Tag Archives: UNICEF

Our Top 10 Recommended NGO Videos of 2014

Effective video making is a powerful form of storytelling. Videos, when done well, get to the heart of the matter quickly and leave people wanting to know more, do more, and donate more. These videos encompass all of those things and also made us want to delve more into not only their messages, but also spread the word. Here are our top 10 NGO video recommendations of the year.

World Food Programme

World Food Programme workers the world over constantly face what could be insurmountable circumstances to feed people who lack proper nutrition and enough food to sustain themselves. With a rock-n-roll backdrop in this video the WFP shows how they have overcome logistical barriers to feed the South Sudanese during the rainy season.

The Blessing Basket Project

Do you remember the first time you saw the ocean? For many of us who have visited the coast since we were kids that memory is long gone. Not so for Sarah, a Ugandan country director for The Blessing Basket Project, who recently saw the ocean for the very first time. This video in its simplicity shows how far good content can go.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Have you read The Last Hunger Season by Roger Thurow? If you haven’t gift it to yourself during the holidays. It’s a remarkable read. What’s even better is Thurow followed up his book this year with an eight part film series. So many of us who have read The Last Hunger Season wanted to know more about everyone Thurow mentioned in the book. How were they doing? Did they see improvements in their lives and harvests? Did they endure another hunger season? You can find out those answers in the film series. Watch all eight and follow Thurow’s blog, Outrage and Inspire.

Norad

We all know every child has the right to an education. But did you know children with disabilities, children in marginalized groups, girls, and child soldiers are often kept out of school? These children also have a right to an education. 57 million children are still without an education. This video shows how BRAC, through the assistance of Norad,  helped a physically disabled little girl, Ria, go to primary school in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Clean Team Ghana

Something as simple as using the bathroom can be very dangerous for women and girls, especially where there are public toilets.  The Clean Team Ghana keeps public toilets clean for the communities at an affordable rate where everyone can use the restroom with dignity.

Doctors Without Borders

Even in the midst of armed conflicts Doctors Without Borders along with other international NGOs believe that children still must be vaccinated. This video shows how difficult it can be to vaccinate children in some of the most remote areas of the Congo and how Doctors Without Borders team accomplished their task despite the inherent obstacles.

UNICEF

Pakistan has 170 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births each year per the World Health Organization making it one of the countries in Asia with the highest maternal mortality rates. Sub-Saharan Africa sees the greatest maternal death rates. Without midwives, more women will die without skilled ante and postnatal care. Through first-person storytelling, this UNICEF video shows the importance of midwives in Pakistan to the safe delivery of newborns and the survival of their mothers.

20/20/20

This touching video of two sisters who were born blind shows how a simple medical procedure can correct blindness and restore sight within 15 minutes. 20/20/20 gives sight to some of the world’s poorest children and adults who otherwise would never be able to afford this operation.

Human Rights Watch

Can you imagine getting up every morning to clean human waste from dry toilets (those without running water or that are not attached to a septic system) day after day without pay? And, while the work is humiliating enough, adverse health conditions arise from carrying baskets of excreta on one’s head from losing patches of hair, having constant nausea and headaches  to getting skin diseases and having breathing difficulties. Watch this chilling Human Rights Watch video about women in the undesirable caste who are forced to clean human waste in India.

Girl Effect

FGM (female genital mutilation) is one of the most inhumane practices on young girls in the world. It causes undue physical and psychological damage to girls for the course of their entire lives. More than 125 million girls and women living today have undergone FGM in mainly 30 countries. However, with an increase in immigration, girls who now live in western countries are also getting “cut” in order to sustain the rigid cultural practice. This Girl Effect video shares the candid and moving voices of women who underwent FGM and are now speaking out against it.

Correction (9/18):  Clean Team is a sanitation business not an NGO. Clean Team provides in-house toilets to the urban poor in Kumasi, Ghana at an affordable fee. They do not keep public toilets clean.

Logistics Team Visits South Sudan to Assess Road Conditions Amid Looming Famine

Last month, a United Nations team travelled to Western Equitoria,  Central Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan to assess road conditions, an important task when famine looms in a region that is mostly agrarian. Without passable roads it is impossible for lifesaving, critical health supplies, health workers, aid agencies,  and most importantly food to reach remote areas that are cut off from main city centers especially during the rainy season and when the need is most critical for vulnerable populations.

