Its March 2018: A look at the word of the year “2017” ‘Feminism’ was The Word. Here’s Why That Should Make Us All Proud #FeministCulture #Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines feminism as…

Let’s not beat around the bush. This year has, in some ways, been pretty rough.

There have been natural disasters, man-made disasters, and a general feeling of despair that spawned the inception of twisted abominations known as existentialist memes.


It’s also been a year that has shown human resilience and dedication to ideals. People around the world have rallied to help rebuild earthquake- and hurricane-stricken lands; cities and nearly all countries have stepped up to fight climate change; and humans are demonstrating in the streets about the policies they want to see enacted. It has definitely not been a year of apathy.

This week, the world got another indication that humans are doing okay, and working toward doing a whole lot better. It comes in the form of one word.

Today, dictionary titans Merriam-Webster declared “feminism” to be their annual word of the year.

Merriam-Webster made their decision based on a series of metrics that calculated how many people searched their site for a given word. In 2017, no term received more searches or more intense spikes in search frequency than feminism. And here’s why that matters.


With the Women’s March in January, and the rise of the #MeToo movement, 2017 has witnessed some historic moments in the progression of women’s rights and a surge in global attention being paid to women’s issues.

Around the world, most countries still have laws on their books that allow for discrimination against women — whether through violence against women, economic or educational disadvantages, or marriage laws that allow young girls to be married off without their consent.

The World Health Organization reports that roughly 1 in 3 women will face sexual violence in their lifetime. In the US, recent data reveals that women still make only 83% of the money men make.

To make real change and ensure an end to gender discrimination, people in all countries will have to demand equality under the law. Global Citizen campaigns to #LevelTheLaw for women everywhere, and you can join us in taking action here.

The fact that “feminism” is the most-looked-up word of 2017 signals that there is growing awareness of women’s issues and the need for collective action to demand and ensure women’s equality.

Our desire to move forward doesn’t mean that everything is already rosy.

Last year, Merriam-Webster’s list included such gems as post-truth, snowflake, xenophobia, and even fascism. Yikes.  If the words of the year for 2016 were all about coming to grips with the bad, feminism taking the top spot in 2017 shows that this year has been about pushing back against those forces.

This year’s word should give us hope that we are having the right conversations, asking the right questions, and moving in the right direction. Here’s to feminism.


Good Health & Well-Being: #Tuberculosis Will Cost the World $1 Trillion by 2030 — Unless Countries “TAKE ACTION”

Tuberculosis, a preventable disease, killed more than 30 million people between 2000 and 2015.

Global health experts have warned that the highly contagious respiratory disease tuberculosis will kill millions — and cost the global economy $1 trillion — by 2030 if countries don’t act to eradicate it.

The Price of a Pandemic report, compiled by the 130-state Global Tuberculosis Caucus, coincides with a landmark gathering of global public health experts, world leaders and funders this week for the first World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ministerial Conference on tuberculosis in Moscow, Russia.

Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is an airborne illness that typically affects the respiratory system and kills 5,000 people every day, according to WHO. It causes a prolonged, at times bloody, cough in addition to chest pain and weakness.

“There are a lot of intractable problems in the world but TB should not be one of them — we can treat and cure it,” Global Tuberculosis Caucus co-chair Nick Herbert said in a statement. “Governments around the world want to boost economic growth, and investments in TB care and prevention will not only dramatically improve the health of their populations, but also yield a major economic dividend.”

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In 2016, TB killed more than 1.7 million people In 2014, more than a quarter of those individuals who died from TB also had HIV/AIDS, which compromises people’s immune systems and makes them more susceptible to TB and other infectious diseases.

Read More: This Was the Deadliest Infectious Disease of 2016, According to WHO

According to the report, more than 171 million people contracted TB and 33 million people died from the illness between 2000 and 2015. Over half of these deaths occurred in G20 countries, including nearly 10 million in India, more than 1.5 million in South Africa and more than 1.1 million in China

TB exacts a devastating human toll and poses a significant burden to the global economy.

The total cost to G20 countries will reach $675 billion, but less developed nations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa like Lesotho and Mozambique will lose roughly 1% of their GDP to TB.

The report urges countries to increase funding for TB treatment and prevention, part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is primarily a matter of political will, because the overall sum of money that has to be found between the world’s nations is perfectly within reach if we all act together,” Herbert said.


