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Disaster – Residents brace for unknown

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2011

by api

Residents brace for unknown

BANGKOK, 27 October 2011 (IRIN) – The equivalent of 160,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools (400 million cubic metres of water) is set to run through Thailand’s capital, which can only drain a small fraction daily, according to the government’s flood relief operation centre on 26 October.

“Floods will hit every area of Bangkok, but each area will see different levels of water,” said the director of the centre, Pracha Promnok, as quoted in local media.

Run-off from flooding in the north and a seasonal high tide are expected to push water levels in Bangkok’s largest river above the city’s 2.5m-high embankment.

The size of the population – more than eight million residents – coupled with the run-off, has made for an unprecedented and atypical emergency, said Kirsten Mildren, information officer for Southeast Asia at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who has worked in disasters for almost a decade.

“I cannot think of another emergency where I have seen it like this, where you have got the authorities and emergency services really battling to get the water to move around a city of this size. It is really incredible.”

The government’s irrigation department has been trying to spare the city by pumping the deluge around the city’s perimeter through canals and selectively opening flood gates.

While the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) in a 23 October flood update requested residents not to panic, it did little to assuage fears: “Upon assessing the situation with all indicators, BMA would like to inform that a rather serious upcoming [disaster] is very imminent and inevitable.”

These types of warnings have only amplified public uncertainty, said Bhichit Rattakul, a former governor of Bangkok and now executive director of the Bangkok-based NGO Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).

Nationwide, 28 of 76 provinces have been flooded in this year’s monsoon that started in late July; six of the country’s major dams are at 99 percent capacity or higher, according to the national relief centre.

The airport where the centre operates has been closed, with two terminals under 80cm of water and all flights grounded.

As of 26 October, there have been 821 flood-related deaths in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, where more than eight million people continue to be affected by severe flooding, according to the governments.

pt/es/mw
source www.irinnews.org

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Somalia has been a call to action for many Islamic donors

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2011

by api

Somalia has been a call to action for many Islamic donors

KUWAIT CITY/DUBAI,  – Among the aid agencies that poured into Somalia after famine was declared in July were organizations such as the Arab Federation of Doctors, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment of the United Arab Emirates, and the Deniz Feneri Association of Turkey.

They came with their own style.

The Saudi National Campaign for the Relief of the Somali People, a project of King Abdullah, sent planeloads of food, including jam and cheese. The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) sent 600 tons of dates. Turkey’s IHH (Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) even ventured outside Mogadishu into territory considered a no-go zone for most international aid organizations because it is not under government control.

They also came with a lot of money.

In an emergency meeting in August, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pledged US$350 million for Somalia – “numbers we dream of”, one UN aid worker in Mogadishu said – though it is still unclear how much of this is new funding.

Turkey says it has collected more than $280 million for the Somali effort,  while Saudi Arabia’s contribution to UN agencies alone was $60 million, and Kuwait, a country of 3.5 million, contributed $10 million. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Office for Coordination of Foreign Aid, too, received confirmation of 62 million Emirati dirham (USD $16.9 million) in contributions to the Horn of Africa emergency.

Gulf countries were able to raise funds with remarkable speed and ease. In the span of three hours, a TV telethon in Qatar raised nearly 25 million riyals ($6.8 million). In a couple of weeks, Kuwait’s International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO), raised 80,000 dinars ($290,000) in cash by asking for donations in malls, while aid telethons in the UAE reportedly raised an additional $50 million for the Horn of Africa.

With many Western donors cutting budgets amid fears of another recession, this region has gained influence in aid, especially in countries with large Muslim populations. Both in terms of funds and action on the ground, the effort in Somalia has put Muslim and Arab donors and organizations onto centre stage.

But their relationship with the broader humanitarian system has been limited at the best of times, and rocky at the worst. For example, most OIC funds for Somalia are not being channelled through multilateral mechanisms, like the UN-administered Consolidated Appeals Process.

Players from the region say they are accustomed to working on their own – due to a history of mutual mistrust, a lack of awareness on both sides, and a perception by some Muslims and Arabs that they are better placed to help under certain circumstances.

The UN is now actively trying to improve that relationship, but the road to cooperation and coordination faces many challenges.

How did we get here?

The history of mutual mistrust between the predominantly Western aid system and its counterpart in the Muslim and Arab world is long, say analysts.

“These are two china elephants looking at each other,” said Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, development and humanitarian worker, and author of Humanitarian Jihad: Investigation into Islamic NGOs. “They see each other; they know that they’re there; but they can’t move towards each other,” he told IRIN.

Some Muslim aid workers see in the UN system a certain arrogance. “They don’t want to understand us,” one Muslim aid worker said. Others speak of undertones of neo-colonialism in the way aid is delivered and in the relationship between the Muslim aid community and its Western-dominated counterpart.

“They only involve us when it suits them,” the aid worker told IRIN. Often, he added, they are invited to meetings and conferences as “an afterthought”.

“You feel you’re being used like window dressing,” he said. “Things are hatched and cooked in the West and then brought to people to eat.”

''Everyone knows they’re [engaging with us] for the money, not for unity … Islamic NGOs were a black box that nobody wanted to touch''

Some NGOs from the Arab and Muslim world are afraid of being “swallowed up” by the UN system and don’t feel confident they can engage with the UN on an equal footing.

“It’s not about experience,” one Arab aid worker said. “The UN has the experience and the upper hand when it comes to everything – information, communication, movement on the ground. There’s no question. But to give them money and let them implement activities, we have to rest assured that we’ll like what comes out in our name.”

He called for a kind of code of ethics or framework of understanding that would outline what both sides mean by certain fundamental principles and outline boundaries of action.

For example, terms like women’s empowerment need to be defined, he said. “How we understand it is not how the UN understands it,” he added. Organizations from this part of the world would fear partnering with the UN if women’s empowerment is understood to mean “removing the hijab [covering a woman’s hair], destroying the family institution and throwing religion out the window.”

Some aid workers and donors from the Muslim and Arab world are also sceptical of the real motivations behind the Western system’s desire to partner with them.

“Everyone knows they’re [engaging with us] for the money, not for unity,” another Muslim aid worker said. “Islamic NGOs were a black box that nobody wanted to touch,” he said. “Then they [the UN] realized they were missing out.”

Others do not easily differentiate between the UN Security Council, which has authorized Western interventions into Muslim countries and is seen to be unwilling to tackle the Palestinian question, and humanitarian aid agencies like the World Food Programme (WFP) or the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

For these reasons, many Red Crescent societies in the region, according to one senior aid worker, sometimes try to avoid working with the UN system. “We try to coordinate with – and not be coordinated by – the UN because of neutrality issues,” he told IRIN. “The UN is not considered to be a neutral organization, especially in a conflict set-up.”

Technical standards

Some Muslim organizations have been doing emergency relief work for decades. But many others had until recently focused more on developmental work – building schools and mosques or helping orphans.

And they have ramped up activities. The Qatar Red Crescent, for example, has seen its annual international budget jump from less than $250,000 to more than $45 million in the last decade, according to Khaled Diab, its international cooperation adviser. Turkish NGO IHH, which used to operate projects of $600-700,000 dollars a year for the Horn of Africa has increased its budget to more than $20 million – one of its biggest campaigns ever, according to its vice-president, Hüseyin Oruç.

