Ten years ago, World Vision started working with people in Humbo, Ethiopia, to plant trees. The organization funded the project by selling 'carbon offsets' for the roughly 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that those trees mop up each year. Before planting began, the region's mountainous terrain had been severely degraded.
The young Ethiopians growing up in today's environment have many options to choose from. In a population that is in the upwards of 90-million, there are now over 12 TV stations that are exclusively geared toward the local population. By far, Kana TV is making the most impact and impression on Ethiopians and the future of Ethiopian television (for good or bad).
It's World Tuberculosis Day, and this year it will be marked with the sad distinction that we have allowed this preventable, curable disease to become the world's biggest infectious killer. The millennia-old disease tuberculosis (TB) now outranks even HIV/AIDS in the number of lives it claims, at over 1.5 million a year. With leading experts predicting that by 2050 evolving strains of drug-resistant TB could claim an additional 75 million lives worldwide -- costing the global economy $16.7 trillion -- the need for immediate action is clear.
I was in Debre Libanos, Ethiopia, visiting family, when the conversation turned to Canadian politics. My uncle reflected on the Canada he understood and remembered. This included having an international perspective, respect for international institutions such as the United Nations, and a Canadian society that acted like a neighbour when disasters struck.
In the summer of 2008, Canada's (now) Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott, was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she met with Ethiopian colleagues to explore the possibility of establishing family medicine as a formal discipline in the East African country of 90 million people. For the next decade, she would help spread an initiative to help launch such a program in the East African nation.
We've heard where $575 million of the contribution will go, including to renewable energy in Africa, climate risk insurance and to the Least Developed Countries Fund. We haven't heard what percentage of the funds will go to adaptation efforts. This needs early clarification, and there need to be transparent discussions on the disbursement of the over $2 billion that is yet to be allocated.
We need to recognize that most private sector flows are going to the richest of developing countries, to China not a Cambodia. This distribution runs counter to the UN goal of "leaving no one behind." The least developed countries for sure need both: responsible private investment and a bigger share of increased traditional grant aid.
On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. It is now over 100 days, and counting, since the six Zone 9 bloggers and the three freelance journalists were thrown into Ethiopian prison cells. The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media.
Imagine a world without a George Orwell and The Road to Wigan Pier, without Katherine Boo and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, or without Óscar Martínez and The Beast. What if Britain, the United States, and El Salvador had silenced these radicals before they ever documented working class poverty, the economics of slum life, and the horror of migrant trails?
For instance, in one of the most memorable scenes of the documentary, its director Nate Araya interviews a number of locals in a taxi minivan. In all of the segments, there were no Bono, Bill Gates nor Bob Geldof explaining what is working in Ethiopia but local citizens giving us a glimpse of their practical work on the ground as they help change the reality of the country.
As Saudi Arabia curbs its vital but "illegal" migrant population violently this week to appease high unemployment, I cannot help but reflect on my moment with such destitute citizens a few years ago. Like almost all migrant workers everywhere including in North America, these people perform jobs that their own citizens would not dare touch.