Aid agencies including UNICEF, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the World Food Program have warned the world that a famine is quickly nearing in South Sudan amid continued failed peace talks and violence. Famine is an extremely strong word  to use when it comes to food insecurity and no one wants to utter it until the very last moment when people, especially children, are already on the brink of dying.

The United States has already provided nearly $400 million in humanitarian aid and due to impassable road conditions much of the relief will be delivered via air drops and river transport. The United Nations has estimated that $1.8 billion will be needed to provide aid for 3.4 million people.

Logistics Cluster posted a telling map of South Sudan dated from May 2, 2014. In Western Equitoria,  Central Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal there is little infrastructure save for some primary roads, which are questionably passable, and a few primary cities. The lack of reliable infrastructure continues to make humanitarian relief difficult to fulfill.

According to UNICEF, nearly one million children in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition this year and according to Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, 50,000 may die from malnutrition in the coming months.

“The world should not wait for a famine to be announced while children here are dying each and every day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a statement, speaking after a visit to the devastated city of Malakal, where tens of thousands of people still take shelter on a UN base. “Today we spoke to mothers who have struggled through conflict, displacement and hunger to stop their children from dying. We all have to do more, and quickly, to keep more children alive.”

 Country: South Sudan Year: 2014 Photographer: Christine Nesbitt title / Job name:  caption:      On 11 August, Nyabol Hion holds her 2-year-old daughter, Nyanmot Lam, at Al Sabbah Paediatric Hospital in Juba, the capital. “I travelled here by boat with my husband’s brother,” says Ms. Hion. “My three other children stayed with my husband in Walyar in Unity State." Her home was destroyed during the conflict, and she lived for a while in the bush after fleeing the fighting. Nyanmot’s illness began in April 2014, but she has been in hospital for only three days, receiving therapeutic milk every two hours for her malnutrition, as well as antibiotics to treat her diarrhoea and vomiting. “Nyanmot is not the only sick child I’ve seen,” say Ms. Hion. “Many children are sick, and many are passing away.” After Nyanmot’s treatment, they will return to Walyar. “My wish is for a good life and peace,” says Ms. Hion, who advises mothers that “if your child is sick, take the child to the hospital.” In early August 2014 in South Sudan, 1.1 million people have been displaced since resurgent conflict erupted in mid-December 2013. An estimated 588,222 of the displaced are children. Some 434,000 people have also sought refuge in neighbouring countries. UNICEF has appealed for US$151.7 million to cover emergency responses across the vital areas of nutrition; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; protection; education; multi-sector refugee response; and cholera response. By 5 August, 62 per cent remained unfunded.

On 11 August,NyabolHion holds her 2-year-old daughter,Nyanmot Lam, at AlSabbahPaediatric Hospital in Juba, the capital. “I travelled here by boat with my husband’s brother,” says Ms.Hion. “My three other children stayed with my husband inWalyar in Unity State.” Her home was destroyed during the conflict, and she lived for a while in the bush after fleeing the fighting. Nyanmot’s illness began in April 2014, but she has been in hospital for only three days, receiving therapeutic milk every two hours for her malnutrition, as well as antibiotics to treat her diarrhoea and vomiting. “Nyanmot is not the only sick child I’ve seen,” say Ms.Hion. “Many children are sick, and many are passing away.” After Nyanmot’s treatment, they will return toWalyar. “My wish is for a good life and peace,” says Ms.Hion, who advises mothers that “if your child is sick, take the child to the hospital.”

