worldandmedia.com

Dignity, equality, violence, death and toilets

 EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie.

Picture the scene: you urgently need to go to the loo. You look around for the nearest toilet and realise with a sinking heart there is no facility around. Where do you go? What do you do?

How would you feel if you had to go to the toilet out in the open every single day? No privacy, no dignity and nowhere to wash your hands afterwards. Do you feel disgusted? Of course you do. No one should have to live like this.

But this is the stark reality for some 2.5 billion people in the world who do not have access to proper sanitation, including latrines. Almost one-seventh of the world’s population live in urban slums where a lack of access to safe toilets and adequate sanitation is most acute.

Today is World Toilet Day. It’s time to stop being embarrassed about poo and to talk dirty.

It is common knowledge for us that without toilets, human waste can impact an entire community. Open defecation poses serious health risks, particularly to children. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from diarrhoea. More children die from diarrhoea-related disease than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. This horrendous situation could be remedied by ensuring that everyone has access to improved sanitation and hygiene facilities, including supplies of clean water.

Why do so many award-winning journalists write for World and Media?

 Niamh Griffin, who travelled to Sierra Leone with support from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

Every journalist that has produced original work for worldandmedia.com to date has won an award - for their work for us, or for their prior or subsequent writing: Niamh Griffin, Senan Hogan, Joe Humphreys, Sally Haydn, Ruairi Kavanagh, Joseph O'Connor, David Ralph and Lar Boland (forthcoming). Why is this and why have so many of those journalists contacted us with story ideas?

We would like to think that the quality of our service attracts high-quality journalists. We have over a hundred subscribers working in the Irish media, as well as journalists and editors working for the BBC, the Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, Al Araby, Sky News Arabia, IRIN, the BBC World Service, Independent Online (South Africa), The Express Tribune (Pakistan), New Age (Bangladesh), and Nouvel Horizon (Mali).

We would also like to think that the advice we offer to journalists that write for us, or who contact us for assistance with work they are doing for another publication, is of some benefit.

More importantly, perhaps, several of the excellent journalists that have written for us have kindly proselytised on our behalf to other journalists.

There is one other factor, though. They have all received awards from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. The fund was set up in memory of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers who was shot dead in Saudi Arabia while working with the BBC. The Irish Aid-funded scheme is a fantastic one, in our view. It has supported a lot of superb journalism and it has helped journalists to overcome one of the biggest barriers to writing about international development – the cost of travel.

World and Media was set up with a very similar purpose: to make it easier for journalists to produce high-quality development coverage.

The deadline for the 2014 winter round of the the Simon Cumbers Media Fund is today. However, our service and online resources (including diary announcements of funding opportunities) are available to journalists all year round. We are always open to story pitches from journalists at any stage in their career and from any country, whether they are applying for funding or not. We also welcome analysis and opinion pieces related to international development and/or its media coverage from those with something interesting to say - whether journalists, academics, aid workers and/or voices from developing countries.

Ireland and Kenya are set to lead UN negotiations on development strategy but in what direction?

 A member of The El Molo fishing community on lake Turkana, northern Kenya, Siegfried Modola/IRIN.

This month, Ireland and Kenya were appointed to lead UN negotiations on the post-2015 development strategy. Ireland’s and Kenya's roles will be led by their respective Ambassadors to the United Nations, David Donoghue and Macharia Kamau. They were appointed as "Co-Facilitators to lead open, inclusive, and transparent consultations on the post-2015 development agenda" by UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa.

The post-2015 strategy is intended to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire next year. The Goals have provided significant direction to global development strategies since they were agreed fourteen years ago.

Irish Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North-South Cooperation, Seán Sherlock T.D., outlined the importance of the leadership roles: "The role we have been given is pivotal in addressing the ambitious challenge to end global poverty and hunger in a generation. It will require Ireland to work closely with all members of the United Nations to secure a set of new goals which are ambitious and transformative. We will be defining an agenda for global action to end poverty and hunger and to ensure sustainable development worldwide by 2030"

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., described Ireland's appointment as "a huge honour... and a great responsibility". He said: "It is testament to Ireland’s standing internationally, to our proud record of promoting human rights, to our long-standing participation in peacekeeping across the world and to our diplomacy (and) a recognition of the effectiveness of the Irish Aid programme."

He added: “This significant new role will build on Ireland’s important work on international development during our EU Presidency in 2013, and on the MDGs at the United Nations.”

