Category: Cancer Research UK
There are now a greater number of ten to eleven-year olds in England than has ever been previously recorded according to the most recent data by Public Health England. According to the research, four out of every hundred students in Year 6 are considered to be severely obese. Just twelve years ago that number was three in every hundred. A nutritionist with Public Health England says the rise is alarming and dealing with it will take time.
Worried by the trend
Researchers are worried by the increase in severe obesity and greater health inequalities and point to both these trends when they say bold measures are necessary if the threat to children’s health is to be tackled. Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert Professor Linda Bauld is urging the government to regulate the advertising of junk food and says it should be banned before 9 pm. Dr Bauld says it is well known that advertising aimed at children is a big part of why childhood obesity is growing.
Banning junk food advertising
According to research from Cancer Research UK, young people are more than twice as likely to be obese if they can recall viewing an advert for junk food every day compared to young people who had no memory of one over a month. The National Child Measurement Programme maintains records of the height and weight of more than a million children between the ages of four to eleven every year.
According to analysis of the data recorded, the number of children considered severely obese has dramatically risen since 2006. Another observation is that there were differences in the health of children across the country. Children living in the most deprived areas were more likely to be obese.
Obesity is the second most preventable cause of cancer
According to Dr Bauld, it is worrying that the number of children beginning secondary education who are severely obese is at record high and that inequalities in health are widening instead of shrinking. Children who live in the most deprived communities are 40 per cent more likely to recall viewing a junk food advert on a daily basis. There is a strong link with obese children and the likelihood that obesity will persist into adulthood. Adult obesity is the second most preventable cause of cancer after smoking.
Oxfam has hired and trained 119 staff members who will investigate incidents related to the agencies safeguarding efforts around the world as it steps up efforts to improve. Oxfam unveiled a ten-point action plan towards the early part of the year and has increased funding for safeguarding by more than threefold to close to £2 million. Oxfam has also set up a new Independent Commission which is tasked with reviewing the agencies culture and practices.
Response to scandal
Oxfam has launched the new measures in response to the scandal some of its former employees were involved in Haiti whilst working for the aid agency. Those employees have since been fired and starting from October the agency will report data twice a year on all safeguarding cases that have been completed in the previous half year for all organisations that are part of the Oxfam confederation.
Background checks and training
In the United Kingdom all shop managers as well as supervisors paid or unpaid will have to undergo background checks. Some members of the HR teams in the trading unit have also received training which will give them the skills to investigate allegations of safeguarding in Oxfam shops. By the end of the financial year it is anticipated that more than 960 shop staff will have undergone online safeguarding training. The Independent Commission’s first report will be published by May next year and will list a number of recommendations to improve Oxfam’s approach to safeguarding.
The aid agency is also providing training to more than 10,000 employees globally and has introduced more stringent background checks before hiring new staff. There is also a whistle blowing hotline that is managed independently and will be available in five languages that all employees have been encouraged to make use of in complete confidence.
Learning from mistakes
Mark Goldring Oxfam’s UK chief says he is determined that the organisation learns from its mistakes and does everything it can to ensure staff and people are protected. He adds that the measures taken will improve Oxfam’s ability to prevent and investigate any unacceptable behaviour no matter where it takes place. Oxfam is acutely aware there is more to do, including making sure that everyone who is employed or volunteers feels empowered to challenge behaviour they believe is not acceptable.
Category: Save the Children
Last month was the one-year anniversary of ISIS being expelled from Mosul. Whilst that is reason to cheer, the children of Mosul continue to live in constant fear for their lives having been scarred by memories of devastation, extreme violence, displacement and continuous bombing according to a recently released report from Save the Children. Hundreds of thousands of children were affected and even teenagers say they feel afraid to walk alone, go to school or be away from parents.
Children experiencing mental health issues
It should come as no surprise that these children are experiencing mental health issues including emotional problems, extreme anxiety and depression. Many have been pushed to the breaking point after experiencing unimaginable atrocities under ISIS. A year after the organisation was expelled, many continue to struggle with their fears. The inability to heal is down to the fact that these girls and boys simply do not feel safe no matter where they are.
Children feel unsafe
Over 80 per cent of teenagers polled said they felt unsafe walking alone and almost half said they felt unsafe when they were away from parents. Almost half said they felt grief all or most of the time and less than one in ten children were able to thing of something happy in their lives. Children are not the only ones to suffer mental health issues, parents also report the similar issues and are not able to provide the support to their kids that is required, producing a devastating cycle of continuous stress.