Human Rights: This Emotional Photo Is a Reminder Why Scotland’s Apology to Gay Men Is So Important

Homosexuality was illegal in Scotland until 1981

A photograph taken of two men in tears in the gallery of the Scottish Parliament is a touching reminder of the importance of Scotland’s apology to gay men convicted of historical sexual offences.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon “wholeheartedly” apologised on Tuesday to gay men, who were convicted when homosexuality was still illegal in the country.
Sturgeon’s apology came on the same day that new legislation was brought in, that would automatically pardon these men.
She said it was “shocking” that homosexuality remained illegal in Scotland until so recently — with consensual sex between men aged over 21 only being decriminalised in Scotland in 1981. The age of consent for gay men was only lowered to 16 in 2001.

“Before then, hundreds of people in Scotland were liable to be convicted as criminals, simply for loving another adult,” said Sturgeon. “Those laws criminalised the act of loving another adult; they deterred people from being honest about their identity to family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues; and by sending a message from parliament that homosexuality was wrong, they encouraged rather than deterred homophobia and hate.

“Today as first minister I categorically, unequivocally, and wholeheartedly apologise for those laws and for the hurt and the harm that they caused to so many,” she continued.

“Nothing that this parliament does can erase those injustices, but I do hope this apology, alongside our new legislation, can provide some comfort to those who endured those injustices,” Sturgeon added. “And I hope that it provides evidence of this parliament’s determination in so far as we can to address the harm that was done.”

The publication of the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill — the so-called “Turing law”, named after the World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing  — will provide an automatic formal pardon to an estimated 5,000 Scottish men, both living and dead.

It applies to acts which are now legal, however, it will not affect records for activity that is still illegal — such as non-consensual sex, or sex with a minor.

Those with convictions who are still alive will also be able to apply for a “disregard,”, which would remove convictions from their record.

While the pardon will be automatic, the “disregard” would need to be applied for in order to check on a case-by-case basis that the offences aren’t ones which are still illegal.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said the changes are an important step towards addressing the injustices faced by gay men in the past.

“These discriminatory laws, although abolished, continue to have implications for people to this day and it is only right that we address this historic wrong, which criminalised people simply because of who they loved,” he said.

England and Wales passed the Turing law in January 2017 , pardoning 50,000 gay and bisexual men who were convicted before homosexuality between men aged over 21 was decriminalised in 1967.

The law was informally named after Turing, who was convicted of “gross indecency” in 1952 and was chemically castrated, before committing suicide in 1954. He was pardoned in 2013.
Turing’s family and gay rights groups campaigned for pardons for other men historically convicted. Before the 2015 elections, they presented a petition with nearly 500,000 signatures to Downing Street.
The law would only be applied to men because gay women weren’t criminalised.

Sooner or later Love will Win especially in countries and continents where the LGBT+ people are hunted.


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Reduced Inequalities: Traffickers Are Taking Advantage on #Rohingya Children in Bangladesh Camps

The arrival of so many children provides a fertile hunting ground for traffickers.

UKHIA, Bangladesh, Nov 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The end of the cyclone season comes as a relief to most Rohingya in Bangladesh’s Kutupalong refugee camp. But not Noor Alom, who had been searching for his six-year-old daughter for two days.

Fatima left their home, which sits near three putrid latrines, to play on a nearby hillside – and never came back.

“Nobody has any news about her,” Alom told the Thomson Reuters Foundation after another exasperating search in the blistering heat, his wife rocking on the floor beside him.

“I am so worried that someone has sold her and taken her to another place,” he said. “People told me that it occurs here.”

His fears are not misplaced.

The United Nations (U.N.) says trafficking networks already exist in southern Bangladesh’s sprawling camps, which have been overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 600,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar over the last two months.

It says killings, arson and rape of Rohingya Muslims by troops and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist mobs since Aug. 25, in response to coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts, amount to a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Six out of ten of the new arrivals in the Bangladesh camps are children, providing a fertile hunting ground for traffickers looking for young girls to recruit as maids.

Thousands of children have, at some point, been separated from their families amid the chaos.

“It is a major, major risk,” said Jean Lieby, head of child protection at the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) in Bangladesh.

“Young girls might enter into this type of trafficking and then end up in one of the big cities.”


Nazir Ahmed, a Rohingya refugee in the camp, set up an information centre two months ago, which he said has already reunited some 1,800 lost children with their parents.

