNG have been receiving Moon Sick Care Bags from women in Queens Island. The bag includes personal underwear, soap, menstrual products, information about the menstrual cycle and even a small bag where they can put their soiled pads. Yolonde Entsch, coordinator and partner of the program, said that “Our Moon Sick Care Bags provide everything a woman or girl needs to manage menstruation with dignity and confidence.”

With time and work, women and girls in PNG will receive the necessary facilities to properly manage their menstruation with dignity, and hopefully, period poverty in Papua New Guinea will no longer prevent women and girls from living their lives.

– Alannys Milano
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in South SudanSituated in Central East Africa, South Sudan holds the title of the newest country in the world. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, an agreement ending the longest recorded civil war in Africa. In the midst of conflict, people were forced out of homes and into the streets. This created a large population of poverty and homelessness in South Sudan.

The Effect of the Civil War

Rampaged by civil war and the aftermath of independence, 20% of South Sudan has been homeless since 2013. After the falling out between President Salva Kiir of the Dinka ethnic group and former Vice president Machar of the Nuer ethnic group, violence exploded throughout the newly founded country.

The conflict created 2.2 million displaced people within the country and forced one million people to become refugees. Because of the eviction from homes, people lacked access to their fields, starting a severe famine. Many homeless people reside in camps because they have a bit of food. Although the civil war ceased in 2018 with a mutual peace agreement, there are 1.76 million displaced people in the country.

Children in Need

4.2 million children need immediate assistance due to homelessness in South Sudan. Many children live on the streets after losing their families in the war, being forced into the workforce to sustain themselves. Due to the chaos, the education rate rests at 28%. Education provides students the ability to become professionals in their chosen route of study. It also starts a “brain gain” effect within the country. Students could earn money for their household and start building homes for their families.

Famine and Healthcare

As a result of the war, six million people lack proper water and meals. The United Nations estimated that around 12 million people are hungry every second in South Sudan. Without nourishment, there isn’t enough energy to suffice labor-heavy work. This makes them unable to sustain their household.

According to WHO, South Sudan has one of the world’s weakest healthcare systems. It also has the weakest poor quality treatment and limited resources. Along with malaria and other common diseases, the country reported over 2,000 cases of COVID-19. This puts a toll on the healthcare system, lacking both facilities and skilled healthcare workers. Homeless people live shorter lives when stripped from proper healthcare. With the body prepared and treated to bounce back from viruses, homeless people have the energy to make a living.

Change in Action

Despite the dire situation of the country, many organizations have volunteered their efforts to rehabilitate this promising country. For example, the International Rescue Committee provides over 1.1 million people in South Sudan with medical treatments and healthcare facilities. The organization has been at the country’s aid for over two decades, rehabilitating sanitation systems and giving out food. World Concern has set out to rebuild villages by providing people with food, shelter and clean water. It does this in hopes of creating a sustainable way of life. In 2018, World Vision sponsored 700 children to return to education, reuniting them with their families along the way. With help like this, homelessness amongst children can be reduced drastically and prevented in the future.

 

It may seem pessimistic at times for these communities, but homelessness is close to disintegration. Helping people gain access to their basic needs supplies them with the foundation to rise above homelessness and poverty. The country is full of potential; once chaos runs through homelessness in South Sudan, their light will shine.

Zoe Chao
Photo: Flickr

fight child povertyToday, about 385 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty according to UNICEF. These three organizations fight child poverty through child sponsorship programs. By pairing a child in poverty with a monthly financial donor, these programs work to ensure children receive necessary medical and educational resources to end the poverty cycle.

3 Organizations Fighting Child Poverty

  1. Restore Haiti: Restore Haiti is a non-profit that works to fight child poverty in Haiti. This organization was started in 2005 by Philip Peters and Gerald Lafleur after Peters visited Lafleur’s homeland of Haiti. Peters saw “the need and knew that the little [he] had and the resources [he] had were something that could be used, and a long-term commitment was born.” The organization focuses efforts on three main communities: Morne Oge, Matador and Carrefore.

    Morne Oge, the community where Restore Haiti began, partners with Restoration Ministries. Today, they serve over 700 elementary, secondary and university/trade school students and their families. Children in the sponsorship program receive meals, education and basic health needs through the help of a monthly donor.

    In Matador, Restore Haiti provides tuition assistance and one daily hot meal to students. They also plan to fund new, sanitary bathroom facilities and a satellite kitchen for the 240 children attending the elementary school.

    Carrefour began as a satellite program in 2014. Today, Restore Haiti assists with educational expenses and two meals a week to children. On their website, they note that “In the Carrefour community, many youths end up joining gangs and living troubled lives, so the food, education, and life skills being imparted to them are key to seeing change come to this community.” In addition to the school costs and meals, Restore Haiti’s community-based staff provides mentorship, training in life skills and character building to the children in Carrefour. 

  2. Compassion International, Inc.: This organization advocates for children and is the world’s leading authority in holistic child development through sponsorship. They were founded in 1952 when Reverend Everett Swanson flew to South Korea. He was there to minister to American troops but felt compelled to help the orphans there reach their full potential. Together, Compassion and local churches provide whole life care – holistic, comprehensive care to help children “fully develop and become responsible, fulfilled adults.”

    Children enrolled in Compassion programs are 27-40% more likely to complete a secondary education, and 20% more likely to have a higher income as an adult. Compassion aims to fight child poverty through a direct partnership between a child and the sponsor. This is done by cultivating a meaningful relationship between the sponsored child and the sponsor through letter writing and emails. In 2019, more than 2.1 million children were sponsored. Today, in addition to child sponsorships, Compassion provides mother and baby care and health resources. They also work to meet critical needs such as providing clean/sanitized water, treatment for HIV infection, access to medical treatment and disaster relief in their efforts to fight child poverty.

  3. World Vision: Started in 1950 when Bob Pierce helped one little girl, this organization now helps more than 3.5 million children in nearly 100 countries. They fight against child poverty through sponsorship programs, health and economic empowerment, child protection, disaster relief, education and food security. World Vision uses a child sponsorship program where a sponsor’s commitment helps the sponsored child and community overcome poverty. According to World Vision’s reports, “over a five-year period, 89% of the children who were severely malnourished in severe relief areas were treated and made a full recovery.” Typically, sponsorship lasts 10-15 years.

    World Vision’s work extends to the next generation of children. The organization’s influence in Bangladesh improved reading comprehension. Students who used the literacy programs measured at 68% reading comprehension compared to those not using the literacy program, who measured at 4% reading comprehension. In Zambia, moms located where this organization runs health and nutrition programs were six times more likely to receive healthcare designed to boost newborn survival compared to mothers in areas where these resources are not available.

    In addition to funding education and health needs for the sponsored child, funds go to make necessary changes in the community. World Vision meets with local community leaders and, after developing a plan, addresses things like “improving water, sanitation, health and nutrition, education and child protection.” The organization’s effects are lasting. Eight out of ten World Vision wells are still functioning at high levels in Ghana after being drilled nearly twenty years ago. The improvements made through World Vision’s child and community sponsorship programs provide the necessary health and educational experiences to fight child poverty.

– Danielle Beatty
Photo: Flickr