End Poverty 2015 - Global http://endpoverty2015.org/en/taxonomy/term/382/0 en MDGs: United Struggle Towards National Realisation http://endpoverty2015.org/en/MDGs-Nigeria-Retreat-National-Realisation Nigeria, 19 Jan 2012 - As the 2015 deadline year for realisation of the eight global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws nearer, the House of Representatives Committee on the MDGs, the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organised a two-day retreat recently in Abuja for members of the House Committee. The main objective of the House of Representatives Committee on MDGs retreat in Abuja was to expose members to the principles and national frameworks on the MDGs as well as the mandate of the Committee in their achievement. The retreat was formally declared open by the Chair of the Committee, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and had goodwill message from the United Nations System. <br> <br> There were three technical sessions: Understanding the MDGs, the MDGs and Macroeconomic Issues, and Parliaments and the MDGs. There were presentations on institutional and policy frameworks from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs and the roles of the Parliaments in advancing the MDGs by the UN Millennium Campaign. <br> <br> For the full article please continue reading <a href="http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/mdgs-united-struggle-towards-national-realisation/107427/">here</a>. <br> <br> Original Source: <a href="http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/mdgs-united-struggle-towards-national-realisation/107427/">This Day Live</a>. http://endpoverty2015.org/en/MDGs-Nigeria-Retreat-National-Realisation#comments Africa Global English Thu, 19 Jan 2012 18:53:17 +0000 admin 1308 at http://endpoverty2015.org Indians Use Cell Phones to Plug Holes in Governance http://endpoverty2015.org/en/india-cell-phone-reporting-wp This article from the Washington Post describes an exciting new program being conducted in two Indian districts in which citizens can connect directly with government officials to report problems via cell phones. <br> <br> LONDHIYA, INDIA — Almost everyone in this village in central India has a complaint. Electricity comes only three hours a day. The road has potholes. Widows’ pensions arrive late. The school lunch program often runs low on food. <br> <br> Villagers say they send letters, call a government complaint line and wait outside officials’ offices for help, but never get a response. “All our complaints go into a blind well of the government,” said Mukesh Chandravanshi, 30, a farmer. <br> <br> Now a simple cellphone text-messaging program is providing a more direct line of communication between villagers and the government. Developed by activists, local officials and an information technology company, the system ensures that complaints are immediately acknowledged and that residents regularly receive updates on how and when their problems will be resolved. <br> <br> Launched in two districts in two states, the system decreases the chances that a problem will be ignored by holding officials accountable, according to its developers. Such technology does not guarantee a solution, but it can transform the relationship between citizens and the government in a bloated bureaucracy beset with corruption and apathy, analysts say. <br> <br> “Everybody’s pocket in the village has a mobile phone nowadays. If we can turn this into a direct pipeline to the government, we will have the power to complain and be heard,” Shafique Khan, a field coordinator for the program, called Samadhan, or resolution, said as he demonstrated how to use it to villagers sitting under a tamarind tree. <br> <br> Through Samadhan, people can go to a Web site to see where most problems and delays occur and assess the performance of officials in those areas. The data can be used to identify systemic bottlenecks in the government’s delivery of services. <br> <br> This month, the program — which was supported by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals campaign — has received 530 complaints through text messages, such as “my water handpump is not working,” “health worker is absent” and “the village bridge has collapsed in the rain.” <br> <br> Citizens groups and IT companies are increasingly using crowdsourcing technology to help make the government more efficient, empower people and even mobilize protesters. The ubiquitous cellphone, with about 750 million users in India, and open-source Internet platforms are being deployed to ensure that trash is picked up on time, to track bribes and to help people learn English, find jobs and report incidents of sexual harassment on the streets. <br> <br> “Access to technology is changing our democratic idiom, and the mobile phone is a metaphor for this change,” said Shiv Visvanathan, a social anthropologist with the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gandhinagar. “People are demanding accountability from the government. And speed of service delivery is key.” <br> <br> Not everyone in Londhiya, in Madhya Pradesh state, can take advantage of the complaint service. As some villagers pulled out their phones and started typing at the demonstration meeting, a few older