But the UN and the broader humanitarian system have their reservations too. And with the influx of programming have come some clashes of ideology.

“Their awareness and subscription to commonly-understood best practice isn’t necessarily there,” one senior Western aid worker said of NGOs from the region, citing neglect of environmental impact or nutritional balance as examples. Distributing powdered milk, for example, is no good in an area where there is no clean water, while dates are not ideal in cases of malnutrition because they are high in sugar, low in nutrition, and hard to digest.

Other humanitarians say aid workers from the region do not follow normal security procedures. The aid worker in Mogadishu told IRIN that many of them have a “naïve view” that “nobody would hurt a fellow Muslim”.

“I worry we’ll see a Muslim aid worker being shot,” the Mogadishu aid worker said. “It’s a huge concern for all of us.”

Lack of coordination?

There are also complaints about lack of coordination. The Red Crescent societies, said one aid worker, send in piles of goods without coordinating with the humanitarian community or checking the needs outlined in the Consolidated Appeals Process.

Planeloads of food arrive from the Gulf – much of the assistance from the region comes in the form of food aid – and “we have no idea where it goes,” the Mogadishu aid worker said. Much of it is sold by its recipients on the open market because the value of some of the food, like jam and cheese, is so high, he added.

The 9/11 attacks also affected the relationship.

“A lot of Western charities are still afraid of being associated with Islamic charities because of the stigma that hangs over their heads since September 11th,” the author, Ghandour, said.
 
US laws about the financing of “terror” have further complicated the relationship between Muslim charities and the West because NGOs working in designated “terrorist” countries, like Iran and Burma, or areas controlled by organizations like militant group al-Shabab – deemed a “terrorist” organization by the US – fear being accused of complicity and so keep quiet about their activities.

Financial transactions to fund work in these areas through the conventional banking system are not possible and the movement of large sums of cash could create problems with some governments.


Photo: Heba Aly/IRIN
Gulf dignitaries attend the opening of a meeting in Kuwait City organized by OCHA, Direct Aid and the International Islamic Charitable Organization

“They can’t afford to be transparent,” said Haroun Atallah, finance and service director at UK-based Islamic Relief Worldwide. “How do you expect them to be transparent if it could come back and bite them?”

Some Muslim and Arab NGOs see close dealings with the UN as possibly jeopardizing their access in al-Shabab areas, and so they keep their distance.

Understanding each other

But observers say mutual mistrust stems from a lack of insight on both sides.

“There is still a lack of in-depth knowledge and understanding about the culture of emerging donors towards giving,” according to the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), which is currently researching the universality of humanitarian donorship.

Part of the reluctance on the part of Muslim organizations to broadcast their actions comes from a culture that sees charity as something private and humble – that should not be paraded in front of everyone for recognition.

“We do things without saying that we’re doing it. It is part of Islamic culture,” said Naeema Hassan al-Gasseer, a native of Bahrain and assistant regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Similarly, many NGOs from the Muslim world do not understand the UN. Acronyms like UNHCR and WFP can be unfamiliar terms. One Muslim aid worker described the UN as having a “branding problem”. Many aid workers from the region have never heard of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – charged with coordination of all aid in emergencies – and have no idea what its cluster system is.

“We have become, as a system, so jargonized, so inward looking in terms of how our system works, that hardly anyone else understands it,” Ghandour said.

“The discussions about humanitarian assistance are still taking place in rather exclusive clubs,” GPPi research associate Claudia Meier told IRIN.

And “if you want to be a member of that, you need to play by the same rules and speak the same language,” Ghandour said. “Not everyone has the will or capacity to do it.”

UN officials acknowledge, for example, that few senior UN staff speak Arabic.

Coordination has also been a challenge logistically. In Saudi Arabia, for example, “it’s difficult to identify who is responsible for which decisions, because decisions are usually taken at very high levels, usually at the Office of the King, known as the Royal Court,” Meier said, based on the Institute’s case study on Saudi Arabia.

At the field level, many Muslim aid workers are willing to coordinate, but simply don’t know how to do so.

The Mogadishu example

Mogadishu is an example of the complexity of the relationship. There, the OIC has opened a coordination office and created an alliance of 27 organizations that operate across the country, including areas in the south controlled by al-Shabab.

The OIC conducts agency meetings and has set up a mini-cluster system – with the Arab Medical Union (also known as the Arab Federation of Doctors) leading work in the health sector and the Qatar Red Crescent leading the food distribution effort.

While OCHA has expressed its satisfaction with the move, some UN officials told IRIN of a concern – especially at headquarters – that the OIC is trying to create a parallel coordination structure.

But the OIC said it was not in competition with the UN.

“No one will say that we’ll do better than the UN in humanitarian [work],” Atta Elmanan Bakhit, OIC assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told IRIN. “You have the know-how. You have more means. You have more access. You have a long history in humanitarian [work]. The main [player] in humanitarian [work] will be always the UN.”

Ahmed Adam, head of the OIC’s Mogadishu office, said one of the aims of the OIC was to fill the gaps left by the UN with regard to inaccessibility of aid to certain areas of Somalia that are off-limits to international UN staff.

“UN coordination is facing difficulties in covering most of the affected areas due to security challenges,” he told IRIN. “That is why we are trying to play a complementary role in order to improve the humanitarian activities. We are sharing information and challenges with OCHA in our regular meetings. The cooperation between the OIC and UN agencies is addressing the problems that the humanitarian actors are facing, particularly in this emergency period.”

Rapid growth

Addressing this coordination problem has become an increasing priority, given the recent explosion of involvement in aid by the region.

“We are seeing a gradual but steadily increasing engagement by Middle Eastern countries in international humanitarian action, both as donors and as policy supporters,” said Robert Smith, chief of the Consolidated Appeals section at OCHA.

In a shifting aid landscape that increasingly features non-Western states like Brazil and India, a collection of Arab donors (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman) account for nearly three-quarters of the contributions by countries not included in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee, giving more than $3.2 billion in aid in the last decade, according to a report by Development Initiatives, a research and advocacy organization.

“Gulf countries are leading an important new phase in humanitarian affairs,” Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos told an information sharing meeting in Kuwait in September, noting the humanitarian community was facing “unprecedented challenges – many in the Islamic world.”

Many of the crises of recent years have affected Muslim people, including the Bam earthquake in Iran in 2003, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, the attack on Gaza in late 2008, and the flooding in Pakistan in 2010. In all of these crises, Muslim and Arab donors contributed significantly.

“These states want to position themselves regionally and in the international arena as contributors to the humanitarian effort, seeking recognition as rising – if not equal – powers on the world stage,” Meier said.

In 2008, the OIC created a humanitarian affairs department. The same year, the UAE created an Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid. Qatar has appointed a state minister for international cooperation.

In recent years, the UN’s efforts to engage this part of the world seemed to be paying off.

According to Smith, member states of the OIC have contributed $594 million to appeals for humanitarian aid to Muslim countries in the last decade.

In a sign of increased willingness to channel funds into multilateral agencies, Saudi Arabia gave WFP half a billion dollars in 2008 during the global food crisis. In 2010, it was the largest single contributor – globally – to the Haiti emergency response fund, with $50 million. In 2011, Kuwait gave a record $675,000 to the Central Emergency Response Fund, whose advisory group it and Qatar are now members of.

