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Good News Agency

Monthly – year 13th, number 205 – 7 September 2012


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. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities.

It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information via Internet*. 


International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



International treaty on domestic workers’ rights to come into force next year – UN

New York, September 5 - A United Nations treaty which provides a set of international standards to improve the lives of millions of domestic workers worldwide has now been ratified by a second Member State, the Philippines, allowing it to come into force next year, the world body announced today.

The Convention on Domestic Workers, which states that workers around the world who care for families and households must have the same basic labour rights as those available to other employees, was adopted at the annual conference of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) last year in Geneva. To enter into force, however, the Convention required ratification by two countries. In June, Uruguay became the first country to ratify it.

Recent ILO estimates based on national surveys or censuses in 117 countries place the number of domestic workers at a minimum of 53 million, but experts say they could be as many as 100 million across the world. In developing countries, they make up at least four to 12 per cent of those in wage employment, and around 83 per cent of them are women or girls, many of whom are migrant workers.



UN envoy welcomes election of Speaker of Parliament in Somalia

28 August 28 - The United Nations envoy to Somalia today applauded the election of the country’s new Speaker of Parliament, welcoming the democratic breakthrough as a moment of progress and optimism for the war-torn African nation.

Professor Mohammed Osman Jawari was today overwhelmingly selected to represent the New Federal Parliament in an election held at the Police Training Academy in Mogadishu, the capital, in which some 230 people participated. (…) After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's transitional governing arrangements winding down with the implementation of the so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition. The measures to end the transition included the drafting of a new Provisional Constitution, and the selection of the Members of Parliament by a group of 135 traditional Somali Elders, with the advice of a Technical Selection Committee. The inauguration on 20 August of Somalia’s New Federal Parliament marked the long-awaited end of the transitional period in the Horn of Africa nation. Some 260 Members of Parliament have now either been sworn in or are pending imminent ratification, with 15 names still remaining before the new Somali legislature reaches its total of 275 constituents.



Sierra Leone: parliament incorporates international humanitarian law

Freetown/Conakry, 22 August – The Sierra Leonean parliament adopted two bills today relating to international humanitarian law and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement: the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols Act, and the new Sierra Leone Red Cross Society Act, which replaces legislation dating from 1962.

The legislation gives domestic force to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 – the main instruments of international humanitarian law, a set of rules which seek to limit the effects of armed conflict and to protect its victims. The adoption of the act also means that persons accused of contravening the Geneva Conventions outside the territory of Sierra Leone may be brought to trial before any Sierra Leonean court in the same manner as if they had been charged with committing the offence within the country.

Fifty years after the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society was created, the new legislation reinforces its role as an auxiliary to the public authorities in the event of natural disaster or other emergency, and exempts it from taxes.



UN welcomes Libya’s transfer of power to newly elected national congress

New York, August 9 - The United Nations today welcomed Libya’s peaceful transfer of authority from the National Transitional Council to the newly elected National Congress, and reiterated its continuous support to assist the North African country in its democratic transition.

On 7 July, some 2.7 million Libyans headed to the polls to vote for members of the new National Congress. Over 3,000 candidates ran for office, including more than 600 women. The election was conducted in a largely peaceful manner, receiving praise from international observers and the Security Council.

The polls were the first free elections in decades in Libya, where Muammar al-Qadhafi ruled for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising last year – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.

The National Congress will decide on the composition of a constitutional commission that will draft the North African country’s new constitution.



Human rights



Tunisia: improving prison conditions

29 August – Since the Ben Ali regime fell in January 2011, the ICRC has been working with the Tunisian prison authorities to improve conditions of detention.

Prison mutinies erupted during the revolution in Tunisia. They often resulted in fires that made more obvious than ever the need for renovation work in some of the facilities.

This year, in addition to visits to a number of Tunisian prisons, ICRC staff have gone to police-detention facilities, migrant-reception centres and facilities housing minors to assess conditions and treatment. After each visit, delegates share their conclusions and recommendations with the authorities concerned.



Burma/Myanmar: two armed non-­state actors become the first signatories of Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict.

Geneva, 6 August – The signings took place on 2 August 2012 in Geneva. There is a need for an approach to the question of child protection in armed conflict that includes armed non-­State actors (ANSAs) as part of the solution to the problem and enables them to acknowledge their responsibility for ensuring the protection of children.

By signing this Deed of Commitment, the Karenni National Progressive Party/Karenni Army (KNPP/KA) and the New Mon State Party/Mon National Liberation Army (NMSP/MNLA) are publically formalizing their responsibilities towards the protection of children in situations of armed conflict. They pledge to ensure under-­18s are not recruited into, or used by their armed forces. In addition, the Deed of Commitment includes a broader set of international obligations relating to the protection, rights and well-­being of children affected by armed conflict and underlines the responsibility of the ANSAs to facilitate education and assistance for children in need of care in areas where they exercise authority.