 

A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel. A woman mixes cassava flour in the back of an old UN vehicle in Langwa Payam, on the road between Maridi and Mundri, Western Equatoria. 26 July 2014 Western Equatoria, South Sudan
A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel.A woman mixes cassava flour in the back of an old UN vehicle in Langwa Payam, on the road between Maridi and Mundri, Western Equatoria.
26 July 2014
Western Equatoria, South Sudan

 

A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel. A group of truck drivers take turns clearing earth to drain water from an impassable section of road that has stopped close to 100 trucks on the road linking Western Equatoria and Western Bahr El Ghazal

A group of truck drivers take turns clearing earth to drain water from an impassable section of road that has stopped close to 100 trucks on the road linking Western Equatoria and Western Bahr El Ghazal
UN Security Team Conducts Road Assessment in South Sudan
A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel. Children stay in the cab while the Security Team jump-starts a truck with a dead battery in Western Equatoria. 23 July 2014 Western Equatoria, South Sudan
UN Security Team Conducts Road Assessment in South Sudan
A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel. The Security Team tows out a stuck vehicle in Western Equatoria, near the town of Lui.
UN Security Team Conducts Road Assessment in South Sudan
A team of UN Security officials travelled through parts of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal, to assess the state of the road and other conditions, including local conditions that might impact travel. Drivers of an overturned truck set up a tarpaulin for shelter from the rain near Yambio, Western Equatoria. 23 July 2014 Yambio, South Sudan

Photos: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

[Photos in B&W] Historical Look at Child and Newborn Health in the US

There is a long tradition of newborn and child healthcare in the United States and around the world for that matter. See photos below. From 1900 – 1997 the child mortality rate decreased more than 90% in the United States – a laudable national health achievement.  Now there is an accelerated global move to save more newborn lives around the world given the knowledge and interventions that can keep more newborns alive in countries where the newborn mortality rate is absurdly high.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization has led a new movement to draft the Every Newborn Action Plan that will create a roadmap to lower the newborn mortality rate across the board to effectively reduce the overall child mortality rate. Through February 28 you can add your thoughts and ideas about the plan on the World Health Organization web site.

Without a national plan, strength of will, resources, and national participation the child mortality rate in the United States might not have improved as rapidly as it did. This shows that indeed improvements can be made in child and newborn survival rates when everyone is on the same page. Changes will not happen overnight, to be sure, but they will happen when steps are made in the right direction.

Read and comment on the Every Newborn Action Plan.

Nurse Aiko Hamaguchi, mother Frances Yokoyama, baby Fukomoto, Manzanar Relocation Center, California
Nurse Aiko Hamaguchi, mother Frances Yokoyama, baby Fukomoto, Manzanar Relocation Center, California. Ansel Adams
Baby in the nursey at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Baby in the nursey at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Russell Lee
Nurse weighs baby in the nursery of the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona. Russel Lee
Nurse weighs baby in the nursery of the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona. Russel Lee
Chicago, Illinois. Provident Hospital. Miss Irene Hill, nurse technician, taking baby to be x-rayed. Jack Delano
Chicago, Illinois. Provident Hospital. Miss Irene Hill, nurse technician, taking baby to be x-rayed. Jack Delano
Photo shows "Junior Sea Breeze" a summer hospital for babies run by the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, supported by John D. Rockefeller. The hospital was located at 64th Street and the East River, New York City.
Photo shows “Junior Sea Breeze” a summer hospital for babies run by the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, supported by John D. Rockefeller. The hospital was located at 64th Street and the East River, New York City. Bain News Service.
Doctors examining baby whose parents have just brought him into the clinic at the Negro hospital. Chicago, Illinois. Russel Lee
Doctors examining baby whose parents have just brought him into the clinic at the Negro hospital. Chicago, Illinois. Russel Lee
At the well baby clinic at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers' community. The well baby clinic meets once a week and babies are weighed, measured, and others given instructions as to their care, feeding, etc. Three of those babies were born at the Cairns Hospital. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
At the well baby clinic at the Cairns General Hospital at the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farm workers’ community. The well baby clinic meets once a week and babies are weighed, measured, and others given instructions as to their care, feeding, etc. Three of those babies were born at the Cairns Hospital. Eleven Mile Corner, Arizona
Babies and child care - doctor examining babies on Recreation Pier, E. 24th St., N.Y.C. - N.Y. Health Board supervising care of babies in hot weather
Babies and child care – doctor examining babies on Recreation Pier, E. 24th St., N.Y.C. – N.Y. Health Board supervising care of babies in hot weather

Credits

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-A35-5-M-4
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34- 071888-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34- 071908-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USW3- 000544-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-09828
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34-038660-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USF34-071858-D
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-72011

Can Data Keep Children Alive?