The MDGs were a series of development outcomes, such as to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Not every target was met in every country but huge progress has been made. The goal of halving the proportion of people earning less than $1.25 a day was met in 2010. Halving the numbers suffering from hunger in 1990 should be almost met by 2015.

Old media reports deprive Rwandan genocide survivors of the right to be forgotten

 Sally Hayden.

One of the biggest challenges following the Rwandan genocide was getting it classified as such. As the international community faltered and fiddled and failed to appreciate what was happening, Rwandans shouted their experiences through shrouds of shock, grateful to anyone would listen and believe that such horror was possible.

Now with each anniversary those stories and images reappear throughout the media. And many survivors, once so grateful for a voice, have come to resent this exposure.

This issue first came to my attention in a conference in the Rwandan parliament on the weekend that this year's official period of mourning began. As questions were taken from the floor, a passionate voice piped up. “I'm not asking about what happened because I was there and I have seen it, but there is another issue now. As survivors we all wanted to tell and to say what had happened. There are at least two or three women I know pregnant from rape, they only wanted to talk. But twenty years later you still see your image coming out from BBC, CNN...” Speaking, I learn, is Odette Nyiramilimo, a physician, former government minister and current East African senator. Ethnically a Tutsi, she survived the genocide in the Hotel des Mille Collines, a scene later depicted in the film 'Hotel Rwanda'.

We meet again a few weeks later. Nyiramilimo sits in a bright, airy office, on the fourth floor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A portrait of President Paul Kagame hangs over her head. She's busy; her phone buzzes as we talk.

She tells me story after story.

The story of a girl, aged 15 during the genocide, who was taken by her parents' killers to the DRC and raped. When she escaped she was pregnant, and after she gave birth to a son she handed him to relatives to raise so she could attend university and start her life anew. She met a boy and they got engaged; then he travelled to Canada to finish his schooling. There, on the TV, he saw old footage of her speaking about her rape and called her in shock. With her engagement over, the girl called Nyiramilimo asking “what do I do? I don't want that story to be following me my whole life. Now I am well, I just finished university and I want to be normal.”

Lebanese school for the deaf is taking in Syrian refugees

Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) teacher in a classroom with pupils, Beirut, Lebanon.

A former Irish soldier is helping raise thousands of euro for a school for deaf children in Lebanon which is taking in terrified refugees from war-torn Syria.

Big-hearted Christy Kinsella (62) set up Lebanon Trust which gives vital assistance to the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) in Beirut which caters for more than 70 local kids including 11 who have fled across the border from Syria.

Dubliner Christy and friends set up the charity in 2009 to help poor families he met while serving on UN peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

Lebanon Trust volunteers regularly travel to Beirut and recently delivered funds to help hire a speech therapist while tradesmen on the trip carried out repairs to the FAID school grounds.

Christy said: "We provide financial support and practical work and we rely on a network of volunteers.”

School director Krikor Khasholian said: "We are so grateful for all the support we get from Ireland because it wouldn't be possible to run our school without this assistance."

Lebanese school for the deaf is taking in Syrian refugees

Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) teacher in a classroom with pupils, Beirut, Lebanon.

A former Irish soldier is helping raise thousands of euro for a school for deaf children in Lebanon which is taking in terrified refugees from war-torn Syria.

Big-hearted Christy Kinsella (62) set up Lebanon Trust which gives vital assistance to the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) in Beirut which caters for more than 70 local kids including 11 who have fled across the border from Syria.

Dubliner Christy and friends set up the charity in 2009 to help poor families he met while serving on UN peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

Lebanon Trust volunteers regularly travel to Beirut and recently delivered funds to help hire a speech therapist while tradesmen on the trip carried out repairs to the FAID school grounds.

Christy said: "We provide financial support and practical work and we rely on a network of volunteers.”

School director Krikor Khasholian said: "We are so grateful for all the support we get from Ireland because it wouldn't be possible to run our school without this assistance."

Concern Worldwide makes urgent appeal for staff as 'imminent' famine threatens South Sudan

 Hannah McNeish/IRIN.Concern Worldwide, Ireland’s largest international humanitarian organisation, has put out an urgent appeal for experienced specialists to help in its response to the rapidly deteriorating food situation in South Sudan.

Back in early December, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) warned that the country faced a potential food crisis this year. Less than two weeks later, several conflict broke out along ethnic lines in the newly independent country between rival groups than in the ruling party. Largely as a result, the situation has deteriorated to the point that FEWS NET, the UN and many others are warning of famine that may be imminent.