Despite its important title, the centre’s only equipment is a wooden table and a megaphone. But, from the moment the sun rises, it is inundated with people looking for their loved ones.

“For the Rohingya who have just come here, this place is new,” said Ahmed.

“If they go far from their house, they can easily get lost.”

On the morning the Thomson Reuters Foundation visited, two toddlers sat beside Ahmed, staring with terror at the wall of bodies in front of them.

“We are telling all brothers of the Rohingya, two children have been found and now they are with us,” Ahmed announced over the megaphone, to the amusement of one child,

“If these children are yours, you can take them,” he said, describing their red and yellow T-shirts, and how one had no pants on while the other had a toy in his hand.

“If they belong to your relative, you can inform them that they are here.”

Ahmed does not disclose the children’s names to protect them from potential traffickers. To claim a child, a parent must correctly recite their name and the child must confirm that the adult is their mother or father.

Ahmed is only too aware of the threat of human trafficking in Kutupalong. Only a day earlier, an unfamiliar man tried to snatch a child sitting on a footpath. He was swiftly attacked by the child’s relative who was buying food from a nearby shop.

“We are telling all the people that there are kidnappers here, so be careful with your children,” Ahmed said.

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A few hours after the first announcement was made, only the child in the red T-shirt remained, clutching some tattered bank notes donated by a sympathetic member of the audience.

As Ahmed hung up his microphone, a woman forced her way behind the table. The child stretched his slight arms towards her and, for the first time that day, cried uncontrollably.

“I lost my child after he followed his father out of the house this morning,” his mother, Diloara Begum, said after an emotional reunion.

“Some people told me the child will have died, others told me the child will have been kidnapped … When I heard he was at this place, I felt so happy I touched the sky with my hand.”


Trafficking is not the only form of exploitation that young Rohingya face in Bangladesh.

Other desperate families are selling their children into bonded labour, most commonly in the fish drying industry that dominates the nearest city, Cox’s Bazar, UNICEF said.

Families receive 18,000 taka ($217) while their children work to pay off the debt during the nine-month fishing season.

To encourage parents to keep their children in school, UNICEF has given more than 400 poor families who arrived in 2016 the same sum in cash, plus grants to start small businesses.

The agency would like to offer cash grants to the latest arrivals as well, but funding is tight as millions of dollars are also needed for essentials like water and medical care.

With the spectre of child trafficking looming large over the Rohingya camps, Alom was fortunate. After a three-day search, he found Fatima crying on one of Kutupalong’s dusty streets.

“My heart and mind were broken, no one knew anything about her,” he said. “Once I saw her I was so very happy, I don’t care what happened or where she went, I am just so happy.”

(Reporting By Katie Arnold, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.)

Hunger + Malnutrition: $581M Disbursed to Tackle Hunger/Malnutrition against alarming food crisis

The world’s food crisis is worsening thanks to rising levels of conflict and climate related disasters reaping devastation across the globe. This concerning context is compounded by G7 leaders failing to transparently follow through on the commitment they made to lift 500 million out of hunger by 2030.

In this context, holding leaders to account on commitments they made to Global Citizens towards ending hunger and malnutrition is vital right now. And the first Food and Hunger Accountability Report from Global Citizen published today helps to do just that.

Since 2012, Global Citizens have taken 1,155,764 actions toward food, hunger, and sustainable agriculture initiatives. Thanks to those actions, high-level advocacy and the efforts of our partners 13 commitments and 13 additional announcements in support of ending hunger and malnutrition have been secured, worth $1,836,671,098, which are set to affect the lives of 4 million people by 2030.

In order to tackle the acute issues of hunger and malnutrition, in a world where the number of hungry people in the world sits at a staggering 815 million, Global Citizen’s campaigning work is cantered around the following key themes:

— Food security
— Reducing malnutrition
— Food aid: famine and crisis response
— Food sustainability: agriculture and waste reduction.

The report provides details of each commitment across these four themes, its progress to date, as well as a traffic light summary of progress and finds that of all these commitments:

— 5 are on-track to be fully delivered, or to exceed their initial goals

— 3 are proceeding with some risk

— 4 are off track

— 6 are too early to tell, with future reports to contain further updates

Overall, the report finds that 870,000 lives have been impacted so far by these commitments, which means we are 21.58% toward impacting the 4 million lives set to be affected by 2030. We also confirm that at least $581 million has been raised or disbursed toward commitments worth $1.83 billion, which is 31.74% of target. In other words, this is important progress, but by no means is it enough. We must continue to hold leaders to account to their commitments for a fairer world.

