Reduced Inequalities: France Is Giving $61,900,000 to Help People in Syria #sdgs #globalgoals

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By Joanna Prisco, for Global Citizen

After seven years of strife and an estimated 400,000 deaths, Syria’s Civil War shows no signs of resolution. But renewed aid efforts from Europe may help those struggling to survive there.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would contribute 50 million euros ($61.9 million) toward humanitarian aid for Syria, reported Reuters.

“This evening I brought together NGOs working on the ground in Syria. Faced with the humanitarian situation, France is setting up an emergency programme of 50 million euros,” Macron stated on his verified Twitter account.

Following a chemical attack in Douma last week, France had already deployed a humanitarian medical shipment via Turkish authorities, according to France Diplomatie, and participated in US-led airstrikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities, as reported by the New York Times.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated earlier this year that “from a humanitarian standpoint, the US has been a massive donor to this situation.”

But last month President Donald Trump suspended $200M funds allocated for recovery efforts, as reported by Politico.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is so dire that officials have lost track of how many people have died, according to the New York Times.

The new injection of French funding will be designated toward organizations already operating in Syria, such as the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs.

Macron’s meeting at Elysee presidential palace gathered together two dozen NGOs, including Action Aid, Handicap International, the Red Cross, and Care.

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Good Health & Well-Being: Hunger Is Making the World Less Stable, New Report Shows #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #hunger

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You see it in the headlines: Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria – the world is experiencing a rise in conflict, instability and human suffering. More people are currently displaced from their homes because of violence, conflict and persecution than any other time since the World War II. One of the consequences is that we’ve seen an uptick in the number of hungry people on the planet for the first time in over a decade.

That war and conflict produce poverty and hunger is something that we’ve long understood – it has been proven in every major sustained violent confrontation in human history. By some accounts, more people died in World War II from starvation than from fighting. What we are learning in the context of modern crises is that hunger is not simply a byproduct of war, but can be the root cause of instability. From competition over land and water for food production to violent protest in urban centers from food prices spikes, food-related instability features in many modern conflicts.

Food security is a fundamental requirement of any stable society. Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas once said: “Show me a nation that can’t feed itself, and I’ll show you a nation in chaos.” More and more countries today face this precise challenge. Over 124 million people are in need of lifesaving humanitarian food assistance today, up from 80 million just two years ago.

Hunger produces profound desperation, the type that can cause a parent to put a child in a raft on a perilous journey to Europe; or that forces a young man with no income, limited opportunity and a hungry family to pick up arms for a cause he doesn’t even believe in. In a comprehensive review of the work on this topic, a new report from World Food Program USA shows that food insecurity has been empirically linked to at least nine separate types of instability, ranging from protest to interstate conflict, with terrorism and civil war in between.

When we think of food-related instability, food riots very often come to mind. Food riots have played a role in the French Revolution and have been captured in headlines worldwide for generations – pasta riots in Italy, tortilla riots in Mexico, bread riots in the Middle East. Americans spend only 10 percent of their income on food, while citizens in the world’s poorest countries spend closer to 60 percent. Global food price spikes can have major effects on political stability in these settings.

Food price spikes were responsible for social unrest in at least 40 developing and middle-income countries in 2008 in what has been termed the “silent tsunami.” These spikes and the resulting unrest are widely recognized as leading to regime change in Haiti during this period. A second wave of price spikes owing to agricultural commodity production shocks in China and Russia in 2011 has also been linked to the rise of the Arab Spring in the Middle East.

We also see food-related instability playing out in conflicts between pastoralists and farmers over dwindling agriculture resources and territory. This is the modern story of the African Sahel. In the decades leading up to the 2003 outbreak of war in Sudan, for example, the Sahel region of northern Sudan had witnessed the Sahara Desert advance southward by almost a mile each year, forcing Arab herders into ethno-African farming communities and producing unrest.

Price spikes and resource competition are increasingly driven by the impacts of climate change. Climate change disproportionately impacts the agricultural sector –especially in the global south – and is the subject of a growing body of research on the climate-conflict nexus. It is estimated that 80 percent of agricultural production in developing countries does not employ any form of irrigation.

