By Stephen Otage for www.allafrica.com
The United States Embassy in Kampala wants the government of Uganda to develop programs tailored towards addressing challenges faced by adolescent girls beyond providing free sanitary pads to them.
Mr. Mark Meassick, a director at the US Mission said Uganda needs to critically think about the plight of adolescent girls because they comprise the majority of the population; they have the highest HIV infection rates and they are the ones producing the highest number of children without any planning.
"Provide tailored attention to their needs. Help them to overcome all these obstacles because they deserve a chance like all Ugandans. In special circumstances, we should give a special package of chances," he said while passing out formerly vulnerable girls who have been empowered to fend for themselves without waiting for handouts.
Mr. John Makoha, the AVSI country representative said they are celebrating the success of the SCORE Project which did not give out handouts to girls but empowered about 30,000 lasses to increase their social security.
He said the beneficiaries can now start income generating projects which would enable them send their children to school and have stable families.
By HTET KHAUNG LINN / PUBLISHED BY MYANMAR NOW www.myanmar-now.org
BYINKAT VILLAGE, Mandalay Region - Kyaw Win is one of the millions of farmers who have long struggled to make ends meet in the harsh environment of central Myanmar’s Dry Zone.
But last year he began cultivating high-quality rice seeds at his farm in Byinkat Village and closely followed the growing instructions for the drought-resistant variety, which was supplied by international NGO AVSI.
Since then, his harvest has significantly increased. “I can now produce 100 paddy baskets per acre by using the methods of AVIS. Some farmers have imitated me and asked about my farming practices,” Kyaw Win said, adding that his harvest had increased with about 40 percent.
In the Dry Zone, some 10 million farmers rely on rainy season rice, oil seeds and pulses. Many languish in poverty and debt, and a lack of enough food is common. The region’s drought is compounded by the poor quality groundwater and by climate change, which has caused increasingly erratic rainfall in the past decade.
The introduction of more productive and resilient rice seeds, government officials and aid workers said, is a key strategy for helping the vulnerable communities.
“Climatic change in the Dry Zone is affecting the incomes of farmers through unseasonal rainfall or drought,” said Aung Soe Win, project manager of AVIS in Yamethin Township, Mandalay Region.
By Jo Griffin for theguardian.com
In recent weeks, more than 140 prison inmates have died in gang violence in Brazil. But away from the headlines a parallel catastrophe has been unfolding in the country’s juvenile detention centres, with campaigners demanding reforms and warning that proposals to stiffen sentences for young offenders could compound the crisis in the penal system.
Under existing law, offenders aged 12 to 18 are supposed to be dealt with through community service or education, with a maximum penalty of up to three years at a detention centre for the most serious crimes. In reality, however, young people who commit minor infractions are often locked up in overcrowded facilities with scant opportunity for rehabilitation and education, or protection from mistreatment, claim campaigners.
Robert Muggah, founder of the thinktank Igarapé Institute in Rio de Janeiro, says politicians have seized on rising crime to win support for tougher jail terms for young people. “The so-called ‘bullets, bibles and beef caucus’ are pushing through the legislation at a time of acute political and economic crisis in Brazil. Even before the impeachment of Dilma [Rousseff], they aggressively campaigned to water down gun control legislation and lower the age of criminal responsibility.
Increasing privatisation has generated an incentive to fill prisons, says Muggah, with “little concern expressed by the Brazilian public [about] the state of prisons, their conditions or the inmates”. The recent crisis has led to calls for more privatisation.
“Unless Brazil decriminalises drugs and begins applying existing legislation that sanctions alternative and proportionate sentencing, these problems will continue unabated,” says Muggah.
He cites the pioneering Apac programme, used in Brazil and other countries as an example of a restorative justice plan with a high success rate in reducing recidivism. In Chile, a prison reform plan including alternative sentencing for non-violent crimes reduced overcrowding from 60% to 15% in 2014, he says.
By Charlie Wood for www.csmonitor.com
What would you do with a modest paycheck that showed up monthly, regardless of employment: Retire early? Change careers? Open that business you’ve always dreamed about?
