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Posts Tagged ‘health’

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)

Friday, February 20th, 2009


www.unicef.org.nz

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!

Donate
- 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


Te Reo Marama

Friday, February 20th, 2009

te_reo_newmasthead

www.tereomarama.co.nz

What do they do?
Since 1998, Te Reo Mārama has been dedicated, on behalf of the Auahi Kore-Tupeka Kore community and the wider Māori community, to tobacco resistance. The main role undertaken is to advocate evidence-based positions on tobacco-related issues at a local, national and international level in order to achieve the vision of a Maori nation free of the deadly toll of tobacco.

How can I get involved?
As of November 2008, the main way to be involved with Te Reo Marama is by donating or simply by taking up their call to action in your local community.
However, in 2009 Te Reo Marama will be holding a training summit for young leaders to take the cause back to their schools and communities. Watch this space!

SurfAid

Friday, February 20th, 2009

surfaid_logo

www.surfaidinternational.org

What do they do?
The mission of SurfAid International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in remote areas connected to NZ through surfing. SurfAid is the recipient of the 2007 WANGO (World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations) Humanitarian Award.

How can I get involved?

Donate directly to SurfAid

Schools programme – The SurfAid International Schools Program, sponsored by Billabong, is an excellent way to get involved and interested in a fascinating part of the world and some very important global issues. By organizing fundraisers for SurfAid at your school, you’ll have heaps more opportunities to get involved with the work they do. In 2008, Nick Evemy from Tga Boys College “won” a trip to Indonesia as highest student fundraiser for SurfAid (over $1000) as a branch of the SurfAid schools programme. Billabong underwrote the cost for him and his dad to visit projects we do in the Mentawai Islands. All details are available on SurfAid’s schools website: http://schools.surfaidinternational.org under fundraising.

Save the Children

Friday, February 20th, 2009

save-children

www.savethechildren.org.nz

What do they do?
Save the Children are a humanitarian organization that fights for children’s rights, both in New Zealand and overseas. They desire to see a world which respects and values each child, a world which listens to children and learns, and a world where all children have hope and opportunity.
How can I get involved?
Sponsor a Child - Help transform the lives of vulnerable children. You can either sponsor a child in a region of your choice, or nominate the money to go to the area of greatest need.
Shop – there are 33 shops all across New Zealand, which all sell quality products for mums, dads, children, grandparents and friends at competitive prices. They are run by volunteers and the funds raised help with Save the Children’s work around the world.
Volunteer your time – You can help with a wide variety of fund-raising activites, such as advocacy and awareness raising, staffing a STC shop, or collecting during their Annual Appeal.
Apply for a Small Grants Fund - Save the Children will fund local initiatives that make lasting benefits for children and young people by building their capacity to reach their full potential. If you are under 18 you can still apply, but you are required to partner with a registered organisation for financial and other support.

Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand

Friday, February 20th, 2009

quaker

www.quaker.org.nz/groups/qpsanz

What do they do?
This is the arm of the Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) in Aotearoa New Zealand that deals with social justice issues. They aim to give service and create peace in Quakerly ways.

How can I get involved?
If you are a young Quaker (aged between approximately 16 and 39) you can join the ‘Young Friends’. Regular meetings are held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. At their annual camps, held over Easter, Young Friends have speakers come and talk to the group, where there will tend to be discussion on important issues related to justice and peace. Young Friends also pay to offset their carbon from camps, and aim to shop local and eat vegetarian as a means of reducing damage to the Earth.

Jubilee Aotearoa

Friday, February 20th, 2009

jubilee
www.debtaction.org.nz

What do they do?
Jubilee Aotearoa is campaigning to cancel the unpayable debt of poor countries and to end the harmful conditions on loans from the international financial institutions including the IMF and World Bank.  It grew out of a meeting of agencies and individuals meeting in 1997 who jointly campaigned for a special one-off effort to mark the millennium in 2000.  Jubilee Aotearoa continues to meet regularly with government to discuss debt related issues, the agendas and programmes of the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank and from time to time organizes campaign actions.

How can I get involved?
Check out the website: www.debtaction.org.nz for more information.  Follow the links to find up-to-date international news on the current situation.

Invite a speaker or borrow resources (DVDs and videos).

Write a letter or ask a question of a political candidate regarding debt.  Jubilee is producing some background material and questions which will be available on the website soon.

Join the email list and attend the meetings with government.  Contact: gillian.southey@cws.org.nz to find out how.

Get Jubilees help to organise a stall, a petition or a local action asking the NZ government to take a stronger stand on debt cancellation.

Caritas

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

caritas

www.caritas.org.nz

What do they do?

