Friday, October 9, 2015

How common is sexual violence in the humanitarian aid community? | New Scientist

How common is sexual violence in the humanitarian aid community? | New Scientist: "Jones gave a talk last month at the Sexual Violence Management Conference for the Humanitarian sector in London, where she outlined some initial findings from surveys of aid workers that the Headington Institute has conducted over the past five years.

Some 10 per cent of the 1439 aid workers that the Headington Institute surveyed reported being forced into unwanted sexual contact. Three-quarters of those reporting an incident were female. When the Headington researchers examined a sub-set of 1108 aid workers from 37 countries, they found that four in 10 had experienced two or more unwanted incidents."

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Understanding hunger | Devex

Understanding hunger | Devex: "“Now we’re looking at loss of life and loss of potential caused by unseen deficiencies — deficiencies taken for granted in so much of the developed world where people don’t need to know their foods are fortified with nutrients in order to be saved by them,” he said.

 Food fortification has long benefited from a lack of awareness, Lomborg explained. People don’t need to know why — or by whom — their flour is enriched with folic acid and vitamin A in order to see neural tube defects in newborns reduced by 30 percent over a single generation. Likewise, in only a few decades, 91 million children were protected against iodine deficiency, and not because consumers changed their habits, according to a study by UNICEF. Meanwhile, the fortification of cooking oil with vitamin A, which became mandatory in Indonesia in March, reduced vitamin A deficiency in infants and breast-feeding mothers without increasing the amount of cooking oil consumed.

 When governments make fortification mandatory, as they have in one form or another in 84 countries across the globe, advertising and awareness campaigns become less necessary — saving time and budgets, as well as lives."

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Why Obama's legacy trade agreement matters for development | Devex

Why Obama's legacy trade agreement matters for development | Devex: "While negotiations between the 12 countries have wrapped up, the text of the agreement itself will likely not be made public for another few weeks — or perhaps months. Importantly, that final text will ultimately contain the key details of how TPP countries will implement and enforce the accord. What is available so far is the 30-chapter summary of the agreement.

The TPP agreement summary contains an entire chapter specifically on development and it is believed to be a first time that such a multinational trade deal includes a specific focus on the topic. It mentions three areas “to be considered for collaborative work” once TPP enters force — broad-based economic growth, women’s empowerment and education, science and technology. But it remains unclear exactly how a specific development focus will be woven into the contours of the agreement. And the language around it appears vague, for example, calling for the establishment of a TPP Development Committee that will “meet regularly to promote voluntary cooperative work in these areas and new opportunities as they arise.”"

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No Country Is As Deadly For Aid Workers As Afghanistan

No Country Is As Deadly For Aid Workers As Afghanistan: "A recent deadly U.S. airstrike against a hospital in northern Afghanistan was only the latest attack amid the myriad dangers humanitarian workers face in the war-riven country. From 1997 to the end of 2014, more than 450 aid workers were killed, assaulted, or kidnapped in Afghanistan, making it the most dangerous country in the world for doctors, relief workers, and other humanitarians, according to data from the Aid Worker Security Database."

2015_10_7 AidWorkerIncidents.r5

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Where the 'magic happens' for innovation | Devex

Where the 'magic happens' for innovation | Devex: "Innovation can be a real challenge for nongovernmental organizations because of funding constraints and restrictions.

“I think it’s actually really hard for NGOs to innovate,” Ann Mei Chang, executive director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s U.S. Global Development Lab, said at the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco Wednesday. “And I think one of the biggest problems is folks like USAID.”

But USAID has recognized that major funders and old systems are part of the problem and the agency is working to address the issue by providing flexible funding models, she added.

Chang’s comments drew laughs from a crowd of social business enthusiasts, and probably some appreciation from her colleagues from UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity and World Vision International at the SOCAP Conference Wednesday. Devex caught up with Chang for a video interview to hear more about the challenges of scaling innovations at NGOs and her plans for the lab.

“SOCAP really works at the intersection of the private sector, the public sector and NGOs,” said Chang, who spent most of her career in Silicon Valley before joining USAID. The former senior engineering director at Google is now tasked with driving science, technology and innovation through a government agency."

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Protesting group agrees to talks with Nepal government - Yahoo News

Protesting group agrees to talks with Nepal government - Yahoo News: "KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The main group protesting against a new constitution in Nepal has agreed to sit down for talks with the government in the first step toward easing the lingering crisis in the Himalayan nation."

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Ivory Coast seeks to save forests from illegal cocoa boom | Top News | Reuters

Ivory Coast seeks to save forests from illegal cocoa boom | Top News | Reuters: "With the years of turmoil over, the government of President Alassane Ouattara is preparing to re-exert state authority by expelling tens of thousands of farmers from parks and reserves in an attempt to save the dwindling forests.

Mont Peko, with an illegal population of around 28,000, will prove the first test of the government's new policy. Evictions are slated for December and similar operations will follow in Ivory Coast's more than 200 parks and reserves.

"The role of a national park is not to produce cocoa," said Adama Tondossama, director of the OIPR, one of the government agencies charged with managing protected land. "Those people who are there are there illegally and we'll fight to get them out."

But as it works to roll back decades of environmental destruction, the government faces a dilemma: can it foster conservation while avoiding social unrest and preserving the country's position as the world's top cocoa grower?"

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