Somalia changes aid dynamic?

But the famine in parts of Somalia seemed to have changed the dynamic. If aid is counted as a percentage of GDP, several Middle Eastern countries have been more generous than so-called traditional donors, but contributions to the multilateral system have been limited.

The $60 million contributed by Saudi Arabia to WFP and WHO for the Somali crisis was “a start” according to WHO’s al-Gasseer, but was not the multilateral engagement UN agencies were hoping for.

Of the nearly $17 million UAE donors have reported to the government Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid as contributions to the Horn of Africa emergency, only $10,000 are recorded as having been channelled multilaterally, through the International Federation of the Red Cross.

''We need to learn from UN experience … We need the help of UN. We cannot deny that''

Instead, observers say, competing powers like Qatar and Turkey have seen humanitarian involvement as an opportunity to pursue foreign policy interests and flex their muscles. In a recent article in ForeignPolicy.com, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasted of the more than $280 million worth of donations for Somalia that were collected in Turkey in the last month.

And in the midst of their efforts on the ground, coordination has not always been a priority.

“All the people on the ground are very busy,” Oruç of Turkey’s IHH told IRIN. “They couldn’t find time for cluster meetings.”

Others acknowledged that a culture of working with others simply did not exist: “It’s a new thinking, at least in the Gulf,” WHO’s al-Gasseer said.

She pointed to another problem as well: Charitable giving is a requirement in Islam, but people often want to give their zakat, or charity, to something tangible.

“Everybody we talk to [wants] to build hospitals, because hospitals are a physical, visible thing. And distributing medicine is something everybody likes,” she told IRIN. But in their rush, many of the NGOs and charities do not consider whether there are staff to man the hospitals, enough storage space, electricity, how materials will be distributed and to whom, she said.

In Somalia and Libya, she said, this has resulted in hospitals being built next to one another, medication expiring, and an excess of services in one area while others are neglected altogether.

“If we don’t take a serious step, the result will be very, very dangerous,” she told fellow Arab participants of the conference in Kuwait.

Moving forward

Despite the challenges, there are renewed efforts now to reopen dialogue between both sides. NGOs from the region have acknowledged that they have lacked professionalism in the past. They believe their cultural and religious background gives them a unique ability to help, and have appealed to the UN to build their capacity.

“Arab and Muslim organizations have got the access which others do not have and the culture which others do not have. What we need is to equip them to become permanent international players,” Hany El-Banna told conference participants. He is head of the Humanitarian Forum, an organization that aims to improve dialogue between organizations from Muslim countries and their counterparts in the multilateral system.

“We need to learn from UN experience,” the OIC’s Bakhit added. “We need the help of UN. We cannot deny that.”

“Greater inclusiveness would make the humanitarian system more legitimate,” GPPi wrote in its research. “It would also provide the humanitarian system with a broader range of cultural knowledge and thus support dignified and effective interaction with affected populations and governments.”

In the aftermath of the pro-democracy protests of the Arab Spring, such engagement is all the more important.

“The uprising in the Arab world requires new ways of thinking and working, greater collaboration with NGOs and civil society from the region and support from regional organizations such as the OIC and [League of Arab States],” Abdul Haq Amiri, head of OCHA’s regional Middle East and North Africa office, wrote in the July issue of the Humanitarian Exchange magazine.

“We should make an effort to meet these organizations on their own terms, listen attentively to their interpretation of humanitarian affairs and, importantly, speak their language.” 

* This report was amended on 26 October.

ha/eo/cb
source www.irinnews.org

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The politics of humanitarian principle

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2011

by api

 

Photo: Salih/IRIN
Aid propping up groups like the Taliban is “unavoidable” says MSF (file photo)

BERLIN,  – For decades aid agencies have been tackling troubling ethical dilemmas about where to draw the line when negotiating with armed forces when trying to deliver aid to vulnerable communities. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) discusses some of the ethical dilemmas it has faced over the past 40 years in Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience, promoted at its annual Berlin Humanitarian Congress.

“Humanitarian actors often claim they are above politics but it is simply not true,” said Fabrice Weissman, one of the co-authors of the book, which will be officially launched at the end of November.

“We do still retain our central tenet, which is saving lives,” Weissman added, but we also “seek to puncture a number of myths. We address the big question of when should and shouldn’t MSF be willing to compromise?”

Contributors lay out a wide range of dilemmas, “seeking to analyze the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of ‘humanitarian principles’”.

Financing fighters

The conclusions are often disturbing. “That fighting forces seek to take advantage of aid groups is unavoidable,” Weissman said. “The fact is that unless we provide them with benefits they have no reason to allow us to operate in the areas they seek to control.”

As an example, he mentioned Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan. “The reality there is that the Taliban are claiming responsibility for the goods and services that humanitarian groups are providing, which allows the Taliban to appear to the local populations as being effective governors.”

Another benefit fighting forces get from aid groups is money, exchanged for services such as security. “On many occasions, MSF, like other organizations, uses combatants to ensure the safety of its teams and convoys,” said the author.

Bribes are also part of negotiations, says Rony Brauman, who heads the MSF think-tank Centre de Réflexion Sur l’Action et Les Savoirs Humanitaires, which encourages debate and critical reflection on humanitarian practices. “The question is often not whether to pay them but how much to pay. It must be thought of as an informal tax.”

Also, much of the salary paid to local staff can end up in the coffers of fighting forces. Weismann cited Eritrea, which, during the conflict with Ethiopia in 1998, demanded a 50 percent tax on wages paid by NGOs.

Corruption “integral”

Other fighting groups simply loot aid organizations, and some even have the gall to sell their spoils back to the aid group. “Corruption is an integral part of the worlds in which we operate,” Weissman said.

Some aid organizations have policies to avoid corruption. In 2010, Transparency International published Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations, which lays out what aid organizations should do when faced with corruption dilemmas.

But for MSF, when the aim is to get the job done, corruption may be unavoidable. “Our imperative must always be to save lives but we have concluded that the means by which lives are saved cannot be a moral or ethical issue, and that is a fact that aid groups have tended not to talk about,” Weissman said.

When donors are combatants

The book is part of an MSF series associated with CRASH. A 2004 publication, In the Shadow of “Just Wars“, focused on the problems MSF and other organizations had in conflict zones where Western troops were on one side of a conflict while Western donors were funding aid organizations that were supposed to be neutral.

That book includes examples from Iraq to Sierra Leone, where Western forces used humanitarian rhetoric to win the hearts and minds of local populations and often tried to use aid groups as part of these efforts.

The latest MSF publication goes further, discussing problems in places such as Gaza where Western donors try to stop aid groups from working with Hamas, which they consider a terrorist organization, but which is the sole authority that aid groups have to cooperate with if they are to provide services there.

US counter-terrorism laws stipulate that providing support resources to terrorists, even if not for terrorist purposes, could result in criminal prosecution. The impact of these laws on humanitarian action has been discussed in a just-released paper on Counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Action by the Humanitarian Policy Group.

“Combatants are also human beings”

Giving humanitarian assistance directly to armed groups is another topic tackled. “Combatants are also human beings and sometimes they need humanitarian assistance more than civilians,” Weissman said. “When combatants are wounded we no longer consider them combatants.”