Children are withdrawing
Instead of turning to their parents, children are choosing to withdraw and not speak about the issues they face which does not help in dealing with emotional distress. Many children are finding it hard to go back to school because so many schools have been destroyed. Children don’t feel safe at school either. Save the Children is urging the international community to put child welfare at the heart of its strategy for post-conflict Iraq. The agency wants donors to increase funding for mental health and psychosocial programmes.
Funding for child mental health programmes in Iraq is necessary
Save the Children says such programmes are a critical part of the emergency responses, recovery and reconstruction efforts that will need to take place in the immediate future. Funding is abysmal and currently stands at just 7 per cent of what has been asked for. The organisation says the Iraqi Government must develop a national policy on the mental health of children and their families who have been scarred by conflict. Urgent Action is necessary so that children have access to essential services and can start to feel safe again to play and go to school.
Unicef has started to raise money in a similar fashion to the way SETI@Home searches for extra-terrestrial intelligence. The children’s aid agency of the United Nations is trying to use cryptocurrency mining to raise much needed funding. Unicef, in a bid to raise funding for children who live in conflict ridden Syria is asking gamers, fans of e-sports and people who have computers with powerful graphics cards to help it in its endeavour to mine the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
Unicef has named the project Game Chaingers and all you need to do if you want to help the agency raise money is visit the website and provide with a few details about your system so that the mining software can be configured for your PC and installed. Game Chaingers will make use of your graphics card to mine Ethereum which will be deposited in Unicef’s account immediately. It goes without saying that the more people who participate the more money Unicef will be able to raise. In fact, if enough people join the effort a considerable sum could be raised.
Unicef needs alternative sources of funding
Unicef says the project was born from the necessity to find now sources of income since most of its donors are aged over 50 already. By asking younger people to donate their PC’s processing power instead of straight out asking for cash, it is possible for people to give to charity even when they otherwise would not.
No need to worry about extra electricity consumption
When asked whether running the program would result in higher than normal electricity consumption, the children’s aid agency responded that it would not. This is because the process that takes place is not quite the same as mining cryptocurrency on your own. Unicef only borrows part of your processing power and only asks that people participate briefly and punctually. This means if the only thing that is stopping you from helping this charity raise money is concerns about energy use of the environment, then you have nothing to worry about whatsoever.
Category: Guide Dogs For The Blind
Guide Dogs is calling on all dog owners to lend their support in the wake of data which shows that on average there are 12 attacks on guide dogs every month which is very alarming. In nearly 60 per of those attacks, the dog which attacked was not on a leash. Besides inflicting emotional and physical trauma on both the guide dog and its owner, such attacks have cost the charity more than £1.3 million since 2010. As a result, Guide Dogs has launched a campaign it calls Take the Lead.
Making the public aware of its responsibilities
The campaign has the aim of making the general public aware of their responsibilities when it comes to their pet dogs and put their dogs on a leash whenever they come across a working guide dog. Guide Dogs researchers say just this simple move is enough to prevent the vast majority of attacks in the future. This is not the first time Guide Dogs has campaigned on this issue. In 2014 tougher laws were introduced which could put dog owners whose dog attacked a working guide dog in jail for up to three years.
Tough laws are not enough
Despite those laws, Guide Dogs believes there is still much more to be done in order to prevent such attacks and as a result is calling on assistance from the dog owning general public. A spokesperson for the charity says guide dogs change the lives of people who are visually impaired and allow their owners to live their lives to the fullest. Attacks on guide dogs destroy their confidence which could result in their owners losing their freedom and independence yet again. Therefore, it is important for people to put their dog on a leash whenever they see a guide dog working because it allows them to have greater control of the situation.
Attacks affect both owners and dogs
Attacks on guide dogs tend to have long- lasting affects both on the dog and owner. One guide dog was attacked in London in June 2016 and the owner and dog continue to feel the effects to this day. The guide dog was badly hurt after another dog sunk its teeth into her back says the owner, and whilst the physical scars have healed she continues to show anxiety. The owner says he feels anguish but there is some hope because every day she continues to improve. Nevertheless, had the dog that attacked been on a leash, the who situation could have been avoided.