In the lead-up to the civil war in Syria, more than 1 million farmers were affected by crop loss from long-term drought. One author called this “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago.” As a result, the southwestern city of Daraa, situated in one of the traditionally fertile areas of Syria, saw a large influx of migrants and was one of the first sites of social unrest in the country in 2011.

Meanwhile, the rise of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria has been linked by some to prolonged drought conditions in the Lake Chad Basin of West Africa. In recent decades, the water surface of Lake Chad has shrunk by over 90 percent compared with its size in the 1960s, contributing to a loss of livelihoods and threatening food security in the region. Climate impacts are expected to worsen as the Earth faces a 3 degrees Celsius rise in mean temperature in the coming decades, forcing another 122 million people into poverty and hunger.

Modern crises are almost never driven by a single cause. But when food insecurity meets with poor governance, a lack of economic opportunity and existing societal grievances, the conditions for conflict to emerge – or re-emerge – can be met.

Legislation has also been introduced to encourage further collaboration between the traditional “instruments” of U.S. foreign power – defense, diplomacy and development – in order to tackle these same root causes.

Breaking the cycle of hunger and conflict is among the great challenges of our day. Doing so, however, begins with acknowledging the link between food insecurity and global instability. Surely, one of the best investments we can make in global stability is to help people who can’t feed themselves or their families.

With the rise in state fragility and a proliferation in conflicts involving non-state actors, the U.S. defense and intelligence communities are beginning to turn their eyes toward non-traditional security threats and root causes of instability like food insecurity. As a salient example, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, said in the AFRICOM 2018 posture statement to Congress, “None of Africa’s challenges can be resolved through the use of military force as the primary agent of change. Therefore, our first strategic theme is that AFRICOM activities directly support U.S. diplomatic and development efforts in Africa.”

This article originally appeared on Malnutrition Deeply. You can find the original here.

Partnerships For the Goals: Gates, Jolie, the Obamas: These Are the Most Admired People of 2018 #sdgs #2030now #globalgoals

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Gates and Jolie beat out former presidents, royals and Oprah to claim the top spots.

YouGov recently released their annual study highlighting public figures people look up to the most. The list includes celebrities, activists as well as former and current world leaders.

The survey queried 37,000 people from more than 35 countries to determine who are the women and men our world hails as most admirable.

Entertainers rounded out most of the top 20 for women, while businessmen, politicians and athletes dominated the top 20 for men. Many of these men and women work to tackle global issues and have left a lasting impact on the world.

The World’s Most Admired Women

Angelina Jolie

Angelina-Jolie.jpgAngelina Jolie poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA Film Awards, in London, Feb. 18, 2018.
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

While famous for her work as an actress, Jolie has also committed her life to humanitarian efforts. As a Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, she focuses on preventing and punishing sexual violence.

Michelle Obama

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The former first lady’s transformative work includes the launch of Let Girls Learn , an initiative that helps educate girls around the world.

Oprah Winfrey

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Aside from being a general beacon for empowerment of everyone, everywhere, Oprah stole the show at the Golden Globes with her powerful speech on the #MeToo movement.

Queen Elizabeth II

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Image: Alastair Grant/AP

The Queen recently waged a war on plastic in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of royal households.

Hillary Clinton

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As a former secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has spent her life breaking glass ceilings and advocating for the rights of women both domestically and abroad.

Emma Watson

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Watson is a dedicated advocate for the UN’s HeforShe campaign working to promote gender equality.

Malala Yousafazi

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As the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala is staunch advocate of education as a basic human right and uses her own organization and voice to empower girls around the world.

Read More: 15 Times That Malala Nailed It

Priyanka Chopra

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Chopra advocates for girls’ causes and education as an ambassador for both Girls Up and Girls Rising and through her own foundation.

Madonna

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When not pushing musical boundaries, pop icon Madonna works to end extreme poverty among orphans in Malawi.

Gal Gadot

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Gal Gadot is a Wonder Woman both on and off screen: She uses her platform to raise funds to build schools and take a stance on the importance of education.

Angela Merkel

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Merkel made headlines with her open door refugee policy that took in millions fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The World’s Most Admired Men

Bill Gates

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As the founder of both Microsoft and the world’s largest private charity, Gates promotes global development and tackles issues in health and education.