Weissman says MSF does draw a line when armed forces use aid organizations to harm civilians. An example he cited is the Democratic Republic of Congo, after the genocide in Rwanda. In 1994, Hutus in Rwanda crossed the border en masse, seeking refuge. At the time, MSF was trying to identify the location of refugee populations around the country so aid organizations were better able to coordinate aid to them. But Tutsi militias operating in DRC used MSF’s information to seek out and attack the Hutu refugees. 

The solution was that MSF stopped publicizing the information but he pointed to other examples of forces using aid groups against civilians that were more problematic.

In Sri Lanka in 2009, the government rounded up some 270,000 people it suspected of supporting Tamil rebels and then gave aid groups the job of providing the basic services. “We did not want to be supporting a vast prison for an innocent civilian population which the state was unjustly labelling criminals, but we were also concerned about what would happen to the civilians if we didn’t assist them.”

A lot has been written in recent years about the ways humanitarian agencies can inadvertently fuel injustice and conflict. The problem with the conclusion of many of these publications, said Weissman, is that they call on aid groups to “serve the cause of peace”. That often translated into NGOs cooperating more closely with UN peacekeeping and international donors, he said, which could undermine aid groups’ neutrality.

In the end, the criteria MSF uses to decide whether or not it should continue a particular operation is simple: “We ask ourselves who benefits most from our presence: the fighting forces or the civilians?”

dh/aj/mw source www.irinnews.org

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Malnutrition is a huge problem worldwide, especially chronic malnutrition

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2011

by api

Malnutrition rates are declining in various regions around the world, with the principal factor being political commitment

LONDON,  – Malnutrition is a huge problem worldwide, especially chronic malnutrition, the kind of everyday, year-round hunger that stunts children’s growth and means they never reach their full physical or intellectual potential. But rates are declining, and in some countries the numbers are falling fast. In Brazil, for instance, where 30 years ago underweight and wasted children were common in the poorer regions and lower income groups, these problems have almost been eradicated.

Care and Action Against Hunger/Action Contre le Faim, together with researchers from the Oakland Institute in the US, the Institute of Development Studaies (IDS) in the UK and Spain’s Tripode Proyectos, have studied national success stories in a bid to tease out the factors behind the improvements.

Political policy turned out to be a common thread. The principal factor in reducing malnutrition was not farming or food aid, but political commitment.

Andres Mejia Acosta of IDS worked on what he calls “the Peruvian Surprise”. After 10 years of very little progress, malnutrition rates plummeted post-2006. “Our first reaction,” says Mejia Acosta, “was that this should be an income effect; there was a very large mining boom, the product of the commodities bonanza.”

But there was very little correlation between the regions that had benefited most from the boom and the ones that had most reduced malnutrition. “It turns out we are discovering that it came from policy and political interventions; in the case of Peru, a nationwide poverty reduction strategy and a conditional cash transfer programme… The only thing we appear to find of relevance associated with reduced malnutrition is poverty reduction.”

In Peru, President Alan Garcia was elected in 2006 after signing a “5x5x5” pledge to reduce malnutrition in children under five years old by 5 percent over the next five years. Once in office he raised the target to 9 percent and set a 100-day plan of action. The programme was run out of the office of the president, as are similar programmes in Brazil and Malawi.

Building leadership

The realization by a politician that reducing chronic hunger may get him elected or keep him in power can have a wonderfully bracing effect. But at the launch of these reports, Lawrence Haddad of IDS recalled being told by journalists in India how difficult it was to get their editors interested in nutrition, “because it’s not an election issue”.

“Where does this kind of leadership come from?” asks Haddad. “Do we just wait for it to drop from the heavens, and be grateful when it occurs or is there something as a community we can do to manufacture it, to support it, to enable its evolution?”  

The Peruvian Surprise was actually the result of a lot of hard work by a coalition of NGOs and civil society organizations who seized the opportunity the election gave them, persistently lobbied all the presidential candidates and kept up the pressure in the immediate post-election period.  

In Niger, a military coup provided the catalyst. According to Manuel Sanchez-Montero of Tripode Proyectos, “In the last years of President [Mamadou] Tandja, hunger was a banned word. One of the reasons for putting him out [of office] was a food crisis, and the government was trying to keep control of information and not recognize that there was a food crisis coming. The transitional government took the fight against malnutrition as one of their priorities, because they knew it was one of the key reasons for their public support.”

The new studies also look at how political commitment is turned into practical success. Apart from having leadership commitment and citizens prepared to lobby energetically for the cause, successful countries took a multi-sectoral approach, tackling poverty in a wider sense, not just malnutrition alone, and often using cash transfers and social protection programmes to do it.

They worked on institutional coordination, getting government departments and NGOs to work together and stop duplication. Mejia Acosta said it had been helped by the way it was done: “In Peru there was a very clear division of labour where they said, ’We don’t step on each other’s toes.’ The other issue was that they were not engaged in pooled funding, so there was never this issue of who puts more money in which pot.”

Asked by IRIN whether he thought the leaders who had managed to push down malnutrition rates were in fact now reaping a political reward, Mejia Acosta said the answer was a mixed one; in Peru the regional presidents had perhaps drawn more political capital from it than mayors, and Garcia had not stood for re-election. “But the simplest quote came from a governor who told me, ‘In the past politicians didn’t care about issues like nutrition, because children don’t vote, but now they have realized that their mothers do.’”

eb/mw
source www.irinnews.org

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Dedicated to Kenya unity: Kisii singer reminds Kenyans about killing one another just for the sake of power

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api

The Kisii musician from the Kisii community of Kenya sings about the killings when people of the same country kill one another for power, forcing others to become IDPs – internally displaced persons

 

Kenyans are soon faced with the general elections in 2012. They should not forget what happened to the country in the 2007 elections where over 1000 people died and more than 600.000 displaced.

End

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Dedicated to Kenya unity: Luo song calling for unity, love and respect for one another as Kenyans, not killings on tribal basis

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api

The song is sang by a Luo group, a community in Kenya. The song is in Luo but towards the end it is in Kiswahili. It makes a lot of sense. There is also some English words.

The song has a strong message to Kenyans asking them to have unity, love and respect for one another. Asking them not to fight during elections. The sang says, it is okay to vote yes and it is okay to vote no.

Do not beat me, do not make me lose my blood just because I vote the way you do not like.

Hopefully Kenyans will heed the call by these musicians when they go to elections in the coming year 2012.

 

End

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Dedicated to Kenya unity: Kalenjin song titled “Taunet nelel” – A new beginning by Emmy Kosgei challenges you to look into your heart

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api 

The song’s title is called  a new beginning sang in Kalenjin, by Emmy Kosgei, from the Kalenjin community in Kenya.

The song is translated into English by-lines

Enjoy it:

The singer wants every Kenyan to have a new beginning and ask God to guide their ways and that we all know stabilises peace and coexistence in a country like Kenya with 42 tribes (communities).

With a new beginning, Kenya may not see chaos like experienced during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

End

———–

kalenjin community, Kenya, and api.

………….

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ICC Kenya cases: The Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Meru and Somali Communities are being tried at the Hague

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

Author : Iriaget ab Awendo Posted By arapsainah

And though shalt know the truth and the truth will set u free…

Finally the falsehoods and hearsay is tested on fire in the Hague.It is unfortunate that Kenyans and the world have always been feed trash by enemies of peace who will go to all lengths to peddle lies to fix others and their communities.

