Aid agencies are tightening security measures in the Middle East and increasingly outsourcing work to local organizations to limit their exposure to multiplying risks across the region. From VOA:
Most if not all international NGOs had already stopped sending expatriate staff into Syria by the time footage emerged 10 days ago of a British aid worker being beheaded by Islamic State militants who control around one third of the country.
But the killing has brought into focus the increasing dangers faced by aid workers across the region just as they are also facing huge risks in their work dealing with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Those dangers are making it hard for NGOs to deal with some of the most acute humanitarian crises of the century.
“The severity of the risk, but also the targeted nature makes it very hard for any humanitarian organization to operate in these areas,” said a representative of one aid organization working in the Middle East, who did not want to be named.
“Humanitarian activity is very limited at the moment; everyone is very much constrained by the security situation.”
International aid agencies are relying increasingly on local organizations to get access to communities in need both in Syria and Iraq.
In Syria alone, some 3.5 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict with more than 800,000 forced from their homes since IS overran the north’s largest city in June.
“The basis of our security in a context like Iraq…is acceptance, so the people on the ground, all parties to the conflict, know who you are,” said one NGO security director. “We are trying to approach everybody that is playing a part in the conflict.”
Spotlight on PSI
PSI was announced as a sponsor for the upcoming National Association of Secondary Heads Under-20 soccer tournament in Zimbabwe. The Herald reports:
PSI social marketing director Kumbirai Chatora yesterday said the sponsorship package does not only include playing kit for the finalists.
The sponsorship is part of the “Pinda muSmart/Ngena ku-Smart” male circumcision programme. “Accommodation and transport to attend the games in Harare for all participating schools will also be provided as well as a trophy and US$1 750 to be shared out as prize money for the winning school and the two runner-ups.
“This is the beginning of a great soccer partnership between NASH and the Pinda muSmart/Ngena kuSmart male circumcision programme.
“Soccer is a well-loved sport in this country and it’s a sport that speaks to everyone’s heart and, most importantly, it is also a favourite past-time enjoyed by our target group — the adolescents
“Through this partnership, we aim to assist in developing a young person who is fit in the body and mind and is aware of the health options available to him to protect himself from HIV.
“We are looking beyond just kicking the ball in schools but adding value by providing opportunities for the adolescents to understand and engage with the Pinda muSmart/Ngena Ku- Smart brand,” she said.
Global Health and Development Beat
Injuries were sustained when people attacked a team of Red Cross workers who were collecting bodies believed to be infected with Ebola in southeastern Guinea.
Markets in San Salvador sell abortion pills to women who need them, despite the fact that abortion is still illegal in the El Salvador.
With health clinics closed and people afraid to come in for treatment, Liberia’s national AIDS commission says they are now going door-to-door to get people to come take their antiretroviral medications.
More than two in three South African mothers in private hospitals give birth by caesarean section, way above the international average, research has shown
Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s health minister who saw expanded care for people with HIV now has his sights set on noncommunicable diseases, reports NPR.
The Guinean government says it is sending 2,000 young people door to door to educate families about Ebola. The initiative comes after the brutal killings of eight health workers and journalists as they traveled in the southeast as part of a government convoy to raise awareness about the virus.
The National Institute of Health of Colombia confirmed more than 1,600 cases of Chikungunya in 11 departments.
Droughts and heavy fighting have brought Somalia close to another bout of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people in the troubled Horn of Africa country.
A new report predicts the world’s population is likely to increase to almost 11-billion by 2100. The new estimates are based on the most modern statistical tools.
A moral crusade similar to the campaign to abolish slavery will be needed if the world’s latest attempt to bring clean water and sanitation to hundreds of millions of people is to succeed, a global expert has warned.
Buzzing in the Blogs
CGD’s Sarah Dykstra and Charles Kenny share ideas on how to reduce the rate of violence against women, around the world. An excerpt:
The most important thing that rich countries can do is tackle the considerable domestic violence that still infests them at home. In a month when a Baltimore Ravens football player was (finally) dropped from the team for knocking out his fiancée and Wesleyan College banned students from the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity that had become known as a “rape factory” on campus, it is clear the United States cannot pretend to stand above the fray. It should join the global struggle against gender violence in a spirit of partnership rather than leadership.
Nonetheless, there is a large role for aid and migration tools to play in highlighting the issue and reducing the level of violence — in the United States and other wealthy countries alike.
Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have gained attention in recent years as a way to address poverty and encourage certain behaviors. In these programs, governments and donor agencies provide individuals or families with cash in return for fulfilling certain conditions, such as enrollment, health facility visits, or vaccination. New research shows that these incentives can be directed toward women and girls to help them overcome barriers by creating space to make better choices for their health and well-being.
In India, child marriage is illegal but the practice remains stubbornly common, with just under half of all girls married before their 18th birthday. The Indian state of Haryana introduced a CCT program in 1994 to delay girls’ marriage and change how families view their daughters. The government provided a savings bond to infant girls that would be redeemable for 25,000 rupees (about $550) when each girl turned 18, on the condition that she was still unmarried. The International Center for Research on Women evaluated the program in 2012 just before the first cohort of participants turned 18 and found that girls who participated in the scheme were significantly more likely to still be in school at the time of evaluation than girls who had not participated (76 percent versus 64 percent). Even though the girls had not received the cash benefit at this point, the program had influenced families’ investment in their daughters’ education. While we won’t know whether the cash transfer has affected early marriage rates until the next survey round is completed later this year, research has shown that the longer a girl stays in school, the more likely she is to delay marriage and pregnancy.
9:30 AM – Pakistan: Importing Americas’s Federalism? – Atlantic Council
12:00 PM – The Impact of Secondary Schooling in Kenya: A regression Discontinuity Analysis – CGD
12:30 PM – Guns, Drugs and Military Aid: Exploring Unintended Effects of US Policy in Latin America – CGD
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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