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Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

Help Concern Worldwide Make A Difference In South Sudan

On December 15 2013, in the city of Juba which is the capital of South Sudan, on a pleasant winter evening, shots rang out, marking the beginning of a protracted civil war which continues to devastate the country over a year later. Estimates suggest that to date, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting, and over two million people have been displaced. The war has also meant that people lack the means to feed themselves because they were unable to plant before the rainy season which means there are no crops to harvest.

An impending food crisis

This means there is an impending food crisis that will affect nearly 6.4 million people in South Sudan during the first three months of 2015. It is estimated that a quarter million children are presently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This is the worst kind of malnutrition and without treatment, could result in death. Fortunately Concern Worldwide is trying to do something about it.

Concern Worldwide emergency response

Concern Worldwide has been working in South Sudan since 1994, implementing emergency programs. When the civil war began in 2013, the agency immediately responded by trying to meet the needs of those that were displaced. The organisation began work first in Juba and then expanded its program to Bentiu where some of the worst fighting is taking place.

Heavy flooding hampers efforts

The Concern Worldwide team is working at a UN base in Bentiu were nearly 50,000 people have sought refuge. The base is located on a plot of land that was never supposed to house people and during the rainy season, the camp became heavily flooded. This led to the latrines collapsing, forcing people to live knee and even waste deep in raw sewage. People have no choice but to remain however, because the fighting continues unabated around the base.

Providing sanitation

Concern Worldwide is working to deliver clean water and sanitation in Bentiu. The agency is also distributing emergency supplies and treating malnourished children. In the aftermath of heavy flooding which destroyed the camp’s latrines, Concern launched an interim measure designed to improve sanitation using “PeePoo” bags which are fully biodegradable and self sanitising.

Flood protection

Concern is also working to reduce the impact of flooding in the camp by digging a drainage canal. The agency is also raising the shelters of those who are the most vulnerable. As soon as the dry season returns, Concern teams intend to construct more robust shelters as well as take a number of other measures which are designed to prevent severe flooding.

Providing food

Relative stability has returned to the city of Juba in recent months, and every month Concern is distributing food to more than 15,000 people who live on a UN base. The agency is also treating those who have been malnourished and are living at the camp. There is still lots of work to do in South Sudan as the fighting in some parts of the country remains fierce. By providing Concern Worldwide with a donation, you could help make a difference.

Image courtesy of Concern Worldwide

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Concern Worldwide Doing Some Great Work In Bangladesh

Concern Worldwide is partnering with Bangladeshi parliamentarians to make sure the issues which affect the country’s most vulnerable and poorest citizens are being dealt with. The aid agency is working with two All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG’s) comprising 30 members of the Bangladeshi parliament who will prioritise the issues which affect two groups of people that are severely disadvantaged.

Concern working with two groups of people

The two groups include people who live in the disadvantaged haor regions, which are wetland areas that are particularly prone to extreme seasonal flooding. The other group consists of urban pavement dwellers. Both groups are marginalised as a result of extreme poverty which means they are under-represented by the political system. Concern is trying to ensure that the issues affecting both groups of people gain visibility politically and the agency says it is reaping positive results.

Protecting communities

The haor region can be submerged under water for nearly half the year, which means that agriculture is adversely affected. It also means that people who live there don’t have access to basic social services or communications, as a result they are in need of help. The political advocacy work undertaken by Concern has meant there has been funding of essential maintenance work to dams and embankments in advance of seasonal flash flooding.

Ensuring recognition

Concern has also successfully lobbied for pavement dwellers to be officially recognised in significant national policy papers such as the “ City Corporation Ordinance”. When the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development formally approves the inclusion of the term pavement dweller, it will ensure they get access to vital social services they so badly need.

Advocacy for the disadvantaged

The two parliamentary groups have published two books which highlight the plight of urban pavement dwellers and the people of haor. The books offer recommendations as to how the members of parliament might address the issues that are at stake. Concern is presently looking to extend the partnership for an additional three years as it seeks to build on the great work already done.

