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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand (YWCA and Y-Dub)

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
The YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand work to empower women, especially young women, to reach their potential. They acknowledge their Christian and women’s heritage and commit themselves to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to addressing all forms of oppression so that women together may attain social and economic justice.

How can I get involved?

There are nine YWCA Local Associations around Aotearoa-New Zealand, each offering valuable programmes and community services.

Check out the local association web sites here to discover what they are doing in your community.


Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
The New Zealand YMCA is a community organisation, based on Christian principles, which aims to enable individuals and families to develop physically, mentally and spiritually and enjoy a healthy quality of life.

How can I get involved?

YMCA is represented all around NZ, and they run a variety of programmes depending on the needs of that particular community. One programme that is currently run in many YMCA centres is ‘Raise up and Represent’.

The aim of Raise Up is to support youth in being physically fit, to encourage personal ownership and leadership, and to foster a sense of pride and respect for themselves, and the communities in which they live. YMCA are often searching for student leaders to help plan and implement Environmentally focused youth initiatives and activities for youth in their community. Contact your nearest YMCA for more info.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
UNICEF - the United Nations Children’s Fund - is the world’s leading agency for children. UNICEF works closely with children, women and communities as well as governments, other UN agencies, faith-based groups, non-government organisations and the private sector to create a better world for every child.

How can I get involved?

Fundraise – Put the ‘fun’ back into fundraising!  Take part in a run, cycle, or swim while raising money for UNICEF.  It’s easy to make your own fundraising web page!

Campaign for Change - Make some noise and help shape better policies and practices for children.  Whether you write to your local MP about an issue affecting children, fill out one of our surveys or sign a petition, you’re helping affect change for a new generation of kids.  Join UNICEF’s Campaigners for Change by emailing takeaction@unicef.org.nz for further updates.

Buy an Inspired GiftDoes your Dad need another pair of socks?  Why not help girls in Ghana go to school instead?  Purchase a bicycle for a girl in Ghana from our online shop and help give a better future to children!

- Your donation will go further with UNICEF! For every dollar donated, we can leverage $10 for children who need your help.

Volunteer - There are a number of ways that you can get involved with UNICEF NZ as a volunteer:

  • You can help out in their Wellington office with administration duties
  • You can help them with fundraising events
  • If you think you have some specific skills and experience that will be of value to them then you can apply for an internship

Trade Aid

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
Trade Aid is a New Zealand founded, alternative trading organisation which has been working with craft producers and small farmers in developing countries around the world for 35 years. Trade Aid currently has 32 retail shops in both the North and South Islands and runs an extensive public education programme which aims to equip New Zealanders to speak out for greater justice in world trade.

How can I get involved?

Shop at Trade Aid! =D

Volunteer for Trade Aid - At Trade Aid there are opportunities to be a retail volunteer, speaker about Trade Aid issues to community or school groups, campaigner, education team member or a trustee. Get in touch with your local shop and see what you can get involved with today, sign up on-line at www.tradeaid.org.nz or pop in for a chat.

Connected Media

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009



What do they do?

Connected Media is a New Zealand based charitable trust whose mission is to promote sustainability through media.

How can I get involved?

In partnership with Enviroschools and the Global Education Centre, Connected Media run an annual Sustainability Film Challenge called ‘The Outlook for Someday’. Anyone up to the age of 20 can make a film on sustainability of any length up to 5 minutes, of any genre they like – drama, documentary, animation, music video, advertisement, video blog, reality tv. The prizes are awesome – laptops, cameras, even a short course at a film school. Deadlines for films is usually late September. Check out the website here: www.theoutlookforsomeday.net


Addictd 2 da fone

Monday, April 16th, 2007

by Anna Wu

Banglasdesh mobile If teeny bopping, Supre-toting girls in the city surprise you with their uber-pink phones, (what in the world do they need them for?) you may be more surprised to hear that Bangladesh has added almost 9 million cell phone users in a single year. Yet compared to other countries Bangladesh is just a small player, only ranked 8th among the top 10 Asian cell phone markets.

