Good News Agency – Year V, n° 1



Weekly - Year V, number 1 – 16 January 2004

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti. Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next.  It is distributed free of charge through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 2,400 media in 48 countries, as well as to 2,500 NGO and service associations.

It is a free service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.




Human rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarityPeace and security

HealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education



Human rights



UN helps Afghan refugees affected by Bam earthquake to leave Iran

13 January – Almost 400 Afghan refugees, made homeless once more by the recent earthquake in Iran, returned to Afghanistan today with help from the United Nations refugee agency and the Tehran Government. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 365 refugees who had survived the massive 26 December disaster in the Iranian city of Bam arrived back in their homeland in a UNHCR convoy.

Iran's Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants waived the usual repatriation fee of $4 per person for the Afghans, who were processed and received landmine-awareness training at the border. Once in Afghanistan, they went to their home areas in Kabul and the provinces of Parwan, Balkh and Saripul, UNHCR said.

Among those in the returning group were people mourning the death of relatives, including an eight-year-old boy who had lost his parents and a sibling, people who had been injured in the quake and others who had rushed to Bam to check on their families, UNHCR said.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today said Bam's date plantation and livestock farmers were among the worst hit by the quake. (…)


Double usual number of donors helping with Iran quake relief, UN official says

12 January – Iran has gathered an unprecedented number of donors responding to a Flash Appeal for funds to cover 90 days of humanitarian aid after last month's devastating earthquake, the United Nations relief coordinator said today.

Though he did not yet know the precise total contributed so far, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jan Egeland, told a news conference at UN headquarters that instead of the usual 30 donors, Iran had gathered pledges from 60 countries, with generous contributions coming from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Flash Appeal, launched last Thursday by nine UN agencies and programmes, seeks $31.3 million, earmarked for such needs in the hard-hit Bam area as shelter, food, water and sanitation. Belgium convened a meeting of the donors earlier today.

Iran had cooperated in an exemplary way with international rescue teams, Mr. Egeland said, permitting some 1,700 workers from 40 countries to land without visas and, sometimes, even without passports. (…)



Economy and development



Etiopia - Upsurge of grain production in the 2003 meher season 

But 7.2 million people still need food aid in Ethiopia

Rome, 14 January  -- Despite a good harvest, 7.2 million people still require assistance to meet minimum food requirements in 2004, according to a joint report released today by two United Nations agencies. Last year, 13.2 million Ethiopians needed food assistance.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) report, "Well-distributed seasonal rains that began on time and continued until late September/October in the main production areas resulted in an upsurge of grain production in the 2003 meher season." Seed support programmes helped ensure access to seeds in most regions and increased use of improved seed and fertilizer also contributed to "the marked improvement in yields over last year." National cereal and pulse production in the meher season is forecast at 13.05 million tonnes, about 46 percent above 2002/03 and 11 percent above the last five years average. (…) Despite these overall improvements, the report estimates that Ethiopia will still need 980 000 tonnes of food relief for 2004, compared with 1.8 million tonnes in 2003. (…) The full report is available at::


Businesses in Argentina mobilize to support the Global Compact

Friday, 9 January - Representatives of leading Argentine businesses meeting recently in Buenos Aires agreed to promote the Global Compact, the initiative by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to encourage the private sector to help meet the challenges of globalization. The event, organized by UNDP, introduced the Global Compact and focused on the role that business, in cooperation with other sectors, can play in advancing responsible corporate citizenship.

The Compact includes nine principles related to human rights, labour and the environment. It aims to bring businesses together with UN agencies, civil society and labour to help create a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

Ten of the 39 companies and organizations at the meeting formed a group to promote the Compact (…) The group will publicize the Compact's principles, arrange a meeting in March for companies to endorse it, set up a document resource centre, web site and secretariat, and organize seminars and workshops. Companies signing on to the Compact will indicate what initiatives they plan to implement its principles. (…)


IDA/IFC African small business initiative begins with US$32 million Nigerian credit

Washington, January 8 – Responding to the government’s  request for assistance in sparking greater bottom-up economic growth, the World Bank has approved a US$32 million* credit to Nigeria for micro, small, and medium enterprise development.

The project is the first to be approved under a joint pilot program for African micro/SME development between the World Bank Group's concessionary lending unit, the International Development Association (IDA), and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), that was announced last June.