Economy and development



IFAD to fund value chain programme to link small farmers to markets in Nigeria: a US$74.4 million loan to improve incomes of rural households

August 27, Rome - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of US$74.4 million to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to help improve food security and incomes of smallholder farmers, with a particular focus on young people and rural women.

In Nigeria, more than half of the total population live in rural areas, with the agriculture sector

The Value Chain Development Programme, which is in line with the government’s vision for agricultural development, will focus on supporting cassava and rice small farmers in the six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba. The programme will strengthen farmer organizations by building their capacity to take advantage of existing market opportunities and overcome constraints along the value chain. The programme will also improve rural infrastructure such as roads and water facilities. More than 200,000 poor rural households will benefit directly from the programme, which will have a particular focus on women and young people.



UN food agency launches water management framework to combat food insecurity

August 27- The United Nations food agency today launched a framework that will help combat food insecurity by providing methods to better manage water resources in agriculture and reduce waste. The initiative, entitled Coping with water scarcity: An action framework for agriculture and food security, seeks to encourage practices that will improve water management, such as modernizing irrigation schemes, recycling and re-using wastewater, implementing mechanisms to reduce water pollution, and storing rainwater at farms to reduce drought-related risks, among others. (…)Better management of water in agriculture was one of the main issues being examined during World Water Week, an event that brings policymakers and experts from around the globe together to discuss pressing issues related to water and its management.

World Water Week has been convened annually since 1991 by the Stockholm International Water Institute. FAO and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research are collaborating partners for this year’s edition, which focuses on water and food security.



African Green Revolution Forum to convene global and international leaders - Sept. 26-28

Arusha, Tanzania, August 23 - Tanzania will host the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) from September 26 to 28. The meeting is the next milestone in developing African-led food security solutions. At the recent G8 Summit, global leaders including 21 African countries and 27 private sector companies committed $3 billion to a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launching the next phase of the global food security effort to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.

AGRF 2012 sets the stage for Africa’s leaders to drive the initiative by promoting investments and policy support to increase agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers. As the host nation, Tanzania’s recent agricultural growth represents a case study of what is possible. In the Kilombero District of Morogoro, the yields for maize have recently increased for some smallholder farmers from 1.5 to 4.5 tons per hectare; the yields for rice have increased from 2.5 to 6.5 tons per hectare.



USAID, National Business Association of Colombia emphasize greater inclusion of afro-colombians in workplaces

Diversity goal: increase employment opportunities for 19,000 people in Colombia

August 22 – USAID and the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to increase inclusion and diversity in the workplace in Colombia. The signing took place at an annual meeting of businesses in Colombia.The agreement will be implemented by 33 Colombian companies that provide Spanish-language business process outsourcing and information technology services to clients in Latin America. Technical assistance and training will be provided by USAID´s Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program.

ACDI/VOCA implements the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program to improve the social and economic status of Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations in targeted rural and urban areas.ACDI/VOCA uses an integrated approach focused on local participation that responds to the needs of these ethnically and geographically diverse communities.



USAID awards $3.16 million feed the future contract in East Africa

ACDI/VOCA will support regional partners’ efforts to reduce poverty through agriculture

August 16 – The East Africa regional mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID/East Africa) recently awarded the ACDI/VOCA Support for Food Security Activities (SFSA) team a $3.16 million contract to strengthen the technical capacity and operational systems of first-time USAID awardees in East Africa. Through USAID/East Africa’s African Institutions Innovation Mechanism-Assist (AIIM- Assist), ACDI/VOCA will bolster the efforts of regional public, private and civil society actors to innovate, scale up successes and share learning to reduce poverty through agriculture.



Madagascar to receive US$35 million loan and grant from IFAD and €14.29 million loan from Spanish Trust Fund

August 3, Rome - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of US$33 million and a grant of $2 million to the Republic of Madagascar to finance the Vocational Training and Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programme (FORMAPROD). In addition, an €14.29 million loan will be extended for the same programme from the Spanish Food Security Co-financing Facility Trust Fund.

Agriculture, as a key economic sector in Madagascar, accounts for almost 30% of the Gross Domestic Product, 40% of export earnings, and employs more than 70% of the labor force. The performance of this sector has fallen behind in coping with the growing population and poverty reduction in rural areas and agriculture is also highly vulnerable to severe climatic conditions.