men and veiled women who said they were illiterate watched silently from a distance. <br> <br> But not all crowdsourcing applications are based on text messaging. In the southern city of Hyderabad, for example, the local government uses Global Positioning System technology and cellphone cameras to manage the mounting problem of uncollected garbage. Sanitation supervisors take photos of overflowing trash cans, and the images are uploaded in real time. Officials say this helps hold sanitation workers accountable. <br> <br> In New Delhi, a new Web site urges women to report harassment and help map neighborhoods they consider unsafe. A mobile app called Fight Back, which will be launched in November for $2 a month, is tied to the site and enables a woman to send alerts to her friends from her smartphone if she is harassed. The alerts also go to her Facebook page and identify her location on a map. <br> <br> “The ‘unsafe map’ of Delhi that we are creating with women who report harassment on our site will push the government to turn their attention to these places and warn women and tourists,” said Hindol Sengupta, co-founder of Whypoll, a networking platform for improving governance that has listed such areas with input from more than 100,000 women. <br> <br> Sengupta recently demonstrated the program to several women at a busy upmarket mall in the capital. <br> <br> “Do you go to the police if you get harassed?” he asked women. All of them said no. <br> <br> “I feel helpless if a man whistles, passes a lewd comment or touches me in a bus or a public place. I just ignore and keep quiet because I do not want to provoke them. That’s what we are taught by our families,” said Reena Sharma, a 31-year-old cosmetics saleswoman. <br> <br> Initially available only on smartphones, the service will eventually extend to low-cost cellphones as well, said Sandeep Sidhu, global delivery manager of CanvasM, the technology interface company that created Fight Back. <br> <br> Some of these initiatives, including a mobile app launched by CanvasM, are helping India’s 400 million blue-collar migrant workers tap into new opportunities. <br> <br> “We are helping poorer Indians at the bottom of the pyramid take advantage of the job opportunities arising out of the economic boom that is underway in India,” said Jagdish Mitra, chief executive at CanvasM. <br> <br> For the original article please follow <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/indians-use-cellphones-to-plug-holes-in-governance/2011/10/24/gIQAooAmOM_story.html">this link</a>. http://endpoverty2015.org/en/india-cell-phone-reporting-wp#comments Global Asia English crowdsourcing MDGs Samadhan Service Delivery Thu, 03 Nov 2011 14:56:39 +0000 admin 1305 at http://endpoverty2015.org Baba Maal promoting MDG Goals 4 and 5 at an event organized by the UN Country Office to support the MDG Campaign http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/baba-maal-promoting-mdg-goals-4-and-5-event-organized-un-country-office-support-mdg-campaign/31/mar/11 <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7I7avss1Mf0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <br> Senegalese Entertainer Baba Maal promoting MDG Goals 4 and 5 at an event organized by the UN Country Office to support the MDG Campaign. The event was jointly organized with the National Civil Society Consortium.(CONGAD) Africa End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Thu, 31 Mar 2011 19:09:00 +0000 Miki 1304 at http://endpoverty2015.org Senegal launches Parliamentary MDG Committee to monitor MDG Performance http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/senegal-launches-parliamentary-mdg-committee-monitor-mdg-performance/31/mar/11 <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BrgVxCZyLwg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <br> Senegal launches Parliamentary MDG Committee to monitor MDG Performance. This was a join event by the UN Millennium Campaign and the UN Country Team, lead by the RC. Africa End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Thu, 31 Mar 2011 19:07:00 +0000 Miki 1303 at http://endpoverty2015.org The Millennium Campaign applauds the commitment of the Parliament of Cantabria (Spain) with the MDGs http://endpoverty2015.org/en/spain/news/millennium-campaign-applauds-commitment-parliament-cantabria-spain-mdgs/30/mar/11 <p>Rome March 30, 2011 – Miguel Ángel Palacio, President of the Parliament of Cantabria (Spain) met this morning in Rome with Marina Ponti, UN Millennium Campaign’s Deputy Director for Europe in recognition to the leading role that this regional parliament has had in the promotion of the MDGs in the last years.</p> <p>Since 2009, and in collaboration with the University of Cantabria and the regional newspaper “El Montañes”, the Parliament of Cantabria has coordinated the initiative Students of the Millennium, which has proved to be an excellent tool to increase support and knowledge on the MDGs. According to a recent survey, 80% of the university students of this region know about the 8 Goals, while Spanish national average reaches only 23%. Other regional parliaments in Spain, such as Castilla y León, La Rioja, Extremadura and País Vasco, have also successfully replicated this initiative.