In keeping with the pilot program’s operating strategy, Nigeria’s US$32 million in IDA funding announced today will not directly finance firms. Instead, it will be used to strengthen local financial and non-financial institutions that support small business so they can operate effectively and sustainably deliver commercially-based services in the market. IFC is expected to invest in some of the private sector participants in the project. (…)


UN-HABITAT launches important study on rental housing

The report is available in hard copy and electronically. 

7 January – As the culmination of a two years research project UN-HABITAT has published a 250 page study entitled “Rental housing: An essential option for the urban poor in developing countries”. The study notes that despite the fact that a large proportion of residents in cities and towns of developed and developing countries are tenants, the number of governments actually trying to support rental housing development is rather small. In fact, the important role played by the rental sector is barely, if at all acknowledged in many national housing policies. A major reason for this bias against rental housing is the general ideology that homeownership is essential for housing development and that owners are better citizens than renters.The study demonstrates that most of the arguments leading to this bias against rental housing are highly flawed. (…)


Madagascar launches pro-poor initiative by business

Monday, 5 January - Prime Minister Jacques Sylla recently launched a programme in Antananarivo, Madagascar, to have international companies and local businesses promote business activity to reduce poverty and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The launch of the Growing Sustainable Business for Poverty Reduction Initiative drew 120 participants from government, business, civil society, the UN system and the donor community. UNDP Madagascar is coordinating the initiative.

"For my Government, the public sector and private sector are complementary and contribute together to development," said Mr. Sylla, noting that the private sector has an important part in eradicating poverty and promoting human development. "The role of companies goes well beyond the production and sale of goods and services," he added.  (…)


New IFAD project to support poverty reduction in Cambodia

Rome, 19 December – Some of the poorest people in Cambodia will benefit from a USD 19.6 million project that will focus on agricultural investment and local development, including building the capacity of the poor and their organizations to plan for their own social and economic development. The project will be financed largely by a USD 15.5 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the Kingdom of Cambodia. (…)

The project will target poor communes that are particularly vulnerable to flooding and drought. It will focus on strengthening the capacity of local communities and newly-elected commune councils. Another important component will be agricultural development, particularly though improved market-oriented on and off-farm production. It will encourage diversification to reduce dependence on a single rice crop, by promoting increased livestock production, especially of pigs and chickens, and increased food production in homestead gardens. (…)

The project is also supported by the United Nations World Food Programme and the Partnership for Local Governance Project.

With this project, IFAD will have financed 4 projects in Cambodia, totalling USD 38.84 million.






CARE and historic Nile Whitewater expedition to highlight lives of river dwellers

Rafters to meet fishers in Uganda, farmers in South Sudan and Sudanese displaced by war

Nairobi, 7 January - CARE International has teamed with an historic expedition to navigate the full length of the Nile and draw attention to the people who live along the river. The team of whitewater and African exploration experts will descend the White Nile from Lake Victoria in Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea, the first such attempt in more than 30 years. The “Settle the Nile” expedition is expected to take five months. The launch date is 17 January 2004 in Uganda.

The river has an abundance of historical, cultural and natural beauty mixed with astonishing stories of war, famine and drought. With CARE, the rafters will meet the people who live along the river and depend on it. The explorers will learn of the communities’ challenges and what they are doing to improve their quality of life. These visits will be highlighted in a documentary being made of the expedition. (…)


Lakeland to celebrate shipment of humanitarian assistance to Moldova

Lakeland, Florida, January 10 -- Keeping up the holiday tradition of giving, residents of Lakeland in Florida are finishing "wrapping" up a container load of gifts for shipment to Belts, in Moldova.

On Saturday January 10, Counterpart International will assist local organizers from the Lakeland Sister City Committee for Belts, to pack a shipment of desperately needed medical equipment, office supplies, and furniture. Brian Propp, Counterpart International's vice president for humanitarian assistance, said the contents, worth over $43,000, will be shipped and distributed by Counterpart International to Moldova through funding provided by the United States Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  (…)

Counterpart has managed humanitarian assistance programs in Moldova since 1994. This shipment of humanitarian assistance is the third that Counterpart has assisted from Lakeland to Belts through its Counterpart Communities Program, which seeks to create a direct support network between US communities and those in developing or transitional countries.


WFP responds to flood victims in Haiti

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, 2 January – The United Nations World Food Programme, with the assistance of Oxfam and Caritas, is providing urgently needed emergency food rations to thousands of families affected by floods in northern Haiti.  A joint relief agency assessment team sent to evaluate the situation has reported that families affected by the floods are already facing health threats due to poor hygiene, while hundreds of households are relying on unsafe floodwater for drinking and cooking. Due to already high malnutrition rates in Haiti, the population is more vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases. (…) The joint assessment mission concluded that some 24,875 people, or nearly 5,000 families, are urgently in need of food. WFP is assisting these most vulnerable by providing a one-month family ration consisting of 50 kg of rice, 10 kg of pulses and 4.6 litres of vegetable oil.