Today UNICEF released its annual State of the World’s Children report and this year they have placed a heavy emphasis on the data. In its report UNICEF says that when children are counted they automatically matter. We share their sentiments wholeheartedly. When children are counted then programs can be created and implemented to help them stay alive and healthy.

Health workers measure and record the height and weight of Erlan Bernoupereinev, 3, at his home, in Kindik Uzyak Village in the Konlikul District, Republic of Karakalpaksta
Health workers measure and record the height and weight of Erlan Bernoupereinev, 3, at his home, in Kindik Uzyak Village in the Konlikul District, Republic of Karakalpaksta

Take into consideration, for example, that poor children are 2.7 times less likely to be born with a skilled birth attendant. This, of course, means that more poor children around the world die due to circumstances that can easily be prevented because of interventions that work.

Consider that 11% of girls around the world are married before they are 15. This means more young girls die during childbirth. And, if they make it past childbirth they have a lesser chance of getting an education and even less of a chance of making sure their daughters get an education.

Also, think about this: Only 4% of babies born in Nigeria are registered at birth compared to 56% of babies in richer nations. Being registered means that babies are important and matter.

“Data have made it possible to save and improve the lives of millions of children, especially the most deprived,” said Tessa Wardlaw, Chief of UNICEF’s Data and Analytics Section. “Further progress can only be made if we know which children are the most neglected, where girls and boys are out of school, where disease is rampant or where basic sanitation is lacking.”

A health worker records the weight of a girl while she lies on a scale at the Kenema government hospital in Kenema, Kenema district, Sierra Leone on Monday September 23, 2013.
A health worker records the weight of a girl while she lies on a scale at the Kenema government hospital in Kenema, Kenema district, Sierra Leone on Monday September 23, 2013.

There is good news, however. Because of data 90 million more children live now than in 1990. There has been a 37% reduction in stunting rates around the world and more children are in primary school now than ever before.

So, yes, data does help keep children alive because without measured data and health trends there would be no starting or ending point to keep children alive and thriving.

Visit www.unicef.org/sowc2014/numbers to see a multimedia site with more data and to download the report.

Monday Morning Reads

During the weekend we read global news articles worth reading from media outlets ranging from the New York Times to the Guardian. If you would like to bookmark some of these articles we recommend using Instapaper or Evernote for future reading.

Direct from NGOs

  • The amount of violence against children  in the Central African Republic is increasing steadily amid the sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. UNICEF says children have been beheaded, mutilated, and are being recruited into war.  Read: Children Being Brutalized in the Central African Republic.
  • UNAIDS has published a PDF with a rundown of HIV/AIDS statistics from 2013. This is definitely a PDF worth bookmarking for future reference.
  • There are over 100,000 people who have sought refuge at the airport in Bangui due to the increased violence in Central African Republic’s capital city. Doctors Without Borders has announced they have had to decrease services because the violence is so bad.

Photo

Security Council Authorizes African Union Mission in Central African Republic

The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2127 (2013), authorizing the deployment of the “African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic” (to be known as MISCA), for a period of twelve months. The Council also authorized support of MISCA by French forces. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
05 December 2013

[Photos] Inside a Malaria Treatment Center

I have been told enough harrowing personal stories and have read enough reports to understand contracting malaria isn’t a cakewalk. And for children (especially those under the age of five) and expectant mothers malaria can be deadly. Fortunately with rapid diagnosis and malaria treatments children as well as adults can experience speedy recoveries from a disease that is both debilitating and potentially fatal.

While in Zambia last month I visited the Chongwe District Hospital in Lusaka province with Malaria No More to see how robust malaria control efforts funded by the Zambian government, USAID, the Global Fund and other NGOs and private foundations have helped drastically reduced the number of child deaths in the country. Zambia has effectively reduced the number of malaria deaths to 8000 annually through prevention measures including mass distributions of mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, fogging, and spraying of mosquito-infected areas like bogs and dambos (shallow wetlands). The annual deaths have also been reduced because of the mass test and treatment programs that are being administered by frontline health workers around the country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths are children under the age of five because their immune systems cannot fight off the disease without the help of a positive diagnosis and follow-up medications.

