Apr 29th, 2013 12:02 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
In partnership with One Acre Fund, we are following Anne, a smallholder farmer from Kenya, for a whole growing season. From planting to harvest, we will check in every month to see what life is really like for a farmer in rural Kenya. Catch up with Part 1. Written by Hailey Tucker.
In Western Kenya, successful planting for the year is typically seen as a matter of materials, skill and knowledge. However, most farmers acknowledge that ultimately—regardless of expertise—plant germination can be won or lost by the rains.
For farmers who plant too early, there will not be enough consistent rain to help their crops grow. For farmers who wait long enough but get unlucky, their newly sown seeds will be washed away by heavy rains before the seedlings have a chance to take root.
Trying to pinpoint the prefect timing makes planting one of the most risk-laden choices a farmer can make.
It had been a few nights in a row when Anne had been too hot to sleep and too hot to even cover herself with any sort of blanket, when she knew it was time. Anne would lay awake on a sweat-moistened mattress and hear a strong wind rustling the trees outside.
“When the temperature stays high at night and the winds are blowing hard from West to East, I believe the rains are very near,” Anne says. “Then in the day, I observe the clouds. If there are dark clouds and they hang closer to the earth than the white clouds, then I know the rains are coming.”
After seeing the signs Anne has come to associate with pending rain, she decided to plant part of her millet for the season on March 22, and then finished the rest of the plot on March 25 after taking a few days off for her mother-in-law’s funeral.
The morning of planting, Anne and her husband Isaac gathered with their relatives to pray over their seeds and fertiliser. “I am a believer,” Anne says. “I am spiritual so before planting my family will pray.” Isaac, who is a pastor at the local church, leads the prayer.
After planting, Anne commented, “Preparing the finger millet land required a lot of commitment and labour because we had to break down the soil very fine and remove all the debris. All of the preparation was worthwhile though because then the planting became easy—even easier than maize.”
On March 23, the rains were heavy and with Anne’s field being situated on a slight slope, her first round of seeds took more water than was ideal. Looking at the field two weeks later, the furrows that once divided her lines of seed are barely visible, but patches of millet are still beginning to appear.
“The rains are a little different this year because they usually come in April,” Anne says. “They came in March this year instead and are also much heavier.”
The second half of her field received light rain most of the days immediately following planting, which is the best Anne could have asked for.
“I believe that these are good,” Anne says pointing to the second set of seedlings. “They are much better, I think they will germinate well.”
Have you got a question or message for Anne? Leave a comment and we’ll get them directly to her in Kenya, and try and answer them in the next instalment.
One Acre Fund serves 125,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, helping them to increase their harvests and incomes. It provides farmers with a service bundle that includes seed and fertiliser, credit, training, and market facilitation, and enables farmers to double their income per planted acre. To learn more about their work, you can read Roger Thurow’s The Last Hunger Season.
Apr 25th, 2013 9:55 AM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Today is World Malaria Day and we’re asking ONE members to join the global movement to eradicate it. This deadly but preventable disease, spread by mosquitoes, causes 660,000 deaths a year – 90% of them in Africa.
Thanks to political will and sustained investment, together the world has saved 1 million lives in just a decade. And 50 countries are on track to reduce malaria by 75% by 2015.
So how can you get involved? We’ve made it easy for you. Here’s some of our favorite World Malaria Day actions from our friends and partners. And you can do them all online!
1. Join our World Malaria Day Google+ Hangout
Join ONE and our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Malaria No More UK for a Google+ Hangout to hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world. We promise there will be no jargon, no complicated science—just the truth about this incredible battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
2. Protect The Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria works really hard to save lives around the world. But they need continued funding from world leaders to keep driving down these diseases. Take our one minute action and tell leaders to scale up their commitments.
3. Download South African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s new track
Recorded in support of United Against Malaria and The Princess of Africa Foundation, her performance of Hearts on Fire closed the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament earlier this year in Johannesburg. Warning – it’s catchy.
4. Fight back with facts
Impress your friends and family with facts about malaria. Did you know that 3.3 billion people – half the world’s population – is at risk of malaria? We like the facts on Roll Back Malaria’s website.
5. Buy a United Against Malaria beaded bracelet
They look amazing, AND you’ll be helping the campaign to eradicate malaria. The sales of these bracelets benefit the South African beaders who make them too.
Malaria is an important issue for us here at ONE, and World Malaria Day is a great opportunity to share the work our partners are doing.
Help us to remind the world that malaria is preventable, treatable and although we’ve made real progress, there is still a long way to go.
No parent should lose their child to malaria – keep acting and keep sharing to keep the fight alive.
Apr 3rd, 2013 4:07 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
Back in 2000, the world made a promise to itself. It set out eight Millennium Development Goals, which if met, would significantly reduce global poverty and disease by 2015. On Friday we will enter the final sprint to the finish line, with 1000 days to go until the 2015 deadline arrives. So how are we doing?
