Saturday, August 23, 2008

Somalia..."A Forgotten Crisis"

With so many crises going on around the world, many countries surrounded by so much violence and poverty are in dire need of attention and assistance. But because of the gravity of the situation and to safeguard the welfare of media people, there are no press coverages to show the real situation.
Somalia is one such forgotten nation. The UNICEF has exerted much effort to try and bring aid to people there. It's quite shocking to read that a report by the Food Security Analysis Unit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization noted that over the next 12 months, 3.6 million people – one-half of the population – will be totally dependent on food aid and emergency assistance.

Feeding clinics have been established by UNICEF and its partners to assist severely malnourished children. Though it would be ideal for the adults to be taught self-sufficiency to be able to sustain and support themselves, the escalation of violence in certain parts of the region has added to the difficulty in giving aid to the already impoverished nation.
However, UNICEF Representative in Somalia Mr. Christian Balslev-Olesen said, there are no journalists reporting from Somalia for security reasons. So the outside world does not get to see the real situation. Somalia "is a forgotten crisis.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gates Foundation Promises $17.6-Million in Emergency Food Grants

I'd like to share this good news from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I first read this bit of news from the ONE Campaign Blog. It's a good feeling to know that there are people who can generously share their wealth to the less fortunate...

August 14, 2008

Gates Foundation Promises $17.6-Million in Emergency Food Grants

By Caroline Preston

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will donate $17.6-million to help people who have been affected by rising food prices worldwide.

An estimated 950 million people are at risk of hunger and malnutrition worldwide because of high food and fuel prices, according to the United Nations. Young children and women are suffering the most, while small farmers have been particularly hard hit by increases in fertilizer and transportation costs.

The largest grant, $10-million, will help the U.N. World Food Program feed young children and mothers in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso.

The additional money will be split among Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, and Oxfam America to provide food, jobs, and assistance to farmers in poor countries.

Short and Long Term

While the grants announced Thursday focus on immediate needs, the Seattle foundation is also supporting efforts to improve farm production.

“The current global food crisis requires immediate action to feed people most at risk,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program, in a statement.

“In the longer term,” she said, “since agriculture and the needs of small-scale farmers in the developing world have been increasingly neglected in recent decades, we need a significant reinvestment in agricultural development from donors and developing countries that focuses on helping small farmers boost their yields and increase their incomes.”

Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, in Boston, said the $2-million grant to his charity will expand its hunger-relief efforts in Ethiopia, where more than 225,000 people have been affected by drought. The grant will be used to provide food aid to children and help communities reduce their risk of future droughts, among other efforts.

“This funding comes at a critical time, when people worldwide are striving to save the lives, and the livelihoods, of millions who are suffering,” he said. “Malnutrition continues to grow as global food prices for rice, wheat, and corn have risen 83 percent worldwide over the past three years.”

The Georgia-Russia Conflict...

I have heard news of hostilities in and around Russia but the extent to which fighting between South Ossetia, Georgia and Russia has escalated, came as a total surprise to me.

The UNICEF has stepped in to provide assistance to women and children who were displaced from the ongoing hostilities. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 100,000 people, many of them children and women, have been displaced as a result of the fighting.

UNICEF and its partners have already rushed nutritional and hygiene supplies, and water purification tablets, to more than 4,000 people who have fled their homes in Georgia. The organization also plans to airlift School-in-a-Box and recreation kits, basic family kits, and water and sanitation materials for approximately 6,000 families in the coming days.

About 30,000 people were reported to have crossed to the Russian border, seeking refuge in the Russian Federation, 80 per cent of them women and children. In Georgia, those internally displaced were accommodated in 170 temporary facilities such as kindergartens, schools, and public and governmental buildings. However, many of the facilities lack basic facilities and services such as toilets, potable water and electricity.

UNICEF is working closely with UN agencies and has offered humanitarian assistance to the Governments of Georgia and the Russian Federation.

One cannot really assess the extent of emotional and psychological trauma experienced by people in such conflicts. The assistance of UNICEF can hopefully lessen the traumatic impact on these men, women and children, that the Ossetia-Russia conflict has brought on them.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


For those living in or know of anyone living in Denver Colorado or Minneapolis, Minnesotta, here's your chance to make a simple contribution for people suffering from poverty and AIDS.
Word Vision and the ONE Campaign will be holding separate campaigns to assemble 4,000 caregiver kits by people attending the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

As many as 800 volunteers from the ONE Campaign will assemble kits to distribute to caregivers who support people living with AIDS all over the world. In addition, ONE will be hosting panel discussions as each convention to engage and educate people on the issues of extreme poverty and global disease.

Below are some information from the World Vision and ONE Campaign announcement of the events.

The 4,000 caregiver kits will include basic supplies like washcloths, latex gloves, cotton balls, antibacterial soap, antifungal cream, petroleum jelly, antidiarrheal medicine and acetaminophen. Dedicated family caregivers and volunteers are making a world of difference for people living with AIDS in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But too often, poverty denies them access to the supplies they need to help prolong lives, comfort the sick, and protect themselves from infection.

Join World Vision and the ONE Campaign at either convention. This event is open to the public and the news media.
Also, a visual reminder of lives lost to the AIDS pandemic will be on display organized by Got Cents.

Tuesday, August 26
Democratic National Convention
Time: 2-5 pm
1700 E. 28th Avenue Denver, CO 80205

Tuesday, September 2
Republican National Convention
Time: 2-5 pm
Hall B 1301 Second Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55403

Kick-off begins at 2pm with special guests including:
  • Senator Tom Daschle, National Co-Chair ONE Vote '08
  • Senator Bill Frist, National Co-Chair ONE Vote '08
  • David Lane, ONE Campaign
  • Princess Zulu, World Vision
  • And other special guests

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A woman living with HIV works to prevent mother-to-child transmission in Bolivia

I've only just found the time from my busy schedule to write again about something I've always been concerned about. And the fact that my sister is in Bolivia now doing charity work made me really want to write about the UNICEF article I read on AIDS. A medical doctor friend of mine spoke about the discovery of a cure for Aids and I really hope this happens soon and can be administered to many AIDS patients to help save many lives.

In Bolivia, Maria Isabel, a 23-year old mother with AIDS, has been a volunteer of REDBOL (Red Nacional de Personas que viven con el VIH en Bolivia), a local foundation supported by UNICEF that helps people living with HIV through a series of support groups and other assistance.

For the last 2 years, Maria Isabel has been counselling pregnant women about the importance of taking the HIV test as part of the regular prenatal care package as well as trying to achieve equality for everyone living with HIV/AIDS, especially women and children.

With a son who is HIV-negative, Maria Isabel makes rounds at maternity wards of HIV-positive mothers to emphasize that early treatment within the first few months of a baby's life can dramatically improve the survival rates of children. The majority of the children living with HIV can be saved by timely administration of paediatric anti-retroviral treatment and cotrimoxazole, a low-cost antibiotic that has been shown to have a positive impact on HIV-positive children’s survival.

From Maria Isabel's words to HIV-positive mothers: “You must go on because there is no turning back. One has to learn to accept it and live with HIV/AIDS. It’s not easy, but it can be done –and it must be done for our children.”