Image courtesy of Concern Worldwide

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Donate to Oxfam Philippine Crisis Response

Estimates suggest that nearly 4.5 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan and the body count is now over 3000 people with many more feared dead.

The coming days and weeks are going to be crucial with hundreds of thousands of people without food, water or shelter. Some families are already drinking contaminated well water and this means the threat of malnutrition and disease is high. The need for emergency aid is huge and Oxfam is urging we all act now.

According to the latest estimates, nearly 4.5 million people from 36 provinces have been affected and over 10,000 people are feared dead since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Friday 8 November.

Donate to Oxfam Phillipines appeal now

Oxfam has an experience team on the ground in the Philippines and is working with local partners who will be joined by emergency experts that have flown in from around the world.

everely hampered and this makes getting to the most remote areas extremely challenging. Oxfam’s team is doing its best to reach the worst hit areas and begin a response.

With help from your donations, Oxfam will provide clean drinking water, sanitation and shelter to half a million people that have been affected by the typhoon. The aid agency says it will provide plastic sheeting and tents which should provide basic protection from the elements as well as distributing household water filters which can purify dirty flood water making it safe for washing and cooking. Oxfam also plans to install pop up toilet facilities which are quick and easy to erect.

Oxfam has begun to send out urgently needed supplies to the Philippines from its UK warehouse including sanitation equipment, soap, hygiene kits and water. Please donate something today to help support the effort.

Image Courtesy of Oxfamr

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Oxfam Escalates Syrian Crisis To Category 1

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the there has been a dramatic escalation in the Syrian refugee crisis which is engulfing not just Syria but destabilizing other countries in the region.

There has been rapid increasing in the number of people fleeing the Syrian civil war to camps in neighboring countries. The numbers do not include those people who have fled and sought shelter at camps within the border. The UNHCR estimates that within Syria nearly 4 million people have been displaced and the scale of the crisis is enormous with no end in sight.

In response Oxfam has raised its Syria Crisis response to a Category 1 emergency. The escalation is not meant to generate publicity. What it means is that on the ground humanitarian teams which between them have decades of experience dealing with various types of emergencies have said given the scale of human suffering and the complexity of the situation, the response by Oxfam and other organizations needs to be at the highest level. Category 1 is a crisis level which means that internally Oxfam staff need to show priority to Syria related work.

To put category one in perspective, Oxfam very rarely raises disaster to that contignecy level and the last time this decade it has done so was during the Asian Tsunami in 2004. The scale of that emergency was revealed by footage which prompted the UK public to show unprecedented generosity, donating nearly £1 million per hour in the immediate aftermath of that disaster.

Other Category 1 crisis are just as important but tend to get overlooked such as the East African food crisis in 2011-2012. The reasons for that are complicated and this is the case with Syria without horrific illustrations that define the crisis and crystallize civilian situation in that country.

UN data can fill the void and help illustrate the extent of the human tragedy unfolding which goes to show the extent of the crisis which is huge. If you would like to donate to Oxfam Syria appeal just click on the link

Syria is a pool of blood and the world watches by FreedomHouse, on Flickr

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Sign up for Oxfam Emergency Challenge

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to respond to a disaster, Oxfam UK is offering you the chance to take part in their ‘Emergency Challenge’ for a first hand experience. The charity are now looking for teams of four individuals to be challenged on a variety of skills that you would have to master in an emergency scenario.

The Emergency Challenge will be taking place on Saturday 2nd November 2013 at Wellington College, Berkshire, with the teams being tested on their mental, physical and strategic strengths as they deal with five different emergencies in –

  • Water
  • Food
  • Sanitation
  • Shelter
  • Security

Oxfam spokesperson, Tom Holloway, said –

Emergency Challenge is a fantastic team building and personal development opportunity that also provides the chance to network with other businesses. It’s a completely unique event and directly linked to the rapid response work that Oxfam is renowned for. The money raised will help save lives in real-life emergencies worldwide such as Oxfam’s work around the current crisis in Syria.