Caritas is the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is part of Caritas Internationalis, which is a confederation of 154 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies from around the world. Caritas agencies work in over 198 countries: delivering aid, supporting development, and working for justice.

How can I be involved?

Donate!

Campaigning – Caritas are involved in many campaigns, including Aid, Children, Cluster Munitions Crime and Punishment, Debt, Environmental Justice, HIV and AIDS, Human Rights Make Poverty History Millennium Development Goals, Submissions to NZ Government, and Trade. They offer excellent resources on their website to help you join with them to take action on these issues.

Feast or Famine?

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Food for thought… burger Food is an integral part of human existence — we need it to survive. It is part burgerof a global system linked to issues like trade, genetic modification famine, slavery, health, food miles and sustainability. Sounds complicated huh? It gets even more complicated when you consider the huge number of media messages and images we are bombarded with every day, telling us what to eat, how to look and what is beautiful. Basically, food corporations want us to eat cheaply produced food lacking in nutrition and stuffed with chemicals, harvested by poorly-paid labour and flown half way across the world, while advertisers and the media place unrealistic expectations on us to be thin and beautiful. An exaggeration? You decide.

Stuffed or starved? child with foodThere are 800 million people in the world who go hungry every day and there are over a BILLION people who are obese. There is enough food in the world for everyone, but the systems in place mean that some people don’t get enough food and others have access to lots of unnutritious food. Fast food outlets and supermarkets have made food convenient and easy… you don’t have to think, just eat! Un-conscious eating is making us unhealthy and a lot of us obese. But as we keep over-consuming in the developed world, many people in the developing work — including those who pick our cocoa beans, coffee beans, bananas and tomatoes — are struggling because they don’t have access to affordable food. More info: stuffedandstarved.org Killing us softly mannequinsFiji, a country that traditionally valued the fuller figure’, was affected by an outbreak of eating disorders three year after television arrived in 1995. A study by Harvard Medical School found that 74% if teenage girls surveyed felt they were “too big or fat” and 15% of the girls reported they had vomited to control weight. The introduction of western values and (unrealistic) images of beauty was seen as the likely cause of the increase in eating disorders. More info: Borrow the movie Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising Images of Women (DVD) from the Global Education Centre library Freeganomics dumpsterIn the US it is estimated that half of the food produced each year is thrown away. You probably know about vegans but have you heard about Freegans? Freegans are a group of people who live solely off the waste of others and distance themselves from big corporations and consumerism. They go through dumpsters outside supermarkets and other shops (known as dumpster diving’) and pick out the unspoiled food that has been thrown away. They also grow their own food or contribute to community gardens. They are not poor or homeless, they do this in an attempt to minimise their impact on the planet. More info: http://freegan.info When cows lay eggs?! cowNot sure where your food comes from? You’re not the only one. A recent survey of 1,000 British kids aged eight to fifteen revealed some strange ideas. In answer to the question: If cows ate grass, what colour would their milk be?’, eight percent answered brown, green or not sure. Ten percent of the city kids in the survey (the country kids did a little better) didn’t know where yoghurt came from and eight percent were unable to say which animal beef comes from. Of the same group, two percent thought that bacon might be from cows or sheep, and that eggs come from cows. More info: www.foodroutes.org Are biofuels worth it? cropAlthough recently highlighted as a key solution to another pressing global issue — climate change — the production of biofuels may actually be causing more harm than good, particularly when it comes to food. Biofuels need a large amount of water and fertile land — land often found in developing countries which could otherwise be used to grow food crops. The UK government’s Chief Scientific Adviser recently described the global rush to grow biofuels as “profoundly stupid”, pointing out that a global food crisis is going to hit before some of the more serious impacts of climate change. More info here. LEARN MORE: Find out about food production and distribution at Food First or Global Issues TAKE ACTION! It can seem too big and complicated to do anything about, but taking action is the ONLY way things change, so here are a few suggestions to get you started. Get reconnected with your food by growing your own veggies. Check out the action section on www.sustainablehouseholds.org.nz for some great tips on organic gardening. Watch these DVDs, all available to hire FOR FREE at the Global Education Centre: Media that Matters — Good Food A Selection of Short Films on Food and Sustainability What’s Really In Our Food? InsideNew Zealand SuperSizeMe The Future of Food This article originally appeared in Tearaway magazine as part of the Global Focus project.