ONE has set its cleverest people to work, analysing the progress made by both developing counties and donors who pledged to support them. Our 1000 Days briefing captures all the important facts and figures, but here are seven headlines you need to know.
If you want to know what we think needs to happen in the next 1000 days to keep the Millennium Development goals on track, have a look at the full briefing.
You can also join us on Friday for a live Twitter chat with ONE’s Policy Director Ben Leo. Find out more and send us your questions now.
Feb 4th, 2013 10:26 AM UTC
By Nachilala Nkombo
This January, two years away from the expiry of the 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the post 2015 agenda has already created a buzz in Monrovia and Johannesburg. As Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hosts the United Nations High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development framework this week, I was privileged to have joined an energetic group of ONE Africa staff, friends, partners and members at the launch of ONE’s new post-2015 SMS and social media campaign called “You Choose”. The main objective of this campaign is to engage Africans from all walks of life on what the new MDGs should focus on.
At the launch event Nigerian music star Dbanj told the audience that he joined ONE because he is passionate about engaging on how best to end poverty, he noted that the “YOU CHOOSE” Platforms provide opportunities for all to speak out so that barriers can be removed – or until they find their Jesus Christ! “We can make it, I am an example … Nigerian born, Nigerian made, Africa is more than what people think we are, we have more and have the opportunity to be more,” He said. He called onto the audience and his supporters to participate in this campaign that will influence their futures.
As Africa has close to 700 million mobile connections, the “You Choose” campaign will take advantage of this mobile revolution to enable millions of Africans to make themselves heard. Young people on the continent who are 24/7 on social media will be encouraged to add their voices in shaping the new MDGs through “You Choose”.
The campaign has already hit major airwaves in South Africa on SABC TV, SABC SAFM, SABC and Metro. All citizens need to do is submit their priority in a simple format via a free SMS or the web based platforms. Their priorities could be as simple as food, land, jobs, public transport, skills, hospitals, leadership, accountability, corruption or another critical issue. Today, a radio phone in caller named Bongi told other listeners on the SABC
Morning talk radio show in Johannesburg that leadership is critical in ensuring that ensure that the current and future MDGS are met. He cited how former President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia inherited a country with only a few schools and colleges and no university. But within the first years of independence, he was able to establish a countrywide network of primary and secondary and a university. Bongi chose, and sent a free text to 30677.
What do you choose? To choose, send a text for free to 30677 if you are in South Africa or submit your issue at www.one.org/youchoose if you live elsewhere.
Unlike when the 2000 MDGs were created, the post-2015 MDGs process is seeking advice this time from citizens on what future MDGs should address when the current ones expire in 2015. ONE is working in partnership with 20-plus organisations and influentials that include the UN, civil society organisations, churches groups, radio stations and various media houses in rolling out this drive. ONE is particularly working closely with the UN My World team so as to ensure that the feedback collected through “You Choose “will be included in the meeting of the High Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda to be held in March 2015 in Bali Indonesia.
ONE is thrilled that African icons such as Hugh Masekela, Dbanj, Lira, Benni McCarthy, Chris Katongo, HHP, have joined hands with “You Choose” to urge ordinary African citizens to join the call to action. Launches in Malawi and Zambia will follow on the 12th and 19th of February respectively.
In Zambia, the campaign will be backed by local celebrities that include former Big Brother Housemate, Mampi, singing sensation, Slap Dee and Zambia’s own TV producer Mary Magambo and one of the hip and hottest artists on the Zambian music scene Kachanana. In Malawi the campaign will be backed by Malawian stars Dan Lu, Bon Kalando. You Choose participants will have an option to join ONE so as to have opportunities to join current campaigns ONE is running on improving health and Agriculture investments in Africa. Remember to choose by texting for FREE 30667!
Feb 1st, 2013 9:24 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
As many of you know, we recenlty announced the winner of the 2012 ONE Africa Award in Dar es Salaam. While that was an incredible high—to acknowledge the amazing work of not only the winner but out other four finalists—what’s been more gratifying is the work behind the scenes to tell these organizations’ stories in five easy-to-watch video vignettes. We previewed these at our awards ceremony and since then, we have been editing, perfecting and mastering these videos up to this point.
Watch the videos here:
It’s not as easy as it looks. ONE’s filmmaker for this project, Amr Singh, and I visited these five finalists back in October. We interviewed corporate chieftains, government ministers and everyday citizens who are fighting for change while we also tried to capture the essence of each organization’s work. We had to wake up early, drive long distances and take more red-eye flights than can be considered healthy. All in all, we probably recorded between ten and twenty hours of interviews and footage for each finalist. That’s a lot of video to comb through in order to produce a final video that shouldn’t be more than four minutes (and in reality, we were trying to cap them under three-and-a-half minutes as you’ll see in a few).