A new report which examines the global supply chains of multinational supermarkets authored by Oxfam has found that millions of people who produce food for the retailers are trapped in a cycle of poverty, with many starving and having to face brutal working conditions. The report claims that all the major high street supermarket chains are increasingly squeezing their suppliers on prices which ultimately feeds through to small scale farmers who actually produce the food. These farmers have very little influence on the price they get paid for their produce and this means that they along with workers are being economically exploited.
Not enough to eat
Oxfam along with a number of other partner agencies polled hundreds of small-scale farmers and workers that participate in the supply chains of UK supermarkets across five different countries. The results show that many of them struggled to feed their families. 9 out of 10 grape workers in South Africa and seafood processors in Thailand, the majority of whom were women, responded by saying they hadn’t had enough to eat in the month prior to the one they were polled in.
The results are shocking
Oxfam GB spokesman Matthew Spenser says it is shocking that so many farmers and workers involved in food production for supermarkets end up going hungry. The largest supermarkets in the UK have put pressure on their suppliers to lower costs and this means there is a massive amount of hidden suffering particularly amongst the people who supply food leaving them trapped in a cycle of poverty. According to the study British supermarket chains receive ten times more of the checkout price of common items than the small-scale farmers and workers who produced the goods. These suppliers receive just 5.7 per cent of the checkout price in comparison to 53 per cent received by the supermarkets.
Supermarkets need to enshrine better practices
The authors of the report analysed the policies and practices of the six biggest supermarket chains in the UK and found a striking gap between those policies and what must be in place in order to ensure that human and labour rights are protected in their supply chains. Oxfam together with the Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia looked at the industry in Indonesia and Thailand, which supplies seafood to some of the world’s largest supermarket chains including those in the UK. Workers said they were forced to submit to pregnancy tests, had to endure unsafe working conditions, lived in poverty and endured verbal abuse. Clearly this is not acceptable and supermarket chains operating in the UK must ensure the workers involved in their supply chains are treated humanely and equitably.
The report by Oxfam signals the launch of Behind Barcodes which is a global campaign designed to put pressure on supermarket chains and governments to crack down on inhumane working conditions. The campaign seeks to increase transparency so that shoppers know where their food comes from as well as fight for women’s rights in the industry and ensure that a larger share of the sales generated by food reaches the people who actually produce it.
Category: Save the Children
A new report by Save the Children suggests that more than half the world’s children (over 1.2 billion) face the threats of conflict, poverty or discrimination against girls. The report examines the three factors that rob children of their childhoods all over the world. The report ranks 175 countries based on childhood being threatened as a result of poor health, no access to education, child labour and marriage, early pregnancy, extreme violence and malnutrition.
Africa performs poorly
Eight of the bottom 10 ranked countries are located in West and Central Africa. Save the Children’s Simon Wright says that whilst there is progress being made in many parts of world including the lowest ranked countries, it is simply not happening fast enough. The gap between the rich and the poor is also growing wider in many countries whilst child welfare is threatened. Mr Wright adds that over half the world’s children begin their lives being held back because they are girls, poor or because they live in a war-zone.
Urgent action is necessary
Unless urgent action is taken, it is going to be impossible to meet the promises made by every country three years ago at the UN to ensure that every child survives, learns and is protected by 2030. Mr Wright says the fact that countries who have similar levels of incomes deliver such variances in outcomes for children suggests that policy, funding and political will make a vital difference. In 95 countries that were ranked, the situation over the last year has improved, whilst in 40 countries, the situation has deteriorated.
The stats are astonishing
Over a billion children around the world live in countries affected by poverty. Nearly a quarter billion in countries affected by conflict and 575 million girls live in parts of the world where gender bias is a problem. 153 million children live in countries where all three issues are a problem. The poorest girls have a birth rate three times as high as the wealthiest. The United States is ranked 36th on the list despite being the wealthiest most powerful nation on the planet. Russia is ranked 37th and China 40th.
Take the steps
Save the Children is urging governments all over the world to take the steps necessary so that no child dies from a preventable or treatable cause or is subjected to extreme violence. Children should not have to worry about being robbed, they should receive the required nutrition and they should not be forced into marriage, pregnancy or labour. Finally, all children should have access to quality education.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore says children should not be separated from their migrant parents, referring to the controversial practice by the US government on its border with Mexico. Following a domestic and global outcry President Trump signed an executive order halting forced separation but refused to be cowed by the criticism. Ms Fore says that the stories of children and babies being separated from parents whose only crime is to seek safety is heart-breaking.
