Friday, May 19, 2017

May 2017. Situational Awareness. International ReliefWeb Crisis App. Smartphone

I use to keep abreast of Situation Awareness issues internationally.

Charles D. Sharp
CEO
BEMA International



ReliefWeb


Four Reasons Why You Should Use the ReliefWeb Crises App


Read the article on ReliefWeb:
http://reliefweb.int/blogpost/four-reasons-why-you-should-use-reliefweb-crises-app



We have released a new version of the RW Crises app, which has seen more than 3,500 downloads since its launch in October 2016. The Crises app features key figures, access to latest updates, real-time funding status, as well as an overview for each humanitarian crisis.
The powered-up version is faster and offers four significant improvements from the previous version:
Features:
  1. Comprehensive coverage
    The new version has been enhanced with features, including links to third party datasets and in-country contacts and country overviews. Crisis key figures, such as the number of people affected by health emergencies within a crisis situation, have been scaled up in their coverage. These numbers are hand-curated by the ReliefWeb editorial team from the most trusted sources in the respective sector/cluster. The app currently covers over 20 countries and new countries will be added when major emergencies strike.
  2. Offline access
    Going to the field with limited internet access and still want your data? You can now save Crises content for offline use in areas with limited connectivity - an invaluable feature for aid workers in the field. You can access all key figures as well as five reports in each category (Headlines, Sitreps, Visuals, etc.) while offline.
  3. Smooth and easy navigation
    Seamlessly switch between countries and choose the type of content you want to see. Interested in situation reports only? Simply go to the Sitreps tab and swipe through the latest reports.
  4. Speed and Size
    RW Crises has been optimized for both Android and iOS devices. Switch countries and access the latest reports in seconds. You no longer need to worry about storage space as the app is 20 times lighter than before!
The new RW Crises app features comprehensive country coverage, offline use, and more!
Download the new Crises app by clicking on the links below:

May 18, 2017. Pambazuka News. Learning to trust the poor.