Various teams from across the country will be taking part, would you like to be one of them? This would make a great team building exercise for your company or even just a group of friends. All entries must be over 18, and a minimum of £1,600 is the required donation per team, so £400 per man.

All the funds raised from this amazing challenge will go toward Oxfam’s amazing work in regions like Syria, where over a million refugees are in desperate need of help due to displacement. Oxfam’s frontline staff aim to help over half of those in need of food, water and shelter in the coming months, but the money that is raised through this challenge will allow them to help more people quicker.

There will be be over 60 teams battling it out on the day to see if they can handle an Emergency Challenge. If you think you can, simply click on the link below to register your interest in this amazing initiative.


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London Irish Tackling Hunger in Malawi with Concern Worldwide

It was great to see London Irish rugby player James Sandford get involved with some charity work for Concern Worldwide when he recently visited Malawi. The team are now an official partner of the charity, and aim spread the word amongst the rugby fraternity of the great work Concern put in to help some of the world’s poorest people.

Concern Worldwide CEO, Tom Arnold, said –

Concern is delighted to be partnering with such a great sporting team as London Irish. The club has a strong following internationally but firmly retains its Irish roots, and so it is with Concern. Here we have a fantastic opportunity to speak to rugby supporters and to share with them the difference they can make in the lives of those less fortunate. I look forward to a successful and engaging association with the club in the future.

Tom was pleased to be part of the work that Concern were doing in Malawi, and jumped at the chance to visit their overseas programmes to let the club know exactly what was happening from the front line. He received an amazing reception wherever he visited, and could certainly see why Malawi is know as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.

Whilst he was there, Tom had the pleasure of meeting a farmer called Frank, who lived in a small, isolated village selling small amounts of firewood to survive. Thankfully Frank was chosen to be part of Concern’s livestock programme, and was delighted to recently receive a sheep. When the animal had lambs, Frank was able to sell them at the market and also keep a few, giving him the chance to feed and clothe his family. These small charity gifts purchased by people like yourselves literately change people’s lives. People like Frank.

Malawai is one of the world’s poorest countries, with over half the population living below the poverty line, with more than 45% of Malawi’s children malnourished. If you would like to make a difference to someone’s life today, check out our Concern Worldwide page for more information on how your small donation can go a long way to helping turn someone’s life around.

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Festival Stewarding with Oxfam UK

If you’re an avid festival goer, have you ever thought working as a steward at an event through Oxfam UK? It’s a great way to help raise donations for the charity, as the festival organisers make a donation for every steward that Oxfam provides, and with 4,000 places at 15 festivals, you could be part of raising almost £1million.

Being a steward at a festival can be great fun, and also a fantastic way to meet new people and provide a friendly service for attendees. The majority of the time you will answering questions, giving directions, and working alongside the security staff to ensure everyone is safe and having a great time.

There’s a great selection of festivals to choose from, with places still left for –

  • Boomtown Fair     07 Aug to 12 Aug
  • Boardmasters     06 Aug to 12 Aug
  • Shambala     21 Aug to 26 Aug
  • Leeds             21 Aug to 26 Aug
  • Reading     21 Aug to 26 Aug
  • Bestival     04 Sep to 09 Sep

Glastonbury and Latitude are already full, but come on, Boomtown Fair and Bestival will be much better than Glasto in my humble opinion! You need to attend training to learn a few tricks of the trade, be over 18 years old, and have a good command of the English language. A deposit is required of £205 to secure your training place, which is completely refundable when you finish your festival shifts.

Simply click on the link below to apply for this amazing chance to work at some of the best festivals in the country, whilst helping to raise much needed funds to aid Oxfam UK’s life changing initiatives across the globe.

> > Click here to apply online

If you would like to learn more about the fantastic work Oxfam perform across the globe, or would even like to purchase a virtual charity gift for a friend our a loved one, check out our dedicated page to find out how you can help people less fortunate than ourselves.

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Live Below the Line with Oxfam UK

Do you think you could live on just £1 of food a day, for FIVE days?! This is the challenge that Oxfam UK are setting people to help them raise much needed funds in their new ‘Live Below The Line’ Campaign to make a difference to the lives of those effected by poverty.