Heavy rains which fell from the 20 December to 23 December caused severe flooding and landslides in northern Haiti. WFP immediately responded by providing emergency assistance to 2,000 families, borrowing 100 metric tonnes of rice and 9 metric tonnes of vegetable oil from an already-existing operation to assist vulnerable groups in Haiti.  (…)


Iran: ICRC provides relief supplies for earthquake victims

Geneva, 30 December – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated a sizeable consignment of relief goods to the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in support of its efforts to help the victims of last Friday's devastating earthquake in Bam.

The ICRC cargo arrived on 23 trucks and has now been delivered to IRCS branches near the city. Supplies included 1,500 family tents, 13,800 family food parcels, 11,000 blankets and nearly 4,500 paraffin heaters. An ICRC-chartered plane is expected to land in Iran later today carrying a further 32 tonnes of relief items, including 8,000 blankets and enough medical supplies to treat several thousand casualties. The total value of the goods is approximately 800,000 Swiss francs.

The ICRC is also sending a family tracing specialist with several satellite telephones to the city. He will work with the IRCS to help survivors re-establish contact with their families. (…)


Democratic Republic of the Congo: Relief distribution in Nyabiondo

23 December - On 20 December the ICRC completed a distribution of relief supplies (cooking utensils, hoes, blankets, soap, jerry cans and clothing, including children’s clothing) for 7,700 families (around 38,500 people) in Nyabiondo, North Kivu. The supplies will help families who fled their homes during the fighting and have recently returned to the area gradually rebuild their shattered lives. They will also improve hygiene and provide protection against the cold in this region of high plateaux. (…) The supplies were distributed with the help of 60 first-aid workers from the Masisi branch of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



Peace and security



UNESCO organizes meetings between Israeli and Palestinian journalists

19 December - Sixteen senior media professionals from Israel and the Palestinian territories have agreed on the need to be more sensitive in their reporting about one another’s side, and welcomed the idea of giving editorial space to each other in their respective media. At the close of a two-day meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, they further agreed to meet again, to remain in contact and to visit each other’s territories. The meeting of seven Palestinian and seven Israeli media professionals, as well as two working for Arab-language publications in Israel, was opened on Dec. 17 by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura who said its purpose was to “promote freedom of expression and at the same time to promote dialogue, respect and tolerance.” (…)

Many points of view were raised in the debate, reflecting differences within each camp, as well as between them. At its close, the participants expressed a professional interest in maintaining contact to be able to exchange and check information when working on stories concerning each other’s side, and concurred on the need to combat stereotyping, and to give fuller coverage of each other’s lives by including reports about cultural events, for example.

They also said they wanted to organize trips to Gaza and to the West Bank for Israeli journalists, and trips to Israel for Palestinian journalists, whose mobility is limited by current events. The media professionals furthermore agreed to meet again under the auspices of UNESCO and to set up an electronic forum to maintain contact. (…)







Rotary presents Polio Eradication Champion Award to India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare

New Delhi, India, 4 January - In recognition of her leadership and unwavering support of polio eradication, Rotary International today presented Sushma Swaraj, India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare, with its Polio Eradication Champion Award. Under Minister Swaraj's leadership, the Government of India has made great strides in 2003 to increase polio immunization coverage, particularly in the areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This progress is partly due to Minister Swaraj's insistence that the vaccination teams reflect the local community. In addition, Minister Swaraj played a key role in securing critical political commitment. (…)

The award, presented by James Lacy, Chairman of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, was established in 1995 to recognize world leaders who have made outstanding contributions toward the goal of eradicating polio by 2005. "On behalf of 1.2 million members of Rotary worldwide, I am honored to present this award to Minister Swaraj," said Lacy. "As a result of her efforts, India has seen a tremendous decline in polio over the past year, as well as an increase in immunization campaign effectiveness." (…)


UNFPA initiative raises awareness of fistula cases in Sudan

30 December - “Yes for Prevention. No for discrimination” was the slogan of this year’s AIDS Day commemoration by UNFPA in Sudan. The event, in early December 2003, included public awareness and fund-raising campaigns and culminated in a much-publicized football match between Khartoum’s two most popular teams. Sudan’s HIV infection rate is estimated at 1.6 per cent nationwide.