Being rich or poor as a country isn’t a factor in determining the extensive use of the cell phone. The glory of communication is widely available — data confirms new cell phone customers in Asia are of the middle-to-lower income bracket. But is there a sinister industry behind this fashionable and popular accessory?


Text DumpingCell phones let us phone Mum to tell her we’ll be out for just a bit longer. Your brother might use it to call the AA while stranded on the side of a road somewhere or to break up with his girlfriend via txt. Increasingly mobiles are also being used for saving lives.

India was the first country to introduce a disaster warning cell phone system. In 30 seconds, the general public can be informed about natural disasters such as the Mumbai floods or epidemic outbreaks like cholera, through SMSs and voicemails. Similarly here in NZ, the Western Bay of Plenty have a free service to provide registered users with text alerts of Civil Defense emergencies in the region.

In the wake of the murder of German backpacker Birgit Brauer, Telecom and Vodafone launched the SAFE (7233) txt service for anyone to record their travel plans within NZ. Messages are stored and (hopefully not!) retrieved later by police to find out where the missing person’s supposed to be.

The cell phone has even emerged as a tool for fighting poverty. Last year a senior official of the United Nations World Food Programme in London received a text from a refugee in a drought-plagued camp in Kenya. It was a simple message; people are not receiving enough food “you must help.” You may wonder how someone who does not have access to enough food can afford a cell phone, but in Africa, where many nations lack public telecommunication systems, they are not a luxury but a necessity. They are cheap and are used by traders as the primary communication tool and for millions of others they are the thing that connects them to scattered communities and families. This text message was an effective way of a refugee in Kenya to access someone living in the comfort of the industralised world, where hunger is hard to imagine.


We already know cheap, affordable fast-fashion is to sweatshops what diamonds are to the notorious diamond mines. Similarly while cell phones have revolutionised communication, the materials that create them come at someone else’s expense.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) contains one third of the world’s cassiterite, 64 to 80 percent of the world’s colton, 10 percent of the world’s copper and 20 to 40 percent of the world’s cobalt — all of which form the components of our cell phones. U.K.-based organisation Global Witness documented “killing, rape, torture, arbitrary arrests, intimidation, mutilation” by the Democratic Republic of Congo military and other armed groups “to gain control over either resource-rich areas or the ability to tax resources.” While below ground, according to the BBC, children as young as 8 yrs old “dig and sieve from dawn to dusk” in the Ruashi mine which employs 4000 miners.

AND THE [cell phone] GRAVE

The world now has over 3.5 billion cell phone users* and the environment appears to be paying a high cost.

GorillaColton is a mineral that is used to make tiny devices that store energy in cell phones and is responsible for the phones shrinking size, but endangered animals are paying the price for this pocket-sized convenience. In a DRC national park the mountain gorilla population has plunged by half, after mining of colton devastated the gorilla’s habitat.

The U.S. Geological Survey calculates the 500 million phones lying unused in the US contain 17 million pounds of copper, 6 million ounces of silver, 600,000 ounces of gold. 17 different metals can be reclaimed.

Fortunately as global citizens and responsible consumers, we can reduce some of the impact by choosing what we do with our “dead phones.”


MobileThe first hand held mobile phone to become commercially available was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X in 1983. It was 25 cms long and weighed over half a kilo!!

MobileIn 2004 Vodafone NZ’s recycling initiative “The Old, The Broke and The Ugly” prevented more than 6780kg of mobile phone equipment going to landfill, that’s 16,826 mobile phones!

MobileIn India the leading mobile service, has launched a new service, which allows customers to make their donations to temples via SMS.

MobileNew Zealand has over 3 million mobile customers who on average replace handsets for a newer, flashier one every 18 to 24 months. (This indicates their are going to be a lot more forsaken Oldies, Brokes and Uglies in the cell phone grave)

In December 2006 people in the UK sent 4 billion texts.


