Daily Archives: July 19, 2018

Dr. Jane Goodall Wins URI-Africa Peace Award

The Africa Peace Award is given annually by United Religions Initiative-Africa to recognize committed and effective leadership bringing sustainable peace, security, environmental protection, sustainable development, democracy, good governance, interfaith harmony, and constructive dialogue to the African continent.

Nairobi, Kenya, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dr. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, was honored with this year’s URI-Africa Peace Award. She joins an esteemed group of award recipients which includes the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the Founding President of Seychelles, the United Nations Environment Program, UNESCO, World Public Forum, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS and the African Union, among others.

The award ceremony, which took place on July 8, 2018 at the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, included diplomats, dignitaries, religious leaders, and representatives from international peacebuilding organizations.

H.E. Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, Senior Advisor to the President of Kenya on Cohesion, Peace and Conflict Resolution, announced, “The tremendous contributions of individuals like Dr. Goodall are what will lead the world to peace.”

Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of URI for Africa and Representative of URI at the African Union and UN Office for Africa and Global Envoy of URI, announced that the award was presented to Dr. Goodall in appreciation and acknowledgment of her extensive work on conservation and animal welfare issues, as well as her work promoting a culture of peace as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

He noted Dr. Goodall’s tireless service as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees and her nearly 60-year study of social and family interactions of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, her great contribution of literature to humanity, and her establishment of the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports environmental research, education and conservation programs in more than 20 countries. Ambassador Hailu also commended Dr. Goodall on empowering young leaders in conservation through the Jane Goodall Institute’s “Roots & Shoots” program, which now is active in nearly 100 countries.

“It is a special day for Africa and the world at large as we recognize Dr. Jane Goodall’s unparalleled lifetime dedication to environmental sustainability,” said Dr. Juliette Biao-Koudenoukpo, Director and Regional Representative for Africa of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in her keynote address. She said Dr. Goodall’s work will remain relevant for generations because Goodall was always convinced that we need to engage youth in conservation efforts. “You are a role model for many women and young girls in science and conservation,” she told Dr. Goodall. Dr. Biao-Koudenoukpo also praised partnerships between faith-based communities and environmental conservation work, as ways to engage more active participation in environmental causes. She expressed her appreciation for the URI-Africa Peace Award program, as it amplifies good work and best practices.

“It’s a great honor. I am truly grateful to URI,” Dr. Goodall remarked in accepting the award.

Dr. Goodall was adamant about the need to involve young people in raising the voice of the environment. “What’s the point of any of us fighting for peace if we’re not raising the next generation to be better stewards of the environment than we’ve been,” she warned.

“Mother Nature is so forgiving. Mother Nature is so resilient. Because we helped lift people out of poverty around the Gombe area, there are no more bare hills. The trees have come back. Animals on the brink of extinction can be given another chance.”

“Not until we’ve alleviated poverty will we have peace,” Dr. Goodall concluded. “Not until we’ve alleviated poverty can we have harmony with the environment. Not until we’ve done something about the unsustainable, greedy, materialistic lifestyles of so many people can we live in peace.”

The Africa Peace Award has been given annually since 2007, established by URI-Africa to recognize committed and effective leadership that brings sustainable peace, security, environmental protection, sustainable development, democracy, good governance, interfaith harmony, and constructive dialogue to the African continent.

ABOUT THE UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE

The United Religions Initiative is the largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. We implement our mission in 106 countries through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of nearly 1,000 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

URI holds the prestigious distinction of being a non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has long-standing partnerships with several other UN agencies including affiliation with the UN Department of Public Information.

Get involved at URI.org.

Attachments

Gaea Denker, URI Communications Manager
United Religions Initiative
4155612300
gdenker@uri.org

Turning a blind eye; visually impaired and blind women in Uganda are given an opportunity to save lives

JOHANNESBURG, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Gifted Hands Network is an initiative created by Andrew Mukose, a young entrepreneur who wanted to solve two of Uganda’s most pressing problems – breast cancer and employment for the visually impaired. This organisation aims to reduce breast cancer deaths by training blind people to become medically certified tactile examiners. Mukose is one of 200 young leaders who have been selected to become a part of the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme that convened for five days in Johannesburg beginning on 14 July 2018.

“The Gifted Hands Network is my dream come to life thanks to the hardships faced by my mother and other blind women in our country and communities,” says Mukose. “We recruit blind women and empower them to become medically trained examiners, allowing them to use their heightened tactile senses to detect breast cancer.”

Mukose’s work is inspired by his mother, a single parent who was a highly successful lecturer at a university in Uganda until she lost her sight due to a tragic car accident. She was forced to stop working, leaving the single-parent family facing enormous financial and emotional strain as they tried to get by without a steady income.

“The hardships we endured as a family as a result of this accident inspired me to make a difference, to change how our communities treat and perceive the blind and the visually-impaired,” says Mukose. “There are more than 1.6 million blind people living in Uganda and more than 90% of them are unable to find jobs. They are generally perceived as unproductive and incapable of working. I wanted to build a business that capitalised on their blindness, not penalised them for it.”

Gifted Hands has detected early breast cancer in more than 3,000 women in Uganda and trained an additional 300 women to become medical tactile examiners. It’s essential work in a country that not only has high levels of unemployment for the visually impaired, but also high levels of breast cancer.