UNFPA used part of the proceeds of the AIDS Day football match to buy medical equipment and medicines for Dr. Abbo’s Fistula Centre in Khartoum – the country’s only such facility. Lack of appropriate medical services and skilled providers, along with widespread ignorance of the consequences of fistula and of the possibility of repairing it, are taking a toll on Sudanese women. Between 1994 and 2000, the centre treated more than 700 women who suffered from this condition, the most devastating of all pregnancy-related disabilities.  (…)


Half a million patients suffering from tuberculosis to get free life-saving medicines

WHO and Novartis sign agreement for 5-year donation to global TB drug facility

Geneva, 19 December - Half a million of the world’s poorest tuberculosis patients are to benefit from free life-saving drugs under an agreement signed today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pharmaceutical company, Novartis.

Novartis will donate the drugs to the Global Drug Facility, which is hosted by WHO and operated by the Stop TB Partnership. The facility has supplied procurement support and medicines to 2.8 million TB patients in 65 countries since its launch. The drugs will be provided over a five-year- period to countries scaling up TB control with support from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (…)

Under the agreement, Novartis will manufacture special patient kits containing fixed-dose combination tablets in blister packs. The design improves patient compliance and greatly reduces the risk of developing drug-resistant TB, which is far more costly and difficult to treat.

The drugs will be supplied free of charge to programmes using DOTS, the internationally recommended strategy for TB control. More than 10 million people have been successfully treated under DOTS since 1993, when WHO declared TB to be a Global Emergency.


29 Rotary members from Milano will travel to India to immunize children against polio

Part of Global Effort to Eradicate Polio Worldwide by 2005

Milano, Italy, December 2003 - As polio still threatens children in parts of Africa and South Asia, Rotary has made eliminating this crippling disease its top priority. In support of this global endeavor, 29 Rotary members from Milano will depart for Calcutta, India on Saturday, 27 December 03. While in India, the volunteers will help administer the drops of oral polio vaccine to children, deliver the vaccine to health clinics and recruit fellow volunteers during India's national immunization campaign on 3-5 January. The goal will be to immunize every child under the age of five against polio. (…)

India is one of three countries in Asia and only seven in the world where the poliovirus continues to circulate. According to global health officials, India continues to pose the highest risk in Asia with 197 new cases so far in 2003. Along with Nigeria, which is reporting 258 cases this year, and Pakistan with 88 cases, these three countries contain 95% of the world's 587 new cases of polio in 2003. However, great progress has been made in India this year following the 2002 epidemic when 1,600 new cases were reported, representing a six-fold increase over 2001. This progress is due to an increase in the quantity and quality of large-scale immunization campaigns in 2003.  (…)



Energy and safety



European Conference for Renewable Energy – Intelligent Policy Options

– Berlin 19-21 January 2004 –

Political aspects, market developments and future prospects for renewable energy up to 2020 will be the focus of the “European Conference for Renewable Energy - Intelligent Policy Options”, which will take place in Berlin, 19-21 January 2004, as announced today by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). (…)

The overall objective of the Berlin conference is to increase the uptake of renewable energies in an enlarged Union and beyond. The Berlin event is Europe’s regional preparatory conference, decided in the framework of the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition roadmap of regional initiatives to foster the global development of renewable energy and tackle climate change. The conclusions of the debate in Berlin will result in a declaration that, together with the outcomes of the other regional conferences (Africa, Asia and Latin America), will be delivered to the World Renewable Energy Conference in Bonn, June 2004. (…)

The conference will bring together key players from the public and private sector at national and international level, including representatives of European institutions, international, national, regional and local organisations, networks and associations, experts and decision makers from the energy industry, non-governmental organisations, consultants, project developers, universities and other research institutions, financing institutions as well as local, regional, national and international administrations.


Solar power gift brings ray of sunshine to India’s rural poor

Mangalore/Basel, 9 January  - Poor families in India are being given a New Year renewable energy life-line as a result of a donation by one of the world’s leading solar power companies.

BP Solar USA is donating over a million dollars worth of solar modules to BASE (Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy), who in turn are dispatching them to rural and semi-rural areas of India where over 60 per cent of the population is without electricity. The solar systems will be used for water pumping, lighting and for powering telecommunications services including cyber cafes.