The new programme aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers. Young rural people will receive vocational training to help increase agricultural productivity and develop rural microenterprises. These farmers will also learn storage methods and processing of agricultural products. The programme, that will be implemented in 13 regions of the country, will link to all current IFAD-supported projects in the country to identify and train young farmers, agricultural technicians and extensions agents. More than 110,000 rural vulnerable households will benefit directly from the programme, especially young men and women who are heads of households







CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy provide much-needed support for hurricane Isaac relief efforts

Woonsocket, R.I., USA, August 31 - The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy today announced a donation of more than $20,000 in support of communities that have been affected by Hurricane Isaac. The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust has donated $15,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief and recovery efforts. CVS/pharmacy is also providing nearly 1,000 much-needed first aid kits and nearly $5,000 in additional financial support to Red Cross shelters across Louisiana and Mississippi.

Almost all CVS/pharmacy stores in Louisiana and Mississippi are now open. Only six stores are currently closed and they will reopen as soon as safely possible. To find a nearby CVS/pharmacy, call 1-800-SHOP-CVS or visit the store locator at www.cvs.com or m.cvs.com

The Company is also supporting its employees who have been affected by the hurricane through the CVS Caremark Employee Relief Fund.



$10.5 million in new grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation will spark sustainability efforts on six continents

Atlanta, Ge, USA, August 30 - Sixty-eight community organizations in 41 countries around the world were awarded a total of $10.5 million in grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, during the second quarter of 2012. These grants support the Foundation’s global priority areas, including: $3.2 million for active, healthy living; $2.9 million for water stewardship; $780,000 for community recycling; $630,000 for education; and $3 million for other local priorities, such as youth development, community improvement, economic development and environmental responsibility.

These sustainable community grants will benefit: 1.8 million students and 164 colleges, universities and schools who will receive education program support and scholarships; 1.2 million youth and adults who will have access to fitness and nutrition programs; 1.1 million people who will be involved in recycling awareness and education programs worldwide, and able to collect more than 470 tons of debris; and 300,000 people will be provided with improved water systems, sanitation and education, conserving 7.2 billion liters of water.

In 2011, The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded $76 million in support of global sustainable community initiatives, including water stewardship, community recycling, active healthy living, and education. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please go to www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/foundation_coke.html



The Giveaway

Warren Buffett pledges over $2-billion more to his kids’ foundations

By Maria Di Mento

August 30 – Warren Buffett said today he would give each of his three children more than $685-million to donate, in addition to the $1-billion gifts he made to each of their philanthropies in 2006. To celebrate his 82nd birthday, he said in a letter to his children that he is awarding 24,441,704 Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to their foundations.

Mr. Buffett made history in 2006 when he pledged stock, then worth more than $30-billion, to the Gates Foundation and about $3-billion to a foundation established by his late first wife, Susan Thompson Buffett. He also pledged stock valued at roughly $1.2-billion apiece to each one of the three foundations created by his children, Susan, Howard, and Peter. While the value of the stock has fluctuated over the years, Mr. Buffett has been steadily paying off all of his 2006 pledges every year since.

Mr. Buffett’s daughter, Susan Buffett, operates the Sherwood Foundation, which supports social justice and early-childhood education. His son Peter operates the NoVo Foundation, which seeks to improve the well-being of girls and women globally; and his other son Howard runs the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which seeks to fight poverty worldwide.



In 24 hours Players of Myfishbowl, a Facebook-based Chinese language game, provide 300,000 meals for Lao school children

August 29, Bankok – On August 24, the online game MyFishBowl launched a week-long online campaign “Action Against Hunger” with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Within just one day, the players had donated over $100,000 - enough for more than 300,000 school meals for children in WFP’s School Feeding Progamme in Laos. MyFishBowl players populate their virtual aquariums with fish and each time a player buys a fish for US$2, WFP is able to provide six children with a school meal.

Monica Marshall, Deputy Director of Private Partnerships for WFP, said: “We are impressed that so many players have supported this hunger campaign – almost instantly. If everyone does a little, through the virtual game, it makes a massive impact for children in the real world”.



OCHA allocates $55 million to underfunded emergencies

August 10 – The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $55 million towards humanitarian interventions. Countries receiving funds in this allocation are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Columbia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Sudan. Each of these countries is home to underfunded and underpublicized humanitarian crises.

I hope this funding will also serve to draw attention to their situation, as millions more people are still in need,” said Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. According to a press release from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “A third of all CERF funds are earmarked each year for underfunded emergencies.”



Syrian refugees: Caritas responds to growing crisis

August 10 – Caritas has been helping Syrian refugees since the crisis started in 2011. Now, Caritas is scaling up its efforts in order to serve the increasing number of families who have fled their homes. In Jordan, Caritas is providing food, medical care, and items like blankets and diapers to refugees in Mafraq, Zarqa, Madaba, and beyond. In Lebanon, Caritas has a free mobile clinic that visits Syrian refugee patients, primarily in the Bekaa Valley. Social workers from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre are distributing food and emergency supplies in the refugees’ makeshift tent camps, as well as to refugees living in apartments or old buildings in the Bekaa, in Beirut, and in other places.