In Zambia 50% of children are admitted to hospitals due to malaria according to UNICEF. You must also understand that being admitted to a hospital means that frontline health care didn’t work and that hospital care is necessary. In Zambia as well as in most developing countries, most healthcare is done on the local level. Most severe cases are referred to hospitals as was the case of these three children I met in the Chongwe District Hospital located about an hour outside of Lusaka.

While malaria is wholly preventable and treatable some children still struggle getting better when they contract the infectious disease. This little boy was extremely sick, but was steadily getting better. I took his picture as he slept with the permission of his mother who was sitting lovingly at his side.

Chongwe District Hospital Chongwe District Hospital
This little boy played with his mother’s hands and reached to breastfeed as he laid beside her. He had one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen and was quickly on the mend from his bout of malaria.
Chongwe District Hospital This little boy, who was snuggled with his mother, was also feeling better than before, but was quite lethargic. There are stages children have to go through to get better. Doctors had a positive prognosis for his eventual improvement. Chongwe District Hospital

By 2015, Zambia has a goal of having 100% of malaria cases are diagnosed and treated with Coartem on the community and health post level. While that goal hasn’t been achieved yet, Zambia with the expertise of Path’s MACEPA program and countrywide campaigns such as Power of One is helping Zambia steadily stand behind its commitment.

[Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ

Dar es Saalam, Tanzania – Throughout my travels in Tanzania for the past ten days every time I saw a mother and her baby I smiled inside. And I was even more happy to see mothers breastfeeding their babies as breastfeeding has been proven to be a key intervention to keep more children under the age of five alive in developing countries.

Maasai Mother - Mkuru

Tanzania, unfortunately, is one of ten countries where 65 percent of the world’s child deaths occur. Compared to India, the country with the most child deaths at nearly 900,000 per year, Tanzania’s child mortality rate is low, but for it’s population size, the percentage is quite high.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Tanzanian mothers lose 48,000 children a year (17,000 on the first day of life). Most newborns die due to asphyxia, infections, and preterm birth here. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in Tanzania strongly correlates to the child mortality rate. In Tanzania, maternal anemia rates due to malnutrition are leading to 20 percent of all maternal deaths. And in the rural areas, where most Tanzanians live, expectant mothers typically do not have a trained birth attendant to help deliver babies and only 50 percent of Tanzanian mothers give birth in a health facility. These factors contribute to the high maternal and newborn mortality rate. In fact, Tanzania loses 454 mothers per 100,000 live births due to complications during childbirth.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

There is good news, however. The Tanzanian government is including key interventions to reduce child mortality included in its National Road Map Strategic Plan to Accelerate Reductions of Maternal, Newborn and Child Births which was devised in 2008 and has an end date of 2015 to reach Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. While the child mortality rate in
Tanzania is improving, maternal mortality rates have remained stagnant.

Mothers, Iringa

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Mother and Son in Iringa, Tanzania

Sources

UNICEF
Save the Children

Reporting was made possible by a fellowship from the International Reporting Project.

All photos copyright of Jennifer James

Why Child Survival Rates Continue to Improve

Last week Melinda Gates, the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote on Impatient Optimists that the most important statistic in the world is the rate of child survival. It is one of the only health statistics that improves year after year. 300,000 more children are alive this year than last and you can be assured that based on 50 years of research, even more children will be alive next year than in 2013.

Key interventions like immunizations, breastfeeding, family planning, maternal health, fortified foods, and greater access to health care are keeping more children under five and neonates alive. Despite the annual improvement rate of child survival, however, massive, global improvements are slow. In fact, according to UNICEF’s new report, Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, the global health community is 15 years off target to reach a worldwide reduction of two thirds of child deaths. Progress is happening, but not fast enough. 5000 children under five die each day from the leading causes of child mortality: diarrhea and pneumonia.

Vastly improving child health can be challenging, but there are victories along the way. In fact, Ethiopia (one of the world’s poorest countries) has effectively reduced its child mortality rate by two thirds. How have they done it? They have achieved a reduction of two thirds of child deaths through family planning, immunizations, greater health care and political will. Watch the video from UNICEF that shows Ethiopia’s child survival story.