The Quantity vs Quality Debate: A case study in Vanuatu

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Miriam Wood
kids in Vanuatu in literacy classI recently spent a year working in a youth centre in Port Vila, Vanuatu for out of school youth. In Vanuatu most young people finish school before they reach secondary level as there is no government funding for public schools and the school fees push a huge number of them out of the formal education sector. This means throughout Vanuatu there is a generation of young people cheated of a formal education who are looking to fill the gap. Some are lucky and get to enroll in Rural Training Centres, where they learn things such as building or mechanics. Others get a job working on a copra boat. Some return to their villages and work in the family garden, maybe starting their own patch of kava, or yam for sale. But for those who have joined the urban drift, and are living in Port Vila, the choices are somewhat limited. As with most capital cities, the cost of living in Port Vila is high, food and transport are expensive, education and training courses have high fees and most young people are living within a large extended family with a vast list of chores.

Programmes for unemployed youth in Port Vila

The centre I worked in is funded by AusAid and NZAid, along with a number of smaller funders for specific projects. Courses are offered in sewing, nutrition, computers, literacy, music, dance, sports, photography and art. Young people pay 100vatu ($1.50 NZD) to become members and this allows them to attend any of the above classes for the full year. There are over 900 registered members. The youth centre also has a sexual health clinic attached to it and runs several compulsory workshops focusing on reproductive health family planning and STI’s as Vanuatu has the one of the highest rate of STI’s in the Pacific.

There are other centres delivering programmes for unemployed youth in Port Vila, run by Oxfam, Unicef, World Vision, Youth Challenge and church and youth groups. The most common element of all these different programmes is workshops, which are short-term or one-off training sessions, where young people are usually provided with a certificate of some kind. Some organisations use their funding to take young people to international conferences, some take groups to remote outer islands to work on community projects, some run events in town, but all run workshops for lifeskills, preparing job applications and leadership.
Danny in Vanuatu painting a Unicef logo

Is there a problem with workshops?
Recently I was forced to ask myself this question. I had organised a literacy teacher to come in and spend a morning with the youth tutors who run our children’s literacy class. Not being in the workshop mindset, we got right into it and started on the lesson. We were only ten minutes in when one young women raised her hand and asked “Do we get lunch provided?”
She was quite confused about what was happening. There had been no icebreaker game, no name-tags, no assurance that morning tea and lunch were going to be provided and I hadn’t specifically said “You will get a certificate at the end of this session”. I could see the thought racing through woman in workshop in Vanuatuher mind “This isn’t a workshop! I’m wasting my time!” Nevertheless she stayed, and despite not getting a certificate for spending two hours with a literacy teacher she feels like she learnt something important during that time. The question I was left asking myself was, are the youth centres putting emphasis on the wrong thing? What is more important, actual learning or a certificate that says you have learnt something?’ Is it worth providing so many lunches and bus fares, for young tutors to come and learn just a fraction of what is needed to become an effective teacher?

Is there another way?
Imagine all the youth agencies coming together, pooling resources and deciding to send a handful of young people through school, through university and set them up so they are able to support their family and break the cycle of poverty. What about focusing energies on vocational training, leading young people to real jobs, rather than providing watered down education The end of a sailing school held on Sakau Island, SW Malekulaopportunities, in the disguise of workshops on lifeskills.

I know there are benefits to reaching many young people as opposed to few — workshops on reproductive and sexual health are necessary because the young people are not learning this at school. I saw one or two kids actively use the free services at the clinic and take the condoms, and then watching another young teenage mum coming in with her new baby I thought “well maybe that workshop was effective if it stopped just one more teenage solo mum”. Workshops on budgeting are necessary, so that when the young people do get money, they use it effectively and workshops on lifeskills are useful because they can inspire young people into thinking about who they want to be and how they can get there. After completing a workshop a couple of youth members took some initiative and put their new skills to use and actually found jobs which have given them more training while earning money. This would not have happened had they not come to the initial workshop. But I am still left with the question, is it really the best use of millions of dollars in aid money annually?

It’s the “quality versus quantity” debate and it is raging hotly in development circles across the world. It is about making the most of aid money. After being directly involved this year, I think I have a greater understanding of both sides of the argument, but I will always be in two minds, purely because there are advantages on both sides. In Vanuatu, a vast range of services are being provided to young people, funded by aid money. I know they are all useful in some way, yet I still have that nagging question of ’what if?’ What if, instead of sending one youth to Australia for one week, we paid their school fees for a year? Whatever the answer I truly believe that education is the ticket out of poverty.

LEARN MORE & TAKE ACTION:

Vanuatu profile

Secretariat of the Pacific (SPC) — a Non-Government Organisation based in Fiji and New Caledonia which has heaps of info about Pacific issues, plus links to other sites.

Wan Smolbag Theatre works with communities through drama to provide a greater understanding of development issues in the South Pacific.