For example, take the Kalenjin for instance: The Kalenjin are known to be kind and gentle people often patient in taking offence and shouting their plight in the rooftops.This has been taken to be  a weakness and a times stupidity by other communities who have been hosted by the Kalenjin.

With their “stupidity” they deserve and expect respect and truth in order to built trust and thus stability. I belief that Hague will deliver justice and not be used as a tool to silence, coarse, intimidate and persecute individuals and communities.

I dont buy the crap that communities are not being tried in Hague! This people do not come from the blues. They are leaders and come from communities and more critical promising leaders whom the community look up to represent them in championing their interest in the cut throat competitive political environment in Kenya where nearness to power is a life and death affair.

Power in Kenya is an instrument of community empowerment otherwise why did we have to fight in 2007! Fight over some useless thing called ‘power’!Power is the ultimate crown each community is looking for and for that reason schemes to deny a people power by underhand dealings like elaborate coaching of witnesses may lead to even worse chaos than earlier seen.

 

End

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Al shabaab scare: Nairobi residents are avoiding public places for fear of more attacks

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api

KENYA: Xenophobia, fear follow Nairobi blasts

Nairobi residents are avoiding public places for fear of more attacks

NAIROBI,  – Grenade attacks on a pub and a bus stop in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, which resulted in one death and several injuries, have left many living in fear, while Kenyan Somalis and Somali refugees say they feel they have become terror suspects by virtue of their ethnicity.

Another four people were killed on 27 October when a vehicle carrying Ministry of Education officials was attacked in the northeastern town of Mandera; government officials say they suspect Somali militia group Al-Shabab was behind the assault. Following the blasts on 24 October, one Kenyan suspect was arrested in Nairobi with a cache of weapons – including several hand grenades – and has admitted his involvement in the attack on the bus stop. Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, who also admitted to being a member of Al-Shabab, was jailed for life on 28 October.

The attacks come less than a fortnight after Kenya’s invasion of Somalia. Operation “Linda Nchi” – Kiswahili for “Protect the Nation” – is targeting Al-Shabab, which government officials say threatens the country’s heavily tourism-dependent economy and its national security.

Fear

With international media reporting that Al-Shabab leaders in Somalia are urging members in Kenya to abandon grenade attacks in favour of a “huge blast”, Kenyans have become more cautious; security has visibly increased at many of the capital’s malls, hotels and other public places.

Derrick Oduor says the attacks have forced him to dramatically adjust his lifestyle.

“If I could avoid coming to town I would, but I must come to work… I avoid going to the pub after work because these are the places terrorists are targeting now,” he told IRIN. “I even fear standing at the bus stop because I fear anything can happen where I am. This thing has made people just walk in fear all the time.”

Local businesses are losing money as a result of people avoiding public spaces; the Nairobi Central Business District Association estimates the city is losing close to US$1 million daily.

Joshua Mwangi runs a pub in downtown Nairobi, and says his business felt the impact almost immediately after the attacks. “Bars like this one of mine, which is situated in downtown, have started to lose business because people [are scared]. I think many people try to avoid as much as possible and would rather go home early,” he said.

Xenophobia

Ethnic Somalis in the country say the attacks have left them open to suspicion and xenophobia.

“You know when you talk about Al-Shabab or even terror, the first suspect one thinks about is a Kenyan Somali or a Muslim. I personally feel afraid because when police say they are fighting terror in Kenya, it is the Kenyan Somalis that they come for first. I have friends who cannot even leave the house because they feel they will be arrested. Even ordinary people look at you suspiciously – it is very stigmatizing,” Mohamed Dirie, a Kenyan Somali living in Nairobi, told IRIN.

Dirie said particularly distasteful were comments by Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Internal Security Joshua Orwa Ojodeh following the start of Operation Linda Nchi regarding the presence of Al-Shabab in the Nairobi estate of Eastleigh, where many Somalis live.

“Al-Shabab is like a snake whose tail is in Somalia but the head is here in Nairobi in Eastleigh,” he told Parliament.

''I personally feel afraid because when police say they are fighting terror in Kenya, it is the Kenyan Somalis that they come for first… Even ordinary people look at you suspiciously – it is very stigmatizing''

Miriam Yasin, 35, a Somali refugee living in Nairobi, says she has faced xenophobia from members of the public.

“One day I heard somebody tell the person standing next to me at a bus stop to be careful because I could blow any time; they might have been joking but I felt like a lesser human being,” she said. “It is very bad when people look at you like a walking bomb. I feel for those who die because of terrorist activities. I am a victim of war.”

The police say that while they have intensified security patrols and checks within the city, they have not singled out any single group.

“We don’t arrest somebody simply because they are Somalis or Muslims. But if the police stop somebody of Somali origin and they are adults but do not have any identification on them, we will definitely book you in for questioning because we can’t take chances,” said Antony Kibuchi, Nairobi Provincial Police Chief. “You have even seen non-Somalis admitting to being members of the Al-Shabab… For us, everybody can be a potential criminal.”

According to a July report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, non-Somali Kenyan nationals now constitute the largest and most organized non-Somali entity within Al-Shabab.

ko/kr/mw
source www.irinnews.org

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Aid propping up groups like the Taliban is “unavoidable” says MSF

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api

Photo: Salih/IRIN
Aid propping up groups like the Taliban is “unavoidable” says MSF (file photo)

BERLIN,  – For decades aid agencies have been tackling troubling ethical dilemmas about where to draw the line when negotiating with armed forces when trying to deliver aid to vulnerable communities. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) discusses some of the ethical dilemmas it has faced over the past 40 years in Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience, promoted at its annual Berlin Humanitarian Congress.

“Humanitarian actors often claim they are above politics but it is simply not true,” said Fabrice Weissman, one of the co-authors of the book, which will be officially launched at the end of November.

“We do still retain our central tenet, which is saving lives,” Weissman added, but we also “seek to puncture a number of myths. We address the big question of when should and shouldn’t MSF be willing to compromise?”

Contributors lay out a wide range of dilemmas, “seeking to analyze the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of ‘humanitarian principles’”.

Financing fighters

The conclusions are often disturbing. “That fighting forces seek to take advantage of aid groups is unavoidable,” Weissman said. “The fact is that unless we provide them with benefits they have no reason to allow us to operate in the areas they seek to control.”

As an example, he mentioned Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan. “The reality there is that the Taliban are claiming responsibility for the goods and services that humanitarian groups are providing, which allows the Taliban to appear to the local populations as being effective governors.”

Another benefit fighting forces get from aid groups is money, exchanged for services such as security. “On many occasions, MSF, like other organizations, uses combatants to ensure the safety of its teams and convoys,” said the author.

Bribes are also part of negotiations, says Rony Brauman, who heads the MSF think-tank Centre de Réflexion Sur l’Action et Les Savoirs Humanitaires, which encourages debate and critical reflection on humanitarian practices. “The question is often not whether to pay them but how much to pay. It must be thought of as an informal tax.”

Also, much of the salary paid to local staff can end up in the coffers of fighting forces. Weismann cited Eritrea, which, during the conflict with Ethiopia in 1998, demanded a 50 percent tax on wages paid by NGOs.

