Supporting local aid workers this World Humanitarian Day

burundi

A local humanitarian aid worker from the Anglican Diocese of Matana, a Tearfund local partner, records information about the villagers’ health and nutritional status as part of a food security and nutrition project in Songa, Burundi in February 2018

 

Asha Kurien, Tearfund’s Humanitarian Policy Officer, shares why supporting local humanitarian workers is key this World Humanitarian Day.

This Sunday – 19 August – we remember the lives and contribution of individuals who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid. World Humanitarian Day was established by the UN after the attack on their headquarters on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. 22 humanitarian aid workers died that day.

And sadly, year after year, attacks on aid workers and civilians in humanitarian contexts have continued to escalate. In 2017, at least 313 aid workers were victims of violent acts. Of these, 154 worked for local or national organisations. Tearfund is committed to enabling a more locally led humanitarian response worldwide and is a signatory to the Charter for Change. The Charter for Change is a series of eight commitments to enable local humanitarian actors to play an increased and more prominent role in humanitarian response. To date, 34 International NGOs have signed up to and over 200 local and national organisations have endorsed these commitments, seeking to improve the capacity of local humanitarian workers to operate safely and securely in their contexts. [Read more…]

Sustainable energy for all goal is woefully off track. Here’s how we fix it

 

Barefoot solar engineers

Just 1% of funding for energy access goes to decentralised energy, but it’s the only hope for delivering the UN goal to bring energy to all by 2030.

Over the next ten days, 47 countries are gathered at the UN in New York to review several of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) – and the lack of progress on energy access for the world’s poorest makes for grim reading.

Governments, donors and multilateral development banks must step up the pace and increase investments in renewable energy for people in poverty, living off the grid.

The world is woefully off track on SDG7 – ensuring that everyone has affordable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030 – despite the fact that this would transform the lives of one billion people currently without electricity and three billion people without clean cooking. On the current path, almost 700 million people still won’t have electricity by 2030. The gap between the goal and the delivery is huge. [Read more…]

Ahead of Synod vote, Tearfund welcomes Diocese of Oxford proposed amendment on divestment

antonio-garcia-339626-unsplash

Photo by Antonio Garcia on Unsplash

 

This Sunday (8th July), the Church of England’s (CofE) General Synod – their formal decision-making body – is meeting. A key amendment to a motion being proposed by the CofE National Investing Bodies (NIBs) is due to be discussed, calling for stronger action on divestment from fossil fuels. The Bishop of Oxford is calling for this amendment and explains it well in his blog, but the key point is strengthening the language to put pressure on fossil fuel companies to adopt business plans in line with the Paris Agreement by 2020. If companies don’t do this, then divestment would begin to take place. [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan part III: Solomon Khurrum, an NGO worker who sees the potential

In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan.

In part 1 of this series, we heard the perspective of Rashid Hammeed*, who lives in a slum that currently lacks waste collection, causing ill health, environmental damage and social isolation.  Part 2 shared the story of Hameed Gul, who works at a community-based recycling hub in another area of Islamabad; this job and the centre have transformed his family’s income and health.

In this post, we hear more about the approach that Tearfund and the Pakistan Mission Society are using to extend waste collection to other communities across Pakistan.  By establishing social enterprises for community-based waste collection and recycling (or ‘Integrated Resource Recovery Centres’), we are creating jobs, improving people’s health and protecting the environment.  These enterprises are designed to become financially self-sustaining after 2-3 years, enabling poor communities to turn trash into opportunity. [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan Part II: Hameed Gul, a waste picker employed in Islamabad

 

 

 In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan. In part two, we hear how a community recycling centre transformed the life of one family.

Hameed Gul is 45 year old, owns a house and lives at Ali Bakash Town, Islamabad. He has been working with the Integrated Resource Recovery Center (IRRC) for the last three years. He is married with seven children – two sons and five daughters. Both of his sons and one daughter are married. Both sons are working and support him financially. One of his daughters is studying at school.   [Read more…]

Waste Perspectives from Pakistan Part I: Rashid Hameed*, a sanitation worker living in a slum

 

 

This World Environment Day sees a global call to beat plastic pollution. In this three-part series, Solomon Khurrum (previously Director of Operations for Tearfund partner Pak Mission Society) and I share three perspectives on plastic and waste from Pakistan. In part one, we hear what life is like for a sanitation worker living in a slum.

