Global Issues

Refugee Child Labourers Are A Growing Side Effect Of Syria's War

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 11.26.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Of all the developments we have read about in the Syrian tragedy, the rising tide of child labour is one of the more concerning. We've worked on the issue of child labour for two decades, interviewing hundreds of too-young workers and learning about the long-term challenges they will face without an education. These kids want to help ease the burden poverty for their families now, but it will cost the Syrian people even more in poverty in the years to come. If there are no income opportunities for refugee families, we won't break the cycle of child labour.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Fight To Eradicate Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 11.20.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The problem is "vaccine hesitancy." Canadian parents read stories in newspapers and online that allege problems like allergic reactions with vaccines, and hold off getting their children immunized.

The Truth About Toxic Stress And Healthy Brains

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 11.17.2015 | Canada Living
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Our culture has developed a powerful myth about why we succeed or fail in life. Disproving what most believe, numerous neuroscience studies out of institutions like Harvard University's Centre for the Developing Child show that strong, resilient brains are not born, they're built. The environment around us and every experience influences brain growth and our ability to cope with stress as adults. That which does not kill us, can damage us for life. It's time to put away the old myths of resiliency and character and learn what it really takes to build a healthy brain.

Imagine A World Without Juvenile Prisons

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 11.06.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

"Research shows the earlier and longer youth spend in the system, the worse the outcomes are," says Peter Leone, a professor at the University of Maryland who has studied juvenile justice measures around the world for more than 20 years. It costs approximately $100,000 a year to incarcerate one young person in Canada. If that individual becomes a hardened life-long criminal, the amount will exceed a staggering $2 million, according to a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

The Future Of Business Lies In Sustainability

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 10.30.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The traditional purpose of business is to increase shareholder value. Yet companies large and small are increasingly proving they can make a profit and help solve a systemic social problems by embedding this mission into their business strategy. It's the evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The World Needs a Better Way to Measure the Well-Being of Nations

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.25.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Simon Kuzents, the economist who developed the GDP measurement, warned it was not a good meter stick for national well-being. Still, that's exactly how the GDP has been used globally since the 1940s. GDP is the total value of all the goods and services a country produces in a year. So, creating jobs and producing equipment to clean up an oil spill, for example, adds to the GDP. As does producing guns and bombs for war. GDP is blind to factors like unemployment, living conditions and environmental degradation. Make sense? Not really. Whether it's genuine progress, national happiness, or a system that blends the best of both, the global community must agree on a more holistic way to measure our nations' progress that doesn't just count the money we make.

Syrians are One Wave in an Ocean of Refugees

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.18.2015 | Canada
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The heart-rending image of Alan Kurdi dead in the sand, as though sleeping peacefully, sparked a global mobilization to aid Syrian refugees. But while they number more than four million, Syrians still only represent one-fifth of the almost 20 million refugees in the world today -- the greatest global refugee population since World War II. While Canadians open their homes and wallets to Syrian refugees, here are some of the others we cannot allow to be forgotten.

A Decade of Gains Made in Global Education Is at Risk

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.11.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

As Canada's streets fill again with yellow buses, we're reminded how fortunate Canadians are in the educational opportunities available to our children -- opportunities that do not exist for millions of others. And while the world has made great progress on education over the last decade, there are alarming signs we're losing some of the gains we've made. When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to end extreme poverty were launched in 2000, the United Nations recorded more than 196 million children and teens not attending school. The biggest barrier is poverty -- And for many children, schools are far from their homes, requiring much more in boarding costs.

We Need to Have Greater News Coverage of International Issues

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.07.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The bomb blast ignited the hut's roof. Flaming thatch fell into a foxhole full of cowering children. A young brother and sister died horribly, and six more children suffered terrible burns. These children were among the thousands of casualties of a months-long indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Sudanese government carried out in that country's southern Nuba Mountains this past spring -- supposedly to attack rebel guerrillas. We have yet to see a single report in Canadian media about this horror. The shocking absence of this story in our news highlights a worrying trend: the decline of foreign reporting.

A Changing Battlefield Complicates the Fight to Help Child Soldiers

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 06.06.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Every day we witness the power of young people to transform their communities and the world. The potential lost when a child is handed an AK-47 instead of a schoolbook or soccer ball is one of the greatest tragedies imaginable. But as governments stop recruiting children, over the past year militias and terror groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, have horrifyingly indoctrinated thousands more. And the way these militias use their children is changing in terrifying ways.

#BringBackOurGirls and the Limits of Clicktivism

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 06.17.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

One year later, what has #BringBackOurGirls accomplished? It didn't bring the girls home. Second-hand reports suggest that 57 of the girls escaped their captors, but the rest are still out there, likely sold off as child brides (or sex slaves). Recently, a UN official said there's evidence they may be dead. It's a sad illustration of the limitations of "clicktivism" -- the use of online media to advance causes. There must be a plan to engage supporters once they've clicked, and keep them engaged, even after the hashtag stops trending.