Corruption “integral”

Other fighting groups simply loot aid organizations, and some even have the gall to sell their spoils back to the aid group. “Corruption is an integral part of the worlds in which we operate,” Weissman said.

Some aid organizations have policies to avoid corruption. In 2010, Transparency International published Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations, which lays out what aid organizations should do when faced with corruption dilemmas.

But for MSF, when the aim is to get the job done, corruption may be unavoidable. “Our imperative must always be to save lives but we have concluded that the means by which lives are saved cannot be a moral or ethical issue, and that is a fact that aid groups have tended not to talk about,” Weissman said.

When donors are combatants

The book is part of an MSF series associated with CRASH. A 2004 publication, In the Shadow of “Just Wars“, focused on the problems MSF and other organizations had in conflict zones where Western troops were on one side of a conflict while Western donors were funding aid organizations that were supposed to be neutral.

That book includes examples from Iraq to Sierra Leone, where Western forces used humanitarian rhetoric to win the hearts and minds of local populations and often tried to use aid groups as part of these efforts.

The latest MSF publication goes further, discussing problems in places such as Gaza where Western donors try to stop aid groups from working with Hamas, which they consider a terrorist organization, but which is the sole authority that aid groups have to cooperate with if they are to provide services there.

US counter-terrorism laws stipulate that providing support resources to terrorists, even if not for terrorist purposes, could result in criminal prosecution. The impact of these laws on humanitarian action has been discussed in a just-released paper on Counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Action by the Humanitarian Policy Group.

“Combatants are also human beings”

Giving humanitarian assistance directly to armed groups is another topic tackled. “Combatants are also human beings and sometimes they need humanitarian assistance more than civilians,” Weissman said. “When combatants are wounded we no longer consider them combatants.”

Weissman says MSF does draw a line when armed forces use aid organizations to harm civilians. An example he cited is the Democratic Republic of Congo, after the genocide in Rwanda. In 1994, Hutus in Rwanda crossed the border en masse, seeking refuge. At the time, MSF was trying to identify the location of refugee populations around the country so aid organizations were better able to coordinate aid to them. But Tutsi militias operating in DRC used MSF’s information to seek out and attack the Hutu refugees. 

The solution was that MSF stopped publicizing the information but he pointed to other examples of forces using aid groups against civilians that were more problematic.

In Sri Lanka in 2009, the government rounded up some 270,000 people it suspected of supporting Tamil rebels and then gave aid groups the job of providing the basic services. “We did not want to be supporting a vast prison for an innocent civilian population which the state was unjustly labelling criminals, but we were also concerned about what would happen to the civilians if we didn’t assist them.”

A lot has been written in recent years about the ways humanitarian agencies can inadvertently fuel injustice and conflict. The problem with the conclusion of many of these publications, said Weissman, is that they call on aid groups to “serve the cause of peace”. That often translated into NGOs cooperating more closely with UN peacekeeping and international donors, he said, which could undermine aid groups’ neutrality.

In the end, the criteria MSF uses to decide whether or not it should continue a particular operation is simple: “We ask ourselves who benefits most from our presence: the fighting forces or the civilians?”

dh/aj/mw source www.irinnews.org

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TB is often associated with poverty in Pakistan

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2011

By api

TB is often associated with poverty in Pakistan

PUNJAB,  – Pakistan has intensified efforts to contain tuberculosis (TB), which affects about 17,000 people, making the country sixth among nations with the highest burden of disease, according to officials.

“TB is a curable disease,” said Ejaz Qadeer, programme manager of the National TB Control Programme (NTCP). “All it needs [is] a complete treatment [effort] spanning over eight months. Under a public/private partnership programme entitled ‘Stop TB’, 7,000 TB care centres are being set up. We are planning to create awareness at all levels, although it is difficult and there is a lot of resistance, especially when it comes to schoolchildren and the education department.”

According to Nadeem Zaka, senior medical officer at the health department in Punjab, TB is responsible for 5.1 percent of the total national disease burden in Pakistan.

Muhammad Anwar, senior programme manager for advocacy at NTCP, said: “The mission focuses on improving case detection, treatment adherence, combating stigma and treating TB patients.”

On the impact of the disease on patients, Anwar said: “The three major difficulties incorporated in their lives due to TB are financial problems, loneliness and hospitalization. NTCP is providing 90 percent of its treatment free of cost to poor patients and providing free medicines to private clinics and hospitals so that free TB medication is available to all segments of society.

“In 56 districts [in Punjab Province] over 5,000 health centres are working, while Rural Health Units are delivering their best in providing medical facilities to TB patients.”

The involvement of teachers, religious scholars, students and health workers on a large scale has seen a gradual change for the better, and Anwar was hopeful the government would achieve its Millennium Development Goal.

But the costs are high, experts say, and the government has been obliged to turn to the Global Fund in Geneva.

“[Initiatives aimed at] reducing the burden of tuberculosis in Pakistan by improving access to quality care services will receive grants worth US$147,281,452 in two phases,” said Marcela Rojo, a spokeswoman for the Global Fund, Geneva. The first grant worth $9,936,769 has been released.

Meanwhile, those living with the disease complain of stigma and discrimination. “People act strange when told of this disease,” said Jahangir, a TB patient. “They avoid you. They need to be told there is a cure.”

anj/eo/cb/mw
source www.irinnews.org

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Barack Hussein Obama, The Man God Warned And Disregarded His Voice For Mercy – PROPHETIC

Posted by African Press International on October 29, 2011

By Rev. Lainie Dowell (clergywomen to Voice Ink) (USA)

<The late Gadhafi left and Mr Obama shaking hands.

When will they ever learn?! Man is but dust. Yet they persist in setting themselves up as lawless dictators, rulers, and usurpers who seek to rule with an iron fist. And, when they continue, with impunity and without accountability, they receive of the mighty fist of the true and living God.

Still, they reject God and try to do all they can to remove God from the earth and to set themselves up as god (little “g”). But, their little kingdoms must come down. The arm of justice is long, and it rushes straight to the unjust, as it gains momentum on the way such that there is no stopping justice from totally destroying the targets sought. And, the higher the target, the further the witness of their demise goes forth as a global example that God’s justice shall prevail, their illegal attempted takeovers shall surely fail, and our God will have no mercy upon their souls. That remains true whether they believe it or not and whether they hear it or not.

Barack Hussein Obama recently announced publicly that he has personally taken steps to seek ways to run the government without the United States Congress. That means, he has no regard for the United States Constitution, God, American citizens, or himself. For, he and his cohorts conspired to put him into the White House specifically to remove and destroy the very foundations of the United States of America. As well, he has support from Muslims in and out of government, the least of which are Rep. Keith Ellison (D), Hashim Hanson Clarke (D), Andre Carson (D), and progressives, of which Hillary Clinton (now Obama’s Secretary of State), and many Democrats who identified themselves with Obama as such shortly after he became President-elect 2008.

Congress is asleep at the wheel. It is foolish and traitorous to allow self-professed Muslims who have publicly stated their hatred of America and support CAIR, to have government access to military and defense classified information while our men and women are on battlefields at war against terrorists. They are the self-same enemies which those aforesaid elected leaders have declared to be their friends and allies! Even Obama publicly stated he would defend Muslims over Americans. And we see that ideology unfolding every chance Obama gets to put it into effect.