Children are children
She adds that no matter where children come from or what their migration status is, they are children first. People who feel they have no option but to flee their homes should have the right to feel protected. Children must be kept with their families just like all other children and they must be given access to essential services.
Separation is traumatic
Separating families and then detaining them are traumatic experiences for children as well as adults. Children in particular can be left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse which can negatively impact their long-term development Ms Fore warns. She adds that it is in no one’s interest to separate children from their parents, particularly for children who suffer the most. Child welfare is the most important thing and it is hoped that the decision to end the practice.
Thankfully the practice has ended
Ms Fore is cognisant of the fact that the US government and its people have supported Unicef in its efforts to help child refugees, migrants and asylum seekers affected by crises all over the world for many decades. Mr Trump signed the order stopping the practice on June 20th. In the prior six weeks, over 2,000 children had been separated from parents who had crossed over in the United States from Mexico illegally. Those children have been placed in detention centres across the South-Western United States and there is still no word on their fate.
Category: Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide has embarked on a Bangladesh Monsoon Appeal in order to raise funding to deal with the extreme funding and landslides that threaten thousands of refugees from Myanmar living in Bangladesh. There are almost a million Rohingya refugees in the country many of whom are children living in cramped shelters on perilous silty land in Cox’s Bazar. Most have sought refuge there after feeling violence in Myanmar.
Extremely vulnerable to the weather
The huts sit on land stripped of vegetation producing terrain that is highly susceptible to the heavy rains and strong winds of the monsoon and cyclone season. More that 1.3 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and aid agencies have been working 24/7 to prevent the outbreak of disease and deaths from escalating any further. Concern’s Cox’s Bazaar representative Gillian Boyle says most people live in flimsy tents constructed using bamboo and tarp and are completely exposed to the weather.
Number of dead and injured expected to rise
Boyle adds that as the rains continue there is an increased risk of landslides and the number of people who suffer injuries, death or the loss of their homes will rise significantly. The rains have already been so intense that one of the two main roads heading into the camp has already been shut. Concern is seeking to ensure that the people living in the camps are well-prepared, able to deal with more rainfall and able to take the required steps to stop the outbreak of disease.
Concern is scaling up its response by expanding its nutrition programme and ensuring that as many as 75,000 of the most vulnerable families have access to shelter, sanitation and hygiene. So far Concern has screened almost half a million children aged under five for malnutrition. The agency detected 7,057 severe cases and 37,029 moderate cases and treated them. As part of its scaled response, Concern intends to distribute ‘dignity kits’ containing menstrual cloths, clothing and solar lighting to over 6,000 women. If you can, please make a donation to Concern’s Bangladesh Monsoon Appeal.
Oxfam has embarked on its emergency response to the Ebola outbreak in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The aid agency has begun to distribute desperately needed food to the thousands of individuals in the middle of the crisis. Oxfam is making food items available to roughly 4,500 people. The aid agency began its operation in Mbandaka which is the provincial capital of Equateur and intends to widen the relief effort to rural communities as well.
Stopping the virus from spreading
Oxfam is also working hard to ensure that communities have access to clean water and that they are aware of how to protect themselves from the Ebola virus and stop it spreading. The outbreak of the disease has meant that trade between rural areas has been disrupted. Mbandaka in particular has been hit badly because many people depend on this trade route for their food and other essentials.
Delivering assistance to people who need it
Households that find they have been in contact with someone who has contracted Ebola are forced to rely on assistance because they have been asked to remain indoors for three weeks making it impossible for them to obtain food. Oxfam’s DRC Country Director Jose Barahona says it is critical that these people receive the food they need because it ensures other people remain protected. Without assistance these people will have to go to market and could potentially infect others.
Learning from previous outbreaks
Mr Barahona adds that the response is making use of everything that was learned during the West African Ebola outbreak. As a result, Oxfam is working with communities, trying to understand their fears and superstitions and working to overcome them. In West Africa the impact of the Ebola epidemic on the economy and people’s ability to earn a living was significant. People were not allowed to move freely which meant they were unable to cultivate their fields and as a result food price inflation was drastic.
Post outbreak plan needed
Mr Barahona says that there needs to be a plan in place for what happens after the outbreak subsides and this includes making sure people are able to earn a living and have access to clean water and sanitation. Ebola is not the only crisis affecting millions of people living in the DRC. Fortunately, donors have opened their wallets and should make good on their pledges. There are a few million people in the DRC who are affected by a variety of humanitarian crises and have not received any aid whatsoever.