Barack Obama

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Having ranked first in 19 of the countries surveyed, the former president continues his legacy as a leader of global change

Jackie Chan

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Considered one of Asia’s premier philanthropists, Chan has founded multiple charities focused on expanding educational opportunities for children.

Dalai Lama

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The spiritual leader and activist is renowned for his peaceful approaches to global relations and attempts to end human rights violations.

Warren Buffet

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While he donates billions to charity, philanthropist Warren Buffet also uses his status to advocate for ending global poverty.

David Beckham

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Michael Jordan

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Jordan actively contributes to charities that target and help at-risk youth.

Pope Francis

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Image: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Pope Francis has brought ending poverty and eradicating injustices to the forefront of his mission as head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City.

Lionel Messi

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Messi’s charitable work includes building classrooms in Syria so more than 1,600 displaced children can return to school.

Imran Khan

The Pakistani politician’s foundation works to engage and mobilize local communities through better access to basic services.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the UNImage: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Modi has made humanitarian efforts central to his role as Prime Minister of India by making improvements to health and education a priority.

Zero Hunger: This Cop Fed a Homeless Woman and the Internet Is Loving It #sdgs #globalgoals #2030now

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The story resonates partly because of the enduring problem of homelessness.

A simple image of kindness, captured in a photo and shared online, has gone viral across the Internet and is spreading awareness of homelessness in India.

B Gopal was making his rounds as a traffic cop over the weekend in the town of Kukatpally in Hyderabad, India, when he spotted a homeless woman sitting next to the road, seemingly in need of help, according to the Times of India.

Gopal offered her some food, but she was too weak to feed herself. Rather than leave the food by her side and walk away, the officer knelt down and began to feed her himself.

That scene was then captured by a bystander and shared on social media by Harsha Bhargavi, chief public relations officer of the local police force, the Times of India reports.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Gopal was able to coordinate with local officials to get the woman transferred to a home, according to Times of India. Further details of the arrangement have not been reported.

The story is likely resonating throughout India because of the enduring problem of homelessness in the country.

There were 1.77 million homeless people as of 2011, and many homes house multiple generations of families, leading to sometimes cramped conditions.

Further, 58% of the total population is living on less than $3.10 per day, according to the World Bank.

Hunger is also a chronic issue throughout the country. Around 14.5% of the population is undernourished and 38.4% of children are stunted due to a lack of nutrition, the World Bank notes.

A police officer feeding a homeless woman and helping her find shelter is a moving scene, but to make sure incidents like this become less common, greater investments have to be made in alleviating poverty, building affordable housing, and making nutritious food more accessible.

Zero Hunger: 76,000,000 Don’t Have Enough Food. Here’s How Food Aid Helps Them #sdgs #globalgoals #2030now

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Across 45 countries, some 76 million people will need help with getting enough food in 2018 — that’s an increase of 60% compared to 2015.

There are many causes of hunger, both natural and manmade. Natural disasters, such as floods, storms, and drought, can be devastating to crops and those who rely on them. Climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent, and more severe.

But one of the key reasons that world hunger is back on the increase is conflict. Of the 815 million people in the world who don’t know where their next meal is coming from — 489 million live in conflict zones. Thanks to conflict, eight countries have this year reported crisis levels of hunger for more than 25% of their populations.

With statistics like these, it’s clear that international food aid is an increasingly vital tool in the global fight against hunger. But how does it work?

What is food aid? 

Food aid has two main branches. At its most basic, it refers to providing access to food in times of emergency, for example, during conflict like a war or immediately following a natural disaster.

Food aid can also be more long-term, however. It can be used to develop lasting solutions in areas where food shortages exist and creating food security to help break the cycle of dependence on international aid.

Where does food aid come from? 

Most funding for food aid comes from governments. The US is the largest donor of food aid, giving about half of all food aid , but the EU, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Australia are also major donors , along with Russia, China, and South Korea. The UK is the fourth-largest donor.

There is only one international treaty relating to food assistance — the Food Assistance Convention (FAC), which was adopted in April 2012 in London.

The idea behind the FAC is to address the food and nutritional needs of the most vulnerable people in the world, and it gives countries the opportunity to share information and register their commitments on food assistance. The FAC also, crucially, provides a set of guiding principles for countries on how to implement food assistance programmes.