You can read the full report here – or read on for key findings.

The global food system is broken

Globally, one in three people currently experience some form of malnutrition — ranging from undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, to overweight and obesity. The global food system is not delivering good, nutritious food for everyone, despite sufficient production, generating huge social and economic consequences. In 2016, 155 million children under 5 years of age were stunted. This means those children struggle with challenges associated with restricted cognitive and physical development because they had not received the nutrients they need at the start of life. They will become ill more frequently, do less well in school, and earn less as adults compared to their healthy, well fed, counterparts.

World hunger is on the rise, largely due to conflict

After years of steady decline, in 2016, the number of hungry people in the world increased by 38 million to a total of 815 million. This is largely due to the rise in violent conflicts and climate-related shocks. Political efforts to find peace must also form part of efforts to address hunger and malnutrition. More must be done to address the systemic failure of the global humanitarian system to provide timely and adequate relief to those facing emergencies, while ensuring that the immediate response to famine and other crises is not conducted at the expense of long-term development objectives.

More accountability is needed to tackle hunger and malnutrition

Progress tackling under-nutrition has been uneven and too slow, with weak international coordination and poor governance and accountability for commitments forming significant barriers. While the universal, cross-cutting nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alongside multi-stakeholder, country-led initiatives such as Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement have seen some improvements, accountability for nutrition commitments remains poor. In 2015, world leaders committed to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. In 2017, the world is dramatically off-track to reach all these goals, with current projections indicating there will still be 129 million stunted children in the world in 2030, the global deadline to achieve the end hunger and malnutrition.

Failure by G7 to fulfil their promise

In 2015, the G7, seven of the world’s most powerful governments — committed to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Yet, by 2017, the G7 still has not agreed to a detailed outcome focused accountability framework using open data that enables the sector to track and replicate results. Nor have they dedicated any new resources toward this target as a group.

Governments around the world must be held accountable for their commitments to address hunger and malnutrition. Malnourished people continue to waste while governments and key actors gain credit for their bold statements, while hiding their failure to deliver through lack of transparency.

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The Mordi Ibe Foundation Shares the same agenda with Global Citizen to continue to campaign for increased action, resources and accountability from all relevant decision makers to ensure the world achieves the global goal of zero hunger and zero malnutrition by 2030.

Reduced Inequalities: What you Should Know about “ORPHAN SUNDAY” 2017

Orphan Sunday is a time to stand up for the orphans of the world. In truth, there are likely no more vulnerable human beings in the entire world than those thousands upon thousands of children in this world who have no mother or father, due to all sorts of tragedies that have occurred in their lives, ranging from accidents, to sicknesses, to war. Whatever the reason, orphaned children need our help in any way we can offer it.


The History of Orphan Sunday

Over the years, many different churches and organizations have hosted events they called, “Orphan Sundays” in an effort to raise awareness of the orphans in our areas, their problems and needs. The Christian Alliance started their own version of Orphan Sunday back in , when a American visitor to Africa Gary Schneider attending a church service in Zambia was moved by the pastor’s call to care for the numerous orphans in a local community plagued by hunger bordering on starvation, poverty and AIDS. At that time especially, children who were orphans were in a particularly terrible situations, as they were often left to fend for themselves, a thing that no child is prepared to do. Because of this, many children’s entire lives became jeopardized, as they had no way to make enough money to got to school in hopes of getting an education and a decent job in the future. Even though the locals attending the service were mostly extremely poor themselves, at the end of the service, many of them stepped forward to offer their support, some even giving away their own clothes or shoes to help the children. Moved by this display of generosity, Schneider decided to help Zambian leaders take care of the Zambian orphans by getting the word out about this new practice, and it spread like wildfire. By 2003 these efforts had spread to the United States. The Christian Alliance honors the Zambian church Schneider had visited for the gift of Orphan Sunday and the inspiration they gave people all over the world to care about the orphan; in fact, Orphan Sunday is often called, “Zambia’s gift to the world”. Nowadays, the Christian Alliance includes more 150 respected ministries, and Orphan Sunday is celebrated in thousands of churches across the globe in over 50 nations.