Within Syria itself, many people have been displaced or have lost their livelihoods. Caritas is providing food in Homs and Aleppo to those in need. The distribution centres are schools and volunteers, including young scouts, are distributing the food.



Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Awards $500,000 in emergency assistance for severe food crisis in West Africa's hard-hit Sahel Region

Mercy Corps and Catholic Relief Services each receive $250,000 to provide immediate food assistance and build resiliency of Niger villages

Los Angeles, July 9 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded grants totaling $500,000 to support the work of two humanitarian organizations providing assistance to people affected by a rapidly escalating food crisis in the western Sahel, a large swath of Africa south of the Sahara Desert that has been hard hit by recurrent droughts. The Hilton Foundation grants were divided between Mercy Corps and Catholic Relief Services, both of whom are aiding people in Niger.

Mercy Corps, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, will use the $250,000 Hilton Foundation grant to provide urgently needed immediate assistance and build resilience for 12,600 people over the longer term in Niger's Tillabéri region. Catholic Relief Services (CRS), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, will use its $250,000 grant to provide immediate and longer term assistance for 10,400 vulnerable people in the Ouallam and Tillabéri areas of Niger. Disaster response is one of the Hilton Foundation's major priority areas. Since 1989, the Foundation has awarded $24 million to support programs for international and domestic disasters.




Peace and security



Cambodia: Landmine clearance paves the way for The Golden Road

3 settembre 2012-The village of Sek Sak in Battambang has been transformed after being cleared of landmines and unexploded ordnance. A total of 46,298m2 of land previously deemed unsafe has now been given back to the community. The value of this cannot be underestimated in the light of the economic land concessions that have seen large swathes of the country being sold to private corporations over the past decade, putting land at a premium and making it ever more difficult for young families to find a place to live. World Vision has also been cooperating with health centres to train maternal health workers, providing water jars to the poorest families for sanitation, and working to bring in improved maize seeds for the poorest families in the village.

None of this could have been done safely until MAG cleared the area first.



Internally displaced camp residents in Darfur return following violence - UN mission

30 August – About 80 percent of the residents of a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Darfur, Sudan, have returned to the camp, in the aftermath of the recent violence which displaced 25,000 IDPs, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID, reported today.

[UN] humanitarian agencies and non-governmental partner organizations have been able to resume their activities in the camp,” UNAMID stated in a news release, citing information from the agencies.“Food distribution began, a mobile clinic is operating and an assessment of the needs of the affected population is ongoing to provide the assistance required, including non-food items such as plastic sheets, mats and blankets,” it added..

UNAMID has been providing a round-the-clock presence with continuous patrols, monitoring movements in and around the camp and facilitating humanitarian assistance.



International Day against Nuclear Tests

At UN Headquarters, the Day will be observed this year on 6 September

The 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests through the adoption of resolution 64/35 on 2 December 2009 with the aim of promoting the idea that “every effort should be made to end nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives of people.”

The Day is meant to galvanize the efforts of the United Nations, Member States, and civil society in promoting the banning of nuclear tests as a crucial step towards creating a safer world. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its Regional Centres, together with DPI, are the focal points within the UN system to commemorate the Day, in close collaboration with the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

In a number of Member States, plans are under way to observe the Day through a variety of activities. In addition, it is expected that during the course of the year, events will be held in several countries around the world at universities, academic institutions, middle and high schools and youth organizations. For further information on the Day, please contact Mikhail Seliankin at seliankin@un.org


ICBL Afghan campaigner wins Emerging Peace Champion award 2012

Geneva, August 2 - This week the N-Peace, a multi-country network to strengthen the role of women in building and restoring peace, announced that Ms. Amina Azimi from Afghanistan as the winner of the Emerging Peace Champion Award 2012. The award aims to support the emerging leadership of young women who can motivate other young people to get involved in peace building. The ICBL is hugely proud of Ms Azimi’s work, and has passed on sincere congratulations to her for her well-deserved win.

A grenade survivor and co-founder of ICBL Governance Board member-organization Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO), Ms Azimi helped found a Women with disAbilities Advocacy Committee (WAAC) in Kabul. WAAC advocates for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls with disabilities in Afghanistan.

Today Ms Azimi is a project manager in Kabul and spends her time supporting her fellow survivors of remnants of conflict, such as landmines and cluster munitions, as well as other women with disabilities. Since early 2011 she has led a unique initiative called Empowering Women with Disability (EWD), through which she has provided training to nearly 400 women and girls with disabilities and their families. In addition to working directly with these women, Ms Azimi reaches out with her messages to the wider public via her radio program. The show has produced more than 300 short weekly programs over the past six years.



D.R. Congo: UN funding combats threat of unplanned explosions and weapons leakage

MAG has begun a project to construct a safe storage area for 400 tonnes of Congolese military ammunition, thanks to US$1million funding from UNMAS. The initiative will combat the twin threat of deadly explosions and weapons proliferation, both of which can devastate communities. Poorly stored munitions can result in blasts that cause massive suffering and damage in neighbouring areas.