Each of the 16 members of the FAC agrees to make an annual commitment of food assistance — referred to as that country’s “minimum annual commitment.”

The US, for example, has made a minimum commitment of $2.2 billion for 2018; the EU has made a commitment of 350 million euros; and Canada has committed CAD $250 million.

There are many different ways that the funding committed by governments is distributed, with many governments also running their own projects overseas.

But, in general, governments assess the situation and work out who is best placed to deliver the necessary aid — whether that’s through their own programmes, an NGO, or a multilateral agency (which means funded by many different governments) like the United Nations.

But how does the funding reach those who most need it? 

When a government asks for help responding to a crisis in its country, humanitarian agencies and organisations will mobilise to provide immediate food assistance — literally handing out food, or cash to buy food.

Generally, the preferred option is to use the funding to buy food and supplies as close as possible to where it’s needed. By doing that, it both saves time and money in distributing the food, but it also helps inject cash into the local economy.

Increasingly, food assistance is shifting to cash-based transfers, empowering people who need food to choose their own and shop for it locally.

One of these agencies is the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s main channel for emergency food aid.

On any given day, according to WFP , it has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships, and 92 planes on the move, delivering food and other forms of assistance. Every year, it purchases more than 2 million metric tons of food, and distributes around 12.6 billion rations, at an average cost of $0.31.

When the emergency subsides, that’s when the second role of NGOs and humanitarian agencies like WFP comes into play — working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience against food insecurity in the future.


Another organisation heavily involved in emergency response and food aid distribution is the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — which receives funding from states party to the Geneva Conventions ( about 84% of the total funding ), the European Commission, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, and members of the public.

The besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta — east of the capital, Damascus — is one of region that the Movement is very active in right now, with tens of thousands of people still trapped in the rebel-held enclave, and many others having fled to refugee camps.

In February, an aid delivery made it into the region — the first in nearly three months after the Syrian government refused access to humanitarian organisations. Working together with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Red Crescent distributed enough food and supplies for 7,200 people in that first delivery.

Since then, the Syrian Red Crescent has continued to deliver aid, including food parcels and flour carried in convoys of trucks, to tens of thousands of people.

For those who have managed to flee Eastern Ghouta, the ICRC and Syrian Red Crescent also provide daily meals to over 20,000 people living in temporary refugee shelters.


What’s going on in the US with food aid right now?

Food aid is a hot topic in the States at the moment because of what’s known as the “ Food for Peace Modernization Act of 2018 ” — which supporters hope will reform the US food aid program.

Currently, by law, 100% of food aid commodities have to be produced in the US, and at least half of it has to be transported on US-flagged vessels — a system that was originally intended as a way of boosting US agriculture and shipping interests.

But the downside is that it means only about 30% of funding is being used for actual food, while the rest is spent on shipping and overhead costs, according to a press release put out by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March.

Senators Bob Corker (R-RN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) hope that the Act would ease current restrictions, and would mean more aid can be delivered to people faster.

In fact, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it would free up as much as $275 million to provide “life-saving food to nearly 9 million more people in a shorter time period.”

 

Is food aid really making a difference though? 

Put simply, yes, it really is, as part of a combined cross-sector effort against global hunger.

The second of the UN’s 17 Global Goals is to end hunger in all its forms by 2030. Some progress is being made. For example stunting — when a child’s growth is impaired by poor nutrition — has fallen by a third over the past two decades , from 198 million in 2000 to 156 million in 2015.

Many developing countries that used to experience famine and hunger can now meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable, according to the UN. Meanwhile, Central and East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean have all taken strides to eradicate extreme hunger, according to the UN .

But, so far, the progress isn’t enough to achieve the goal of completely eliminating hunger by 2030, and there is still a lot of work to do.