</p> <p>“We are in the run up to 2015 and significant progress has been made in some of the MDGs such as universal primary education or access to drinking water. However, much remains to be done in areas such as maternal and child health. As Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, said the MDGs will not be achieved unless we mobilize citizen’s support. In this context, the commitment of regional parliaments, such as the Parliament of Cantabria, is crucial for the future of MDGs&#8221;, said during this meeting Marina Ponti, Deputy Director for Europe of the Nations Millennium Campaign United.</p> <p>The UN Millennium Campaign has been actively working with regional parliaments to promote the MDGs amongst their citizenry. With this purpose, the Campaign signed an agreement with <span class="caps">CALRE</span>, a European platform for regional parliaments, in 2009, and with <span class="caps">COPREPA</span> in early 2010 to work together on awareness raising initiatives and activities to promote the MDGs, preferably addressed at children and youth.</p> Global Spain Europe Global Partnership English Spain Wed, 30 Mar 2011 14:12:52 +0000 Miki 1302 at http://endpoverty2015.org African footballers score as U.N. goodwill ambassadors http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/african-footballers-score-un-goodwill-ambassadors/25/mar/11 <p><span class="caps">DAKAR</span> (AlertNet) &#8211; African solutions to African problems is the mantra of governments across this continent. But what about the goodwill ambassadors that fly around speaking about the issues that touch Africa most deeply, should they be African too?</p> <p>Just days before an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Cameroon and Senegal in Dakar, the United Nations named Senegal&#8217;s captain, Mamadou Niang, a champion of the U.N. Millennium Campaign.</p> <p>Niang joins Cameroon&#8217;s Benoit Assou-Ekotto who plays for English team Tottenham Hotspur as a campaigner for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets world leaders agreed to to significantly reduce poverty, illiteracy and disease by 2015.</p> <p>Niang&#8217;s appointment seems to be part of a slowly shifting trend to promote homegrown stars &#8212; Chelsea&#8217;s Didier Drogba (an Ivorian) and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto&#8217;o (another Cameroonian) are also U.N. goodwill ambassadors &#8212; in a field usually dominated by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow, Christine Aguilera and other Western celebrities.</p> <p>&#8220;We think that sports and athletes are vectors through which we can transmit vital messages to the society and we believe footballers in particular could sensitise people on issues like poverty alleviation and the MDGs,&#8221; Boubou Dramane Camara, Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (<span class="caps">UNDP</span>) in Senegal, told me.</p> <p>Whether African or not, the idea of deploying actors, singers and sportsmen to Africa to evangelise on issues related to poverty and development has long had its critics who doubt if they achieve anything other than heaping pity on the continent.</p> <p>&#8220;Because of their thin political background and agendas, the majority of today&#8217;s celebrity activists do not pay much attention to the content of what they do. Most of them have busy schedules so the kinds of briefing they receive are limited by their publicists who control their time,&#8221; analyst Abdul Mohammed blogged for the Social Science Research Council think-tank.</p> <p>The end result of the celebrity do-gooders phenomenon is to reduce Africa to spectacle and Africans to spectators in the destiny of their own continent. It delegitimizes the African state &#8212; which must be the mechanism for development and emancipation &#8212;- and discourages those who try to practice activism in the old-fashioned way, Mohammed argued.</p> <p>Marina Hyde, a columnist for the British newspaper the Guardian asked why entertainers think they could save the world in her book: How Entertainers Took Over the World And Why We Need an Exit Strategy.</p> <p>&#8220;The skillset requirements of this rapidly proliferating modern role remain shadowy, but it seems to have been created as a way to say: &#8216;Sorry about the bombing/famine/pestilence &#8211; we&#8217;ve sent you a celebrity as a goodwill gesture,&#8217; Hyde writes,</p> <p>Would this apply to African football stars who take up ambassadorial roles in the continent of their birth?</p> <p>Many of them grew up in dirt-poor families and were only able to lift themselves out of poverty through sports. Their rags-to-riches stories make them to key to reaching young people across the continent who yearn to follow in their footsteps, according to advocates of their selection as U.N. advocates.</p> <p>&#8220;They are best placed to engage young people but also to do advocacy on behalf of youngsters towards decision makers, politicians and others who are in a position to make decisions that can help eradicate poverty because they can talk in a very simple way and from experience about issues of social concern,&#8221; said Nelson Muffuh, U.N. Millennium Campaign coordinator for West Africa.</p> <p>So it would seem to make more sense to have Cameroon&#8217;s captain Eto&#8217;o, a U.N. Children&#8217;s Fund Goodwill Ambassador who grew up in the poverty stricken neighbourhood of New Bell in Douala, speaking to Africans and their leaders on the importance of poverty alleviation and children&#8217;s rights than, say, England star David Beckham, another <span class="caps">UNICEF</span> goodwill ambassador.</p> <p>&#8220;It is time Africans spoke for themselves about their issues and prove that they know what needs to be done and how to do it and these footballers are living up to that by taking these advocacy roles,&#8221; said an adviser of an African international footballer, who did not want to be named.</p> <p><span class="caps">PHOTO</span> CREDITS: Olympique Marseille&#8217;s Mamadou Niang celebrates after scoring his third goal against Nancy during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, Febuary 21, 2010. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson</p> Africa End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:56:42 +0000 chiara 1301 at http://endpoverty2015.org World Day for Water, 22 March http://endpoverty2015.org/en/english/news/world-day-water-22-march/22/mar/11 <p>As cities around the world struggle to meet the basic needs of their booming populations, many are falling behind when it comes to water, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a <a href="http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sgsm13456.doc.htm" target="_blank">statement</a> marking World Day for Water.</p> <p>&#8220;Urbanization brings opportunities for more efficient water management and improved access to drinking water and sanitation,&#8221; Ban said. &#8220;At the same time, problems are often magnified in cities,&#8221; he added. &#8220;The Millennium Development Goal target for water and sanitation is among those on which many countries lag the most.&#8221;</p> <p><a href="http://www.undp.org/mdg/goal7.shtml" target="_blank">MDG7</a> includes a call to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Today, nearly half of the world &#8211; 2.5 billion people &#8211; lack access to proper sanitation, and 1.2 billion to adequate water. For more: <a href="http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals" target="_blank">www.un.org/millenniumgoals</a>.</p> <p>Ban called on policymakers &#8220;to recognize the urban water crisis for what it is &#8211; a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than one of scarcity.&#8221; He highlighted the &#8220;alarming decline&#8221; in investments that provide poor communities with clean water and sanitation, which has increased those ill-served by 20 percent in the past decade.</p> <p>Water shortages often get attention, but it is the quality and accessibility of water that make the difference between life and death for human beings &#8211; particularly children under age five &#8211; and for the ecosystems on which our well-being depends. Thousands of children are sickened or killed by water-borne illnesses every day, making water a focal point for <a href="http://www.unicef.org" target="_blank">UNICEF</a>&#8216;s efforts.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/main_event.html" target="_blank">global observance of World Water Day 2011</a> highlights options for tackling urban water and sanitation challenges across Africa. For other events in the United States and around the world, please <a href="http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/events/events-list/en/" target="_blank">click here</a> or find out more at <a href="http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org/" target="_blank">World Water Monitoring Day</a>. </p> <p>Additional FAQs and information are at <a href="http://www.unwater.org/wwd.html" target="_blank">UN-Water</a>, <a href="http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=270" target="_blank">UN-HABITAT</a>, <a href="http://www.fao.org/nr/water/" target="_blank"><span class="caps">FAO</span> Water</a>. Reports can be found at:<br /> UNESCO&#8217;s <a href="http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/" target="_blank">Water for Cities</a><br /> UNEP&#8217;s <a href="http://www.unwater.org/wwd10/downloads/water_quality_outlook.pdf" target="_blank">Water Quality Outlook </a><br /> WHO&#8217;s <a href="http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/glaas/en/" target="_blank">Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water</a></p> About the UN Office in Washington <p>As the United Nations office in Washington, D.C, the United Nations Information Center serves as the focal point for UN news and information to advance understanding of the UN and its work, and to serve as a resource for United States government officials, NGOs, civil-society organizations and the American people.</p> End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS North America Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:56:22 +0000 chiara 1299 at http://endpoverty2015.org The ‘AIDS and MDGs’ approach http://endpoverty2015.org/en/end-hunger/news/%E2%80%98aids-and-mdgs%E2%80%99-approach/14/mar/11 <p>“Over the past three decades, the HIV/<span class="caps">AIDS</span> epidemic has reminded us of the fundamental linkages between health and development more broadly. It has shown us that, to tackle this deadly virus and its impact, it takes both the best that science and medicine can offer and attention to the basic conditions which shape vulnerability – be they poverty, gender inequalities, or discrimination against marginalized groups.”