This amazing new fundraising campaign is a innovative way to help raise awareness in the fight against extreme poverty. By challenging the people of the UK to live off just £1 per day, they will be experiencing the same hardship as up to 1.4 billion people worldwide every day. This will hopefully help them to see what it’s like on the other side, and help them to make a meaningful change in their lives.

More than 20 times the population of the UK live every day in extreme poverty. By taking part in this truly testing challenge, you will be helping Oxfam to make a real difference. The money you raise will go a long way to providing things like water pumps, community vegetable gardens and helping children back to school. Together, we can fight poverty and by taking part in the Live Below the Line initiative, you will be helping to raise awareness to this great cause.

> > Click here to sign up to Live Below the Line

If you would like to help Oxfam in another way, why not purchase a charity gift from our Ethical Collection range? There’s a great selection to choose from, with 100% of the profit from each gift going back to help poor communities that are living in poverty. Together we really can make a difference.

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International Women’s Day 2013

Friday 8th March 2013 is International Women’s Day, a very special 24 hours for everyone to come together to celebrate the empowerment of women. It is a great day to reflect on how females are now receiving better opportunities for education and jobs, and also to help raise awareness on the gender gap that unfortunately still remains. Concern Worldwide work in tackling hunger, but believe that they cannot address extreme poverty without looking at gender inequality.

Many women across the world are still disadvantaged in terms of what they are entitled to, and their opportunities to work, study and learn. For example in Malawi, gender inequality creates a cycle of vulnerability and poverty. Our picture show Doris Malinga, who is a lead farmer in Concern’s Conservation and Agriculture programme. She has been trained to dig planting basins and prepare ‘mulch’, which helps to protect the soil from the baking sun. Thanks to her involvement, Doris and her family now have enough food to eat.

Doris said –

I harvest the crop and have enough food for my family. I also get more yield from a small piece of land and it means that I can spend more time with my family. I have so many friends who also want to try conservation agriculture, so I have been showing them what I have learnt.

Doris’ story just goes to show that change is slowly beginning to happen across the globe, as more and more women are given the chance to address their health and financial needs. As the change in attitude towards women’s participation and ability in agriculture continues, they now feel more confident in producing greater yields through support from Concern Worldwide.

Here’s hoping that more is done to invest in female farmers so they can overcome the challenges and issues that still exist around the world. Women are just as vital a part of agriculture and food production as any man, so let’s celebrate their role on Friday 8th March for International Women’s Day 2013.

If you would like to support Concern Worldwide, why not purchase a virtual charity gift for a friend or loved one from our dedicated page? Here you can find out more about their work, and how you can help provide much needed funds so they can continue to help some of the world’s poorest people.

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Students Raise £9,000 for Centrepoint Charity

A massive congratulations to the students of Bacon’s College, who managed to raise a whopping £9000 for Centrepoint in December 2012. The school, based in South East London for 11 to 18 year olds, took part in a number of interesting and hilarious fundraising ideas, including –

  • Sponsored detentions
  • Cake Sales
  • Spice Girls Impersonator

Plus twelve 6th form students and two teachers took part in Centrepoint’s ‘Sleep Out’ at the Exchange Square in Broadgate to get a real feel of what it is like to spend a night sleeping rough on the streets.

Centrepoint’s relationship manager, Martyn Paré-Hall, said –

The students demonstrated an inspiring talent, determination, imagination, energy and commitment, in the true spirit of giving. Taking their inspiration from the story of Centrepoint young person, John, students recognised the plight of other young people like themselves, but are homeless and took this message to heart and out to their families and friends.

Well done to all those that took part in this amazing fundraising idea, £9000 is a fantastic amount to raise just by one school. This money will now be used to aid Centrepoint’s quest to help people off the streets, and to give them all the assistance they require to keep them of the streets.

If you would like to learn more about Centrepoint’s work on the front line helping young homeless people, check out our dedicated charity page for more information on how you too can provide funds to keep people from living on the streets.

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