Zero Hunger: How Africa can solve its food crisis by growing more crops sustainably #sdgs #globalgoals #sustainability #agenda2030

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It is time to place sustainable intensification at the heart of African agriculture, and ensure that development goals deliver on the agenda opened in Dublin. Sustainable intensification involves producing more crops, better nutrition and higher rural incomes from the same set of inputs – such as land, water, credit and knowledge – while reducing environmental impacts on a sustained basis.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces specific and complex challenges. The number of hungry people in the continent rose to 239 million last year and 40% of children under five years old are stunted due to malnutrition. Africa’s population is expected to almost double by 2050, bringing it to almost 2 billion people. Based on present trends, the current African food production system would be able to meet only 13% of the continent’s needs by 2050.

Despite this urgent need, African crop yields have been largely stagnant over the past 50 years. Less than 4% of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated. Almost three-quarters of its soils are degraded (pdf) due to years of planting crops without replacing nutrients; fertiliser use is by far the lowest in the world with most farmers unable to afford it.

Yet the carbon footprint of African smallholder farming is low, and problems of eutrophication and other forms of agricultural pollution areless prevalent than elsewhere.

Sustainable intensification is sometimes viewed as a Trojan horse for the implantation of large-scale, industrial agriculture – increasing yields through a dramatic increase in the use of fertilisers and pesticides while paying lip service to the environment and local farming conditions. As such, sustainable intensification polarises opinion.

But the term needs to be understood in a more balanced way and reinterpreted as relevant to the realities of smallholder agriculture and the need for strengthening food security.

report released on Thursday by the Montpellier panel – international experts in agriculture, sustainable development, trade, policy and development from Africa and Europe – aims to demystify sustainable intensification and show its relevance to addressing food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty.

Agricultural intensification can take many forms, including current systems, many of which are not sustainable. With increasing pressure on natural resources and the impact of climate change, intensification must be made more sustainable. It can follow many paths, such as reducing reliance on fertilisers and pesticides; generating lower greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to the maintenance of critical public goods, such as biodiversity and clean water.

Sustainable intensification is achievable for African smallholder farmers, and builds on many of their traditional practices. It includes: “micro-dosing” by which smallholder farmers use the cap of a drinks bottle to measure out small amounts of fertilisers, boosting yields significantly while keeping costs down for farmers and reducing the risk of fertiliser runoff into waterways; combining mixed field and tree crops, such as nitrogen-fixing varieties; harvesting and managing scarce water for supplementary irrigation; and promoting regeneration of diverse natural species in common lands.

But sustainable intensification requires more than just inputs and technology – it demands greater co-operation and organisation in rural areas. For instance, supporting village “grain banks” run by local farmer associations helps smallholders to protect their grain. Farmers deposit grain and the bank keeps it protected against pests and diseases, so that farmers can access it as needed or sell later in the season when prices are typically higher. This type of network is supported by the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange, a private-sector firm that provides farmers with prices and other market intelligence by SMS text.

We are calling on governments, in partnership with the private sector and NGOs, to recognise the huge potential for sustainable intensification as a driver of development – in terms of food security, better nutrition and more resilient rural livelihoods.

While many parts of the world have experienced large increases in crop yields over the past 50 years, production has not always been intensified sustainably. Intensification is often associated with the ills of modern agriculture seen in the west – over-use of chemicals and fertiliser, pollution of rivers and water bodies, monocrops and biodiversity deserts.

But African agriculture does not need to follow suit. Helping African farmers to increase their production and incomes while safeguarding the environment – in short, sustainable intensification – offers a balanced and practical way forward.

• Camilla Toulmin is deputy chair of the Montpellier panel and director of the International Institute for Environment and Development


Original Article 

Image Credit: Joe Penney/Reuters

Copyright 2013 The Guardian

Peace, Justice And Strong Institutions: Introduction to the importance of effective governance #sdgs #globalgoals

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Transparency and Accountability:

Transparency and accountability about resources and results are essential elements in the fight against poverty. In their absence, it’s impossible to know whether health, education, and other services are being delivered efficiently and effectively; whether development objectives are being met; and civil society will not have the tools necessary to track public spending and hold governments to account.

Too often, precious development dollars (either aid or domestic resources) are lost due to corruption, inefficiency, and mismanagement. Donor countries must not only provide mechanisms for accountability to their own taxpayers, but must also work with partner governments to provide better accountability to citizens in developing countries who are recipients of aid and the true drivers of development.

