While the UN Security Council holds urgent talks and Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon urges dialogue to resolve the Ukraine crisis, other areas of crisis fall to the back pages of newspapers. Yet, four level-three emergencies are currently affecting children: the Central African Republic, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Syria. The three conflicts are claiming lives and childhoods.
There's no shortage of examples of how a company's commitment to an issue can inspire an entire country to act. The right for a woman to walk down the street in a developing nation without the fear or reality of being raped has not yet been one of those examples. I think it has incredible potential and power with Canada's own women and men, a unique opportunity to create a legacy of fostering systemic change globally.
A total of 2.3-million children are at risk of becoming victims of attacks, and there are more than 6,000 child soldiers in CAR, many of whom are forced to commit atrocities. And sexual violence against girls is increasing. These attacks against children have reached appalling, indefensible levels. Surely Canada can, and must, do more beyond this week's announcement of an additional $5 million.
The United Nations ranks the Central African Republic a level three emergency, among the top three humanitarian emergencies globally. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are concerned about the lack of awareness of this crisis. What can the government do to raise awareness of the crisis in the international community and at home in Canada?
Canadians should know that early and forced marriage is not just an issue of developing countries. For example, recently there were 100 documented cases in Ontario, involving young girls who left Canada and were forced to marry. We need real action, an area where this government often stumbles badly.
For first-year University of Toronto student Jessie MacAlpine, finding a potential treatment for malaria was almost too easy. First, she stumbled upon an herbicide compound through research in high school, then she read an article about how herbicides could be used to treat malaria, and then the "Eureka!" moment came.
During the ice storm, people on my street helped each other in a number of ways, from providing food and shelter to clearing tree branches. People rose to the occasion. The community came together. Whether it is in Toronto, Tacloban or the South Sudanese capital of Juba, neighbours are the first responders. They are the ones who will rescue us from the rubble.
There is a new optimism associated with Africa these days. The phrase "Africa Rising" is showing up with regular frequency in media reports within the continent and beyond, and instead of a steady diet of African despair and failure, we are finally hearing about African innovation and success. Perhaps it is finally Africa's turn, and we at the Canadian Co-operative Association will have front row seats for a long-overdue African renaissance.
I am convinced that co-operatives offer a fair, equitable and ethical tool for generating employment and income -- both here in Canada and in communities throughout the developing world. That is probably not a very surprising statement, coming from someone who has worked for co-operatives for most of my adult life.
Nicaragua is a land of extremes: a deeply scarred paradise with placid lakes and active volcanoes; warm, welcoming people, divided by class and polarized by politics. Yet, in this divisive environment, Canadian-assisted co-ops are a unifying force, bringing people together to work for the common good.
This really is a special time in my life and my career. While after seven weeks I haven't made many friends here, found anywhere to go dancing or taken any solo adventures outside the capital city of Lilongwe, I'm enjoying Malawian culture. If you'd like to pretend you're living here as a CCA volunteer, try this routine:
In 2013 Moh Moh was the first woman ever from Myanmar to participate in the Canadian Co-operative Association's Women's Mentorship Program, a specialized training program for women credit union professionals from around the world. Her participation is all the more striking when one considers Myanmar's recent history.
It is incredible to see how people with disabilities are being included and advocated for now, compared to how they have been treated and excluded in the past. The work is not done yet; there are still many ways to improve the quality of life and opportunities available for people with disabilities in Ethiopia.
In my experience, the people who are most involved with international development are also very much involved in their communities, working for social justice wherever they are needed. I suppose it also has to do with the fact that, in my mind, the notion of global citizenship is inclusive. We are working against global poverty.
Have you ever watched a TV commercial for international aid and wondered how people's donations work in developing countries? Before I travelled to northern Uganda as part of a team of volunteers with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), I did. But on that trip I met many Ugandans whose lives are being improved with the help of generous Canadians, and my outlook was forever changed.
When Parliament reconvenes on October 16, all eyes will be on Stephen Harper's "new" agenda as articulated in the Speech from the Throne. What role will international development play in this speech -- and will it matter? I believe that the most important decisions on the international development agenda continue to be made quietly and behind closed doors, with no public scrutiny.