The civil war meant that farmers could not plant earlier this year and now they face severe food shortages, say Concern. Food prices are soaring making it impossible for people to meet their daily needs. It is now estimated that 3.8 million people are in need of assistance.

“It is a measure of the seriousness of the very real and imminent threat of famine in the world’s newest country that we are putting out this call for staff,” said Concern’s Regional Director for South Sudan, Carol Morgan. “These are paid positions and will assist us in our existing humanitarian response in the country, which we are already scaling up significantly.”

In 2011, the humanitarian network ALNAP published a major report , which analysed lessons learnt from droughts, many of which could have been applied in this case. One of the major recommendations was timely and appropriate intervention. Concern has been responding to this crisis since January. The international response has been more mixed. A major UN appeal was launched in May but is currently only 45.5% funded even though conditions have subsequently worsened.

Concern Worldwide makes urgent appeal for staff as 'imminent' famine threatens South Sudan

 Hannah McNeish/IRIN.Concern Worldwide, Ireland’s largest international humanitarian organisation, has put out an urgent appeal for experienced specialists to help in its response to the rapidly deteriorating food situation in South Sudan.

Back in early December, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) warned that the country faced a potential food crisis this year. Less than two weeks later, several conflict broke out along ethnic lines in the newly independent country between rival groups than in the ruling party. Largely as a result, the situation has deteriorated to the point that FEWS NET, the UN and many others are warning of famine that may be imminent.

The civil war meant that farmers could not plant earlier this year and now they face severe food shortages, say Concern. Food prices are soaring making it impossible for people to meet their daily needs. It is now estimated that 3.8 million people are in need of assistance.

“It is a measure of the seriousness of the very real and imminent threat of famine in the world’s newest country that we are putting out this call for staff,” said Concern’s Regional Director for South Sudan, Carol Morgan. “These are paid positions and will assist us in our existing humanitarian response in the country, which we are already scaling up significantly.”

In 2011, the humanitarian network ALNAP published a major report , which analysed lessons learnt from droughts, many of which could have been applied in this case. One of the major recommendations was timely and appropriate intervention. Concern has been responding to this crisis since January. The international response has been more mixed. A major UN appeal was launched in May but is currently only 45.5% funded even though conditions have subsequently worsened.

Obama's Africa legacy may be judged by what happens in South Sudan

 U.S. State Department.The Economist's Matthew Bishop described this as 'an incredibly important week' for Africa. The biggest ever summit between the US president and African leaders concluded on Wednesday (August 6) in Washington DC. During the summit, President Barack Obama announced $33 billion in new investment and trade with Africa.

President George W Bush significantly grew aid to Africa relative to his predecessors, though sometimes controversially, particularly in relation to AIDS prevention. The Obama administration has continued to provide significant funds to tackle global health issues, including new health funding announced Monday (August 4).

However, there have been distinctive policies under the current administration. For example, there appears to have been a significant shift towards focusing on trade and direct investment with Africa, mirroring the shifts that have occurred in government policy in several other countries, such as Ireland and the UK. This week's US-Africa summit is important as a symbolic statement as it is practically. It recognises the continent's emerging economic power and potential over the last 15 years. The summit may be seen as an important part of the Obama administration's Africa legacy, as will its handling of the Arab Spring.

The US has also been heavily involved in the process which led to independence for South Sudan.

Obama's Africa legacy may be judged by what happens in South Sudan

 U.S. State Department.The Economist's Matthew Bishop described this as 'an incredibly important week' for Africa. The biggest ever summit between the US president and African leaders concluded on Wednesday (August 6) in Washington DC. During the summit, President Barack Obama announced $33 billion in new investment and trade with Africa.

President George W Bush significantly grew aid to Africa relative to his predecessors, though sometimes controversially, particularly in relation to AIDS prevention. The Obama administration has continued to provide significant funds to tackle global health issues, including new health funding announced Monday (August 4).

However, there have been distinctive policies under the current administration. For example, there appears to have been a significant shift towards focusing on trade and direct investment with Africa, mirroring the shifts that have occurred in government policy in several other countries, such as Ireland and the UK. This week's US-Africa summit is important as a symbolic statement as it is practically. It recognises the continent's emerging economic power and potential over the last 15 years. The summit may be seen as an important part of the Obama administration's Africa legacy, as will its handling of the Arab Spring.

The US has also been heavily involved in the process which led to independence for South Sudan.