Unicef the international aid agency says that a shortfall in funding is posing a threat to the education of millions of children who find themselves caught in the middle of conflicts or disasters. Of the US$932 million required by Unicef this year for the agency’s education programmes, it has only received less than $115 million in voluntary contributions. Unicef needs the money to deliver education to as many as 9.2 million children that have been impacted by humanitarian crises.
Growing up without knowledge or skills
Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan says that is children fail to receive an education they grow up without the knowledge or the skill required to make a contribution to the peace and development of their countries. She adds that for the millions of children living in war zones the threats are even more severe. The fact that the children don’t go to school leaves them vulnerable to child marriages, forced labour and even recruitment by armed militia.
Access to education is why people are fleeing
One of the main reasons many families choose to flee their homes aside from being driven out by conflict is the pursuit of educational opportunities for their children. According to the results of a survey of refugee and migrant children in Italy, 38 per cent said they came to Europe to obtain access to educational opportunities. Another survey conducted in Greece showed that nearly one third of parents or guardians said education was the main reason they left their countries and came to Europe. For children who have experienced the horrors of war, education can very well be lifesaving.
Education is the path to peace and prosperity
Muzoon says that when she and her family fled Syria in 2013 she was terrified that she would never go back to school. But upon arriving in Jordan, fortunately there was a school in her camp. Muzoon says she felt relieved and hopeful because school gives children like herself the chance at having a peaceful and prosperous future. As an educational activist as well as being a refugee from Syria, Muzoon has partnered with Unicef to speak on behalf of millions of children that have been displaced by conflict and do not have access to education.
“I urge world leaders to invest in the futures of children living in emergencies — and by doing so invest in the future of our world,” Muzoon said.
Category: Concern Worldwide
A recent report by Concern Worldwide, the international aid agency, has shown first-hand the contagious effect of the violence that has infected what little is left of Syrian society. It has resulted in ordinary civilians feeling unsafe in all environments, whether that be at home, in school, at work or on the streets. The report used a number of focus groups to express the main concerns of civilians who still remain in Northern Syria.
The concerns were many-fold and wide-ranging and include car bombings, bombs going off in crowded places, forced conscription, abuse, harassment, travel restrictions, forced displacement, the spread of disease and lack of treatment. Additionally, the report found that both women and girls were extremely vulnerable to domestic and sexual abuse. They also face harassment and forced marriages. These women and young girls also testified about the violence and sexual harassment they face on a daily basis.
Violence has entered into all aspects of life
Rose Caldwell who is Concern Worldwide (UK) executive director says that after six years of conflict, the violence has now made its way into every part of life and is widespread across all sections of society in Syria. The report emphasises that despite recognition of the fact that protection must be the corner stone of the humanitarian response, the response itself remains dramatically underfunded. There has a gap of 75% between what is needed for the last couple of years.
The humanitarian response has been underfunded
Last year the gap amounted to a deficiency of US$180 million and the report urges member states of the UN and other donors to raise funding for humanitarian protection so that some of the suffering of displaced people still living in Syria since 2011 will be alleviated. The report also pointed out that humanitarian aid is no substitute for failed diplomacy or the lack of political will to end the war.
“The long-term psychological and societal damage of the war will take generations to recover from. Ultimately the rebuilding can only begin when the war ends. UN member states must find a political resolution sooner rather than later for the sake of all the ordinary people inside Syria, before their lives are shattered beyond repair.” Ms Caldwell said.
Oxfam International has come to an agreement with the government of Kenya which paves the way for the charitable organisation to shift its international headquarters to the Kenyan capital city, Nairobi. The decision was announced through a tweet made by executive director of Oxfam International Winnie Byanyima. Ms Byanyima said she could confirm that Oxfam’s headquarters will move to Nairobi and the organisation has finalised its agreement with the host country Kenya.
Idea first proposed in 2014
Ben Phillips a former campaign director of Oxfam GB tweeted in response that his last report for Oxfam which he submitted back in 2014 suggested that the International Headquarters should be moved to the South and Nairobi in particular. He added the decision to proceed was a wonderful one and everyone should celebrate it.