  • Use your old phone! Do you really need a new one?
  • If you really need a new phone, then recycle your old one.
  • - Drop by any Vodafone retail store with your unwanted mobiles and accessories like batteries and chargers. Your phone will go on to become things like traffic cones or copper pipes, or sent to a developing country instead to spread the joy of communication.
    - Organise a mobile recycling week at school, work or anyplace in your community by sending an email to recycling.nz@vodafone.com They’ll provide a bin as well as posters and leaflets to let people know all about it.

  • There are miners mining in conditions of virtual slavery in DRC to feed our demand for this technology and ironically mobile phones are being used to threaten those who try to draw attention to this. Visit www.amnesty.org.uk to read about the Congo appeal and send a letter online to the President telling him you support free speech.


Cell phones for civil engagement (*mobile user stat from this site)
Recycle mobiles in your community
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Read the full Guardian article “You Must Help”

Rupert Murdoch

Monday, March 6th, 2006

By Thomas Harrisrupert headshot

It is fair to say that Australian born Rupert Murdoch made his own fortune. Murdoch returned to Australia in 1952 after the death of his father Keith, who was said to have been Australia’s most influential newspaper executive of his time. After death duties and tax, his father’s legacy, his businesses and considerable fortune was reduced to one newspaper The Adelaide News.

Over the next 20 years, Murdoch expanded his businesses hugely, buying more Australian newspapers such as The Daily Mirror, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, and record label, Festival Records.

Murdoch was fast to earn a competitive and ruthless name for himself while creating his “mother-company” News Corporation. He was also a vocal and active objector to the Australian law that you could not own both a newspaper and a television station in the same city.

Murdoch expanded into Britain in the mid 60’s, becoming a major media force with the The Times and The Sun.

In 1973 he bought his first American newspaper, The San Antonio News. Soon afterwards, he founded the National Star, three years later he bought the New York Post.

During the 1980’s, he created Sky Television, a British satellite network.

He became a citizen of the United States in 1985 which satisfied the legal requirement, that one must be a U S citizen to own an American TV station, he then created the Fox Network.

By 1991, News Corp. had amassed huge debts, mostly from Murdoch’s British Sky Television; this forced him to sell many of his American magazine interests. Eventually he forced a merger between Sky TV and opposing network British Satellite Broadcasting, on his own terms he created BSkyB, which has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since.

Murdoch has been married three times. He married first in 1956, then 1967, and lastly in 1999, with children resulting from each marriage. It is interesting to note that, while he claims to despise nepotism (perhaps because of the fact that he inherited comparatively little from his father) he has shamelessly promoted three of his four children to run his companies.

Clearly, Rupert Murdoch is a very gifted entrepreneur, making huge amounts out of very little. Starting with a local newspaper, The Adelaide News’, and expanding over 60 years into the massive media empire he controls today (total value $30b US).

News Corp’s. holdings now include a ‘lion’s share’ of the Australian newspaper industry and about one-third of Britian’s. His personal fortune amounts to US$5.5b, making him the 54th richest man in the world. He holds a 28.5% stake in his company, News Corporation.

So what does he have to do with poverty?

“His many detractors would say Murdoch’s success has resulted in the dumbing-down of the media, with quality entertainment and journalism replaced by mindless vulgarity”. (Walker:BBC)

While at first this may not seem connected to poverty, it gains a certain logic when you link it up with the fact that newspapers, TV and other media sources are where most people find out about world events.

“The 1990s have witnessed the decline of the press as a public forum. This can be attributed largely to the relentless corporate takeover of the Indian press and the concentration of ownership in a few hands. Around seven major companies account for the bulk of circulation in the powerful English language press… ‘The Times’ is clear and unequivocal in its priorities. Beauty contests make the front page. Farmers’ suicides don’t. Sometimes reality forces changes, but this is the exception, not the rule,” says Indian author and journalist P. Sainath.

He continues to say that the idea traces back to Rupert Murdoch and the capitalist’s overwhelming desire for profit — “A business like any other, not a public forum”, says Sainath. This style’ is being pursued by many other large newspapers in India.

How can people find out about problems in other countries (e.g. poverty) to provide their support or aid, let alone rationalise how important the issue on a larger scale, when such articles are placed next to sport or fashion etc.