Working in partnership with the UN, MAG is managing the construction of the new Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) facility in Kisangani, giving technical and logistical expertise in order to guarantee the highest standard of safety for the facility and the surrounding population. (...)







Paralympic-related event puts the spotlight on polio eradication

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary News, August 31 – Perseverance and dedication are qualities that both Paralympic athletes and Rotarians use to reach their goals. To highlight this common bond, British Rotarians used the excitement surrounding the opening day of the 2012 Paralympic Games on 30 August to rally government dignitaries from the United Kingdom and Pakistan to raise funds for Paralympic athletes and Rotary’s PolioPlus program.

We wanted to celebrate the achievements of these amazing athletes and Rotary’s hard work towards polio eradication,” says Judith A. Diment, PolioPlus national advocacy adviser for the UK and a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor St. George, England. “Both groups have persevered through great odds to be where we’re at today.”

Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), in association with UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the British Pakistan Foundation, and the Global Poverty Project, sponsored the garden party in London attended by more than 100 people, including five Paralympic athletes, three of whom are polio survivors. The event raised thousands of dollars for PolioPlus and the Pakistani Paralympic Committee and advocated for a polio-free world.(...) Diment said advocacy efforts have become more important than ever, as funding shortages have forced the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to cancel or scale back immunization activities in high-risk countries, leaving more children vulnerable to the disease.

The GPEI launched an emergency action plan earlier this year but is US$1 billion short of what it needs in order to implement the plan through 2013. Rotarians can help, Diment says, by lobbying their governments to commit funding for polio eradication and by spreading the word about the immense benefits of finally eliminating this crippling disease. (...)



Partnering with religious schools to fight against polio in Nigeria

Tsangaya School Strategy piloted in northern Nigeria to reduce missed children and help build community engagement for polio immunization

Jigawa, Nigeria, 29 August – To address the current upsurge of polio cases in Nigeria, UNICEF, with the support of the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), and partners, is set to join hands with Koranic school teachers. Early in September, the Tsangaya School Strategy will be piloted in 10 high-risk local government areas (LGAs) of Jigawa and Zamfara states, to reduce the number of missed children during polio campaigns and help build community ownership of immunization.

The Tsangaya School Strategy involves the full engagement of religious school teachers who are community leaders and opinion-makers in their communities. For polio eradication to succeed, it is important to engage and ensure the full participation of all sectors of society and in particular the communities themselves. This project will also engage Preachers and Imams, especially during Friday Mosque sessions to ensure the community is fully aware of the importance of immunization during every campaign and the risks to children who are not immunized.



OneRepublic's new single to benefit Save the Children's Every Beat Matters campaign

Feel Again” inspired by real heartbeats of children in need

Westport, Conn., USA, August 27 - OneRepublic is backing Save the Children and the Ad Council's new Every Beat Matters campaign for newborn and child survival, launching in mid-September, with the release of the band's new single today. People can visit EveryBeatMatters.org to download "Feel Again" and learn more about the campaign. A portion of proceeds from each download will benefit Save the Children.

OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder wrote the song, drawing on recordings of heartbeats of children in remote villages of Malawi and Guatemala for inspiration.

Every Beat Matters aims to make basic lifesaving health care available to children around the world so that millions more survive.

"OneRepublic has done something very magical and children around the world stand to benefit," said Save the Children's President & CEO, Carolyn Miles. "Just as children's heartbeats inspired 'Feel Again,' this powerful song can inspire people to help save children's lives. They can do that by downloading the song by joining Save the Children's newborn and child survival campaign at www.EveryBeatMatters.orgb


D.R. Congo: MSF emergency team responds to Ebola outbreak

August 23 – An emergency team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is responding to an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Isiro, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The MSF team is implementing safety measures at the Ebola treatment centre in Isiro to contain the virus.

Since late July, another MSF emergency team has been responding to an outbreak of Ebola in Kibaale district, western Uganda, which has killed 17 people. However, these two outbreaks involve different strains of the virus: the Bundibugyo strain in DRC and the Sudan strain in western Uganda. “The outbreak in Uganda and the one in DRC are not related,” says Olimpia de la Rosa, MSF emergency coordinator. “This strengthens the idea that the Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact, making it less likely to cross borders.”

An MSF team continues to work in Kibaale, Uganda, with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and organisations including the Ugandan Red Cross, the US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Indications are that the epidemic centred in the town of Kagadi has been successfully contained.



NGOs partner with UPS to aid Sahel

August 16 – This morning 156,394 pounds of relief supplies headed to Bamako, Mali as part of InterAction members’ ongoing effort to address the crisis in the Sahel. The global logistics company, UPS, coordinated the effort which brought food, shelter, medical supplies and water purification kits to the Sahel.