Decision driven by desire to shift power from North to South
Oxfam made its decision to move its International Headquarters from Oxford to either Nairobi or Bangkok back in April 2014. The reason for the decision is because it is an attempt at devolving power from the Northern to Southern hemisphere. In July 2016 Ms Byanyima wrote a blog post confirming that Oxfam’s International Secretariat was start the transfer in 2017 in a process that would take up to two years.
In the blog at the time, Byanyima wrote: “The British public is not losing its famous Oxfam! Oxfam GB will remain as strong and as vibrant as ever. Instead, the British public (and publics in other countries) will continue supporting an Oxfam that is part of a movement led from an African location – not a European one. This move is far deeper than a symbolic one (although I believe that the symbolism is important too). The fact is the world is changing and I believe it is necessary for NGOs like Oxfam to change.”
Oxfam has always maintained that the its decision to move was not driven by the desire to cut costs and that Oxfam GB headquarters and staff will be unaffected.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children is aware that making a donation is not as exciting as online shopping. So, the UK based children’s charity has decided to take a leaf out of Amazon’s playbook and is making use of the online shopping behemoth’s Dash button concept which will make its quick and simple to make a donation because all you need to do is push a button.
Making use of technology
Save the Children has teamed up with marketing incubator Iris Nursery and together they are developing their own button which is very similar to the Domino’s pizza “easy order” button. However instead of summoning a pizza to fill your hungry stomach, pushing the “Give” button will automatically send a donation to the charity.
Young people not engaged enough
Save the Children has said that collecting direct donations online through its website simply did not engage youngsters who tend to have very short attention spans. According to Save the Children’s Sarah Fitzgerald O’Connor, young people want to feel as if they are actively contributing in real time as a response to world events as they take place.
Sending the app to potential donors
Apparently, the button will be mailed to potential donors who will then set it up online with their payment information including the amount to donate with each push of the button. If you are worried about accidental donations, never fear, you will be able to cancel them plus you can establish limits on how much you give.
David Caygill, managing director of Iris Nursery says the best technology feel effortless as if it were magic. Mr Caygill reckons that the Give buttons could be a serious contender for being one of these great applications because it takes away friction and more importantly it is likely that it will generate more donations.
For weeks now the conflict in the Central African Republic has been intensifying and this has resulted in a virtual blockade of critical humanitarian assistance required by thousands of families displaced by the violence. Unicef has said a few planes have been permitted to land in the South-East town of Bangassou carrying 5.6 tonnes of emergency aid including cooking material, soap, water buckets, blankets and mats. The aid was distributed amongst 800 households by Unicef partner organisation ACTED.
Thousands of families in desperate need of assistance
Unicef representative for Central African Republic Christine Muhigana says the agency has been attempting to reach thousands of families in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, but this has become nearly impossible because the escalating violence has made it too dangerous. Ms Muhigana says given how critical the situation has become in the South East of the country, the only available solution was to airlift emergency supplies to families and children in these difficult to reach areas.
Clashes between armed groups
There have been a number of clashes between armed groups in the South East of the country which have left more than 300 people dead and 200 injured the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes seeking out safety. This represents the Central African Republic’s largest population displacement since 2014. In Bria 40,000 people out of a total population of 47,000 have left with most people who have fled being children.
UN asking for access to civilians
In the worst affected areas, the roads are only accessible via UN military escort due to the violence and this means truck drivers do not wish to transport supplies because they fear for the lives. Unicef is calling on all armed groups to give aid workers the ability to access civilian populations without any impediments so they may deliver life-saving supplies and service without delay.
Escalating violence may unwind previous agreements
Unicef also worries that the most recent outbreak of violence could mean the unwinding of prior commitments made by armed groups to release all captive children and cease any further recruitment. In May 2015 leaders of 10 different armed factions in the Central African Republic committed to releasing children and since that agreement was signed, over 7,000 children have been released from their ranks.
Category: Concern Worldwide
The people of Ireland contributed roughly 25 per cent of Concern Worldwide’s global income last year, giving approximately €51 million. Last year Concern said it was able to deliver aid to 22.6 million people across 27 of the world’s poorest countries. The aid agency initiated responses to 45 global emergencies in 25 countries and helped 4.6 million people. Concern Worldwide’s total annual income was the highest it’s ever been in 2016 with the aid agency managing to raise €183.5 million last year.