It goes without saying that all of their top-secret access needs to be removed, because insider government information is still being leaked to terrorists who are slaughtering our beloved military, as a result of somebody handing over troop movement data as well as internet disclosures, and certain disclosures obtained via C-SPAN televised and radio transmitted subcommittee hearings. Yet, Congress has refused to take steps to either investigate this or to stop Obama and his cronies from having access in view of the ongoing ambushes to kill our military (even some more troops reported killed today). Terrorists have stepped up their attacks and, yet, our military is further weakened solely by the Obama administration who introduced acceptance of the homosexual agenda, politics, and a nearly weaponless force fighting on foreign shores in defense of American traditions, values, safety. At the same time, Obama has purposely removed many military faith-based activities. Obama is to blame for this ongoing shameful loss of life while he lives it up on the golf course and in ice cream parlors and hamburger joints.

Obama is a ruthless liar whose name and reputation are known to have been personally associated with Chicago murders, the homosexual lifestyle, lawbreakers, thieves, and many known and unknown enemies of this nation. Yet, the various news media and too many so-called educated folk of all stripe continue to prop up Obama pretty much like that character in the movie entitled, Arthur. People fill in the blanks of what Obama leaves unspoken and they come up with a far grander lie they can live with which makes him look good and endears them to him (or so they must think). Again, I cannot stress enough that Obama has endangered the lives of citizens and our military around the world. He also continues to allow foreigners to come from those battlefields into America. What’s more, they think they have a right to file lawsuits in America to foist Sharia Law and Islamic culture onto Americans but that we aren’t supposed to object.

How America has fallen!

No person is above the law, not even the President of the United States, whoever that may be — except that they are keepers of the law who believe they are exempt from obeying the USA constitution and the rule of law (God’s and man’s). And, except that they have pals who believe it is their duty to protect and cover up for the unlawful wrongs of those in leadership.

It becomes more evident, daily, that Obama wants to be the Chavez, Castro, Putin, Odinga, Saddam, and Gaddafi of the West. But, Christians who know God and pray for relief from the Obama Administration can rest assured that the God we serve never sleeps. He keeps watch. He knows. God responds but those in leadership and many who surround them are slow to hear and to heed God. Ours is just to tell it like God told it, and to move out of His way. Such is this message I am delivering, below, another God-breathed response.

America’s foundation is, and shall remain, Judeo-Christian. We are entrenched in Spiritual Warfare. This is about God and Satan. We face good and evil. We know right from wrong. We know Godly from Satanic. We discern to know. God reveals all things, as He wills. Continue to pray that God will fully expose both the reported and unreported sinister plots of Obama such that this nation will have no other recourse but to fully and finally remove him from office before his damage becomes irreversible. Obama flaunts his disregard of the law while our congressional leadership fight to uphold the law, but without taking steps to enforce the law!

*A Prophetic Faith Word

The tone of the nation has taken a turn for the worst ever since Barack Hussein Obama was allowed to enter into the political arena. We have warned and have become wearied of being ignored and denied the justice that patriotic Americans born and bred in this nation have come to expect. When Obama showed up, the era of publicity hounds and all sorts of problems ensued with them.

There are more than enough documented reasons why Barack Obama should be impeached and, also, put in jail, when there are enough patriots to take heed to the ongoing desecration of our flag, the denigration of American participation in the trust of former elected officials who put American interests before their own (as few as they have been over the years), and his deliberate destruction of America.

None has ever been as blatantly arrogant, unethical, unprofessional, and as incompetent as Barack Obama. It remains unforgivable that he has been without accountability for even this long. If that is so (and it is), there is no way to convince the American people who Obama is the first American Black man, who was ever elected and is a traitor in the Office of the President of the United States of America.

This young man is a fierce hindrance to the growth of America. In fact, he has entered into the most heinous of all evil activities to ensure that America does not recover. If he had any intentions of aiding American growth, he would have done it as a United States Senator. He did not and does not. That office, too, was used by him and his partnerships to gain a foothold onto the national stage and into the White House.

The world has seen him for who he is; and, also, Godly patriotic American people are not deceived by his many assertions that he has done so much good for American citizens. The families across this nation are suffering, in large part, also, because Americans, in their generous spirit, have seen people come into America who install their foreign cultures and traditions into the fabric of our culture to the exclusion of our own. They have no intention to assimilate.

America has been taken to the cleaners by Obama, and it is time for our politically elected leaders to take him to the woodshed.

Where is his proof of American citizenship?
Where are his passports?

Where is his proof of signing up with Selective Service at 18 years of age
(circa. 1979)

Where are his academic records?
Where are his health records?
Where are his bank account and liability records?
Where are Michelle’s bank account and liability records?
Where are his girls’ bank records?

Where are his Black African father’s academic and employment records?
(Economist?)

Where are his White American mother’s academic and employment records?
(Anthropologist?)

Where are his Indonesian stepfather’s military, academic and
employment records? (Indonesian Military Officer?)

Why did he conspire with Google to scrub his and his family’s current and
archival records but he wants to be able to access everybody else’s records?

When did he decide that he could override the United States Constitution
with impunity?

When did he decide that he could unilaterally create laws apart from the legislature?

When did he decide that he could direct the Judiciary to disregard and/or
dismiss lawsuits?

The worst part about Obama is that he has broken all trust with the American people. He has rejected and totally disregarded his oaths of offices. And, more than that, he has failed at even his puny attempts to utterly destroy this nation by reason of abuse of his authority and position. Yet, he is allowed to remain in office. Moreover, Americans cannot endure even one more night’s loss of sleep with him in the White House having access to the secret files of defense and justice, and holding the pen to unlawfully sign Executive Orders into law when only Congress is empowered to make laws.

PROPHETIC – The Word of the Lord

Thus saith the Lord

The man Barack Hussein Obama has been the bane of American existence.

Faith is important to Americans
Law is important to Americans
Justice is important to Americans

Yet, none of these American values is in Obama’s vocabulary.

Therefore, WITH all of the power he thinks he has, I the Lord thy God shall surely commence to strip him of every position that surrounds his office.

The Word of the Lord God –
All will scoff no more when they see the Hand of God move. And, in the end shall they know how real God truly is. Many shall see it come to fruition and believe I the Lord hath done it and none other.

Marvel not, for that shall be seen. Watch and make a promised promise come to fruition.

My Hand hath written and none other. (Signed) The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.
Manner of speaking, The Creator of Heaven and Earth.

The Word of God – This is a message from the Father of the forefathers.

America is God’s country. All who persist in removing the father’s name from upon this nation shall be stricken with a worst plague than death, for their suffering shall be long and painful. Watch.

With all of the full force of My Hand, saith the Lord. For My people Israel shall not be destroyed from the earth. And neither shall Christians who have believed on My only begotten Son, Jesus, as Savior and Lord.

The end.
________________________________

lainie dowell, rep Keith Ellison, little kingdoms, Keith Ellison, and hillary clinton.

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Kenya’s drama featured by Bull’s-eye: Who is the foreign assistant minister representing?

Posted by African Press International on October 29, 2011

By API

Kenya’s spiritual warfare can easily sound dramatic. When the government spokesman represents the government he says what the government expects him to say.