For Mukose, his selection as an Obama Foundation Leader is an opportunity to raise awareness and create even more opportunities for those who work with, and for, the Gifted Hands Network.

beverley.bradley@mslgroup.com
Laura Lucas Magnuson
llucasmagnuson@obama.org

Harnessing the power of water

Upholding human rights and dignity through sanitation

JOHANNESBURG, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shamiso Kumbirai, a young engineer, is making a huge impact increasing awareness of the plight of lack of sanitation in communities. “In Grade 10 I was exposed to civil engineering. I loved the feeling of being onsite, but became keenly aware of the need for females to join the civil engineering field,” says Kumbirai.

After graduating, she worked at Unilever but soon left to pursue a Masters in Philosophy and engage on the social aspect of her work. It was there that she was exposed to the water space. “I loved the dynamics between the technical and water sciences because there is a huge social component to the work we as engineers need to be doing in terms of the designs we make. They need to be suitable for the people we are serving.”

For the past 3 years, Kumbirai has been working as a consultant on projects in hydropower, mainly in East Africa, all while empowering women engineers from the grassroots level until they become qualified to become mentors, under the umbrella of WomEng.

Through Sani4Schools, in partnership with Global Changers, Kumbirai works on highlighting the plight of schools lacking adequate sanitation. “When I did my Masters research I worked in informal settlements and saw the dire state of sanitation — I had to change that reality.” She joined Global Shakers organisation and began working on a project at Pateng Secondary School, a no-fee learning institution in South Africa. Pateng uses a holistic approach to overall sanitation needs, including upgrading the infrastructure and addressing the menstrual challenges faced by female learners.

Being part of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme is something Kumbirai aspired to. “I knew I had to be part of the Obama Foundation community with whom I could cross-pollinate ideas and contacts. It will give me access to a network of peers in different countries doing a similar line of work. I see it as an opportunity to grow the reach for Sani4Schools,” says Kumbirai.

“I’m looking to build lasting relationships that can see the continent progress and also get a sense of how best to scale up an idea for greater impact,” says Kumbirai, who will soon be moving to Rwanda.

beverley.bradley@mslgroup.com
Laura Lucas Magnuson
llucasmagnuson@obama.org

Harnessing the power of water

Upholding human rights and dignity through sanitation

JOHANNESBURG, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shamiso Kumbirai, a young engineer, is making a huge impact increasing awareness of the plight of lack of sanitation in communities. “In Grade 10 I was exposed to civil engineering. I loved the feeling of being onsite, but became keenly aware of the need for females to join the civil engineering field,” says Kumbirai.

After graduating, she worked at Unilever but soon left to pursue a Masters in Philosophy and engage on the social aspect of her work. It was there that she was exposed to the water space. “I loved the dynamics between the technical and water sciences because there is a huge social component to the work we as engineers need to be doing in terms of the designs we make. They need to be suitable for the people we are serving.”

For the past 3 years, Kumbirai has been working as a consultant on projects in hydropower, mainly in East Africa, all while empowering women engineers from the grassroots level until they become qualified to become mentors, under the umbrella of WomEng.

Through Sani4Schools, in partnership with Global Changers, Kumbirai works on highlighting the plight of schools lacking adequate sanitation. “When I did my Masters research I worked in informal settlements and saw the dire state of sanitation — I had to change that reality.” She joined Global Shakers organisation and began working on a project at Pateng Secondary School, a no-fee learning institution in South Africa. Pateng uses a holistic approach to overall sanitation needs, including upgrading the infrastructure and addressing the menstrual challenges faced by female learners.

Being part of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme is something Kumbirai aspired to. “I knew I had to be part of the Obama Foundation community with whom I could cross-pollinate ideas and contacts. It will give me access to a network of peers in different countries doing a similar line of work. I see it as an opportunity to grow the reach for Sani4Schools,” says Kumbirai.

“I’m looking to build lasting relationships that can see the continent progress and also get a sense of how best to scale up an idea for greater impact,” says Kumbirai, who will soon be moving to Rwanda.

beverley.bradley@mslgroup.com
Laura Lucas Magnuson
llucasmagnuson@obama.org

UNHCR welcomes deal to end latest migrant stand-off in Mediterranean Sea

The development comes after the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal ended a disembarkation stand-off involving the migrants – who had set out from the Libya coast – by agreeing to take them in and process any asylum claims.

High Commissioner Grandi’s comments follow the rescue of the migrants near the Italian coast. They were reportedly picked up by two ships; one was operated by EU border agency Frontex, the other by Italian police.

In a statement, the chief noted that at an EU Summit in June, some Member States had agreed to a more collaborative and well-managed approach to dealing with people rescued at sea.

He also underlined that while States have obligations to save lives under international law, those rescued at sea did not have the unfettered right to choose their final destination.

We hope that these arrangements will now be quickly and effectively implemented, he said. As well as ending an ordeal for these individuals, this sets a positive example of how…countries can uphold sea rescue and manage borders while simultaneously meeting international asylum obligations.

Noting that solutions are needed that go beyond piecemeal or ship-by-ship arrangements, Grandi warned that lives will be at risk with each new attempted boat journey.

He cautioned that EU arrangements for managing the rescue, disembarkation and follow-up processing of migrants are far from adequate.

Too little was being done to address the desperation that drives people to flee by sea in dangerous boats, Mr. Grandi insisted, just as these migrants had done.

Since the beginning of the year, 50,872 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

This compares to 109,746 at the same point last year, and 241,859 by the middle of 2016, according to, the UN Migration Agency.

Although slightly fewer people now risk their lives travellingfrom North Africa to Italy than to Spain, it remains the region’s deadliest sea route, with 1,104 deaths to date this year.

This is almost four times the number of drownings as the Spanish route has registered since 1 January, despite having almost similar arrival totals, at around 18,000.

Source: United Nations