Tag Archives: Developing country

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy left death and destruction along its path through the Caribbean and upwards through the northeast United States over the past week. The latest death toll in the United States is nearing 100 and property and environmental damages will cost billions of dollars to repair. But, in Haiti where hurricanes and tropical storms are rife and where development projects remain too few the flooding, disease, and homelessness are harder to bear.

Even though Sandy roared through the Caribbean last week flooding is still a major concern particularly as cholera cases rise. The flooding also damaged newly planted crops that may result in spikes in food prices.

“Several thousand kilometres of agricultural roads were destroyed and thousands of heads of cattle were swept away by the flood waters, which also destroyed thousands of hectares of plantations,” Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas said as reported by South Africa’s Times Live.

Yesterday the Haitian government declared a month-long state of emergency to accelerate infrastructure and electrical repair and restore drinking water. Johan Peleman, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) operation in Haiti, told UN Radio that it is still too early to assess the full range of damages.

There are, however, concerns about food insecurity. “Already, the drought and the previous storm had hit the northern part of the country very badly and we had seen the levels of food insecurity rise there,” Peleman said. “With the south being hit now, we are going to face in the next couple of months very serious problems of malnutrition and food insecurity.”

Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A woman walks through a flooded market in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
Residents stand on the banks of a river that swept away five homes in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A coastal town is flooded. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

Maternity Equality in Uganda: How You Can Help

ACTION: Become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner. Why and how below.

As a mother who has given birth twice I feel a strong, overwhelming kinship with women all over the world who have or will also give birth even if I don’t know them nor will I ever. That global kinship makes me work harder to learn more about maternal health in developing countries and do what I can to improve the lives of women who face harrowing challenges to give birth.

Our partner, Shanti Uganda, is doing amazing things for expecting mothers in rural Uganda. For two years Shanti Uganda has provided antenatal and postnatal health care for poor women in the Luwero District of Uganda in the solar-powered Shanti Uganda Birth House. Without the help Shanti Uganda provides local women would have to deliver their babies at home or try to find their way to the closest health facility which could be several miles away. To date, 100 women have given birth at the Shanti Uganda birth house and 100%  of those women have walked out healthy and alive. In a country where 1 in 16 women die giving birth this is a phenomenal feat.

Not only is Shanti Uganda providing a safe, empowering environment for women to give birth,
but we are defying these statistics and creating a new norm for birthing women in Uganda. Of the over
100 women who have given birth at our centre in our almost two years of operation, 100% have left
healthy, happy and supported by our dedicated team of midwives.

– Shanti Uganda’s Founder & Executive Director Natalie Angell-Besseling


Today I am joining Shanti Uganda to blog for better birth outcomes; to spread the word about what we can all do to help reduce the high maternal mortality rates women in developing countries face.

One of the things you can do to help right now is become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner. As a birth partner your donation helps fund births. You are touching real lives of expecting mothers and their babies. $100 a month supports the births of two babies. If that donation is too steep, $25 a month helps fund the birth of one baby every two months.

When you become a birth partner during the Birth Partner Push you will receive a necklace made from the women in the Shanti Uganda Women’s Income Generating Group. These paper bead necklaces are stunning. How do I know? Because I wear mine almost every day.

Help save the lives of mothers and babies. US dollars go a long way in Africa. A simple $25 donation will deliver one baby in two months. Become a Shanti Uganda Birth Partner!

[Watch] No Joke. #ChoiceMatters. Everywhere

Women around the world, especially in developing countries, often have difficulties accessing quality reproductive health care. For more than 55 years, Pathfinder International has worked to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive health care to enable and empower individuals to make choices about their body and their future.

To bring home the realities that women around the world face to access reproductive health care, Pathfinder created the No Joke. #ChoiceMatters. Everywhere video.  Watch this video and see why, although funny, the subject matter really is no joke at all.

New Fishing, Agricultural Development Project in Haiti

Development projects in the developing world help in immeasurable ways. They create a blueprint for implemented ideas that work and even those that have drawbacks, but most importantly they help people lead more productive, healthy lives. Even if the projects aren’t scaled nationwide or even regionally development projects allow experts to help those in need and learn simultaneously.

Recently the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) created an inland fish farm for Haitian families in the central part of the country to increase agricultural production in the region.

Despite the massive earthquake in 2010, the recent cholera outbreaks in the tent cities that still houses close to 400,000 people and hurricane Issac that flooded parts of the country two weeks ago, development experts understand that stabilization efforts must get underway because once all of the crises subside Haitians will need to resume a normal livelihood.

The project constructed two fish farms, 300 meters of irrigation canals to yield more crops, and 500 meters of packed earth irrigation canals according to the United Nations.

Photos: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

A Woman’s Right to Basic Family Planning and Why It is Important

There is a worldwide problem facing women: the lack of access to and education about family planning. What makes this issue so compelling and absolutely important to me as a mother is  access to contraceptives in developing countries will save the lives of mothers and babies. Period. I cannot imagine not being able to choose when I want to have a baby when I am the one who has to deliver her. Family planning is every woman’s right.

Family planning can save the lives of over 100,000 women each year who would be able to space their pregnancies in healthier intervals. Additionally, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) analysis found that if all birth-to-pregnancy intervals were increased to 3 years, 1.6 million under-5 deaths could be prevented annually (1). And according to UNFPA, 222 million women in the developing world want to avoid/ plan pregnancies (2). Even more importantly, according to Save the Children family planning can drastically save the lives of teenage girls between the ages of 15 – 19. Pregnancy is the number one killer of teenage girls in the world who live in developing countries according to Save the Children’s new report (3).


On July 11, 2012 the world will take note of the pivotal issue of family planning on World Population Day alongside the London Family Planning Summit hosted by the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The summit will call for greater country commitments to family planning as well as resources to provide family planning access to 120 million women worldwide.

1. Healthy Timing and Spacing in Pregnancies: A Family Planning Investment Strategy for Accelerating the Pace of Improvements in Child Survival

2. UNFPA – World Population Day 2012

3. Every Woman’s Right: How Family Planning Saves Children’s Lives

Photo: United Nations