The Unique Law School Coming Soon to Happy-Centric Bhutan

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 06.02.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

In February, the king of Bhutan signed the royal charter for a school of law -- the very first in this tiny Asian nation. This law school will be unique. It will experiment with new methods for training lawyers that engage them in the country's drive for greater prosperity through happiness.

Veterinarians Don't Just Heal Pets, They Can Help Heal Poverty

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 05.26.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

For many developing communities, like those in South Sudan animals are walking bank accounts, dowries and life insurance policies. To lose your livestock is to lose everything. Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) tackles a problem many don't even realize exists.

Thomas King's Lessons in History, Humour and Compassion

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 05.19.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The black and white photo is an almost cliché depiction of simpler, happier times. Two young boys, dressed up in Roy Rogers-esque cowboy duds. Ironically, both cowboys are actually Indians.

The Masculinity Crisis Is Important to Explore

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 05.12.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Boys and young men often erect a front of dominance, control, even aggression, because they believe that is what is expected of them. That toxic culture has tragic consequences. In Canada, the male suicide rate is three times that of women. Boys are three to five times more likely to drop out of high school than girls.

How Canadian Police Training Missions Improve Peace and Fight Corruption

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 03.10.2015 | Canada Business
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Since 1989, thousands of Canadian officers have volunteered in the world's most dangerous countries to train police. It's one of Canada's least recognized international development initiatives and, as Terry Gould puts it, "the last vestige of Canada's blue-helmet heritage."

Why 2014 Wasn't Exactly a Year Worth Tweeting About

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 02.25.2015 | Canada Living
Craig and Marc Kielburger

On balance, however, this was not a good year for world peace. Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, and the West's response, pushed the world closer to a new Cold War. Revelations about the CIA's use of torture were enough to shake anyone's faith in the goodness of humanity. Meanwhile, the Middle East spiralled downward with greater violence in Gaza, Syria and Iraq. At home we are still not on track to meet our emissions targets. And the strongest praise environmentalists could muster for the climate change deal reached in Lima, Peru, last week was to wince and say it is "better than nothing."

From Ayr to Here -- Studying the Scottish Experiment in Youth Voting

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 12.30.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

The entire school in Ayr, Scotland, vibrated with anticipation. The lunchroom sounded more like a debate hall than a cafeteria. Kirsty McCahill watched the clock tick down to the closing bell. She rushed home, then to the nearby community centre to do what no Scottish 16-year-old had ever done before that day: vote on the future of her country.

Long-Overdue Nobel Recognition for Children's Rights and the Power of Youth

Craig Kielburger | Posted 12.24.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig Kielburger

The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.

How Young Canadians Become Jihadists

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 12.17.2014 | Canada Politics
Craig and Marc Kielburger

So many young Canadians are looking to make their mark on the world. Some pick up a shovel to build a school or a ladle in soup kitchens to serve the homeless. A small number choose a different way, traveling to Syria to pick up an AK-47. Where does the road diverge between the youth who choose the path of helping and those on the path of harm? And for those on the road toward extremism, are there points along their journey where they might be set on a positive path?

If You Give Women in Poverty the Right Tools, They Will Flourish

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 10.21.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Although she attended primary school, Daisy's family couldn't afford the fees to send her to high school. But when Barengetuny was 19, development workers began travelling from village to village by motorcycle, including her community of Motony, introducing women to the micro-finance "merry-go-round." Now she's an established businesswoman.

Why Archbishop Desmond Tutu Is Focused on Forgiveness

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 10.14.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

What astounds us is that, despite everything he saw and endured during the apartheid years, Tutu remains one of the most joyful human beings we know. A laugh is never far from his lips. When music plays, he is the first on his feet dancing. We can only attribute this to his mastery of the art of forgiveness. Tutu's soul remains unburdened by anger and vindictiveness.

Kofi Annan: Global Solutions Will Be Defined by Youth

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.23.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Is it just us, or does the world feel a bit scarier lately? The world needs experienced leaders -- grizzled global firefighters with the wisdom to staunch the flames and guide us through turbulent times. One is Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Remembering Greatness: Happy Birthday, Madiba

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 09.16.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Nelson Mandela would have been 96 this week. It's the first birthday since his passing -- celebrations replaced with mourning and reflection. With the passing of Mandela, humanity lost a quiet voice of reason -- one we still sorely need in an increasingly polarized world. In honour of Mandela's birthday, here are some of our own fondest memories of "Madiba."

Are You Doing Your Part to Fight Child Labour?

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 08.26.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

While much of the onus lies on individual nations to strengthen their laws and enforcement against labour exploitation, van de Glind also pointed out that Canadians can do our part, too. And if exploitation continues because it remains profitable, we as consumers can make it less so. Before checking out the half-off sale at that popular clothing chain, do your research. Check web sites to read what companies say about their sourcing. If the information isn't easily available, write the company and ask. The more pressure companies feel from customers, the more attention they will pay to ethical sourcing.