Virginia Sonntag-0’Brien, Managing Director of BASE, which is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Collaborating Centre, said: “ Lack of access to reliable and affordable energy is one of the main obstacles to economic development in developing countries”. (…)

Photovoltaic solar cells are made of semi-conducting materials that directly convert sunlight into electricity. The simplest photovoltaic cells power small devices such as watches and calculators, while more complex systems can light houses and provide power to an electrical grid. (…)


Syria uses digital power to upgrade disaster preparedness

Tuesday, 6 January - Syria has set up an online disaster management database in all 14 governorates and trained 350 government staff on how to respond to natural and man-made disasters. The project, implemented by the Ministry of Local Administration in partnership with UNDP, comes after the the Zeyzoun dam in the north collapsed in 2002, affecting more than 40,000 people. Although the Government responded quickly, with support from UN agencies, the calamity highlighted the need to upgrade disaster management.

The US$307,500 two-year initiative began last April, and the partners are sharing the costs.

The database uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology that combines data of many kinds — including such features as roads and other transport links, buildings and local institutions and population — to give a comprehensive overview vital to coordinating disaster relief and recovery.  (…)



Environment and wildlife



WWF-Pakistan becomes ISO 14001 certified

Lahore, Pakistan, 12 January - The head office of WWF-Pakistan in Lahore has been certified to the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management by SGS International. Part of WWF's mission is to reduce pollution and wasteful consumption of natural resources. The certification puts WWF's aims into practice by helping to create a culture in which employees are encouraged to seek ways of minimizing the impact of their office on the environment.

“This approach will lead to considerable and continuous improvement in both economic and environmental performance through reduced waste, improved understanding of procedures and decreased costs,” says Hammad Naqi Khan, Director of WWF-Pakistan.

WWF-Pakistan's “Greening the Head Office Initiative” started in March 2003, when staff were given an introduction to Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and the ISO 14001 certification process. An EMS team was established, which developed programmes for reduction of solid waste; minimization of paper usage; monitoring of emissions and noise from vehicles and generators; elimination of fire hazards; and efficient energy consumption at the head office. An Environmental Policy was developed in consultation with top management, and will be followed by the head office as well as WWF-Pakistan's six regional offices.  (…)


Bangladesh and India to conduct tiger census with help from UN agency

13 January – Bangladesh and India have announced they will begin conducting a census of tigers tomorrow - supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - in the Sundarbans, a fragile mangrove forest habitat shared by the two countries. The tiger census is the first of a series of joint activities between the South Asian neighbours under a cross-border initiative to protect the health of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.

The Sundarbans, which extend north from the Bay of Bengal, is home to more than 6 million people and a dwindling population of Bengal tigers. Its ecosystem is deteriorating because of population pressures and poorly enforced environmental regulations in Bangladesh and India.

The UNDP issued a statement today welcoming the move by Bangladesh and India, describing it as an "historic milestone in cross-border collaboration to protect globally significant biodiversity."

This tiger census should also be an improvement on previous attempts because it uses measuring methods considered more accurate by those in the field. As part of the census, local communities will receive training on how to help relocate "stray" tigers into the wild and away from populated areas.



Religion and spirituality



Annan calls for action to combat rising Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism

13 January – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today issued a strong call for action to address rising Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism, warning that complacency in the face of intolerance amounts to complicity. Delivering the inaugural Robert Burns Memorial Lecture at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan criticized those who remain silent in the face of bigotry, saying “such passivity must not be allowed to masquerade as tolerance.”

The Secretary-General noted that Islamophobia – a new word for an old phenomenon – is one of the most disturbing manifestations of bigotry today. Since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, “many Muslims, particularly in the West, have found themselves the objects of suspicion, harassment and discrimination,” he said, adding that too many people see Islam “as a monolith, and as intrinsically opposed to the West.”

Contrasting this view, he pointed out that Western and Islamic peoples have a long history of commerce, of inter-mingling and inter-marrying, and of influencing and enriching each other's art, literature, science and much else. “Despite a discourse of centuries, caricature remains widespread, and the gulf of ignorance is dangerously deep,” he warned. “It would be unconscionable to add any further to the resentment and sense of injustice felt by members of one of the world's great religions, cultures and civilizations.”

Mr. Annan also pointed to anti-Semitism as “another dangerous hatred” that blights the world. He called attention to the scars left by the history of persecution against the Jews, adding that a recent upsurge of attacks shows this hatred to be “virulent still.”

