Why Population Data Matters: Ensuring Families Around the World Have Access to Family Planning
While you are out celebrating the close of the World Cup this Sunday, don’t forget to take a minute to remember that Sunday, 11 July, is World Population Day. World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities, events and information to help make this right a reality throughout the world. This year’s theme, “Everyone Counts” is meant to highlight the critical role data plays in tracking population trends.
As part of our continuing series spotlighting the human face of our work in Haiti, we’d like to return to a program that we’ve already discussed here at IMPACT—the CLEARS program, that is funded by USAID and executed by our partner CHF International.
Adrien Olguine, 25, is one of 40 graduates who have been trained in operating heavy machinery and equipment by CHF International as part of USAID’s OFDAfunded CLEARS program.
Before the earthquake, CHF saw that there was a serious shortage of heavy-equipment operators in Haiti and realized that there was a tremendous opportunity to give a group of Haitians a badly needed skill-set and a chance at a better future. CHF partnered with HayTrac and set to work training 40 Haitians in how to operate heavy machinery like back-hos, bulldozers, and other equipment that would be necessary for critical new construction projects in Haiti.
Once the earthquake struck Haiti, these needs became even more acute. Graduates from the CLEARS program sprang into action and put their new skills to use clearing collapsed buildings and rubble. Here’s what Adrien Olguine, 25, one of the 40 graduates said about her ability to meaningfully contribute to Haiti’s relief and reconstruction effort:
For USAID Afghanistan civilian aid worker Laura Mendelson, tough negotiations with tribal leaders, anger from villagers and constant enemy fire are all in a days work. A Sunday Washington Post Magazine article outlines her efforts, the progress made and struggles faced by all aid providers on the ground in the war torn country.
After spending decades in exile, Saad Mohseni returned to become one of the most powerful influencers in Afghanistan. Today, he owns radio and television networks, an advertising agency, and a movie production company, among other businesses. Realizing that media messaging would be one of the most effective ways to responsibly rebuild the nation, USAID issued grants to help fund Mohseni’s work to build free press. The New Yorker and NPR profile the burgeoning media mogul and his recent successes thanks to United States support.
“Father of the Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug established the World Food Prize in 1968. The international award recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. As 2010’s winners were announced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, together with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, announced the creation of the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative—a cooperative venture of USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that, as Voice of America reports, will combine the two agencies’ resources, knowledge, commitment and expertise to work together for the realization of Borlaug’s dream of feeding the world.
At a forum organized by Global Washington and hosted by Seattle University, Maura O’Neill, USAID’s Counselor for Innovation, will participate in a discussion about Washington State’s contribution to the global development sector and will offer recommendations for improving the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.
Administrator Shah will join Secretary Clinton at the State Department to address the 2009-2010 Jefferson Science Fellows. The ten Fellows are tenured professors assigned for one year at State and USAID. Their universities contribute to the success of this public-private partnership.
In Jordan, the Petra New Wonder of the World Celebration, the third anniversary of Petra being selected as a New 7th Wonder of the world. The USAID Tourism project will celebrate this with an evening of entertainment in the park itself. The project will use this occasion to provide background and build support for critical development plans at this beautiful and historic site. The event will be attended by the Prime Minister of Jordan and other senior ministers, and in addition to the celebration, they will learn about the challenges and opportunities at Petra.
In Ukraine, a Conference on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Accounting Standards (IAS). The United States Government has worked to develop Ukraine’s financial markets for nearly 15 years. Since 2007, USAID/Capital Markets Project has been working with the Ukrainian Securities Commission and market participants to develop the Electronic System of Comprehensive Information Disclosure (ESCRIN) for issuers of publicly listed companies. ESCRIN, has two major advantages: the information required by ESCRIN is much more comprehensive and allows the information to become public immediately on the regulator’s Web site, helping to move the country toward internationally accepted standards of disclosure. ESCRIN is now ready to be transferred and operational. The Securities Commission is about to receive final ministerial approval of a regulation that makes the system mandatory. 250 experts and professionals on investment projects, management, financial reporting, etc. from 30 countries worldwide will attend.
In Egypt, an event to present the best practices of the partnership between the USAID’s Technology for Improved Learning Outcomes (TILO) project and the Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership (DCGEP). This partnership works on introducing 150 educational video segments to 60 Egyptian primary schools; teachers are trained on how to integrate the videos into their lesson planning. Attendees will include 90 school teachers who were trained under USAID’s program, as well as the Ministries of Education, Communication and Information Technology, and the Governor of Beni Suef.