It’s also a challenge to actually pick out the story to tell about these finalists. How could we somehow demonstrate the incredible support and integrity that Positive-Generation has engendered amongst its peers in Cameroon? Or what about the poignant story of the rural hospital in South Africa not being able to provide the adapted wheel chairs for the patients in such a rural environment? Inevitably, some incredible aspect of one of these finalists has to be cut and left on the floor of the editing studio. So as you watch these videos, consider them as an introduction to the organizations and challenges they’re working to address. There’s so much more going on behind the scenes, and I hope these whet your appetite to learn more.
These videos will be rolled out over the next week on ONE.org. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Jan 30th, 2013 2:57 PM UTC
By Bill Gates
Today I am launching my Annual Letter. This year, I concentrate on the power of clear goals and accurate measurement–simple concepts really–to improve the lives of the poorest people around the globe. It may not be the sexiest of themes, but the proof of its impact is undeniable. The lives of the poorest have improved more rapidly in the last 15 years than ever before. During that time, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced by half–extraordinary progress in a short period of time.
A core reason for that remarkable progress was the world’s commitment to setting clear goals and identifying the right measures to drive progress towards those goals. Since Melinda and I started our foundation, I’ve seen how powerful measurement can be used as a tool to guide our work for the world’s poor. When you do get it right, you can do powerful things. You know what’s working and can work on scaling the best solutions. You know what you’re doing wrong and can course-correct. And when you’re done, you can be confident of the impact of each intervention.
As it turns out, setting clear goals and finding the right measures are just as important for governments trying to figure out how to spend their aid budgets. As I say in the letter: “Historically, aid was largely discussed in terms of the total amount of money invested. Now that we’re more precisely measuring indicators like child mortality, people are able to see the impact aid has in stark terms—that it’s the difference between putting people on AIDS treatment or letting them die.”
Not only do clear goals and measures allow governments to spend their aid money more efficiently, it builds the political will to continue funding aid programs by proving how successful they are. It’s not just about governments giving other governments taxpayer money: it’s about one community helping another raise itself out of poverty.
The world can accomplish really big things when we unite around clear goals and develop the measurements to gauge progress. One of the best examples of how that works is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that the UN set in 2000. The MDGs are a set of eight specific goals that are an unprecedented global effort to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. While we won’t reach all of the goals, the progress we’ve made toward each is staggering. The MDG target of reducing extreme poverty by half has been reached ahead of the deadline, as has the goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to safe drinking water. 14,000 fewer children around the world are dying every day than in 1990. The number of mothers who die during childbirth has been reduced by almost 50 percent since the goals were set.
And that is what my letter is about. I hope that you’ll read it and engage with our first ever digital experience. Learn more, share it with your friends, and get involved by visiting billsletter.com.
Jan 29th, 2013 6:19 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest post from ONE member Francesca Washtell:
Last Wednesday ONE joined together with leading UK charities at Somerset House in London to launch the new Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign, aiming to make this year the beginning of the end of global hunger.
It’s a bold campaign- can we ever mark a single year as the one in which we can start to end global hunger? A few of us got to quiz ONE staff on this issue and the nature of the campaign when we met at ONE London office before heading down to Somerset House. It’s worth pointing out that there isn’t a typical kind of ONE campaigner. We come from all backgrounds- from medical students to retirees, from those involved for two weeks to those who’ve committed their time for ONE and its predecessor campaigns for almost a decade. For us it’s the issues that matter, so there are no criteria we have to meet and no subject we have to have studied before we got here.
ONE’s approach will emphasise areas it has already been extremely active in- particularly supporting the agricultural, aid and transparency goals of the IF campaign. Talking to ONE staff they explained how versatile the campaign is, and how every organisation involved will be able to focus on different issues that all feed in to the wider goal.
If I had any reservations about the campaign beforehand, it was this conversation that made me the most optimistic. The best international campaigns are typically very inclusive, allowing all the organisations involved and, most importantly, their supporters, to work towards a goal from different angles, emphasising each organisation’s strengths in the process. Global hunger is a varied and complex process, and ending it will never just be about fixing a single cause. As the biggest campaign since 2005’s Make Poverty History, the strength of Enough Food For Everyone IF’s will be in its breadth.
Nothing compares to actually being there at a launch- even when it’s during the coldest, snowiest weeks the UK has seen this winter! There were impressive fact-filled animations and video messages from Bill Gates and activist celebrities such as Orlando Bloom and David Harewood, and the whole event made Twitter go pretty crazy. If you watched it live online you’ll have seen that one of the key speakers of the evening was Bill Nighy. No one rallies the troops quite like Bill- he’s a celebrity who seems to completely understand the urgency and weight that campaigns like these carry.