Addressing the broader political context, he noted that in some cases, anti-Semitism could be a byproduct of the escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict. “Criticism of Israeli policies is one thing,” he said, “but it is quite another when such critiques take the form of attacks – physical or verbal – on Jewish individuals and the symbols of their heritage and faith.” (…)



Culture and education



E-9 Education Ministers reaffirm their commitment to Education For All

26 December - Education ministers from the world’s nine high population countries - Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan - have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the basic learning needs of all their peoples and to work more closely togeth-er to achieve the six goals set at the World Education Forum held in Dakar (Senegal) in 2000.

The ministers were taking part in the 5th E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting, which was held in Cairo (December 19-21) at the invitation of the Egyptian Government (…). The E-9 countries are home to over 50 percent of the world’s population and account for 70 percent of illiterate adults and more than 40 percent of the world’s out-of-school children. (…)

In a declaration issued at the close of the meeting in Cairo last Sunday, the education ministers outlined the improvements in education in their countries, including increased enrolments, improving literacy rates (especially for women), and greater access to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which was the theme of the meeting. However, they also acknowledged that they “still face a number of challenges,” including poverty, “inequitable access to quality services […] for disadvantaged children, particularly girls”, funding constraints, and a lack of planning and coordination, especially for ECCE. To face these challenges, the education ministers committed themselves to “revitalise and realign the E-9 Initiative” in light of developments since the World Education Forum, and to broaden their partnership “to include key international actors, civil society, and corporate/private sector”.  (…)


The Jewish Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva: a renewed upsurge in activity

The month of December 2003 saw a positive upswing in the activity of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, an education, research and documentation center founded in 1949. The campus is located in the northern Sharon Valley (east of Hadera), Israel..

At the Institute for Arabic Studies, courses in Arabic for beginners and advanced students are held. Programs in the Arabic language for high school students were held for 11th and 12th graders of the “Ramot Hefer” school and for 9th-12th graders at the “Blich” school in Ramat Gan. Plans are currently being made for an “Arabic Day” for Jewish schools. A number of encounters were held between Jewish and Arab youth in December. Outstanding among these was the Goals of Peace project, held in cooperation with the Football Association for the Israeli Children, which encompasses soccer in cooperation with Maccabi Tel Aviv, computer studies at Givat Haviva, bi-national facilitation at the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, and the digital stories experience.

A course for Financial Officers in Arab Local Authorities has opened, in cooperation with the Follow-Up Committee of the Union of Arab Local Authorities in Israel.  Face-to-Face encounters for students at Tel Aviv University began in December. A program is currently being developed to expand activity both on the Tel Aviv campus as well as at other universities.

CTC (Children Teaching Children) continues operation in the Reali High School and Elementary School in Haifa and otherplaces. The project includes facilitation and lectures on the subjects of democracy, identity, tolerance, stereotypes, bi-national encounters with pupils from a counterpart school in the area, discussions on current affairs, and leadership training.


U.S. Fund for UNICEF Project: Teacher Training in Afghanistan

The current project for which Delta Kappa Gamma has partnered with UNICEF is funding for teacher training in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's education system is in a state of virtual collapse. Aside from the war damage to the country, the Taliban regime barred girls from the classroom and prevented the majority of teachers, who are women, from working. As an international women's organization dedicated to excellence in education, an opportunity exists for Delta Kappa Gamma to become a key partner in improving the education of hundreds of thousands of Afghan children.

Members of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International are invited to join the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support a partnership in education which includes a compelling training program for educators in Afghanistan. UNICEF has been entrusted by the Government of Afghanistan and the Ministry of Education to play a major role in the reconstruction of the national educational system. (…)

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, established May 11, 1929, in Austin, Texas, is an international honor society of over 150,000 key women educators in fourteen countries.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.


"Changing Hands" Exhibit & Symposium

A unique exhibition, "Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation, 1: Contemporary Native American Art of the Southwest," will be opening at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA, January 17, 2004, through March 21, 2004, showing the work of nearly 90 artists in a variety of media. In conjunction with the exhibition, on January 31, 2004, there will be a Native American symposium, with American Indian leaders, activists, and artists. Sessions will include a walkthrough of the exhibit with Dawn Low, Fuller Museum of Art director of education, and presentations by Linda Coombs, associate director of the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation (a workshop on Wampanoag weaving), and Dr. Ella Sekatau, Narragansett medicine woman and ethnohistorian, speaking on "Lifestyles of the Alogonquin People."

As coordinator and cofounder of Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land, Carol Halberstadt will be participating in the symposium with a presentation entitled, "Unbroken Rainbow: The Real Sheep, Navajo Survival and Continuity on Black Mesa."

For more information, see The Fuller Museum of Art



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Next issue: 6 February 2004

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