When you consider Murdoch’s personal fortune of $5.5b, one realises just how much power this man has compared to a whole country. East Timor, for example, one of the world’s poorest countries, has an annual estimated GDP of $370m (CIA Fact-book, 2004).

The annual worldwide cost of giving children a basic education is around $10 billion. Murdoch, a single man, could supply half of that money himself. If he is (as he says) earnestly in support of meritocracy (the idea that one gets to where they are through their own achievements), then surely he would be happy to supply others with their own chance to succeed. If not, and he feels no such responsibility, then it becomes clear why he doesn’t feel guilty about publishing newspapers with a motto that is money-making, instead of using the power at his disposal to diminish poverty and other world issues, making the world a better place.


Wikipedia: Murdoch

P, Sainath: ‘None So Blind as Those Who Will Not See’

Walker, A: ‘Rupert Murdoch: Bigger Than Kane’


Seven ways to save the world

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Every day we’re bombarded with stories and images of conflict, loss, environmental decline and poverty — yet our sympathy for these issues is lost as quickly as we change the channel.

These issues, as well as sweatshops and labels, colonisation and freedom of expression have been covered by Global Focus the last two years.

Our lazy mentality is to sit back and expect these problems to fix themselves. It’s not cool to help’, we say. Besides, who’s going to listen to me?’

The truth is, when it comes to all these important social issues — a decision to take action and possibly save people’s lives, should be based on more than the possible decline of one’s social status, or whether or not it’s too much effort.

Saving the world — it’s easier than it sounds. There are heaps of ways to take action, and they apply to so many different issues. Just like Captain Planet says: “The power is yours” — JOEL

Learn [v.]: Gain information; findout more about a topic
Although the word learn’ conjures up dull images of boring afternoon classes and monotonous teachers and textbooks, finding and learning new information about global issues can actually be both interesting and eye-opening.

If you’re wanting more than you get in newspapers and the six o’clock news, the Internet is a great place to start finding out more about global issues and also what other people are taking action on (see: Link Up).

Be warned though: unlike some media outlets which slightly gloss over the horrific realities and scale of things like poverty and war — some sites are nothing but raw and shocking material.

A couple of good places to start:
New Internationalist, a magazine which focuses on the big issues.
BBC — there’s so much that goes on in the world which doesn’t make it down to New Zealand media… go and see for yourself!
Google News — this site trawls for the most popular stories worldwide, and provides all different sources, so you can see the different perspectives.
Indymedia — an international, independent, grassroots media which focuses on social justice issues, which also allows you to post your own news — JOEL

Inform [v.]: Communicate knowledge or information
That means talking! And we all love to talk, don’t we? Talk about whatever issue it is that interests or concerns you at your school assembly, at meetings, to your friends, to your neighbours across the street, to your local Council, to the Government, to the world!

Inform can also mean writing to share information. Writing to newspapers and magazines, on Internet forums, to Members of Parliament — just to whoever you think can help you save the world.

The Ministry of Youth Development has some cool guides on their website on how to talk to big groups and assemblies and how to write media releases, letters to the editor, submissions to Parliament, and to politicians.

Nkosie Johnson, a child born HIV-positive in South Africa campaigned to stop discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. At age 11 he spoke at an international conference saying: “Please help people with AIDS — support them, love them, care for them.” Now that’s informing — NICOLE

Perform [v.]: Present or enact artistic work
Yes, your poetic words, bright colours or funky dance moves have the ability to help fight poverty, conflict, prejudice. In fact, you can help promote change for any major global issue, while having loads of fun at the same time.

The possibilities and ideas are as endless as the world of arts itself. From reading a poem, to singing a song for Smokefreerockquest, writing a play about poverty — you’re only limited by your imagination.

One of the most well-known examples is the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), started up by Brazilian Augusto Boal in the 70s, which artists all around the world use today. TO teachings say that theatre is language, and lucky for the world, TO believe in every human’s right to dignity and use their art as a way of confronting the issues and promoting change. TO has inspired work on youth crime in Australia, development in Vanuatu and caste discrimination in Nepal — to name a few!

