News Behind the News February 2012
A summary of news and reports from the field staff and interns of GHNI, Geneva Switzerland.
Please feel free to contact us if there is any particular country or project you are interested in learning more about or contributing towards!
Joblessness and poverty in Kabul have made this winter very hard on Afghan citizens. Many Afghans are falling ill from lack of warm shelter and ability to pay for food. The death toll rose in January from the cold weather. Furthermore, many Afghans have to resort to burning garbage to stay warm, which will have negative health effects (1). GHNI staff report that despite the challenges of winter, they continue to visit the villages where we are teaching community health, water security and other important lessons.
Burkina Faso and Ghana have furthered their work together by sharing and training medical professionals in herbal medicine in Ghana (2).
GHNI has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with another NGO to help provide medical teachers to Burkina Faso and several leaders there have asked for our TCD Training.
Reports came out this month that the Chinese government is launching a new program aimed at helping at least 20 million rural, disabled people out of poverty. It is believed that their living conditions are far below the poverty line (3).
GHNI is now helping with sustainable development in rural areas by training young people in trades that will benefit rural areas and provide a good living for them and others.
Aid workers in Egypt have implemented new programs this month to help the growing number of people living under the poverty line. Currently 30%-40% of Egyptians live under $2 a day. Innovative cash for work schemes, run by Christian Aid partners are reaching communities that are most in need, arranging paid employment on projects such as tree planting, building pit latrines and cleaning water reservoirs (4).
GHNI has just opened an office amongst the urban poor working in the ‘garbage city’. We are focused on community health and education for women.
Food shortages are causing hundreds of thousands of livestock to either starve or be killed. A short term team of GHNI volunteers is helping our staff in Ethiopia this month. We are doing Transformational Community Development amongst the poorest of the poor in Borana and Somali villages.
Our staff report many articles about how corruption and political violence dominate local rural areas. GHNI has a team of leaders heading to India in early March to meet with our project leaders. We are beginning to expand our sustainable TCD projects into nearly 30 states in the first quarter. Teaching honesty and ethics is a key part of our training.
Also, we have some great news to relay. Coffee without Borders, a compassion based coffee company has advised us that they will contribute $2.00 per 7 oz. bag of coffee purchased on their website for the entire month of January and February to GHNI. The funds will be dedicated to assisting our efforts in India to drill water wells bringing clean drinking water to those most in need. Please tell your friends and neighbors that not only will they be able to enjoy a great cup of Hawaii fresh roasted coffee, but assist GHNI in providing help and hope to these villages! http://www.coffeewithoutborders.com/
Government data was released this month showing the population living in poverty shrank by 130,000 over the last 6 months. The figures showed that the country’s poor were now 12 percent of the population (5). GHNI Indonesian Director Phil Costello reports: The women in our TCD income generation program are still having a blast, learning how to sew and cook to generate more income for their families. Our GHNI team has begun purchasing new sewing machines for the sewing group, who in turn are making aprons to sell in order to pay back the cost for the sewing machines.
A report came out this month that high unemployment and poverty have a direct correlation with child abuse in Amman and Zarqa, the two largest cities in Jordan (6). GHNI has started a Vocational Training Loan program to give loans to poor families to send their high school graduates to a trade school. We also build relationships with the families and discuss how to handle arguments, work on finances together, and other relevant topics.
A former senior administration police officer has been arrested in Garissa for alleged involvement in training Al Shabaab recruits and coordinating attacks in the region (7). In northern Kenya, relatives of our staff were wounded in their town that is filled with tension. GHNI is sending relief to the northern Kenyan border and is also teaching villages how families can be self-sustainable in our five TCD categories.
The Libyan capital of Tripoli witnessed heavy fighting between rival militia groups briefly last week. It is still unclear what caused the fighting between the two groups. At least five people were killed last month in the city after heavy fighting erupted between rival militia groups (8).
A GHNI short term team just returned from Libya. The Government is requesting we set up offices to help with Medical, Sports and Community Development in several places.
A mediator says Myanmar’s government has reached a cease-fire agreement with an ethnic rebel group in its latest effort to ensure political stability. Civilian mediator Hla Maung Shwe said Thursday the agreement was reached by authorities in Mon State and the rebel New Mon State Party (9).
GHNI has helped map the location and needs of many minority groups there. We are building TCD Model Villages and plan to help train minority group village leaders.
Government monitors in Nepal headed to camps to hand out checks to former Maoist fighters, who are about to move back into society. The former rebels have been living in the camps since the Maoists gave up their armed revolt in 2006 and joined a peace process (10).
GHNI has helped orphanages to become self sustaining in Nepal and we hope to soon offer training to village leaders on how to help their villages rise out of poverty through TCD.
The world’s newest nation, South Sudan, is experiencing horrific tribal violence six months after celebrating independence. The attacks threaten to undermine a government already facing a long list of daunting challenges. Hilde Johnson, the head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan said that stopping the violence “would demand a very, very significant military operation, and the government also would have to move significant forces to make that happen.” (11).
GHNI is planning on providing training to village workers on how to increase food and water security through the TCD Method.
Tribesmen in Yemen recently freed seven aid workers that had been abducted, six of whom were with the United Nations. “They are now in Sanaa and are in contact with their families,” Valerie Amos, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, commented in a statement thanking Yemeni authorities and all those who worked to secure their safe release (12).
GHNI has plans to help coffee farmers in the mountains of Yemen, but are blocked by the present violence.