How to Celebrate Orphan Sunday

The best way to celebrate Orphan Sunday is find something you can do for the sadly fatherless and motherless children the Zambians have been doing their best to look after for all these years. And it doesn’t stop there! Though Zambia is where the whole event started, it is definitely not the only place in the world where we can find orphaned children—there are children who have lost their parents in every community that could use your help. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan. Each Orphan Sunday event is different, depending on who it’s led by—the believer in any local church, along with their priest or pastor, get together to decide what actions they could take stand to benefit their local orphans as well as orphans worldwide. Events range from sermons on God’s heart for the orphan, whose plight Christians believe is especially important to, to fundraisers, live concerts, and even to foster family recruiting.

orphan s1

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G♥♥d Health + Well-Being: Focus “Dyslexia Awareness week 2017” Theme: +VE about #Dyslexia

Dyslexia Awareness Week – You might be wondering: do I have dyslexia?  The symptoms will differ depending on whether you’re a child or younger adult – or an undiagnosed adult.

This year Dyslexia Awareness Week takes place from 2-8 October 2017 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and from 6-11 November 2017 in Scotland.

The theme for Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017 is Positive about Dyslexia’ and will raise awareness of things like creating a dyslexia friendly environment and dyslexia awareness in our schools!

It’s especially important to spot dyslexia in schools.  Children with dyslexia tend to mix up words – which might mean saying something like ‘beddy tear’ instead of teddy bear.  They may have trouble saying long words and learning the alphabet could be a problem.

Other signs involve not only issues with learning letter names but also with the sounds of words and letters.  This means the phonological awareness is poor and they might not be able to answer a question like: ‘What word would you have if you changed the ‘p’ sound in ‘pot’ to a ‘h’ sound?

The signs in young adults and adults will be less obvious.  They might write more slowly and have problems expressing their knowledge on a subject.  If you’re experiencing real difficulty with spelling or find yourself trying to hide your work from others this is quite an obvious flag that something is going on.

You can also get involved by fundraising for this cause.  if you need some suggestions for getting started?   The British Dyslexia Association has provided lots of ideas to help you on your way!  A car boot sale is a great one!  and if you are away from Nigeria and Africa You know that spring clean where you find lots of miscellaneous stuff you don’t know where to put?  Well gather it all together, get your friends and family to do the same and you’ll be off in no time!

dyslexia aw



The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’.

  • It is a life long, usually genetic, inherited condition and affects around 10% of the population.
  • Dyslexia occurs in people of all races, backgrounds and abilities, and varies from person to person: no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Dyslexia occurs independently of intelligence.
  • Dyslexia is really about information processing: dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear. This can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills.
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties. It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • On the plus side, dyslexic people often have strong visual, creative and problem solving skills and are prominent among entrepreneurs, inventors, architects, engineers and in the arts and entertainment world. Many famous and successful people are dyslexic.



  • I see things from a different perspective.’
  • ‘I can come up with solutions no one else has thought of and I think fast on my feet.’
  • ‘When I am reading, occasionally a passage will get all jumbled up, but when it happens I have to read and re-read the passage over again
  • ‘I know what I want to say, but I can never find the right words.’
  • ‘In formal situations, although I know what I want to say, I struggle, lose focus and then my mind goes blank and I panic.’
  • ‘I have the right ideas, but I can’t get them down on paper.’
  • ‘It’s like my computer crashing with too much information!’
  • ‘Sometimes when I am being told what to do, the words I hear get all jumbled up in my mind and I just can’t take in what is being said to me.’

‘In general conversation with family, friends and colleagues they usually accept that I tend to ramble, forget and repeat,…. because that’s part of me’.

People with visual stress may experience one or several of the following:

  • Blurred letters or words which go out of focus.
  • Letters which move or present with back to front appearance or shimmering or shaking.
  • Headaches from reading.
  • Words or letters which break into two and appear as double.
  • Find it easier to read large, widely spaced print, than small and crowded.
  • Difficulty with tracking across the page.
  • Upset by glare on the page or oversensitive to bright lights.

In some cases any of these symptoms can significantly affect reading ability. It can also make reading very tiring. Of course a child will not necessarily recognise what they see as a problem, as this is how they always see text.


If a child complains of a least one of these problems or has difficulty at school, they should be referred to an optometrist or orthoptist with expertise in this particular field (see contact details below). Many dyslexic people are sensitive to the glare of white backgrounds on a page, white board or computer screen. This can make the reading of text much harder.

  • The use of cream or pastel coloured backgrounds can mitigate this difficulty as can coloured filters either as an overlay or as tinted reading glasses. – People with reading difficulties sometimes have a weakness in eye co-ordination or focussing and an specialist practitioner might recommend treating this with eye exercises or glasses. If these problems are present, they should be detected and treated before coloured filters are prescribed.
  • The choice of colour of text on white backgrounds can also affect clarity e.g. using red on a whiteboard can render the text almost invisible for some dyslexic students. For information on dyslexia friendly text see Dyslexia Style Guide.



Yes! Dyslexia can affect music. You/your student/your family member or friend may have difficulties with things such as:

  • Sight reading music.
  • Remembering instructions in lessons and/or aural work.
  • De-coding information – in music theory or exams, for example.
  • Organisation of things like attending instrumental or voice lessons, going to rehearsals, having the right stuff, practicing alone…

However, some people don’t have any of these problems, but may react to dyslexia in their own unique ways.

But – there are things that can be done!

For example:

  • Find a teacher who understands dyslexia.
  • Look at alternatives such as different (or no) exams; choice of instrument etc. Is music reading really necessary?
  • If exams are necessary, there are ‘reasonable adjustments’ that can be made to make life easier.
  • Use multi-sensory approaches in as many areas as possible. For example: use colour, pictures, demonstration, listening to explanations, recordings, discussion, written text (yes – some dyslexic people like it!), hands-on exploration and so on. Music is good for this as it involved DOING. Decide what works for you or your student.
  • See whether there may be a problem with seeing music on the page. If text or music seems to swirl around, ‘visual stress’ could be a problem.
  • It can be important for some dyslexic musicians to get a whole picture of a piece before working on it in detail.
  • There are various books available e.g. Music, other Performing Arts and Dyslexia published by the B.D.A. ( A U.K based store}

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♥Women & Girls♥: Only about 1% of the 15-Million Girls forced into Sex seek help. Via U.N

LONDON, Nov 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – At least 15 million teenage girls worldwide have been forced into sex – often by partners, relatives or friends – yet only one in 100 sought help, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Cameroon had the highest rate of sexual violence, with one in six teenage girls experiencing forced sex, the U.N.’s children’s agency (UNICEF) said in a report which examined data from more than 40 countries.

“This idea of women being at the disposal of men is a big factor driving the experience of sexual violence of girls,” report author Claudia Cappa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In the majority of cases, the abuser was known to the victim – with acts of sexual violence carried out by husbands, boyfriends, family members, friends and classmates.

UNICEF said widespread sexual violence against teenage girls could hinder global progress towards achieving the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a plan to end poverty, hunger, achieve gender equality and protect the planet by 2030.

The number of girls who have been forced to have sex is likely to be far higher than 15 million as many are reluctant to come forward and data is lacking in many countries, it said.

Abuses ranged from child sexual exploitation in the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry to online sexual abuse in the Philippines. The report also highlighted projects to combat violence, including self-defence classes in schools in Malawi.

Better laws to protect children and more support from social services are vital to bring about change, UNICEF said.

“What has proved to be particularly successful has been working with governments to develop national action plans that try to bring together different sectors, such as education and the justice system,” said Cappa.

Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women and girls around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo.

Weinstein, accused by a number of women of sexual harassment and assault in incidents dating back to the 1980s, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.


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The Mordi ibe Foundation Campaigns for the United nations Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalites

(Reporting by Lee Mannion @leemannion, Editing by Kieran Guilbert and Katy Migiro. Via the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience)

Reduced Inequalities: With 1Million Urban Homeless; India Is Turning Old Trains Into Homeless Shelters

But advocates say the plan isn’t enough to house the 1 million Indians living on the streets.

By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI, Oct 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indian officials plan to convert old railway coaches into shelters for the homeless before the start of colder weather, a move campaigners say does not address the issue of a crippling shortage of shelters and affordable housing in the country.

The government this month asked states to consider fitting old passenger coaches with electricity and sewerage connections, and installing them in areas of cities where shelters are needed.

The southern state of Telangana is looking into acquiring up to 10 coaches for this purpose, according to a senior official in the urban development ministry.

“We have asked officials to look into the logistics of converting five to 10 coaches into shelters,” said L. Vandana Kumar, a director in the state department.

“The main issue to building shelters in the cities is the lack of land. We are looking into possible solutions; this is a temporary solution until then,” he said.

There are about 1 million urban homeless in India, according to official data, although charities estimate the actual number to be three times higher.

The urban homeless population rose by a fifth in the decade to 2011, as thousands migrated from villages in search of better prospects. Every year, hundreds die from exposure to the cold or heat on pavements and station platforms.

The Supreme Court in 2010 had ordered one homeless shelter for every 100,000 people in 62 cities, with facilities including drinking water, subsidised meals, beds and lockers.

But few states have complied.

Last year, the Supreme Court slammed the government for failing to provide shelters, despite availability of funds.

A panel appointed by the top court said money earmarked for shelters was being diverted for other purposes, and that the homeless continued to live on the streets, particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

“Funding is not a problem anywhere, but homelessness is not a priority for states,” Kailash Gambhir, a former judge who headed the panel, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Land is an issue, and officials are also afraid that more migrant workers will come if there are more shelters. We had made several suggestions, including charging a nominal rent, but states are not following through,” he said.

India has committed to provide housing for all by 2022, creating 20 million new units. But the slow pace of implementation is leaving thousands homeless as slum dwellers are evicted.

Last year, buses and portable cabins doubled up as homeless shelters in northern India amidst a cold snap.

(Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, Editing by Ros Russell. Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.)

Good Health & Well-Being: Focus “World Polio Day 2017” Highlights of World Accomplishment

We are so close to eradicating the second disease in history — but there is still work to be done.

Polio once terrorized the world, paralyzing children and killing thousands during what were some of the worst epidemics of our time. But today, polio eradication efforts have come a long way thanks to global initiatives.

Polio is an infectious disease caused by poliovirus — there were three strains of the virus, but it is now assumed that only one type remains at large.

Still, there is work to be done to ensure we eliminate this disease once and for all. Here is where we’re at on World Polio Day 2017.

Polio is eradicated from all but three countries.

The only countries that still experience cases of polio are Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. That means it is 99.9% eradicated and it makes our fight to end the disease all the more pressing.

This past August, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) declared Somalia as polio-free , as it has not recorded a case of polio in the last three years.

Thanks to Global Citizens, Canada, Australia, and the UK made new commitments to polio eradication this year.

Days ahead of the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta in June, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced the country would commit to A$18 million over two years from 2019 for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

At the convention itself, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced Canada’s pledge of CAD$100 million to the GPEI

And then, in August, the UK Secretary of State for International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that the UK would commit £100 million towards polio eradication This will immunize up to 45 million children every year until 2020, saving more than 65,000 children from paralysis each year.

Still, it’s not quite enough.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people. In April 2018, the leaders will be meeting in London. This could be an opportunity for them to discuss some of the world’s biggest issues, including eradicating diseases like polio. The agenda for the 2018 Commonwealth Summit is being written right now.

Scientists can now create polio vaccines in plants.

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have manipulated the genetic code of a tobacco-plant relative to create a new polio vaccine. This vaccine is extracted from the plant’s leaves — and it was successful in preventing polio in animals during tests.

The approval of this vaccine could make distribution easier as clinics could use the “vaccine-plant” instead of having to wait for vaccines from aid organizations to arrive; which often cannot reach remote areas isolated by conflict.

There are mutant strains of polio derived from the vaccines.

There are actually more cases of vaccine-derived polio than there are wild ones. In 2017, there have only been 12 cases of wild polio, and there have been 61 cases of vaccine-derived polio.

Vaccine-derived cases occur when the oral polio vaccine, which uses a live strain of the virus, mutates and causes polio. While the number of vaccine cases may seem alarming, this will improve as countries transition from using the oral vaccine to the injectable Salk vaccine (which uses a dead strain of the virus).

This is not the wild virus making a comeback, but rather one last obstacle to confront in order to eradicate the disease altogether.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is only about half funded.

Polio eradication efforts are not just important when it comes to eliminating the disease. Efforts to eradicate polio have led to better health systems and improved responses to health crises like ebola and zika.

CEPI was set up in 2016 to develop new and improved vaccines so as to better prepare the world for future epidemics.

CEPI is only about half funded right now, which is why Global Citizens are asking governments to step up and commit to bridge the nearly $500 million funding gap.