Back here, a group of students from Wellington’s Onslow College ruffled some local feathers recently with their controversial Stage Challenge performance Safe Sex. Deemed too risqué, their performance helped raise awareness of thriving STIs, which is a big concern both locally and globally.

If you’re a bit more reserved about expressing yourself, go to Taking it Global express and contribute to their global gallery of visual art which is about inspiring thinking and understanding on a global level — JOEL

Organise [v.]: Form, establish, or coordinate something
This might be a protest, a boycott, a concert, an event, a meeting, whatever rocks your boat. Overseas there are many recent examples of young people organising action for a better world.

Last year the provincial government of Quebec, Canada cut $103 million from bursary programmes which gave students money to pay for university fees. At the same time, they also cut $150 million from social assistance and welfare benefits to the poor, while giving the rich tax cuts.

Not surprisingly these moves angered Quebec’s students, so the major student unions organised a huge student strike. Students refused to go to classes and instead took part in street demonstrations and blockades. Around 100,000 marched through Montreal, Quebec’s capital. At the height of the strike 230,000 out of Quebec’s student population of 450,000 were involved. The government was eventually forced to back down on the cuts.

In South Africa, where privatisation of water and electricity has left many poor, usually black, communities unable to pay their bills and forced into substandard living conditions.

Youth in poor communities, like Soweto, have been organising community groups to resist water and electricity disconnections. Risking arrest and harassment by the authorities the Vulumanzi Boys (water opening boys) teach others how to reconnect their house’s water supply if the company cuts it off. Other groups reconnect their neighbour’s electricity. The whole community protests if the authorities try to stop them.

By taking action young people can make a difference! — CAMERON


Change [v.]: alter or modify your own actions
Gandhi pretty much hit it on the head when he said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

The easiest step you can take toward changing the world is changing your own actions and attitudes. And when it feels like you’re just the little guy who can’t do a thing to change an issue that affects people worldwide, it can also be a very empowering action.

If you don’t think sweatshop labour is a nice way to do business, stop buying products which use it; if you don’t believe we should eat animals, start ordering the vegetarian option; if you’re worried about the environment, make sure you buy environment-friendly products and recycle everything you can.

People make personal choices like this every day, and enough people make the right choices, we can make a difference. As a wise graffiti artist once wrote, we’ll find “peace through respective action” — TESSA

Create [v.]: Bring something into existence, produce or invent
Creating something to help better the world can be extremely satisfying, especially knowing it came from your own mind.

It could be a new organisation that you’ve created, or a website, a performance, a story, a song, a cure for cancer, a Frankenstein for the 21st century — just something that can help something (or someone) in some way that has been born out of a crazy idea in your own very mind.

Four young guys from Wellington decided to set up their own aid organisation to create a documentary about their experiences in Ghana.

According to Shaan Turner from Project Exposure: “We need to harness that young energy and take advantage of the fact that young people are usually not burdened by skepticism and cynicism that old age brings” (from interview in White Fungus magazine) — NICOLE

Link up [v.]: Join. connect. or unite with others
That means get out there and meet people who share a common interest or goal with you!

Look on the Internet or keep an eye on community noticeboards for groups in your area that you may like to become a part of. They keep going by working together. There are also plenty of web-based communities.

A couple of excellent starting points:

Taking it Global — you can talk about global issues with people around the world.
Idealist — the name says it all really. Great info sharing and community site.

This article was written as part of the Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission. Illustrations By Gavin Mouldey

A letter to the Future

Saturday, July 3rd, 2004

Blaise Ramage

To my great, great niece,

I wish I had a bigger voice when I was 16. I would have shouted at everyone to stop and slow down and to look around at what they were killing.

Technology got away on us. We developed too soon and at the end of it, you, our future generation, are the ones that have to pay.

I wish you didn’t have to learn through our mistakes but now you’re stuck with our mess.

Treasure every breath of fresh air you take, every step you walk on green grass. Make shapes out of clouds and love birds, insects and animals as if they were your family.

Love everything around you and speak out loud!

Be the voice that we tried to be.

This article was written as part of the Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission