An Inspiring Story – Youth in Zambia: using U-Report to take charge of their futures

@UNICEF #RicardoPires #Zambia #HIV #Youth #UReport #technology

Via UNICEF Connect – Blog – article by Ricardo Pires

I met Josephine earlier this year, a bright 21-year-old young woman from a country where 68 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and three young people become infected with HIV every hour, two of them being girls. That’s an average of 72 young people infected per day, and 27,000 per year. These numbers are strong enough to declare a national health emergency by any definition.

In Josephine’s country, despite the seriousness of the situation, less than 40 per cent of young people have detailed information or knowledge about HIV/AIDS, with lower levels among girls. Poverty and HIV/AIDS have become mutually reinforcing and are perpetuating a cycle of suffering for children and youth that seems endless.

The country I’m referring to is Zambia.

I decided to start this text with a different tone, somewhat resembling a movie trailer, for two reasons: firstly, because what we’re sharing is a cinematic experience; and secondly, in this tale of bravery and innovation, we have a heroine who was born in the slums of Lusaka, in a family of 10 siblings, managed to get herself into school, and is on a mission to change the world.

Let me rewind a bit, back to 2012. The UNICEF Office of Research–Innocenti in Florence commissioned the study Children, ICTs and Development: Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges, published in April 2014. The topic was so promising that we decided to script a short film to support it, showing the human story behind the evidence and featuring a child or teenager who had been positively influenced by technology in the developing world.

After doing quite a bit of research and digging for inspiration, I came across the Zambia case study and U-Report initiative. The minute I read about it, I knew it was right, as if the story had been patiently waiting to be unveiled. Everything fell into place a month later, when I hopped on a plane to Lusaka to start the filming, accompanied by a director and a cinematographer.

So what is U-Report? In a nutshell, it’s an innovative, free-of-charge and youth friendly platform that allows real-time, two-way communication with trained counsellors via SMS on issues of HIV and sexuality transmitted infections (STI) in Zambia. It’s a platform for change in a country where one in every three young people has at least one mobile phone subscription, according to the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA).

Josephine grabbed the opportunity to reach out to young people and became a U-Reporter two years ago, while still living in Kanyama, one amid the many urban slums in Lusaka. She was expected by society to give up on education, get married and make do with this life, but instead she took a divergent route and decided to make a difference for future generations.

Her story is a snapshot of the youth revolution that is brewing in Zambia and is led by technology. Apart from over 40,000 U-Reporters working together, Google (amongst other partners) is supporting an innovation hub in Lusaka called the BongoHive, where young developers gather on a daily basis to think outside-the-box and create applications and services that can leapfrog development in the country – and beyond.

Innovation is becoming an integral part of Zambia’s DNA. After having the opportunity to connect with many inspiring youngsters in the country, be it at the BongoHive, in Kanyama or in the rural areas, I finally realized that despite all the international support coming from various places, it is only the present and future generations that can truly bring (and sustain) change to a nation.

Josephine is already one of the many emerging leaders. Now she only needs more people to believe and follow her dream.

Ricardo Pires is a UNICEF Communication Specialist, based in Florence, who was recently in Zambia to film a series of documentaries on innovation and Information Communication Technology.

Read original article here: Youth in Zambia: using U-Report to take charge of their futures | UNICEF Connect – UNICEF BLOG.


Charity Navigator: Well Deserved Honorary Degrees!

@CharityNav #HonoraryDegrees #PatDugan #MarionDugan #WagnerCollege

Via Charity Navigator Blog

Pat and Marion Dugan

Charity Navigator’s founders, Pat & Marion Dugan, received honorary degrees today from Wagner College. During his speech, Mr. Dugan told the graduates that “your success should lead to a dedication to helping others.” Mr. and Mrs. Dugan sure embody that sentiment, for without their vision and support, Charity Navigator would not exist. Continue reading: Charity Navigator: Well Deserved Honorary Degrees!.