Denied an education herself, one local woman works tirelessly for her local school with USAID support.
Gul Laila can’t read or write, but she still arrives at the local school early every morning. Before heading off to her regular day job as a domestic worker, she stops by the school to ensure all the teachers have shown up for work. Once a real problem, faculty absenteeism has no longer been an issue since the School Management Committee elected Gul as its chairwoman.
Denied an education herself, Gul now works tirelessly to make sure that her daughters and all the other girls of this remote village in Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region have access to school.
“When I was growing up, we girls were often discriminated against.” Gul said. “Our parents sent our brothers to school, while asking us to cook for them and
clean their uniforms. … I don’t want our daughters to have the kind of lives we had. I want them to be educated and make their own decisions.” (Read more here.)
Simba Mobagi, a lab tech in Rachuonyo district hospital in Kenya, works with Maj. Eric Wagar to accurately diagnose malaria in blood samples. (Photo by Rick Scavetta)
By Rick Scavetta and Chris Thomas
Inside Rachuonyo district hospital in Kenya, Simba Mobagi peers through his laboratory’s only microscope at a sick woman’s blood sample. The 33-year-old laboratory technologist’s goal – rapidly identifying malaria parasites. Dozens more samples await his eyes. Each represents a patient suffering outside on wooden benches. Mogabi takes little time to ponder his workload. He quickly finds malaria parasites, marks his findings on a pink patient record and moves to the next slide.
For more than 40 years, U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Kenya – locally as the Walter Reed Project – has studied diseases in East Africa through a partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute.
Children First. Caption: An orphan herself, Fortune helps other children learn about HIV through the Grassroot Soccer program. Photographer: Heather Quinn
When Fortune’s mother died, Fortune says that she was too young — at age six — to understand the loss. When she lost her father to AIDS six years later and had to live with her uncle, she felt the loneliness that goes along with having no parents. She received scholarships to allow her to complete her secondary education when her uncle wasn’t able to pay for her fees. Once she graduated, Fortune discovered Grassroot Soccer.
Grassroot Soccer is an innovative organization that uses the power of soccer to achieve its main objective of providing rigorous health education focusing on HIV and AIDS. The program started in Zimbabwe in 2003 and reaches youth aged 11-18. Led by coaches, the program engages students in critical learning about HIV prevention. The program also provides psychosocial support and the opportunity for kids to form trusting relationships with responsible adults. The role model component is especially important because many of the kids in the program don’t have positive role models at home.
In Kazakhstan: An event to raise awareness about the risks of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and TB among at-risk youth – the event will include an awards ceremony for a drawing competition, a football match, and educational sessions on prevention of drug-use, HIV/AIDS and TB. Local NGOs, youth groups and local media are invited. In Armenia: An Amerenian Eye Care Project, and an international conference on the Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants. A group of very well known ROP and retina specialists from the US and Australia will be traveling to Yerevan to train and teach the Armenian specialists to launch the program. Attendees will include neonatologists, pediatric & regional ophthalmologists, clinical residents and neonatal nurses.
In Serbia: “Agribusiness & Renewable Energy Sources,” a conference to inform investors and agricultural producers on possibilities of production and the need for the use of sustainable sources of energy, in order to lower the emission of pollutants and dependency on import of fossil fuels. Attendees will include Senior representatives of Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Mining and energy, Special Advisor to the Ministry of Environment, and Agbiz project companies and clients.
In Egypt: The inauguration of El Akarmeya clinic. Outreach is focused on Egyptian beneficiaries in disadvantaged areas, especially women and children. An integral part of the process involves The Integrated Reproductive Health Services Project (Takamol), which provides technical assistance to the Egyptian Government to include Maternal-Child Health, Family Planning, and Reproductive (MCH/FP/RH ) services.
The Brookings Institution funded and wrote the report, but we thought its release would be a great opportunity for staff from USAID and US government agencies, think tanks, academics, diaspora groups and other development partners to discuss the findings more in-depth.
USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, told the 125 attendees that the event was “part of our reform agenda here at USAID … to be as evidence-based as possible in making program decisions that get more educational results for U.S. tax dollars”.
Guest speaker Congresswoman Nita Lowey thanked the report co-authors, Dr. Rebecca Winthrop and Dr. Corinne Graff, saying “we know that education, especially a quality basic education, is instrumental in fostering a more peaceful society, preventing conflict, and ensuring equality between men and women.”