<br /> Helen Clark,<br /> <span class="caps">UNDP</span> Administrator</p> <p>From the very early days of the global <span class="caps">AIDS</span> epidemic, many have recognized that effective responses must go beyond only providing health information, medical services, drugs and commodities. Early <span class="caps">AIDS</span> strategies in the United Nations family reflected these insights, including the World Health Organization’s (<span class="caps">WHO</span>) emphasis on ‘<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and human rights’ and the United Nations Development Programme’s (<span class="caps">UNDP</span>) focus on ‘<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and development’. By the mid-1990s, the relationship between the <span class="caps">AIDS</span> epidemic and a broad range of social and economic factors was institutionally reflected in the creation of <span class="caps">UNAIDS</span> – a multi-agency, joint UN programme to address the multi-dimensional drivers of the <span class="caps">AIDS</span> epidemic.</p> <p>There have been many challenges to these multi-sectoral approaches. The characterization of <span class="caps">AIDS</span> as a global ‘emergency’ encouraged short-term responses with short-term impact. From the success of anti-retroviral therapy through ever-lengthening timelines for development of an effective vaccine, some have hoped that technology would provide a ‘magic bullet’ that would reduce or eliminate the need to address complex social phenomena. The need to ensure that policy is based on evidence has sometimes undermined commitment to approaches that are more difficult to measure.</p> <p>More recently, several factors have worked together to challenge false dichotomies between ‘medical’ versus ‘multi-sectoral’ strategies or ‘vertical’ versus ‘horizontal’ responses to <span class="caps">AIDS</span>. The global <span class="caps">HIV</span> epidemic will be with us well beyond this generation, so we simultaneously need both short-term impact and long-term thinking. The global economic crisis of 2009 has once again increased attention to cost-effectiveness but with a recognition that the best strategies contribute not just to <span class="caps">HIV</span> results but to other health and development outcomes as well. There is an increasing commitment to ensuring that investments must strengthen health, social protection and other relevant systems while also delivering services and commodities.</p> <p>These changes in the <span class="caps">AIDS</span> response landscape have created an opportunity to explore, strengthen and leverage the links between <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and other health and development issues. The term ‘<span class="caps">AIDS</span> and MDGs’ is gaining currency as an approach that leverages these links – effectively addressing both short- and long-term challenges and impacts of the <span class="caps">HIV</span> epidemic while contributing to the achievement of the wider <span class="caps">MDG</span> agenda.</p> <p>This paper outlines three important pillars of an <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and MDGs approach:<br /> 1. Understanding how <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and the other MDGs impact on one another;<br /> 2. Documenting and exchanging lessons learned across <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and other MDGs; and<br /> 3. Creating cross-<span class="caps">MDG</span> synergy and increasing cost-effectiveness through intervention strategies that simultaneously address <span class="caps">AIDS</span> together with other MDGs.</p> <p>The paper proposes broader policy level implications to move the <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and MDGs approach forward. These recommendations include:</p> <p>1. Map the <span class="caps">HIV</span> epidemic in relation to the broader <span class="caps">MDG</span> and development context. Ensure that the ‘know your epidemic/know your response’ framework examines not just epidemiology but also structural factors that block progress on multiple MDGs and emphasize a picture of the <span class="caps">HIV</span> epidemic that is linked to an understanding of the current status of other MDGs.</p> <p>2. Explore a range of cross-<span class="caps">MDG</span> strategies and scale up promising intervention models. Applying an <span class="caps">HIV</span> lens to a variety of programmes, such as social protection or environmental impact assessments, could maximize opportunities for synergistic action across multiple MDGs, including <span class="caps">HIV</span>.</p> <p>3. Ensure that countries’ policy environments support and sustain the impact of cross-<span class="caps">MDG</span> programmes. In order to have greater impact and coverage, individual intervention programmes should be supported by broader country-level policies that carry the potential for far more sustained and systemic change (e.g., on gender equality) than can be achieved through individual programmes acting in isolation.