11 Signs The World Is Making Real Progress Against Global Poverty

@ONECampaign #GlobalPoverty

Via The ONE Campaign on Buzzfeed

11 Signs The World Is Making Real Progress Against Global Poverty

Proof that there’s been HUGE advances in the fight against poverty. We’re just as ecstatic as you are.posted on May 22, 2014, at 8:45 p.m.@

1. People are living longer

People are living longer

Thanks to improvements in health, life expectancy around the world has improved dramatically in the past few decades: it was an average of 64 years in 1990, and 70 years in 2011.

2. More people around the world can read

More people around the world can read

In 2011, the global adult literacy rate was 84.1 percent, and the rate for youth was 89.5 percent.

3. We’re winning the fight against malaria

We're winning the fight against malaria

Since the year 2000, worldwide malaria death rates fell by 45 percent in all age groups.

4. Tuberculosis is becoming a thing of the past

Tuberculosis is becoming a thing of the past

The rate of TB incidence has been reduced by 45 percent since 1990.

5. Worldwide poverty is down

Worldwide poverty is down

In 2000, 33 percent of the world population was living in poverty. Today, it’s 21 percent. While that means more than 1 in 5 people live in poverty, it’s still enormous progress—and it means that the world has effectively halved its poverty rate in just 20 years.

6. India will be polio-free in 2014

India will be polio-free in 2014

There have been no new cases of polio reported in India since January 13, 2011. If no new cases are reported, India will be certified polio-free in early 2014.

7. We’re vaccinating more people than ever

We're vaccinating more people than ever

An estimated 450,000 children die from rotavirus-caused diarrhea every year – but an organization called the GAVI Alliance is bringing a vaccine to fight it to 30 of the world’s poorest countries by 2015.

8. Ethiopia is doing well

Ethiopia is doing well

Ethiopia was once the poster-child (literally) for problems of malnutrition, health, and other issues. Today, Ethiopia proves that seemingly intractable problems can be solved through hard work and community outreach.

9. We’re gaining ground against HIV

We're gaining ground against HIV

Deaths from AIDS-related causes are going down. According to UNAIDS, the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes each year has declined from a high of roughly 2.3 million in 2005 to roughly 1.6 million in 2012.

10. We’re on track to halve hunger by 2015

We're on track to halve hunger by 2015

According to the UN, since 1990, “The global number of hungry people declined by 132 million…or from 18.6 percent to 12.5 percent of the world’s population, and from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent in developing countries.”

11. Guinea worm is set to be the first fully eradicated human disease since smallpox

Guinea worm is set to be the first fully eradicated human disease since smallpox

Guinea Worm, a water-borne disease, is down 49 percent since 2011. We don’t have final numbers yet for 2013, but there have only been 144 cases tallied so far in 2013. Back in 1986, 3.5 million people were infected. This is an incredible drop, and means 2014 could be the year we eradicate Guinea Worm.

See what a difference a decade can make in the fight against global poverty. View The ONE Campaign’s interactive timeline of their work since 2004.

Special thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Mental Floss for thepost.

Read original article here: 11 Signs The World Is Making Real Progress Against Global Poverty.

Fox Foto Friday: The Michael J Fox Foundation

@MichaelJFoxOrg #Kober #Parkinsons #GolfEvent #Donations

Via The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research on Google+ (click for original)

Fox Foto Friday: While the Kobers set an initial goal of $25,000 for their first golf event, they ended up getting more than $85,000 in donations. Talk about a hole in one! Thanks, Kober family!

May 23, 2014

“The World is but a Canvas to the Imagination”

@SOS_Africa #ChildrensCharityBlog #WesternCape #Drawings

Via SOS Africa Western Cape: Children’s Charity Blog

“The World is but a Canvas to the Imagination”

A vital part of every child’s development involves granting them the freedom to express themselves through art. Here are some beautiful drawings created by the SOS Africa Charity children at our Western Cape Aftercare Centre this week…


For more information go to: SOS Africa Western Cape: Children’s Charity Blog: “The World is but a Canvas to the Imagination”.