Everyone involved sees the problem with the world producing enough food, but not everyone having enough to eat. By the end of the evening our feet were pretty cold, but it was worth it to stand there and be a part of the launch. IF will have many channels- we can use 2013 to say there will be Enough Food For Everyone IF politicians start listening, land grabs are stopped and governments and businesses start enforcing the right levels of tax and transparency. Going back to my original question, can we really single out 2013 as the year to start ending global hunger? From the support we saw last Wednesday and the way the campaign will work, I think we’re in with a very good chance. It’s still and IF now, but by the end of the year I hope we MAKE it happen.
Jan 23rd, 2013 5:56 PM UTC
By David Cole
Today we have joined together with over 80 other organisations in the UK to launch Enough Food For Everyone IF – the biggest campaign from NGOs, charities and others since 2005.
From 6PM GMT, you can watch the live video stream from the launch event in London:
Please join the campaign and spread the word on Facebook and twitter.
Jan 22nd, 2013 3:32 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)are a group of bacterial and parasitic diseases that infect more than 1 billion people living in poverty around the world.
It’s the start of a new year, and in many ways the beginning of 2013 is like all others. People make lists, set goals and get ready to start fresh and achieve great things. For the global health and development community, we are a year closer to achieving a larger goal — controlling and eliminating neglected tropical disease (NTDs) by 2020.
Photo Caption: A child leads his grandfather who has gone blind from onchocerciasis, one of the most common NTDs. Photo by Olivier Asselin, courtesy of Sabin Vaccine Institute.
One in six people worldwide are infected with NTDs, diseases that cause blindness, malnutrition, anemia and other disabilities. Not only are these diseases devastating to people’s health, they also reduce worker productivity and school attendance, reinforcing poverty in affected communities.
This month we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of a more unified effort to tackle this big challenge. And the best part is that we already have a viable solution; many of these diseases are treatable using existing medicines donated by industry partners.
Last January a group of public and private partners came together to address NTDs. They endorsed The London Declaration on NTDs, an unprecedented pledge to work toward the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of controlling or eliminating 10 NTDs by 2020.
The progress of the last year is detailed in a new report, where major milestones include:
- More than 1 billion treatments donated by partners in the pharmaceutical industry
- National NTD control and elimination plans developed in more than 40 affected countries
- A new scorecard to track progress and increase transparency
This report was issued in coordination with a second progress report from WHO, documenting the specific efforts of partners and affected countries in the past two years, which have helped to fast-track many programs in order to achieve measurable impact.
On this important anniversary, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, in partnership with Hudson Institute’s Center for Science in Public Policy, also released a new report, “Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases,” highlighting the crucial links between NTDs and broader economic and societal consequences.
Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, commended the progress, and noted: “The challenge now is to strengthen capacity of national disease programmes in endemic countries and streamline supply chains to get the drugs to the people who need them, when they need them.”
If success breeds more success, then the accomplishments detailed in these reports are surely indicative of accelerated progress in the years to come. So break out the champagne and raise a glass—but be ready to roll up your sleeves, because there’s more work to be done!
Wondering how you can get involved? The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases invites you to join our END7 campaign. You can learn more about these diseases and take action through our Facebook page or by visiting our website. Together we can see the end.
Jan 15th, 2013 12:18 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
I just finished watching this heart-wrenching video on child labour in India. It shows images of young children making colourful Christmas ornaments, gifts and trinkets, where they are forced to work more than 12-hour days in cramped, dimly lit workshops away from their families. It broke my heart to see the children painstakingly assembling the shiny, pretty baubles, using sharp objects like needles and even broken glass, for the rest of the world to enjoy during the holiday season. The irony of it is maddening.
If these children went to school instead of having to work to take care of themselves, then they would be able to have a better chance of succeeding at life. But they don’t even have that chance. When I think about the fact that there are nearly 115,000,000 child labourers in the world, my mind can’t comprehend it. The children in this video are working at a sweatshop – but what about the other children who are forced to work at more hazardous jobs, exposed to harmful chemicals or pesticides, or worse, sell their bodies in the streets?
Click on the image to watch the video:
At the end of the video, a team of humanitarian workers save a group of child labourers from their sweatshop prisons and send them back to their parents with the hopes of going back to school. But those are only a few children. We need to ensure that ALL children are freed from this horrific circumstance.
Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, is asking you to call on the Indian Parliament to pass the Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill to abolish child labour under 14 years of age and ensure all children can go to school. And call on the UN to take concrete action to get all primary school age children out of work and into school by 2015 and end child slavery.
All they need for you to do is sign the petition here. The Education Envoy will send you updates with actions to keep you informed on this issue.
Please watch this video, then share on Facebook or Twitter. As the narrator says: no child should go to work unless it’s schoolwork.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.