</p> <p>4. Build <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and <span class="caps">MDG</span> partnerships by reaching out across sectors to engage a broader range of health and development actors. Promote interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral action to successfully design and implement cross-<span class="caps">MDG</span> strategies and transfer lessons across fields.</p> <p>5. Generate best practice models by evaluating <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and <span class="caps">MDG</span> strategies against realistic timeframes. Support further research in order to guide programme and policy development across a range of settings. Because effecting meaningful and measureable shifts in areas such as economic well being, education, or gender equality will require longer timeframes than those afforded by more conventional technical or biomedical interventions, it will be important to link the application of cross-sectoral approaches to robust budget lines that will support substantial, long-term action and project cycles.</p> <p>Because the MDGs explicitly locate <span class="caps">HIV</span> within a broader international commitment to human development targets, an <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and MDGs approach provides a critical platform to galvanize resources, political will, and momentum behind a broader, systematic and structural approach to <span class="caps">HIV</span>, health and development. Moreover, because the Millennium Declaration reaffirms commitments to human rights, an <span class="caps">AIDS</span> and MDGs approach can catalyze greater attention to such rights and their role in achieving multiple MDGs and in translating human rights commitments into meaningful change.</p> http://endpoverty2015.org/en/end-hunger/news/%E2%80%98aids-and-mdgs%E2%80%99-approach/14/mar/11#comments End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:25:13 +0000 chiara 1298 at http://endpoverty2015.org What's Being Done to Advance Gender Equality http://endpoverty2015.org/en/end-hunger/news/whats-being-done-advance-gender-equality-marking-100th-anniversary-international-womens-day/08/mar/11 <p>Wednesday, 8 March, marks the 100th anniversary of International Women&#8217;s Day. It is a time to not only celebrate the role of the women worldwide, but it is also an opportunity to remind the world of the struggles that women have faced over the years in the fight for equal rights, dignity and respect.</p> <p>Over the years, the United Nations has paid particular attention to women’s issues, particularly to women’s empowerment as a tool for global development. In fact, according to research and studies, improvements in women’s education and health have led to decreases in child and maternal mortality, reduction in the spread of disease, progress in educational attainments, and an increase in household incomes. The condition of the women is important and vital for global improvement and better social and economic growth.</p> <p>The United Nations has embraced gender equality as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The target of <span class="caps">MDG</span> 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 and in all levels of education by 2015. In addition, <span class="caps">MDG</span> 3 aims to increase both the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector and the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.</p> <p>Many countries, including low income and lower middle income countries such as<br /> Bhutan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Senegal and Yemen, have made impressive strides on the path towards parity in primary education. Fewer countries, however, have managed to increase girls’ participation at both the primary and secondary level at the same pace, but success stories do exist. Bangladesh’s achievement of gender parity in both primary and secondary education even before 2005, despite the country’s poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters, has been acknowledged world-wide. Starting from a very low gender parity index in primary education (0.35) in 1980s, the country closed the gender gap in education within a decade.</p> <p>However, although there has been progress made on gender equality, challenges remain. Since the 1985 Nairobi Women&#8217;s Conference, organizations have formed expectations and demands for incorporating a women&#8217;s rights perspective in all national and regional policies and actions. These were reaffirmed at the Beijing Conference 10 years later, yet there has been little to show for it. In many countries, the unequal status of women is integrated into government policy, giving women’s needs very little priority. Today, women are disproportionately affected by poverty with approximately 70% of the two billion poor people around the world are women; two thirds of illiterate adults are women; and, more than 60 million girls around the world are forced into premature marriage before they turn 18.