Rashid Hameed is 51 years old and lives in one of Islamabad’s 34 urban slums. Islamabad – Pakistan’s capital city – had an estimated population of 1.74 million in 2009. Over a third of these residents live in illegal slums with no civic facilities.

The slums are mostly inhabited by religious minorities (often Christians) who have migrated from Punjab and other provinces to Islamabad in search of a better future. Mr Hameed migrated with his family from his village to Islamabad in the 1980s. He has lived in the slum with his wife, daughter and three sons ever since.

Rashid shares his experience of life there: [Read more…]

Reasons to be hopeful after Commonwealth funding announcement on plastics

Maria das Gracas

Last year, Maria das Gracas’ house flooded eight times. As I stood with her in her home in a favela in Recife, Brazil, she told me how her community is now sorting and collecting the plastic and waste that clogs the river running through the neighbourhood, improving people’s lives and preventing it getting into the ocean too.

Since Sir David Attenborough and Blue Planet II hit our screens towards the end of last year, many of us have become sensitised to the devastating impact of plastics on our environment. At Tearfund we have become increasingly aware – through our work on the circular economy and our interactions with local communities – that such waste is not just an environmental problem, it is fast becoming a public health crisis for the poorest people.   [Read more…]

Churches push for peace in war-torn South Sudan

bishop_arkangelo_south_sudan

Bishop Arkangelo from the Africa Inland Church speaks on the role of the church in peace building in South Sudan

 

This week the warring parties in South Sudan, together with international community and civil society organisations, will gather at the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in Addis Ababa to find ways to bring peace and cease hostilities in South Sudan. Ahead of this gathering, Tearfund East Africa Humanitarian Policy Officer, Sini Maria Heikkila, discusses the role of the church in bringing peace.

Conflict has devastated the lives of millions in the world’s newest state since December 2013. More than four million people have been forced to flee their homes. The brunt of the conflict is born by women and children and UNICEF has estimated that 86% of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children. 

The third meeting of the HLRF in May – the regional peace process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development – provides a unique opportunity to achieve an inclusive and lasting peace agreement. In the middle of the conflict, the churches have a key role to play in waging peace and bringing communities together. For instance, Tearfund’s experience shows that generally all churches come together in an ecumenical spirit to promote peace and to work both for development of livelihoods and for spiritual growth. Thus, ensuring that the voice of church is heard in any peace negotiations, including HLRF, remains of utmost importance. [Read more…]

Is the World Bank springing into action on energy access?

Myself with Melanie Robinson and David Kinder, UK representatives to the World Bank

Sharing our new report with Melanie Robinson and David Kinder, UK representatives to the World Bank

 

Last week I joined hundreds of government representatives, business executives and civil society organizations at the World Bank Spring meetings in Washington. I returned home with the overall impression that the World Bank is taking steps in the right direction on climate change. But this action needs to speed up and scale up to meet the Paris Agreement targets and achieve universal energy access by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goal 7). In particular, the Bank needs to phase out fossil fuels more quickly, and increase investment in renewable energy, with a focus on off-grid sources for the poorest populations living in remote communities.

The situation so far

In 2017 the World Bank President announced the phasing out of finance for exploration for oil and gas after 2019; this was an important step forward, but there were few details given at the Spring meetings last week about how this would be implemented. In the meantime, the Bank continues to invest in fossil fuels. [Read more…]

Definitely, maybe: circular economy initiatives that work for poor communities

Over the last 18 months we’ve been thinking, discussing and writing about how the circular economy can work for communities in developing countries. Our latest research paper, Bending the Curve, takes the evidence base to the next stage. It assesses the literature available to identify what works in practice, and the range of income, health and environmental benefits these interventions bring.

We can divide the approaches into three categories, which I think of as:

  • Definitelyproven interventions that have a strong evidence base, and could be replicated in a variety of low- and middle-income contexts.
  • Probably: approaches where the evidence base is evolving; more research is needed to understand how they could be scaled up and rolled out in different contexts.
  • Maybe: areas of high concern or great potential, but where the solutions are as-yet-unproven or speculative.

[Read more…]