May 18, 2017
Is it wrong to simply give money to the poor? Will giving money turn us into enablers and make the poor entitled? We don’t trust the poor to make the right choices with our money, so we do it for them. This is why it is common for aid to come with rules depending on the giver’s beliefs. But there  is evidence that giving money to the poor empowers them to make the right choices and uplift their lives.
We always empathize with the poor. However, it is a paradoxical type of empathy; the sort that places us above them. We think to ourselves: the woman at the bus stage should know better than to have five kids with another clearly on the way. The man drunkenly passed out on the sidewalk should use that money to fix himself up. And those children that bombard us with requests that start out pitifully and end up violent have no excuse. After all, don’t we have free primary education? We may never say it out loud but somewhere along such lines of thought we unanimously decided that the poor cannot be trusted.
We then take it upon ourselves to arrange their needs and priorities for them. We start organizations, sign up to them and together we send food, clothes and everything in between. Everything but money. Once this is done and our conscience is at rest - at least for the next few months - we go back to our lives. The poor we now meet on the streets are met with the phrase ‘Sina leo’, the Kenyan connotative way of politely saying no. After all we have done our part.
Is it wrong to simply give money to the poor? Why is it that according to humanitarian reports 94 per cent of aid is non-cash? Will giving money turn us into enablers and make the poor entitled? Then again, is it really about the money or what it symbolizes: Choice? We don’t trust the poor to make the right choices with our money so we do it for them. This is why it is common for aid to come with rules depending on the giver’s morals and beliefs. Are we seeing any changes through this or might we need to rethink this and start trusting the poor?
In a change of narrative, 6000 Kenyans in impoverished rural areas are set to receive Ksh 2,280 monthly for the next 12 years. This money comes with no strings attached; all that is needed is an M-Pesa [mobile money transfer] account. For 12 years GiveDirectly, the organization behind this unorthodox project will observe the recipients to see if this basic income will improve their living standards in the long run or if it will make them dependent and complacent. Since the aid will be similar to the universal basic income system, the payments will have to be regular, individual, unconditional and in cash.
When some of the recipients of the money were interviewed by a Vox reporter Dylan Mathews, everyone had their own priorities. A mother was using the money for school fees, a couple wanted to start a greenhouse, whereas a young man was using the money to rent a motorbike for business. Choice. As for the fear of people misusing the money on things like alcohol, a report by the World Bank shows that these cash transfers neither increase nor reduce the alcohol consumption of the recipients. What it does is promote the mental wellbeing of the recipients by reducing their financial stress, therefore preventing them from turning to alcohol as a form of escape.
However, this project is not like the past GiveDirectly projects. GiveDirectly as an organization is known for conducting evidence driven projects but this project is one of a kind and may have to rely more on theory rather than facts. This may explain why some aspects of this project clash with their past research. According to their research, large cash transfers have a bigger impact compared to monthly cash transfers since they bring more development in the long run. While others are content with the current situation this issue has been raised by some of the Kenyan cash recipients.
When talking to the Vox reporter some recipients said they would have preferred to receive lump sum amounts of money rather than monthly since this would have enabled them to easily work on bigger projects. In order to deal with this issue, these recipients have resorted to forming ‘chamas’, which are informal Kenyan saving group systems where members put all their cash transfers together and each month one of the members takes all the money. This system rotates until every member has gotten a chance to receive the lump sum of money, before the rotation starts again.
GiveDirectly is very open about its projects and they too acknowledge this problem in the project. However, there is not enough research on the subject of a universal basic income and those that are there did not run as long as the Kenyan project which is set run for over a decade. Also, it helps to note the unorthodox nature of the project may disadvantage it because many people may not be willing to donate to an organization that simply gives money to the poor and lets them decide what to do with it. Most of the donors to the project are from the Silicon Valley since they are interested in the possibility of universal basic income as technology slowly replaces human resource. The project not only requires an open mind but also patience and trust in the poor.
This method of simply giving cash to those in need is quickly gaining traction and has proved to be efficient especially in times of crisis. This year Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, declared a national crisis with the drought that saw up to 2.7 million Kenyans food insecure. The president then asked for help from both local and international bodies. The government has been accused of complacency and lack of proper long term planning and they in turn blamed their slow response on logistics such as transportation and contracts.
 In such a time, cash transfers proved to be efficient. The Kilifi County government teamed up with the Red Cross Society and launched its first cash transfer system that would see families in hard hit areas getting Ksh. 6,000 monthly.
According to Mr Hassan Musa, regional manager of the Kenya Red Cross Society, "A lot of money that is supposed to help fight hunger is usually wasted on logistics and the process of looking for service providers and tendering is usually long and tiring. But this move will see that we cut away these costs and see up to 98 percent of the money aimed to be given to the people is transferred to the most vulnerable."
For us to help those in need we need to understand only those in need understand what they need and the Red Cross Society has proved it understands this. While it may baffle us as we watch starving Kenyans lying helplessly on dry cracked grounds next to their herds of livestock, the Red Cross saw it for what it was. What we see as food is seen by the pastoralists as a means of livelihood. As a solution, the Red Cross now buys these animals from the pastoralists before they lose value and then sells the same meat to the same sellers. To us it’s absurd; for them it works.
The next time conscience comes knocking in your sheltered life reminding you that it is time to play your part, you may need to rethink your way of helping. Do you really get to choose what the poor need and what they don’t? Then again you hold the money, the choice, you decide.
References:
Lowrey, A. (2017, February 23). The Future of Not Working. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/magazine/universal-income-global-inequality.html?_r=0
Mathews, D. (2017, March7). This Kenyan village is a laboratory for the biggest basic income    experiment ever. Vox. Retrieved from: https://www.vox.com/2016/4/14/11410904/givedirectly-basic-income
Mwakio, P. (2017, November11). Kilifi County to give Sh6,000 each to starving families. Standard Digital. Retrieved from: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000223061/kilifi-county-to-give-sh6-000-each-to-starving-families
Thornhill, J. (2017, May 3) Elite’s fears over tech backlash drive Universal Basic Income Debate. Financial times. Retrieved from: https://www.ft.com/content/56d5f7f8-0fea-11e7-a88c-50ba212dce4d
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May 23, 2017. Webinar: Building and Maintaining Community Preparedness Partnerships among CERT Programs and Medical Reserve Corps

On Tuesday, May 23, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) invites you to a webinar featuring community preparedness partnerships among local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs and the Medical Reserve Corps. Speakers will share how they built and continue to maintain these successful partnerships to better prepare and respond to a disaster.