</p> <p>Achieving <span class="caps">MDG</span> 3 is crucial to the success of all the other MDGs – s<br /> olid evidence has shown that progress in gender equality in one Goal often contributes simultaneously to­ward progress on a number of other development goals. Because of this, last July, to help eradicate gender inequality and advance the condition of women everywhere, the United Nations established <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/" target="_blank">UN Women</a>, the United Nation&#8217;s entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and the first woman leader of that country, was appointed the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the organization. Among other things, Bachelet has consistently fought for social justice and gender equality, and firmly believes that women can make important contributions to the world.</p> <p>Additionally, in September 2010, at the UN <span class="caps">MDG</span> Review Summit, United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the importance of women by creating a campaign aimed at the advancement of women. The Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health – <a href="http://www.everywomaneverychild.org/" target="_blank">Every Woman, Every Child </a>– represents a global commitment supported by United Nations, multilateral organizations, academic, and professionals to address key issues such as maternal and child health and mortality leading to the improvement of millions of lives.</p> <p>Action, although sometimes slow, is being taken around the world in countries large and small, as well as in local, national and international settings, to help ease the existing gender gaps. So, in celebration of the International Women’s Day everyday, get involved in programs such as the <a href="http://www.girlup.org/" target="_blank">Girl Up Campaign</a> that empower people like you to become involved in making a difference. Check it out today and make your voice heard; help make gender equality become a lived reality.</p> End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS North America Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Tue, 08 Mar 2011 15:44:10 +0000 chiara 1294 at http://endpoverty2015.org 5 Months After MDG Summit, Citizen Tracking Mechanism is Launched in Kenya http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/5-months-after-mdg-summit-citizen-tracking-mechanism-launched-kenya/16/feb/11 <p>Ten years after their establishment, the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals are set to gain a new local and tangible edge with the launch of an online citizen tracking program in Kenya that went live Feb. 10.</p> <p>The U.N. Millennium Campaign, in collaboration with 20 local and national Kenyan non-governmental organizations, is sponsoring the novel initiative. The pilot project debuts five months after September’s U.N. summit on the MDGs in New York, where civil society voiced concerns that funding pledges made there by world leaders might not be adequately tracked and that civil society could have a hand in reporting about actual successes and failures of aid projects in the field.</p> <p>The project will benefit millions of Kenyans, who will be directed to anonymously contact government officials via text messaging when they find any kind of service that is lacking or missing from their communities. The exact nature and deriving location of all complaints, as well as the local government officials and offices responsible for responding to them, will be posted live on Huduma.info, a name derived from the Swahili word for “service.”</p> <p>“The campaign has been thinking very hard about how do you get a real conversation going between citizens and governments about realizations on the MDGs, for the past two years, how do you get into the specifics of what is and what is not working?” explained Corinne Woods, director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign, an inter-agency initiative hosted by the U.N. Development Program.</p> <p>The answer, it seems, is to enable and empower citizens to voice their concerns quickly, efficiently and cheaply, while providing them with a public platform to ensure that their queries are not getting buried in a suggestion box. It is a solution that ultimately requires participation from all sectors of society, including government and civil society organizations at local, national and international levels, which will serve different roles in the outreach, follow-up and tracking process.</p> <p><strong>Why Kenya?</strong></p> <p>The U.N. Millennium Campaign’s Africa office decided to launch the initiative in Kenya in part because of the country’s recently established constitution and strong civil society network, according to Nargos Hardos, a member of the Africa office and implementer of the project.</p> <p>“A lot of people are not sure what their rights are and what they are entitled to, like health care and education, or of their rights as a taxpayer,” said Hardos. “This is also a tool for the government to be able to show exactly what the citizens want and how to reconnect with them.”</p> <p>For the pilot launch, the U.N. Millennium Campaign and its partner organizations are working to distribute phone numbers to citizens in four Kenyan districts, including Kibera, the country’s largest slum. One target western province alone has a population of 4 million, according to Hardos. The population in Kibera and Langata, both located in Nairobi, combine for a total of about 200,000.