Giving is a response to extreme poverty
Concern says its fund-raising achievement is a reflection of “the growing level of global humanitarian need and the organisation’s increasing focus on supporting people living in extreme poverty”. Dominic MacSorley heaped compliments on both the Irish government and the general public all over the world who donated with so much generosity. He said that generosity was critical to the success of Concern’s fund-raising efforts. Mr MacSorley has been working for Concern for 35 years and earned an income of €99,740 last year said that the charity sector has had a tough time of late.
“As an organisation, we understand the crucial importance of maintaining the highest standards of accountability and transparency as we deliver our programmes across some of the world’s poorest countries. The €183.5 million raised last year is a record in Concern’s 49-year history and we will continue to work even harder to ensure we retain this valuable support.”
Responding to emergencies
Concern responded to a number of major emergencies last year including a response to the ongoing crisis in Syria where Concern delivered aid to 1 million people across Lebanon, Turkey and within Syria. The aid agency also responded to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti where it was able to help 10,000 people by providing them with essential household and hygiene items. Concern is also heavily involved in responding to the widespread drought that has hit Ethiopia where nearly 200,00 children and adults have been treated for malnutrition.
Celebrity mothers have kicked off the fundraising effort by Oxfam which is targeted at families and is called Dressed by the Kids which is set to occur on 16th June. The proceeds will be used to fund Oxfam’s lifesaving work around the world. Television personalities such as Ashley James, Suzanne Shaw, Gaby Roslin and Kate Thornton eschewed their stylists for a day and allowed their kids loose on their closets, and wore whatever jumbled concoctions of styles their kids chose for them.
Raising money by having a laugh
Television presenter Kate Thornton took the help of her 9-year-old son to kick of the fun campaign. Ms Thornton said her son was completely in charge and they laughed all day. She went on to add that as a parent she would like to impart the knowledge to her child that we have the ability to help those most in need. Gabby Roslin handed over her wardrobe reigns to her children aged 10 and 15 and when she saw what they had chosen, she said that it would never have been a combination of clothes she ever would have chosen. She adds that as a family they wanted to support Oxfam’s important work.
Oxfam works with the world’s poorest
Oxfam works on behalf on the over 1 billion people that are trapped in extreme poverty and the millions of families who lack access to the necessities required to live in good health and safety. Oxfam is one of the oldest UK charities and has been working with some of the world’s poorest people for more than seven decades. The organisation spans 90 countries and is currently devoting attention to the millions of people who face the prospect of starvation as a result of the hunger crisis that has struck the Horn of Africa.
Kids have wild imaginations
Katie Piper who is a philanthropist chose to kick off the campaign wearing unicorn horns and an odd pair of shoes chosen by her daughter Belle who is 3. Not surprisingly she said she would never wear such an outfit ordinarily by because her daughter had chosen it to help other children her age in the poorest countries in the world she was unable to refuse. Ms Piper says she can’t wait to see how the country dresses up on June 16th because kids really do have the wildest imaginations.
Category: Save the Children
Ray Parlour the football legend who played for Arsenal was there to inaugurate one of three new football pitches that are located in North Jakarta’s disadvantaged slum communities. Ray was there to participate in the Save the Children football programme which is financed through the Arsenal Foundation. Arsenal ran an end of season campaign to fund the project in order to enable children to be empowered to fight for their rights and help them escape tragic circumstances.
Safe spaces for children
Ray visited the programme in Indonesia’s capital that is providing a safe place to play for vulnerable children and in the process, build their confidence by encouraging teamwork. As part of his visit, Ray played football with the kids and participated in a training session run by Drew Tyler, who is a coach at Arsenal Soccer School.
Speaking about the visit, Ray said that football has been such a big part of his life and provided him with so many opportunities that it is truly amazing to see the sport used in a way that makes such a massive difference to children’s lives. Ray cited the example of a young boy called Dhani who lives on a bench at the edge of a rubbish dump. Dhani has had to leave school in order to support his family and listening to his story was a real eye opener for Ray. Dhani faces so many struggles each day but through football he can live out some of his childhood and put a smile on his face.