These water purification kits will help NGOs address the cholera outbreak in Mali. According to an August 14 OCHA report, there are 140 recorded cases of cholera in Mali, with 11 deaths.



10,000 school children in Kon Tum Province screened, 800 receive free eyeglasses

Kon Tum, Vietnam, August 13 – More than 10,000 primary and secondary school students in Kon Tum Province have been screened for vision problems with more than 800 of them receiving eyeglasses thanks to ChildSight®, an eye care project that improves the vision of children in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Helen Keller International and the Kon Tum provincial departments of Health and Education and Training, the pediatric eye health care project also trained nearly 300 teachers and health workers from 100 primary and secondary schools on screening skills. Each school was equipped with a screening toolkit, and the trained teachers checked their students for refractive errors at the beginning of a new school year.



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation dedicates Tällberg prize toward ending polio to Rotary

Stockholm, Sweden, 6 August - The global effort to eradicate polio received a SEK 1 million boost today as Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicated the monetary award she accepted from the Tällberg Foundation to Rotary International – a humanitarian service organization that has made a polio-free world its top priority.

Ending polio forever is a critical step in protecting all children from vaccine-preventable diseases and a testament to what innovation can do,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Rotary International has been an invaluable champion for bringing the world more than 99 percent of the way toward a polio-free world, and will continue to be in the final steps to success.”

Accepting the monetary award on behalf of Rotary and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) - a public/private partnership including the World Health Organization, Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – was Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, past Rotary International president and member of Göteborg Rotary Club.





Energy and safety



USA: Energy Department announces new university-led projects to create more efficient, lower cost concentrating solar power systems

August 28 - As part of the Energy Department's SunShot Initiative, which aims to drive solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020, Secretary Steven Chu announced today new investments totaling $10 million over five years for two university-led projects to advance innovative concentrating solar power (CSP) system technologies. CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat that can be used to produce electricity. Heat transfer fluids are a key component of CSP systems that transfer heat from a receiver to the point where the heat is needed to drive a turbine. The investments announced today will dramatically improve heat transfer fluids, increasing their efficiency and lowering costs for CSP systems.

The Department's SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Inspired by President Kennedy's "Moon Shot" program that put the first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created new momentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need for American competitiveness in the clean energy race.



Elementary schools in Mexico City enjoy the gift of clean water

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary News, August 27 – Elementary schools across Mexico City have clean drinking water and improved sanitation thanks to U.S. and Mexican Rotarians.

Since 2008, Heart 2 Heart, a project of District 4170 (Mexico) and seven districts in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, and Tennessee, has funded the installation of clean water tank systems in more than 50 schools, improving the daily lives of tens of thousands of students. A 10,000 liter tank is connected to each school’s internal plumbing and filtering system to provide clean water for drinking, toilet flushing, and hand washing.

Better sanitation at schools means healthier students and more time spent in the classroom, says Ron Appuhn, one of the project’s coordinators and immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Maryville-Alcoa, Tennessee.

Not having clean water and sanitation impacts children’s ability to go to school. Students get sick and they miss school,” says Appuhn. He adds that providing schools with basic necessities allows teachers and administrators to focus on educating the students.

Local Rotarians arrange for the construction and delivery of the water tanks, assist with the installation and plumbing, and train school officials in routine maintenance. Each tank is refilled weekly by the government at no cost to the school or Rotarians.

Each tank costs US$3,500. They are made mostly of steel and last up to 40 years. The plan is to install 50 to 60 more clean water systems, according to Appuhn. (...)




Environment and wildlife


USA - Save the Children assists children and families displaced by hurricane Isaac

Organization deploys staff to Louisiana and Mississippi to ensure children's needs are being addressed in this crisis.

New Orleans, La., USA, August 31 - Save the Children's emergency response experts are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi, providing basic necessities and establishing child-friendly environments within shelters along the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast. This week, Hurricane Isaac caused strong winds, flooding and heavy rainfall in the region, forcing families to seek safety in shelters. "Children are always the most vulnerable in an emergency situation, so Save the Children makes sure there are safe places for children in evacuation centers," said Jeanne-Aimée De Marrais, who is leading Save the Children's response team in Louisiana. "We have provided local shelters throughout the Gulf region with our Child Friendly Space kits and the training they need to help children deal with this traumatic experience."

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast seven years ago, Save the Children assisted more than 200,000 children affected by the storm, emerging as the national leader for children in disaster response. "Through our preparedness, response and recovery programs, we have put the unmet needs of children and their caregivers first," said DeMarrais.