Emerging economies are increasing their investment in developing countries. South-south partnerships are redefining the development agenda. Citizens across the world are demanding more transparent, accountable and responsive governance. And meanwhile, many developing countries are still struggling to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 203o. In this context, issues of efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability for development resources are more important than ever.

Some countries rely on aid for more than 30% of their government expenditures, and in addition to playing a crucial role in the delivery of essential services and the provision of humanitarian relief, aid can play an important catalytic role, helping to leverage other resources for development (including domestic resource mobilization, private investment, private philanthropy, and innovative finance), ensuring that they are spent effectively, and ultimately contributing to countries’ making progress on development outcomes. While it is crucial that aid dependency must be reduced over time and replaced with more sustainable financing, it is imperative that current aid levels and aid effectiveness commitments are maintained and better coordinated with other financing and development policies to spur results.

Partnerships For The Goals: Questions to ask before donating… To Any Non-Profit/NGO {DUMMYS GUIDE} #sdgs #globalgoals #accountability

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We all want to be generous in giving to fight extreme poverty, but as we do, we also want to make sure that our donation really makes a difference.

To ensure you are happy with the donation you make, it’s important to do a bit of research on the organisation first. Think about the following questions:

  • Do the issues fit? You should give to the organisations that work on the issues that you’re most passionate about and interested in.
  • Do the values fit? You should give to the charities that you feel best fit your values and priorities in terms of how they work, where they work, and why they work that way.
  • At what level do they operate? You should give to groups that you feel are working at the most important level – grassroots, regional, national, or international, and who finds the right balance (in your mind) between doing things on the ground to improve lives and campaigning to change the rules.
  • Are they an accredited organisation? Are they member of the peak-body for development charities like Interaction in the USA, BOND in the UK or ACFID in Australia or CAC (corporate affairs commission) in Nigeria. Belonging to these organisations means that they subscribe to a set of rules around how money can be used, and often that there’s positive peer pressure on them to adopt policies

If this is the sort of organisation that you want to give to, the next thing is to make sure that you are comfortable that the donation you are giving will really make a difference. The key thing to look for is measurable impact. That’s not just facts and figures, but case studies that show that the organisation’s work is making a change and sustaining that change over a longer period, whether for specific beneficiaries, the environment or through policies.

Some questions you could consider asking the charity are:

  • How will someone’s life change because of this donation?
  • What does success look like for the project/initiative that I’m giving to?
  • What real change has this organisation created or enabled in people’s lives to date? Can they show it to you?
  • How does this project enable a community to be more self-sufficient and capable so it won’t need aid in the future?
  • What does the organisation do to ensure that money won’t be corruptly used? What steps will they take if corruption is suspected or found?
  • Have any of your projects failed? Why? Development is risky, and not all projects work. Good organisations recognise this, and are open about the things they’ve done in the past that didn’t work.

While many people are tempted to ask about an organisation’s administration costs, we’ve left this question off the list. This is because asking about why they need to spend so much on admin costs is a little like asking why an airline might be spending so much on safety costs.

Organisations need to spend money on administration to make sure things are done professionally. They need to pay for staff and management (accountability) to make sure your money doesn’t go missing due to corruption. They spend money on communication so you find out how your donations were spent and what difference it made. In the best agencies money also gets puts into research and evaluation to understand what really works in ending poverty.

And, that’s really the question we should be asking: Does it work?

When it comes to ending poverty, we want to fund things that work. Then, once we know they work, we want them to be as cost-effective as they can be, meaning that we get the best possible price for the best possible outcome.

In ending poverty, it’s the difference between asking ‘how much of my money goes to the school I’m funding’, and ‘can the children read and write properly’?

Women And Girls: Focus “MALI”; Mali’s Erratic Weather Is Pushing Girls Into Risky Situations #climatechange #poverty #sdgs

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living for their families.

By Soumaila Diarra

BAMAKO, March 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From sweeping to fetching water, washing children to cooking, Sitan Coulibaly’s day as a maid in Bamako begins at 6 am and finishes well after dusk.

The 17-year-old is used to hard work – but as a farmer, growing millet on her parents’ farm in Babougou, in central Mali.

“I haven’t been home in over five months,” she said, lowering her head as she spoke. “I left before the harvesting season even ended, because there was nothing to harvest.”

