Global Health

Humanosphere
1:16 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

American girls enlisted in global campaign against child marriage

Tom Paulson introduced the teen-directed program, Girl Up, last year, on Humanosphere.org, as the United Nations Foundation and Seattle students helped launch the new initiative.

This year, the Girl Up campaign says it has mobilized 150,000 American teens around the issue of child brides. Organizers say the disturbing prospect of 100 million child brides in the next decade has galvanized American teenage girls, who are demanding action on behalf of their young counterparts around the world.

Read more on Humanosphere.org

Humanosphere
1:12 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Cautionary tales: Effective foreign aid often proves elusive

The tents of displaced Afghans still dot the countryside.
Wikimedia Commons photo

Despite the best intentions, foreign aid often goes awry in countries overwhelmed by war.

A series of recent news stories have shown clearly that governments rushing in to help people in war-torn countries often find they have solved few long-term problems and sometimes made matters worse.

Read more.

Humanosphere
1:50 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Gates Foundation still struggling with 'transparency'

While the Gates Foundation is probably more transparent than many, if not most, private foundations, it is still struggling with a public relations problem identified a year ago:  Many felt then that the Seattle philanthropy was difficult to work with and fairly uncommunicative.

In its new annual report released today, Gates CEO Jeff Raikes said, "Many grantees said we are inconsistent and unclear about our decision-making process and our programmatic strategies. They also said we should be more welcoming of their feedback."

Humanosphere
9:54 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Foreign aid on chopping block

A refugee carries food aid on his back at a food distribution center run by the World Food Programme, in the town of Dadaab, Kenya, today.
Associated Press

Given the demand for cuts in government spending following the compromise deal Congress struck in order to raise the debt ceiling, many experts say foreign aid and development programs are on shaky ground.

Read more.

Humanosphere
2:26 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Community, collaboration: The next phase for Seattle’s do-gooders

'In Seattle, we are already the Silicon Valley of sustainable, social and innovative development,' Hub Seattle's Brian Howe. 'But we are still very fragmented, many of us working inefficiently in isolation.'
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

Clearly, the explosion of do-gooders in Seattle represents a great opportunity – an opportunity to do more good, to maybe even “do well by doing good” or at least find a job.

But our region’s emerging humanitarian “sector” also poses some dangers: A plethora of good (and maybe not-so-good) causes competing for funding, of redundancy, lack of clarity, lack of criteria for measuring success (or failure) and, overall, of not making the most of this opportunity due to lack of collaboration, of community.

That’s where Hub Seattle hopes to play a role.

Read more.

Humanosphere
5:38 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

New Seattle org wants to unite all the do-gooders in Seattle

Seattle has a plethora of organizations helping people around the world. (Pictured is Seattle International Foundation's Mauricio Vivero in Guatemala, checking on a Seattle-funded microfinance project). A new organization wants to connect them all.
SIF

“We live in this amazing community where so many people are trying to make a difference …”

Seattle has become a hub, or more accurately a hodgepodge, of international do-gooders. And, well, nobody seems to really have a handle on everything going on.

That’s where another internationally oriented foundation in Seattle comes in. Appropriately enough, it’s called the Seattle International Foundation.

Read more.

Humanosphere
10:24 am
Wed July 27, 2011

Malawi protests: An African spring?

A protester burns vegetation in a street in Lilongwe, Malawi, last week. Protesters went on the rampage after a court injunction stopped them protesting the economic and democratic crisis in the country.
Associated Press

Just as when Tunisians first rose up against their government, few outside are paying much attention.

The same basic forces — unemployment, high food prices, human rights abuses and mistrust of government — which sparked the revolt in Tunisia and then led to today’s widespread popular revolution across the Arab world, is now at play in this small, southeastern African nation.

Read more.

Humanosphere
10:44 am
Tue July 26, 2011

Perspectives: Famine in East Africa is a crime … and bad science

Somalis from southern Somalia carrying their belongings make their way to a new camp for internally displaced refugees in Mogadishu Tuesday. The U.N. will airlift emergency rations this week to parts of drought-ravaged Somalia.
Associated Press

As the United Nations and the international community ramps up to airlift food and supplies into East Africa, mostly for starving Somali refugees, two perspectives on this crisis seemed especially interesting to Tom Paulson, who runs KPLU’s Humanosphere.

One: In Foreign Policy, Charles Kenny contends that, in this day and age, allowing a famine to occur is basically a crime against humanity.

Two: David Dickson, editor of the Science and Development Network, contends that the UN, Western powers and aid organizations could have been well-prepared for this crisis – if they had paid any attention to the scientific evidence.

Read more.

Humanosphere
5:14 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Water advocate wonders at Gates Foundation’s focus on the toilet

Marla Smith-Nilson and friends.
Water 1st

Marla Smith-Nilson is director of Seattle-based Water 1st International and has worked for decades trying to improve access in the developing world to clean water and safe, healthy sanitation.

Smith-Nilson said she welcomes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decision to get more involved in water and sanitation issues. But she is concerned that their primary interest in re-inventing the toilet is focused too much on the simple fix.

Read more.

Humanosphere
4:54 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Why CIA's faked vaccines may cause damage

johanoomen Flickr

The CIA has acknowledged running a deceptive, if not totally fake, vaccination program in Pakistan as part of the effort months ago to hunt down Osama bin Laden, and here are three reasons why the deception may cause problems in global health efforts:

  • This isn’t just about vaccines.
  • Health workers and aid workers overseas have to be seen as neutral and independent if they are to operate effectively and safely.
  • National security isn’t achieved just by hunting and killing bad guys. It’s also achieved through humanitarian efforts.

Read more.

Humanosphere
9:05 am
Wed July 13, 2011

Microwaving malaria among winners of Gates grants

Gates Foundation announces latest round of grants.
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded its latest set of grants supporting innovative scientific research aimed at solving problems in global health.

The grants, awarded through the Gates Foundation’s $100 million Grand Challenges Exploration program, for this go-round appear to favor novel methods aimed at combating malaria.

Read more.

Humanosphere
2:18 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Did CIA's fake vaccination program undermine global health?

Associated Press

One of the chronic problems the international community has with almost every disease-fighting campaign has been the need to overcome mistrust — mistrust of government, of foreign health workers or outsider do-gooders in general.

This is, for a variety of reasons, especially true of vaccines.

So many worry that such global health efforts will suffer from the revelation, reported first in The Guardian and later by the New York Times and others, that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) set up a fake vaccination program in Pakistan in order to collect DNA samples.

Read more.

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