Date: Tuesday, May 23
Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m. EDT
Featured Speakers:
  • Tyler Krska, Emergency Management Specialist, FEMA ICPD
  • David Richardson, Health Officer, Township of Manalapan, New Jersey
  • Kim Silverstein, Volunteer Coordinator, Township of Manalapan, New Jersey
  • Carla R. Mitchell, National Technical Assistance Coordinator, Medical Reserve Corps Program, U.S. Department Health and Human Services

How to Join the Webinar:


We hope to that you will be able to join us on May 23!

May 2017. Humanitarian Workers. Kidnapping and Hostage Survival

to enhance your personal security as a humanitarian and development worker.
Safety and Security

Kidnapping and Hostage Survival

Take action to enhance your personal security as a humanitarian and development worker. Learn steps and approaches to lessen the risk of being kidnapped and to enhance your chances of survival in a hostage, abduction or kidnap situation.  

This course was generously donated by Save the Children. 

 
Start Learning

May 2017. AU Experts deliberate on priority actions to end AIDS, TB and Malaria as public health threats by 2030

Support initiative to recruit 2 million community health workers to improve community health delivery systems

​Conakry, 17 May 2017- Ahead of the meeting of African Heads of State and Government on 3 July 2017, experts working in AIDS, TB and Malaria adopted the AIDS Watch Africa Strategic Framework last week. The new strategy will further strengthen AIDS Watch Africa as the Heads of State and Government level continental vehicle for joint action, advocacy and accountability towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria.

The Heads of State will roll out this strategy within the framework of the Africa Health Strategy and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 adopted by African leaders in July 2016 at the Kigali Summit. These frameworks provide a clear policy direction for strengthening health systems and achieve universal health coverage.

“We are now in a new era for global health and development where Africa is increasing commitments to transform health systems, build community resilience and contribute to better health outcomes through increased investments in health” said Hon. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health of Guinea.

Urgent need to accelerate efforts to end AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030

While there has been significant progress in the reduction of deaths and new rates of HIV infection, the West and Central Africa region is lagging behind. An emergency plan is needed urgently to accelerate the HIV response. Furthermore, despite the progress made, deaths and new infection rates remain high among young people especially young girls and women and more concerted efforts and investments are needed to address the their unmet needs. The situation is made worse by under investments in tuberculosis that have hampered efforts for increased coverage and access to services for detection and treatment. Furthermore, the gains against malaria are fragile and require additional investments for antimalarial drug and insecticide resistance monitoring, giving priority to surveillance, detection and response.

“Addressing the broader health agenda is a catalyst for inclusive economic growth and development. However under investments in health threaten Africa’s demographic dividend, an enabler for the achievement of Agenda 2063’s socio-economic development and structural transformation aspirations” said Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun, the Director for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.

The Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health adopted last year is a critical tool that countries have started using to track progress in health financing including monitoring progress towards meeting the ambitious 15% Abuja target and donor commitments. Efforts are currently ongoing to institutionalise regular, systematic and routine annual implementation of National Health Accounts that will improve the quality of data on health financing in Member States.

Enhancing improved delivery systems at the community level

With better diagnostics, medicines, information and systems there is need to mobilise community workers and train them to play an important role to end epidemics. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the recent resurgence of Malaria in Namibia and Mozambique, Lassa fever and Meningitis in Nigeria and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo demonstrates that new threats will continue to emerge. Engaging at the community level to prevent, manage and respond quickly to emergency disease outbreaks is thus a clear priority.

“We need to transform the interface between the last service provider and the community to better manage health risks. Creating a working sub-system of health with paid community health workers will transform our health architecture” said Michel SidibĂ©, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, ‘We cannot achieve set targets if we do not build strong and well trained human resources for health” he added.

UNAIDS and partners are driving an initiative to recruit 2 million paid community health workers to improve community health delivery systems.

For more information:

Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye Ndayisaba | Head of Division, AIDS, TB, Malaria and OIDs | Department of Social Affairs | African Union Commission I E-mail: Harakeyem@africa-union.org I Tel: +251 (251) 11 551 77 00

Tawanda Chisango | Advocacy and Partnerships Expert | Department of Social Affairs | African Union Commission I E-mail: chisangot@african-union.org I Tel: +251934167052

More information:

Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Web Site: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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