UNICEF’s new progress report shows the current global state of child survival and mortality rates. What is particularly important to note is neonatal mortality is growing at a quick clip and therefore is becoming a larger percentage of under-five deaths. In fact, according to the report, neonatal deaths now account for 37 percent of all under-five deaths. To combat rising neonatal mortality the global health community has unified to rally behind Every Newborn: An Action Plan to End Preventable Births. Learn more at www.globalnewbornaction.org.

You can also learn more about what you can do to improve child survival rates on UNICEF’s interactive progress report.

Photo: UNFPA/Francine Egberts

One Million Children are Now Syrian Refugees

Amid news of a poison chemical attack right outside of Damascus last week and the sniper attack on a UN convoy today, UNICEF also had harrowing news of its own to announce last Friday. They have recorded the one millionth child refugee who has escaped the war in Syria.

“This one millionth child refugee is not just another number,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”

“We must all share the shame,” said Lake, “because while we work to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this crisis, the global community has failed in its responsibility to this child. We should stop and ask ourselves how, in all conscience, we can continue to fail the children of Syria.”

According to UNICEF most of the Syrian child refugees are under the age of 11 and 7,000 children have been killed since the war commenced. Syrians have fled to nearby Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Some are even fleeing to Egypt where there is internal violence there as well.

“It is appalling that the world has stood and watched as one million children have been forced from their country, terrified, traumatized and in some cases orphaned,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

“This is not a crisis we can sit out; it is not going away. The refugee disaster the war in Syria has created is getting far worse, far faster than the world can cope with. It is now critically important world leaders secure humanitarian access across Syria.

Save the Children released its report, Childhood Under Fire, in March that details the extent to which children have been adversely affected by over two years of war in Syria. The report reveals that boys are being used as runners and human shields and girls are being married off early in order to protect them from sexual violence.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0492/Lyon
© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0492/Lyon

Malnutrition is also rife in refugee camps. The Word Food Programme is now providing food assistance to 1.1 million people in Syria’s neighboring countries.

The UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, has registered all million children who have fled Syria. They have also provided birth certificates for all babies who have been born in refugee status in order to prevent stateless births.

As aforementioned, children who are refugees face many challenges including early marriage, lack of education, having to go to work early, sexual exploitation, and child trafficking.

This video from UNICEF and the UNHCR shows the lives of Syrian refugee children.


HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Millions of dollars are needed every week in order to provide assistance to the millions of Syrian refugees.

You can donate to Save the Children, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme to make a difference.

Featured photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0495/Wreford

Somalia: A Country in Flux

A rough approximation of a Greater Somalia inc...

Photo: Ramadan in Somalia: Men pray at a mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the holy month of Ramadan. UN Photo/Ilyas A Abukar

Even though there was much fanfare and optimism coming out of Somalia a year ago as a new government was put in place and a new constitution was ushered in , the Horn of Africa country is now mired in an internal fight between the government and the Islamist group, Al Shabab, and is making worldwide headlines again. This time the news isn’t favorable.

Last week Doctors Without Borders announced it had pulled out of Somalia after 22 years working in the country. Vital medical services across Somalia have been halted and Somalian workers who have partnered with Doctors Without Borders throughout the years have lost their jobs. Attacks on its staff was cited as the primary reason for the pullout.

Additionally, another Somalian journalist was killed on Saturday in Mogadishi. Eighteen journalists were killed last year alone in Somalia according to the New York Times based on information from Reporters Without Borders.

Last week the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also declared an increase in sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia during the first six months of the year. Over 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported. Many of these cases involved children.

“Rapes continue to be perpetrated by unknown armed men and men wearing military uniform,” OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke stated in a UN News Center press release. “Sexual and gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and early and forced marriage, he said, adding that the majority of the survivors were women aged 18 and above.”

Due to the increased violence UNICEF has stepped in to provide help to women and girls such as distributing fuel-efficient stoves because most attacks occur while gathering fire wood for cooking and bathing. UNICEF has also provided socio-economic support as well as psychological services for victims of violence.

And finally and somewhat even more troubling is the recent outbreak in Somalia and neighboring Kenya in a mostly Somali refugee camp, Daddab. 105 polio cases were confirmed on Friday, more than all of the polio cases reported elsewhere in the world.

English: Greater Somalia drawn on old politica...