Lack of public spaces
Fajar Jasmin who works for Save the Children in Indonesia said that there are more than 1.6 million people living in North Jakarta and there are lots of urban slums in the region. Many children from this part of the city live in extreme poverty and are socially excluded every day. These children are forced to live in conditions which are unstable and are exploited and neglected combined with a lack of public spaces. As a result of the Arsenal Legends game which Ray participated in, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children have come together to enable the power of football and the Arsenal brand to build and run pitches.
UNICEF says that there are 1.4 million children in drought ridden Somalia that will likely suffer from acute malnutrition this year. That is a 50 per cent increase from the first estimate which was made in January. The figures include more than 275,000 children who are likely to face a severe form of acute malnutrition which is life threatening and are nine times more likely to die of diseases such as measles or cholera. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says the combination of dehydration and malnutrition added to displacement is deadly for children.
Children could die within hours
Ms Mercado added that a child that was severely dehydrated and malnourished can die within a few hours if they fail to receive treatment for diarrhoea or cholera. Measles is also a major threat because it is airborne and can spread like wildfire in the camps. It is estimated that 2.9 million people in Somalia face the prospects of famine. In North-East Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen 17 million people are at risk says the United Nation. In pockets of South Sudan, famine has already been declared.
Huge increase in children suffering from malnutrition
So far UNICEF has treated roughly 56,000 Somali children for malnutrition since the start of the year which represents an increase of over 88 per cent over last year said Ms Mercado. UNICEF funds nutrition and cholera centres but has no data on how many children have died from hunger and disease in Somalia. Ms Mercado said that during the 2011 famine an estimated 258,000 people perished over a year and half period. 133,000 of the people who died were young children.
“Every mother I spoke to said their children were sick, either with diarrhoea, or vomiting or feverish. Most had never been vaccinated before because of the insecurity across the country,” Mercado said. “The pace and the scale of displacement have risen exponentially.”
Approximately 615,000 Somalis have had to flee their homes since last November because of the drought and crop failure. They join the 1 million people that have already been internally displaced. The UN has managed to achieve approximately 60 per cent of its funding target for its humanitarian appeal of US$ 720 million for Somalia. A spokesperson for the agency said it is in a race against time.
Category: Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Save the Children
The British public has once again showed its generosity by helping to raise £50 million in 22 days for East Africa. The money will be used to enable aid agencies to step up their efforts to deliver food and assistance to millions of people who are on the brink of starvation. The total amount raised by the UK to help with food shortage in Yemen and East Africa is £72 million when you include the £15 million the UK government has also contributed.
Helping to save lives
This means the British people are already helping to save lives says Saleh Saeed CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Mr Saeed says the £50 million raised for East Africa will provide millions of people living in the drought afflicted areas with food, water and access to medical care for more than two years. The Yemen appeal which was launched back in December last year has so far raised £22 million.
Assistance being delivered despite of obstacles
More assistance is already being delivered to those in need in spite of the fact that there are many challenges. For example, as a result of the conflict in Yemen the cranes in the port of Hodeida have been destroyed. In South Sudan fighting is taking place and in Somalia vast swathes of the country are controlled by terror groups who have blocked access to aid. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and in Somalia people face the prospect of starvation with roughly 20 million people affected.
All the leading charities are contributing
The DEC is made up of the UK’s leading charities and is lending its support in East Africa where food shortages are most acute. According to Mr Saeed there have been reports that the delivery of aid has had an immediate impact to the lives of people affected by the crisis. Concern Worldwide has set up a nutrition centre just outside Mogadishu the capital of Somalia. Save the Children is also working with about 40 drought affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia and providing them with food, water, and medical care. Oxfam is delivering water and providing sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya.
Still lots more to be done
Mr Saeed said whilst the he was very grateful for what has been provided so far, there is still far more to be done as the crisis get worse. He added that the UK can be proud of its response to the East Africa and Yemen appeal. A lot of money has been raised and the UK government and the British public are leading the charge.