I feel overwhelming gratitude for the many mothers in my life – the mother that raised me, the mother that raised my fabulous husband, the mother of my three children created thru egg donation and the Korean and Chinese mothers that gave birth to my daughters and then made the difficult decision to place them for adoption. I have always imagined what their life would have been if, instead of completing reams of paperwork and writing checks for large sums of money, we had worked to provide for their original families so that they would have been able to be raised in their country of origin. That venture is much more difficult and involves a more long-term world view than a short-term individualistic approach. But that is exactly what the founders of Second Mile Haiti are trying to achieve. We were fortunate to spend a few hours touring their expanding facility on our last day in Haiti.
The founders of Second Mile Haiti are Jenn Schenk and Amy Syres, two young women who had a vision to create a sustainable option for families who were previously relinquishing their malnourished children to care centers, where the children were either placed for international adoption or reunified back into their impoverished families after their malnutrition was corrected. It didn’t seem right that the only available way to help these families was to take their kids from them. We really had to ask ourselves if there wasn’t some sort of alternative” says Amy, regarding the experiences that led the co-founders to start Second Mile Haiti.
Across the world, over 17,000 children under age five continue to die every day, mostly from preventable causes and treatable diseases. This translates to approximately 12 children every minute and over 6.3 million total in 2013. More than half of these child deaths can be attributed to malnutrition (approximately 45% of all child deaths), pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and malaria.
Nearly 3 million of the total deaths occur in children within their first month of life. The Challenge. The 2015 Children’s Prize seeks the best and most effective project that proposes to save the greatest number of children’s lives with $250,000. Projects will be evaluated based on the ability to impact rates within a child mortality indicator (U5MR, IMR, NMR, etc.), effectiveness, innovation and scalability of the intervention approach within global health, feasibility of the proposed lives-saved estimate, probability of success, ease of verification and inclusion of an impact assessment for the project.
The Children’s Prize, a $250,000 global health competition, is open for applications from individuals, nonprofits, and for profits organizations that work for children and can save more children’s lives through funding.
Currently 805 million people are undernourished worldwide. That number is based on a number of factors including chronic and systemic poverty, a lack of access to improved growing methods and resources for small-holder farmers, a lack of purchasing power, as well as a lack of highly nutritious foods.
Researchers believe forests can help remedy the hunger problem worldwide. Even though 61.3 percent of the world’s forests are wholly owned by individual governments, that is a sharp decline from 71.4 percent in 2002 according to the newly-released report, Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition [PDF].
Over 60 forest scientists contributed to the new report which outlines the best ways in which available forestland can be utilized to curb hunger. The first way is via tree crops that are often rich in vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients and are associated with more diverse diets. Examples include cashews and the African locust bean.
An international expert panel of leaders convened today in New York City to launch the Code Blue campaign demanding an end to sexual abuses by UN peacekeeping forces and the automatic immunity they are afforded when abuses occur.
In recent weeks a scathing, formerly classified, report: Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces, was leaked revealing French peacekeeper soldiers sexually abused boys as young as nine during their Central African Republic Sangris operation between December 2013 and June 2014. The report, which was ultimately leaked by a senior UN aid worker and director of operations, Anders Kompass, states that mostly homeless and orphaned boys were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation, including sodomy and rape, by French peacekeepers occurred in exchange for food and money. The abuses allegedly occurred at the renown M’Poko airport in Bangui where thousands retreated to relative safety during the height of the ethnic violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic’s near genocide.
Kompass was subsequently disciplined for breaking UN protocols. Meanwhile, the report was first leaked in July of 2014 and stagnated until it was revealed recently by AIDS-Free World.
The UN, however, contends the peacekeeping soldiers in question are not a part of their operations. “The forces referred to in the Guardian story are French and do not fall under UN authority,” says a UN official. “The issue of confronting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel remains one of our highest priorities.”