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 →
A fascinating graphic from The Economist tracks income levels for South Africans based on race over the period of Nelson Mandela’s life. Most interesting is how little the gap between white and black South Africans has closed in nearly 100 years. The much celebrated end of apartheid nearly 20 years ago did not slow down the accumulation of wealth among white South Africans.
Under its own majority rule, the lot of the ever-growing black population—today forming over three-quarters of the national total—has been notably poor. Misguided governance, low-quality education, skills shortages and massive unemployment levels of around 40% have left it more disadvantaged today than when Nelson Mandela was still behind bars. Black income has virtually flat-lined, betraying tremendous gulfs between the wealth of the different racial groups. Sadly, the nation Mandela leaves behind today remains one of the least equal in the world.
The landmark law enacted in Afghanistan four years ago is providing little protection for women.
In 2011, Afghanistan was found to be the worst place to be a women, according to a survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The greatest threats to Afghan women, according to those polled, were non-sexual violence, a lack of access to economic resources and health.
The establishment of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law in August 2009 was heralded as an important advance for the safety of women. Some twenty-two acts were included in the law ranging from forced marriage and forced self-immolation to violence and the practice of giving away women to settle a dispute.
Yesterday, a report released by the UN raised serious concerns with the progress over the past four years.
“Implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Continue reading →
“Whatever you do in the States resonates in the rest of the world.” Rosanna Flamer-Caldera knows this better than most.
As she reveals in this interview with Humanosphere’s East Coast correspondent Tom Murphy, she was inspired to come out to her parents and take up LGBTI rights activism by her experiences in San Francisco. The life and death of Harvey Milk (the progressive gay activist and politican, assassinated in 1978) had a profound influence on her.
Now, she’s the co-founder of Equal Ground, one of Sri Lanka’s leading LGBT rights organizations. And she’s leaving a legacy of her own, considering polls done by Sri Lankan major newspapers showing support for queer rights on the rise and the way her government has gone after Equal Ground with raids and closures. There’s a lot we can learn from the pragmatic but principled approach she’s taking to advancing the LGBT cause.
In the headlines segment, Tom and I discuss the 100 million reasons you should love vaccines, why Katie Couric really ought to know better, the happiest country in Africa, and the death of Nelson Mandela.
I met Mandela in Seattle a few years ago, when he was already old but still a powerful presence. Many are celebrating his legacy as South Africa’s first black president, as an icon of the successful struggle against apartheid and as the lead character in a story of right versus might.
Left out of this narrative, usually, is that Mandela was labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government, which supported the former South African government’s policy of racial separation and discrimination up until a few years before the wretched apartheid system finally collapsed.
Mandela was a freedom fighter and an African nationalist, in the best sense of the word. But he was also not a big fan of capitalism or what might be called ‘the American way,’ aligning himself ideologically with more left-leaning folks like Fidel Castro and the old Soviet Union. He wasn’t a pacificist. He believed in fighting fire with fire. These facts are usually also left out of these stories – or buried down at the bottom.
Much of the news coverage of Mandela’s death is focused on the question of what his passing will mean for the future of South Africa – a nation variously described as either an up-and-coming emerging economy or a still-racially-polarized and immensely unequal country at risk of further unraveling.
I won’t add to the flood of posthumous news stories by recalling Mandela’s visit to Seattle. And I’ll leave it to others more knowledgeable than me to provide perspective and analysis on whither South Africa.
My question is where are the Mandelas of today? Who are the people in jails and prisons around the world, usually labeled as ‘terrorists’ by the powers-that-be, only because they refuse to accept a system that keeps them down?
Will we support them now, or just celebrate them once the struggle is all over?
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 →
Guest post by Katie Leach-Kemon, a policy translation specialist from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
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 →