Longer droughts and other unpredictable weather are destroying an ever larger share of crops across this country in Africa’s Sahel region.

That is leading more families to send their daughters to earn money in cities during the lean season, often as maids, while sons leave for seasonal jobs as street vendors or gold miners.

Around the world, migration is growing among families hit by shifting weather patterns, disasters, conflict and other pressures.

In some of the world’s poorest places, bad times mean children, as well as adults, may need to leave home to find work, sometimes leading to separation from their families, risks of abuse and disruption to their education.

In Bamako, the majority of migrant girls work as housekeepers from December to June before returning to the farm. But a particularly poor harvest season last year meant many left home as early as September, farm families say.

Last year, rainfall “was worse than before”, said Baba Sogoré, a rice farmer from Ségou.

“The government even asked us to stop growing rice off season, because the river is too dry to water fields,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Agnès Dembélé, the head of APAFE Muso Danbé, a Malian charity that seeks to improve migrant girls’ working conditions, said that farm girls heading to cities in search of housekeeping jobs “is nothing new”.

“But due to worsening weather we’re seeing more girls coming to big cities like Bamako from all over the country,” she added, estimating the number of migrant girls at tens of thousands.

A member of APAFE Muso-Danbé, a Malian charity that seeks to improve migrant girls’ working conditions, takes notes while on a call in Bamako, Mali, February 19, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Soumaila Diarra

POOR WORKING CONDITIONS

While housekeeping jobs allow Malian girls to send cash to their families, they often trap them in abusive working conditions, said Dembélé.

“Employers know the girls are desperate, so some take advantage of that to steal from, abuse or even rape them,” she explained.

Oumou Samaké, who works as a maid in Badalabougou, a posh neighbourhood in the Malian capital, said her boss regularly berates and insults her, and deducts money from her wages when he isn’t happy with her work.

“At least he hasn’t hit me yet,” she sighed, surrounded by a group of fellow maids meeting on the street at the end of their work day. “If I move to another family it will be the same, or even worse.”

Her family’s precarious situation doesn’t leave her with much of a choice, adds Samaké.

“I worry about my parents and seven brothers and sisters. I don’t know whether they eat as they haven’t harvested anything,” the 16-year-old explained.

“That’s why I send them 10,000 CFA francs (about $20) each month, to buy a bit of rice and millet.”

Most girls like Coulibaly and Samaké go back to their villages and are married by the age of 16, said Dembélé, with some of their wages as maids going towards their dowry.

A Save the Children index from 2017 ranks Mali one of the three most-affected countries in the world – out of 172 nations assessed – in terms of children at risk from child marriage, teenage pregnancy, an early end to education and other threats.

PROTECTING GIRLS

A lack of contacts in urban areas or a formal recruitment process makes migrant girls more vulnerable to exploitation, according to Dembélé.

Samaké said she arrived in Bamako not knowing anyone, and went looking for jobs by knocking on doors.

“My boss said he would pay me 10,000 CFA francs as that’s what other girls get,” she explained.

To help girls negotiate a better salary and curb abusive practices, APAFE Muso Danbé acts as an intermediary to find them an employer from its database of 300 families. It also draws up a job contract.

“With a contract the girls’ wages range from 10,000 to 50,000 CFA francs per month ($20-$100), instead of just 10,000 normally,” said Dembélé, adding that the NGO gives them free cooking and cleaning training to make them more employable.

Both parties also sign a code of conduct, she added.

“The maids commit to reporting any broken items and not wasting food, while their employer renounces any physical or psychological violence,” Dembélé explained.

The charity also alerts local authorities to cases of abuse or violence, and helps the victims bring their cases to court.

Thomas Martin Diarra, who also works at the non-governmental organisation, said it recently dealt with the case of a maid whose employer’s son knocked her head against a wall “simply because he didn’t like her”.

“We referred her case to the police,” he explained. “It is ongoing but the girl has received treatment for her injuries.”

One of the team’s priorities is also to ensure the girls get an education, Dembélé said. “We try to sign up those who have a basic level of education to further studies.”

“Ideally they wouldn’t have to work as maids as well, but we at least make sure they don’t have to pay for their training or education.”