Do you want to make the world a better place? Of course you do. Do you think we can make the world a better place by becoming more informed about the rest of the world, by getting outraged about global poverty and injustice, by holding the powerful to account or even by poking fun at … Continue reading →
It’s the giving time of the year. When a combination of the emerging winter and holiday season converge into a moment of fleeting caring in the US. It also happens to be the end of the tax year.
Charities make a significant amount of money during this time. An estimated 18% of all money raised during the year happens in December, that is more than double nearly every other month.
American University student Scott Weathers wants to know that his donations have the greatest impact possible.
The second year student (he shuns the label Sophomore since he plans to graduate in three years) began his philanthropic journey in high school.
His teacher would email leading humanitarians in order to engage his students. One such outreach to Howard G Buffett, son to Warren Buffett and agriculture philanthropist, led to an invite for Weathers and sixteen fellow students to fly out and discuss poverty with Buffett in person.
The experience of charitable giving inspired him to raise money for groups like Partners in Health. It also led to some questions about why he was supporting certain organizations. He wondered whether he was making an informed decision about his giving.
“I want people in high school to give the charity and do it to places that work,” he said. Continue reading →
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) announced this week that donors pledged a total of US $12 billion to save lives through prevention and treatment of these three diseases.
The $12 billion represents the largest amount pledged to the Global Fund to date, as shown in the figure below. Many celebrated this milestone while others, as Humanosphere reported earlier this week, emphasized that it fell short of the goal of $15 billion, an amount advocates said was needed to continue to make progress against these killers.
Significant progress has been made in reducing deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria worldwide. The video below charts the decline in deaths from HIV/AIDS worldwide from 1990 to 2010 using the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) data visualization tools:
The video shows how deaths from HIV/AIDS increased in most age groups through 2005 but started to drop by 2010. Continue reading →
The Nordic countries dominated the UN’s 2013 happiness index. That comes at no surprise. Setting those aside, what is the happiest country in Africa?
As this infographic from Afrografique shows, it is Angola that comes out on top. What is interesting here is the spread of countries and the fact that the attitudes may not be connected to other development indicators. Angola, for example, was 148 overall in the 2013 UN Human Development Index. Mozambique fares worse on the HDI, but it too manages to score well on happiness.
On the other hand, countries like Algeria and South Africa score on the higher end of the HDI as compared to fellow African nations.
What does it mean? Happiness and development are not always connected. Or maybe this is good reason to question some of the long held assumptions about what ‘developed’ means.
Daytime television host Katie Couric courted controversy where it does not exist, yesterday. She featured Emily Tarsell a woman who said the HPV vaccine Gardasil is responsible for her her daughter’s death.
Remaining guests, including medical doctors, discussed their support and opposition to the HPV vaccine. Couric builds ‘controversy’ by rising fear of vaccines based on non or pseudo-scientific claims. The ‘balanced’ style of reporting left viewers with few answers and may have caused more confusion than help enlighten misinformed Americans.
“So we’ve obviously heard two different sides about the HPV vaccine and I think for parents watching, it’s probably still rather confusing when you hear these heartbreaking stories that these parents have endured,” closed Couric.
Viwers are left thinking that there is an actual debate over the HPV vaccine when there isn’t.
There is more agreement in the medical community than Couric’s show lets on. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women both receive the vaccine and are screened regularly for cancer. It is the same recommendation made by the World Health Organization for countries around the world. Continue reading →
The title ‘activist’ in cities like New York, London or Oakland can carry some progressive prestige.
In Kenya, ‘activist’ is a dirty and dangerous word – at least according to Boniface Mwangi, one of the Kenya’s most prominent young demonstrators.
“It’s a label that is used very loosely for somebody who is outspoken,” Mwangi says. “People who are afraid to speak their mind call you a dissenter, they call you an activist, they call you unpatriotic. But I think opposition — that’s our patriotic duty.”
The Kenyan government does not appear to agree.
Mwangi, 30, is a ‘photoactivist.’ The photo part came first; as a photojournalist for Kenya’s The Standard, and then as a freelancer for AFP, Reuters and other international outlets. Below is the first in a series of video profiles of activists around the world, a project I’ve launched called inACTIVISM.
In 2007, violence erupted after Kenya’s fraught presidential elections.
Freakonomics is the latest outlet to ride the wave of fighting poverty with evidence. It’s most recent episode features the folks over at Innovations for Poverty Action and GiveDirectly, two programs use rigorous evaluations to find out what works.
The discussion comes from a recent IPA hosted event on increasing evidence-based responses to poverty.
Listen in and share your thoughts. Are you convinced by the arguments?
Amazon hopes drones may soon take over the retail world. The UN hopes drones will help peacekeeping work.
The UN’s first unmanned and unarmed aircraft took flight in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday. They will patrol airspace over the region to track rebel groups along the border with Rwanda and Uganda.
Limited infrastructure and large forests have made it hard for Congolese and UN MONUSCO peacekeepers to patrol the region. The UN hopes the drones will help with their work in the Congo and elsewhere.
“One can observe the movements of the armed groups, movements of populations and can even see the arms carried by people on the ground, and it is also possible to see people in forested areas,” said MONUSCO Force Commander General Santos Cruz. Continue reading →