In flooded Philippines, Caritas mobilizes emergency aid

August 13 – As the Philippines struggles to cope with massive flooding, assessment teams from NASSA (Caritas Philippines) and Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas members from the USA) have visited the worst-affected areas. “The majority of the families in the evacuation centres have houses that are submerged right now,” says Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Director of NASSA. “They expect to stay at the centres for weeks or even months while their houses homes are still under water.” The centres are housing over 150,000 people. Most centres are overcrowded and lack adequate latrines and bathing facilities. Drinking water is also difficult to obtain.

Caritas is mobilizing its network of diocesan centres and church volunteers to respond to people’s immediate needs. Dioceses have experience working with Caritas to bring food, hygiene supplies, cookware, and emergency items like candles to those in need. NASSA has already released approximately 20,000 euros to support the first phase of the dioceses’ relief operations.



Cameroon increases elephant protection after mass slaughter

August 10, Yaoundé, Cameroon – Six months after the killing of hundreds of elephants in a Cameroon national park, WWF today is releasing exclusive video material from the scene of the shocking event. Between January and March of this year, heavily-armed foreign poachers invaded Cameroon and killed over 300 elephants in Bouba N’Djida National Park. Since the incident, which drew worldwide media attention, Cameroon has moved to bolster security in its protected areas, including deploying 60 new ecoguards to secure Bouba N’Djida and monitor the park’s remaining wildlife. Two rangers recently received gunshot wounds while pursuing a potential poacher adjacent to the park.

The Cameroon government has agreed a plan to recruit an additional 2,500 game rangers over the next five years. The Central African country also intends to establish a new national park authority, following the prime minister’s approval of an emergency action plan for securing all frontier protected areas.



Ten Central African countries agree to improve forest monitoring

6 million project to set up national monitoring systems and strengthen regional cooperation

Rome, 26 July, - A new regional initiative will help ten Central African countries to set up advanced national forest monitoring systems, FAO announced today. The ten countries are part of the Congo Basin and include Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and São Tomé and Principe.

The forestry project will be managed jointly by the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and FAO in close collaboration with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The Congo Basin Forests Fund, launched by the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom through the African Development Bank is funding the initiative with 6.1 million.
The forests of Africa's Congo Basin, approximately 200 million hectares, are one of the world's largest primary rainforests, second only to the Amazon. The region's forests support the livelihoods of some 60 million people.



Strengthening organizations to combat cyclical food insecurity

Every year, East Africa experiences widespread food insecurity, punctuated by periodic emergency-level food shortages triggered by conflict and drought. Average yields are low, but even when adequate food supplies are available in the region as a whole, inadequate market and transportation infrastructure, trade barriers and opaque information channels prevent the flow of food from surplus areas to deficit areas. To combat this cyclical food insecurity, the USAID/East Africa mission’s regional Feed the Future Strategy works to increase the access, availability, and utilization of African-grown staple foods in regionally integrated markets.




Religion and spirituality



The Spiritual Caucus at the United Nations

"We all have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence. This house, dedicated to work and debate in the service of peace, should have one room dedicated to silence in the outward sense and stillness in the inner sense." (Dag Hammarskjöld, from his dedication of the UN Meditation Room)

The Spiritual Caucus at the United Nations gathers in the vicinity of UN Headquarters in New York (October - June) on the third Thursday every month for 30 minutes of silence followed by 30 minutes of dialogue, sharing insights and exploring ways to use an inner focus in service of the work of the UN.

On the 1st Thursday of the month the Caucus invites friends to sit in silence for 30 minutes in the Meditation Room in the public lobby of UN Headquarters in New York.




Culture and education



UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace - UN HQs, New York, September 14

This day-long, first-ever General Assembly High Level Forum is intended to be an open public opportunity for the UN member states, UN system entities, civil society including NGOs, media, private sector and all others interested in discussing on the ways and means to promote the Culture of Peace. A special focus will be on the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Culture of Peace adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1999.

Convened by President of the General Assembly H. E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the Forum will have an opening ceremony, when the President and Secretary-General will speak, followed by two panel discussions and ending with a closing session.

This High LevelmForum aims to raise the profile of the important Program of Action for the Culture of Peace. It is further hoped that the Forum will support and encourage the growing Global Movement for a Culture of Peace.



11 Days of Global Unity 2012 Campaign - 11 Ways to Change the World

September 11th through September 21st, 2012

Recognizing the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01, and the 30th anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace (September 21st), this "11 Days - 11 Ways" campaign is building a global coalition to reframe the media and political dialogue on terrorism by promoting solutions within 11 themes of social change that will create a more peaceful, sustainable world.

The 11 Days of Global Unity Themes are: Unity, Interdependence, Environment, Economic Justice, Health, Children & Youth, Women, Human Rights, Freedom, Disarmament, and The International Day of Peace. Click here to learn more about the 11 Themes

Annual participation in 11 Days of Global Unity has grown dramatically to over 700 associated events in more than 60 countries since it was first launched by We, The World in 2004. This year, organizers anticipate even greater participation as organizations see an opportunity to unite around critical issues within each of the 11 themes.