</p> <p>After Kenya, the U.N. Millennium Campaign hopes to roll out similar projects in Uganda, Nigeria, India and the Philippines within the next year.</p> <p><strong>Simple messaging is key</strong></p> <p>Under the initiative, non-governmental groups, largely local, grass-roots organizations, will work to mobilize people to send a text message to the provided number when, for instance, a midwife is regularly not present at a health clinic. There are approximately 22 million mobile phone users in Kenya, said Hardos, with network connection virtually anywhere.</p> <p>Basil Ibrahim, also of the U.N. Millennium Campaign’s Africa office, said concise, simple messaging will be key in getting the word out.</p> <p>“We’re not talking about MDG 1 or 2 or the new constitution, but it is about the pleasure of rinsing in clean water and decent health care,” Ibrahim explained. “Our whole communications strategy will be built around the emotion of deprivation, which is very real to people.”</p> <p>The goal is for the project to take on a life of its own, spanning well past 2015 – the target year for the MDG goals – and operating independently, with people automatically thinking of texting the provided number or logging in to Huduma.info when there is a problem to report. That may not lead to clearer data on any MDG tracking – specifically information on infant, child and maternal mortality, which is notoriously difficult to document – but it will help identify areas that need increased attention, Woods said.</p> <p>“What this does is help governments and the U.N. at the country level understand what the bottlenecks are,” Woods said. “If you see here a center is closed and it should be open, clearly something is going on. Maybe the people there are not being paid, or the doctors opened a private practice.”</p> <p>The information will feed into a larger analysis of what is and what isn’t working at a local level, Woods said, while also identifying “what we can do about this.”</p> <p>NGOs will ultimately be responsible holding government officials accountable once requests for help appear in a little bubble form on Huduma’s user-friendly map, a concept developed by the Kenya-based Social Development Network, or SODNET. As the program expands and begins to span countries and regions, the capacity for participation for national and international NGOs will expand as well.</p> <p><strong>The future of MDG progress tracking</strong></p> <p>The concept of citizen tracking on a local scale is not new, according to Woods. But the pilot program in Kenya is the known first U.N.-sponsored MDG-specific initiative that eliminates the back-and-forth process of conducting surveys, writing reports, and submitting the reports for publication, consideration and feedback.</p> <p>On a global level, U.N. efforts to monitor MDG progress as well as the resources pledged to achieve the goals are done through the secretary-general’s MDG Gap Task Force and the new Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. The high-level commission was established in December 2010 to develop an accountability framework that will help countries monitor spending of resources committed for maternal and child health during the MDG summit in New York. It will issue its first report in May 2011.</p> <p>&gt;&gt; UN Creates Commission to Ensure Accountability in Women and Child’s Health Aid Flow<br /> &gt;&gt; MDG Summit Culminates With USD40B Global Health Roadmap</p> <p>At this juncture, even as the pilot project in Kenya is just taking off, the U.N. Millennium Campaign is considering a new program to enhance involvement with civil society in tracking all MDG monetary and policy commitments.</p> <p>“We’re in the very early stages of that planning, and there is a lot of thinking,” said Woods. “We’re having that discussion now with people from different civil society organizations and would be very happy to hear from them and hear what their thinking is.”</p> <p>Civil society organizations interested in becoming involved in either effort should contact their U.N. Millennium Campaign officer in the region or country where they are working.</p> <p>By Amy Lieberman</p> <p><cite>Amy is a Devex development correspondent focusing on the United Nations and New York City's aid community. She covered the 2010 Millennium Development Goals summit for Devex and has written about global health, aid worker security and a variety of other topics. Previously, Amy reported from India, Bangladesh and Mexico. Her work has appeared in Women's eNews, IRIN, Policy Innovations, Europa Newswire and The New York Observer, among other publications. </cite></p> <p><a href="http://www.devex.com/en/articles/5-months-after-mdg-summit-citizen-tracking-mechanism-is-launched-in-kenya?source=DefaultHomepage_Headline" target="_blank">CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE</a></p> Africa End Hunger Global Universal Education Gender Equity Child Health Maternal Health Combat HIV/AIDS Environmental Sustainability Global Partnership English Wed, 16 Feb 2011 20:32:05 +0000 chiara 1287 at http://endpoverty2015.org