Sunday, September 28, 2008

Education for All...We Cannot Afford to Fail

“I didn’t know what else was in the world. I had never even seen paper until I was rescued four years ago, and it was then I first went to school. Now, I want to be able to read and write. I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

These were 11-year old, Devli Kumari's words when she spoke at the United Nation's event to launch the ‘Education for All’ campaign during the General Assembly session.

Devli spoke of her life and experience as a child laborer in India. The event was attended by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, pop stars Bono and Bob Geldof, and other dignitaries.

She is a step closer to realzing her dream to be a teacher. As she spoke, a group of government and private-sector partners were making a pledge of $4.5 billion to help educate some 15 million children worldwide over the next three years. The partners are participants in, ‘Education for All: Class of 2015’, the campaign launched during the event. The pledge came from corporations such as Intel, Microsoft and Cisco, civic and sports associations such as FIFA, charities, faith groups and the Governments of Australia, France, Norway, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

After the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, where world leaders pledged to ensure universal primary education by 2015, it still has not met its goal. UNICEF’s programmes focus on ensuring the right to quality education for all girls and boys, eliminating gender disparities in education, restoring learning in emergency situations and helping to rebuild education systems in post-crisis transition countries.

As Queen Rania of Jordan put it, “Schools don’t just build lives, they save lives. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just ONE Question...

The word "shocking" is very apt if one realizes that historically, since the Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign to this date, only two questions were ever raised on poverty during presidential debates. Josh Peck and Chris Scott of the ONE Campaign have sent out e-mails making everyone aware on this. ONE Campaign is encouraging its members and their friends to spread awareness on the magnitude of poverty, by launching the “Just ONE Question” campaign to get the fight against global poverty asked at the 2008 presidential debates

Thinking about it, there were poor nations that have in the past, tried to hide the real plight of their less fortunate countrymen. I can still recall that when international events took place here, two administrations had built high concrete walls on main thoroughfares that the foreign guests were expected to pass through to hide the sorry state of many poor people. True, the image of poor shanties was unsightly, but it also gave an impression that the government was trying to hide the true situation of the nation....many were impoverished and something had to be done about it.

I posted Josh Peck's e-mail below and the link to the petition at to Jim Lehrer asking him to include issues in the first presidential debate next Friday.


Dear ONE member,

Two. Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates, going back to Kennedy-Nixon in 1960. That’s less than 1% of all questions asked.

To change that shockingly low figure, ONE is launching a new campaign to get “Just ONE Question” about the fight against global poverty asked at the 2008 presidential debates.

The first debate at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi, will focus on foreign policy and is only 10 days away. Take action now by sending the message below to debate moderator Jim Lehrer. Click the link and we’ll send your message to Mr. Lehrer, urging him to ask Just ONE Question on the fight against global poverty.

At the presidential debate, please ask John McCain and Barack Obama just ONE question about their plans to fight global poverty.

This first debate will happen just one day after world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York for an emergency meeting on the Millennium Development Goals – the global pledge made in 2000 to halve extreme poverty and global disease by 2015.

Meeting those goals will require unprecedented U.S. leadership during the next eight years. For at least four of those years, John McCain or Barack Obama will be our president. It’s up to us to make sure that the issues being discussed at the United Nations in New York are also being raised with Senators Obama and McCain at the debate in Mississippi.

We can’t afford to have another presidential debate that ignores extreme poverty and global disease. Please ask Jim Lehrer for Just ONE Question on global poverty, and we’ll deliver your message to him next week, right when he’s sitting down to decide what he’ll ask the next President of the United States:

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The G8 has made several promises to help eliminate global hunger and poverty. The Data Report 2008 details the promises of the G8 focusing on the eight key promises made by the 8 super powers in the world.Below are excerpts of what the G8 has promised from the Data Report 2008. Visit the ONE Campaign website for details on the G8, their promises and what has been done so far.

Key Promises Download full report PDF (963kb)

Development Assistance
Underlying all of the ambitious sectoral commitments made in 2005 was the commitment to mobilise an additional $25 billion in development assistance for Africa by 2010 and to spend this money effectively.

The 2005 commitment on debt was to cancel 100% of the multilateral debts owed to the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) by Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs). The effort, known as the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), was designed to deliver multilateral cancellation in a manner that would ensure that the institutions would not lose financing capacity as a result.

Development assistance can help bridge unmet financial needs as countries strive to meet the MDGs, including the goals set out in the Gleneagles Communiqué, but in the long run countries want and need improved trade opportunities to fuel development and growth.

The health commitments made by the G8 in 2005 were ambitious. The G8 committed to provide universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care; to fully scale up efforts to fight TB; to reach 85% of those in need of malaria prevention and treatment; to fulfill the financing needs to eradicate polio; and to build health systems so as to fulfill basic child and maternal health access.

Education is another sector in which the G8 committed to work with African governments towards a lofty but achievable goal - to ensure that all children complete a full course of primary schooling.

Water and Sanitation
The commitments made to water and sanitation at the Gleneagles Summit were not as robust as commitments made to other sectors. In the Gleneagles Communiqué, the G8 committed to increasing aid to the sector and referenced a 2003 pledge to prioritise water and sanitation as part of their overall ODA allocation.

Governance and Security
Good governance and security are critical preconditions for achieving meaningful poverty reduction in Africa and must be front and centre in G8 and African efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Progress in Africa
In this year’s report, in addition to monitoring the governance and security commitments made by African governments, DATA has tried to present some of the key sectoral commitments made by African leaders on health, education, water and sanitation and trade.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace One Day...

The number of artists advocating for a cause is increasing. That's indeed good to know.

In Kabul,, Afghanistan, British actor and Peace One Day envoy Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley, film director and founder of Peace One Day campaign, travelled to Afghanistan for a two-day mission. While there, they screened a new documentary, ‘The Day After Peace’, about the efforts of ordinary Afghans in support of peace.

Both asked all parties involved in the conflict to observe Peace Day again on September 21. The peace documentary focused on activities that took place throughout Afghanistan in September 2007. It also highlights support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization for the peaceful immunization of 1.4 million children against polio in insecure areas.

The Septemebr 21 Peace One Day will be celebrated with a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London featuring Annie Lennox and other well known musicians. The concert will feature videos and appearances by Mr. Law, UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador for Emergencies Martin Bell and other activists and celebrities.

For more details on the Peace One Day activities, visit the UNICEF site.