Buy some Good Books and help Oxfam support the Wan Smolbag Theatre.

KALEIDOSCOPE 2007

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

By Pip Bennett

Four months after I had first submitted my application to become an Oxfam International Youth Partner (OIYP) I was informed that I was one of the 300 youths from around the world that had been chosen from over 3000 applications to join the programme.

kaleidoscopeOIYP is a three year programme, which aims to build the capacity of the Action Partners (the name given to Youth Partners) by providing us with support and resources, and creating opportunities for dialogue, networking and learning. Our first opportunity came in October this year at Kaleidoscope, a festival where all of the Action Partners come together in Sydney, for nine days of workshops, dances, performances, art, theatre and meeting a zillion new people.

Arriving in Sydney airport, we made our way to meet the Oxfam volunteers in charge of taking us to the school. We chatted with youth from Iraq and Lebanon about the war and George Bush, which was quite humourous at times because of the jokes they told expressing their feelings about Bush and his administration. Throughout the week, the situation in Iraq was certainly a feature of many discussions with many of the youth asking those from the region for their local perspective, and it seemed that the consensus was that it was detrimental to pull out U.S forces, whether or not they should have gone in the first place.

We stayed at the oldest school in Australia, the prestigious Kings School, in Parramatta and were divided into various dorm houses. I was one of only three non-Muslim girls to stay in the Muslim side of my house. They tried to keep them separate in order to stop disturbing other non-Muslim participants while they got up early for Ramadan. Staying in this dorm was an excellent experience. Over the week I had many opportunities to discuss various topics, including religion, Islam extremists, and terrorism. The sharing of beliefs and experiences was enlightening, particularly because I have found few opportunities like this back home. There were participants from about 90 countries, from all over the world, Canada, the U.S, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Spain, Chile, and Honduras, just to name a few!

Darug PeopleThe welcoming ceremony took place on the first night, hosted by the Darug people, the indigenous people of the area. There was Aboriginal song and dance, which was responded to by various groups such as Aotearoa New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, and First Nations of the Americas. It was an incredible start to the event, and was at times very emotional.

The official opening ceremony was held on the Tuesday night, at the Carriage Works performance venue. It was a show by youth from the Australian Theatre for Young People and some members from Cirque du Soliel which had been inspired by world affairs and our applications for OIYP. Amongst other things, there was singing, acrobatics, and a young woman carefully balancing an spinning umbrella on her feet whilst lying backwards and upside-down on a chair.

WorkshopDuring the week there were six plenary sessions, along with around fifty workshops, some of which were led by Action Partners. Some of the workshops were only two hours long, while others were four hours over two days. Topics ranged from project management, indigenous rights, land rights, to access to health, access to education, gender and equality, gender and sexuality, and using photography and film. They were helpful, although complaints arose due to their brevity and lack of international or easily transferable context. A complaint from the Latin Americans was that there was too great a focus on Western culture and issues, rather than a diverse representation

There were a significant number of Spanish speakers from Spain, and Latin America, with many of them unable to speak much, if any, English. A significant proportion of Oxfam volunteers could speak Spanish, and were used during workshops as translators or at the help desk. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about Latin America, however, there were difficulties in meeting and talking with the participants outside of workshops because of the lack of linguistic understanding.

One of the special things about OIYP was the support of indigenous participants, in particular the availability of an indigenous Australian who acted like a mentor, as well as a space available for Indigenous people to meet and discuss issues, the Indigenous Forum. Being non-indigenous myself, I was invited to attend the Indigenous Forum, which was an unforgettable experience. I heard unnerving stories, particularly from the Americas, where indigenous people are constantly ignored and their identity denied.

Kaleidescope ArtWe had several opportunities to explore Sydney, predominantly in the evenings, although we did have one free afternoon. Many of us went to a salsa club on Friday night and some gay clubs on the Saturday. Art and dance was a significant part of Kaleidoscope, with Oxfam wanting to explore the power of various forms of art as a tool for development. There were large canvases for painting, dance, song, beat-boxing performances, all with opportunities to try it yourself. A particular highlight for me was watching dancers from Brazil, along with Capoeira performers.

At the end of the nine days in Sydney, although ready to return home, we were all sad to leave. The opportunity to spend time with other young people with similar dreams and goals proved to us that we are not alone in our desire to see change in the world. The one thing that we keep telling each other is that this is only the beginning of our next three years as Action Partners, and that if we want to see change, we have to do it ourselves.

LEARN MORE

For more information on OIYP, check out www.iyp.oxfam.org
For more information about Oxfam and their work, check out www.oxfam.org

All photos from Oxfam International, more here.