This question lies at the heart of the growingly popular but contentious topic of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which proposes replacing often inefficient social welfare programs with a guaranteed paycheck for all, enough to afford at least the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. It's a counter-intuitive income model that challenges assumptions about effective compassion and induced laziness, but amid fears of an automated future, more economists are starting to take a hard look.
This summer, Switzerland overwhelmingly rejected a UBI referendum, with almost 80 percent voting against it. “If you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing,” Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute, told AFP.
But is that necessarily the case? Some economists say a mounting body of evidence regarding a poverty-fighting tool called “cash transfers” may suggest otherwise.
Cash transfers are just what they sound like: a gift of capital, often from an NGO to members of a population living in poverty. Narrow in scope, they generally target groups of a few hundred to a thousand individuals with sums that fall between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. Some are one-time lump sums, and others recur monthly for a time.
Proponents argue that cash transfers are effective for precisely the same reasons cash birthday gifts can be disappointing: they require almost no effort and often end up getting used on what the recipient needs, rather than what they desire. In these respects cash transfers resemble UBI with its flexibility and low overhead costs, although much more focused on helping people escape from poverty, rather than, say, surviving automation.
The Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) Foundation gave a one-time transfer of $150, accompanied by four days of business skills training, to 15 of the poorest women in 120 Ugandan villages. Half of the 1,800 women received the cash transfer and training a year-and-a-half after the others. Comparing the group that received the money early with the one that received it later, research and poverty organization Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) concluded that the program had a “transformative” economic effect, with monthly income almost doubling, consumption increasing by a third, and savings tripling.
PUBLISHED BY reliefweb.int
The rainy season has always been a nightmare for Afonso Chirindze and his family. As residents of the George Dimitrov informal settlement, four months of rain and the flooding that followed would bring tremendous hardships.
“We would be literally swamped, and would spend a lot more on health care,” said Chirindze, 67. “For a long time, the lack of proper drainage systems and urban planning were at the root causes of that.”
That was before the neighborhood, located in the northern area of Maputo, was upgraded with new drainage systems and paved access roads, as part of the Maputo Municipal Development Program.
“Now I can move around with ease along the paved walkways and streets of the neighborhood,” Chirindze said, with a large smile. “My children no longer need to move away to higher grounds and stay with relatives. And malaria, which was pervasive during that period, is now becoming something of the past.”
With support from the World Bank, the upgrades were completed under the second phase of the program, known as ProMaputo II. About 40,000 residents of the George Dimitrov neighborhood directly benefited from the urban upgrading, including 2,000 children whose school -- which would be closed for months due to flooding-- was completely renovated.
The George Dimitrov community actively participated during the project formulation by jointly defining priorities and during implementation, and project monitoring and management.
As part of the implementation, the Municipal Council forged partnerships with foundations such as the AVSI Foundation, as well as with the Faculty of Architecture of Eduardo Mondlane University to produce prototype stalls for vendors selling clothes and food products along the public roads and markets. For this purpose, each vendor acquired a stall, paying 30% of the actual value while the remaining 70% was financed by the AVSI Foundation.
Published by reliefweb.int
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 9 January 2017 – Around three months ago hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, disrupting the lives of over two million people. In addition to the personal losses of homes and crops, more than 716 schools, numerous health facilities, and the existing sanitation infrastructure all suffered damage. Today, 1.4 million people in Haiti, including 600,000 children, require humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF is working with the Government and other partners to address the immediate basic needs of children and families, ensuring that these interventions lay the foundation for rehabilitation and resilience.
In collaboration with the IBESR (Ministry of Social Affairs), UNICEF is reaching 4,468 children with basic needs assistance including hygiene kits, blankets and food, as well as documentation assistance for documents lost in the hurricane.
UNICEF also supports child friendly spaces that provide children between the ages of 3 and 17 with a safe environment to play and be themselves, despite the challenging circumstances.
“Following hurricane Matthew we found that many children in the CFS [child friendly spaces] have had nightmares or panic attacks. Their trauma manifested in the children’s’ behaviour, in their drawings,” says Laura Gabrici, protection manager with AVSI Foundation, an international NGO working in partnership with UNICEF. “Often these children are very concerned about the fate of people dear to them, especially their parents, fearing that those people may disappear at any time in their lives. They are constantly afraid of being left alone.”
Published by broadwayworld.com
In January, AVSI-USA will be presenting two debut screenings of an award-winning documentary about Crecemos, an education and nutrition center in Oaxaca, Mexico, a long-term partner of the international NGO.
THE AWAKENED HEART first screening will take place in New York on January 14, 2017, as part of the New York Encounter, and in Washington DC, on January 25, 2017, at the Mexican Cultural Institute. Screenings will be followed by a Q&A discussion with Executive Director of Crecemos, Maria del Socorro del Rio.
Co-directed by Giovanni Morricone and Simonetta D'Italia, the short documentary The Awakened Heart was shot entirely over three and a half days in November 2015, in the slums of Oaxaca. Crecemos is located in the most dangerous neighborhood of Oaxaca City.
published by washingtonhispanic.com
En enero, AVSI-USA estará presentando por primera vez la proyección del documental “The Awakened Heart”, acerca del centro de educación y nutrición “Crecemos”, una organización de la sociedad civil que implementa estrategias integrales de Educación y Nutrición para disminuir el rezago social de niñas, niños y jóvenes de zonas rurales y periurbanas del estado de Oaxaca, México.
La presentación del documental en Washington D.C., será el 25 de enero, 2017, en el Instituto Cultural de México y luego de la proyección se tendrá una conversación con la Directora Ejecutiva de Crecemos, María del Socorro del Río.
Co-dirigida por Giovanni Morricone y Simonetta D’Italia, el corto documental “The Awakened Herat”, fue filmado totalmente durante tres días y medio en noviembre 2015, en las zonas pobres de Oaxaca.
The Awakened Heart, transporta a los asistentes dentro del hogar de Carlos Avedaño Salas, un joven de 10 años y su familia cuyas vidas han sido transformadas a través del servicio dedicado y acompañamiento suministrado por el personal de Crecemos en los años recién pasados.
Published by www.statehouse.go.ug
President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated his call to all people in the country to abandon subsistence agriculture in favor of modern commercial farming for both food and financial security. He also advised them to stop the culture of land fragmentation through property inheritance a practice that fuels poverty.
President Museveni made the remarks yesterday during his tour at Bamwe Agro Technologies Company, an Apple growing project located in Buyanja sub-county, Rubabo County, Rukungiri district. The company has apples nursery bed on an acre of land, with seedlings ready for sale to farmers, a special refrigerated room for seed germination and an orchard of 7,552 apple trees on a 40 acre of land that were planted in 2014. The project is recorded as the biggest in the country and has benefited about 145, 000 farmers in the region.
The Chief Executive Officer of Bamwe Technologies Mr. Reuben Mwesigye said that 320 apple trees, if well looked after in ten years, can make returns of 24,000,000/= annually. Bamwe Technologies is also supported by AVSI an Italian non-profit making government agency in terms of training on apples growing.
Present at the function was the Minister of State for Security Brigadier General Henry Tumukunde, Rubabo county MP Hon. Paula Turyahikayo, AVSI country RepresenTAtive Mr. Samuel Otim Rizzo, among others.
Published by www.carbonsink.it
We are glad to announce that our project ‘Carbon Finance for families in Mozambique’ together with the project ‘Clean Energy Promotion through Microfinance in Ethiopia’ operated by a consortium of organizations and led by the Finland-based Gaia Consulting Oy, have tied in first place for the 2016 Best Climate Practices Award with the theme ‘Expanding access to Climate Financing’.
According to the judges, “Carbon Finance for families in Mozambique” implemented by CarbonSink together with AVSI and Cloros Srl used in an exemplary way the Climate Finance to promote energy efficiency, conservation of natural resources and at the same time improving the living conditions of the population of the area and contributing to climate change mitigation.
CarbonSink thanked the team of judges consisting of representatives: International Center for Climate Governance, Green Growth Knowledge Platform and Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice, Green Climate Fund, UNFCCC, UNEP Inquiry and everyone who voted for our project online!
Best Practices Contest Awards 2016: Winners Announcement
IN THE NEWS
Read articles featuring AVSI’s work across 30 countries.