We, The World is a global coalition-building organization based in New York City. Founded in 1998 by Rick Ulfik, WTW has annually connected thousands of socially conscious organizations and individuals to amplify their efforts and generate public awareness and action.



A different approach for a better society - Training for young people in Sri Lanka

By Mahieash Johnney in Sri Lanka

August 30 – In the hilly terrain of central Sri Lanka lies the small village of Tholangamuwa. Recently these green hills and rolling meadows played host to a group of young people who used the calm surroundings to engage in a week-long training comprised of workshops, discussions and debates as well as a range of more unconventional activities such as yoga, drama and dance.

The training was part of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s flagship ‘Youth as Agents of Behavioral Change’ programme, a global initiative launched by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which works to encourage young people to play a greater leadership role in society by inspiring a positive transformation of mindsets, attitudes and behaviors within themselves and their local community. The focus is on providing young people with non-formal values- and skills-based education.(...)

The programme emphasizes the training of peer educators - celebrating the idealism, enthusiasm and creativity of youth, and encouraging people to lead by example and make an active contribution to the development of their communities. (...) One of the major outcomes of the workshop was that participants developed a clear action plan on how they can roll out what they learnt at the workshop in their respective branches and communities. (…)



UNESCOstudy to examine treatment of Holocaust in global curricula

New York, August 23 - A new United Nations study exploring the ways schools around the world address the subject of the Holocaust and which ones are doing so is now underway, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.

The project, entitled ‘International Status of Education on the Holocaust, A Global Mapping of Textbooks and Curricula,’ and conducted in conjunction with Germany’s Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, will assess academic curricula from 195 countries and ultimately map and illustrate where the Holocaust is being taught and how.

The 18-month long survey is the first of its kind to fully analyze and compare representations of the Holocaust in textbooks and national curricula.

As part of its effort to examine whether extant textbook representations of the Holocaust are nuanced, comprehensive and unbiased, the study will also scrutinize and then compare textbooks from 20 representative countries.

UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote worldwide education on the Holocaust, and has been developing curricula to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news


Friendship... Children International-style

By Deron Denton

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with." – Mark Twain

July 30 marked the second International Day of Friendship by the United Nations. The importance of friendship in our personal lives is difficult to overstate. Friends make our lives easier…and better. According to the U.N., the idea behind the celebration is that “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.” The U.N. goes on to say that the emphasis of the day is particularly for young people. As future leaders, getting them involved in community activities with friends – and in order to make new friends – is important.

Meaningful friendships, with a community-centered focus, are something that we at Children International also foster through a wide variety of programs and opportunities.



Teaching Teacher - Active learning sessions in Palestinian camps in Lebanon

August - ANERA hosted training sessions for 27 remedial education teachers on active learning methodologies in Nahr El Bared and Beddawi Palestinian camps in northern Lebanon. The teachers benefitted from workshops and on-the-ground training sessions that taught them innovative ways of reaching their remedial education and learning-support students.

Along with sessions on active learning and student-focused methodologies, the teachers participated in courses from the British Council to enhance their Egnlish language skills and also see how they could use similar methods to teach English.

Remedial education teachers also act as a bridge between the child and their parents.



UNAFF Film Festival, October 18-28, focuses on Human Dignity

The 15th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) will be held from October 18-28 in Palo Alto, Stanford University, East Palo Alto and San Francisco, USA. The theme for this year is Human Dignity.

UNAFF celebrates the power of films dealing with human rights, environmental themes, women’s issues, population, homelessness, racism, children, health, universal education, war and peace. In the past fifteen years, UNAFF has attracted a broad audience from the San Francisco Bay Area with regards to ethnicity—many finding the screenings to be a rare chance to see the state of human rights and culture in their own native countries. UNAFF promotes education, awareness and social change through images, dialogue and action.



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Next issue: 5 October 2012



Good News Agencyis published monthly (except August) in English, Italian and Portuguese. Past issues are available at www.goodnewsagency.org . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi (sergio.tripi@goodnewsagency.org). Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (fabio.gatti@goodnewsagency.org), Elisa Minelli, Isabella Strippoli. Webmaster and media and NGO coverage: Simone Frassanito (simone.frassanito@goodnewsagency.org)


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 3,000 NGOs, 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as 23,000 Rotarians in the world.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.

The Association is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.


*In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly (http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf), Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information. In section A - International Organizations, the Report says:

"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet by civil society corresponding to para 6 in the 1999 Programme of Action calling for the promotion of a culture of peace through sharing of information among actors in the global movement for a culture of peace (p.7). Diffusion and exchange of culture of peace information via the Internet has become the major instrument for several international organizations, notably the Culture of Peace News Network, the Good News Agency and the Education for Peace Globalnet (p.12).

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