 
But when an assistant foreign affairs minister speaks on the same subject contrary to that of the government spokesman, one wonders who he is representing.

This Al shabaab headache seems to be difficult to handle.

Mr assistant foreign minister wants to talk to al shabaab while the government spokesman says that is not going to happen. Who should the people believe?

It is like what they say sometimes the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

End

—————

foreign affairs minister, government spokesman, spiritual warfare, foreign minister, and left hand.

courtesy of NTVKenya

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Kenyan man trained to kill by al shabaab pleads guilty and takes his life sentence lightly

Posted by African Press International on October 29, 2011

By API

The killer of peace who has no remorse has been jailed for life.


A Kenyan man, 28 years has old has wasted his life by joining Al Shabaab and using his membership to kill Kenyans.

His mother speaking in Kiswahili says she is happy her son has been stopped before he does more damage to the country

 

His parents who are both civil servants in the Republic of Kenya are saddened by their son’s plight, however, they are happy the authorities arrested him his bad actions. Now he will not be able to cause mre havoc to the peace-loving Kenyan people.

End

courtesy of NationTV-Kenya

————

28 year al shabaab guilty

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Jie women threshing sorghum in Kotido, Karamoja

Posted by African Press International on October 29, 2011

by api

Jie women threshing sorghum in Kotido, Karamoja

KOTIDO,  – Catherine Namoe straightens up from the back-breaking task of harvesting cow pea leaves to answer some questions. It is tough work, she says, and the men do not help much. Even if the rain does not come again to turn the plant’s yellow flowers into pea pods, the leaves can be dried and stored for a while, and may help feed her family over the long, hungry season in Uganda’s northeastern region of Karamoja.

Namoe’s options are slim. She gestures towards distant hills rising out of the semi-arid savannah. She could spend a day walking there, barefoot, cut a bundle of firewood from the remaining trees, take it to the nearest trading centre and sell it for a possible 500 Ugandan shillings (US$0.20) – enough to buy a cupful of kerosene or cooking oil or a few spoonfuls of sugar.

Yet her story is a tale of relative and still uncertain success. She and her fellow 1.1 million Karamojong, who come from more than 20 inter-related ethnic groups, are experiencing an unprecedented period of peace and opportunity.

Karamoja has been marginalized on several levels. The 28,000 sqkm region is difficult to access and it is not on the national power grid. The few businesses in the small towns and trading centres rely on diesel generators – and fuel costs 20 percent more than in the capital, Kampala. School and health services are more limited than anywhere else in Uganda. Most Karamojong struggle just to feed themselves; as recently as 2007, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was providing emergency food aid to almost the entire population.

Poverty has resulted from decades of under-investment but also from the implosion of traditional livelihoods. Most Karamojong are semi-nomadic pastoralists; men once moved with their herds in search of pasture as the seasons and years dictated and clans coped with lean years by raiding cattle from neighbours. But the steady spread of modern weapons, aggravated by the spillover of armed conflict from the Lord’s Resistance Army insurrection in northern Uganda, resulted in the cattle-raiding habit escalating into a spiral of insecurity.

Earlier government efforts to stabilize the region had limited success, but a sustained disarmament campaign over the past few years has fared better. Human rights groups have criticized the force that government troops at times deployed in the campaign, but observers agree that the violence has now abated, at least for the time being.

Peace is “like a new ideology”, says Milton Lopira, who heads a local NGO, the Warrior Squad Foundation, in Kotido, one of seven districts forming Karamoja. He stresses that people were sick of the violence and lawlessness, which made everyone a loser. Young men, raised as cattle-raiding warriors, “now have an opportunity to engage in non-violent activities and they are ready and willing to change”.

“Productive assets”

Uganda’s central government is determined to convert the peace dividends into development dividends.

SLIDESHOW: Security in Karamoja

Photo: Khristopher Carlson/IRIN
After many years of fighting over cattle and pasture, the people of Karamoja, northeastern Uganda, are enjoying a period of peace and relative prosperity. Good rains for the past two years have coincided with renewed government interest in the region; road-building programmes are under way, as is a plan to link the area to the national power grid. At the same time, initiatives are being taken to provide alternative livelihoods to fill the gap left by pastoralism, while giving young men opportunities beyond cattle-raiding.

View the Slideshow

“We want to see how [local people's] minds can be engaged in production so that they are not at the periphery but participating in development alternatives,” Pius Bigirimana, permanent secretary in Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, told IRIN.

The PM’s office coordinates a Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and Development Programme that has gathered pace over the past two years, with growing support from international donors.

According to Bigirimana, plans are in place for tarring the 170km road from Mbale, to the south of Karamoja, to Moroto, in the region’s centre. Power lines will also come to Moroto from Soroti, to the west.

Bigirimana is reluctant to specify a timetable for these major projects, but says tens of millions of dollars have been firmly committed to more than a dozen substantial dam-building and irrigation schemes and that work on many has already begun.

In addition, over the past two years the government has supplied seeds, ox ploughs and hoes to groups of households willing to work the land, and has opened up 4,047 hectares of land though a tractor hire scheme.

International donors have also switched from emergency relief to investment in “productive assets”. Notably, WFP is testing what Hakan Tongul, deputy country director for Uganda, calls “a new strategic approach to ending hunger”. WFP still provides food aid through schools, to infants at risk of malnutrition and to especially vulnerable families, but the main thrust of its operations in Karamoja is now to give food or cash to people working on projects to diversify and strengthen their own livelihoods.

These projects, implemented through NGOs contracted by WFP, offer communities a “menu” of options, including planting crops, improving rural roads and small-scale water conservation and harvesting.

“There has been amazing interest in the communities,” Tongul told IRIN, especially in food cropping. Some 450,000 people have benefited from the programme over the past two years – Namoe is one.

The new approach has coincided with two consecutive years of good rains — after several previous years of drought — yielding decent harvests of sorghum, millet, cassava, cow peas, ground nuts, sunflowers and sesame. The evidence is visible everywhere in Kotido, where groups of women pound sorghum while men sit in the shade making wicker baskets to carry the harvest home and domestic granaries to store it.

Conflicting visions

But what happens if the rains are not so good next year? According to Martin Orem, coordinator of the Coalition of Pastoral Civil Society Organizations in Uganda (COPASCO), Karamoja’s low and irregular rainfall makes agriculture very difficult, explaining the region’s traditional, pastoral economy; in times of drought herds can be moved – crops cannot.

Orem welcomes increased government attention to Karamoja but worries that “very senior people are saying that pastoralism is outdated, keeping our people in poverty, remaining backward”. He calls for closer consultation with communities in framing development plans.

“We recognize there must be change and we know for sure that pastoralists want to diversify their livelihoods, but it would be unfortunate for government to think they can think for communities,” he added.

Lopira of the Warrior Squad Foundation agrees, noting that many projects fail “because they are not properly consulting the people”.

“The government position is that people should settle; we understand… It is very difficult and expensive to provide services to pastoralists. If you help people to settle it will be more cost-effective to provide basic services,” said Omar Ayman, Oxfam Uganda country director. “[But] this may not be the best option for arid and semi-arid environments… If we decide on your behalf that we’re going to make you a farmer, that’s not right.”

Declining livestock numbers

The drive to promote alternative livelihoods in Karamoja has been accompanied by a drop in animal numbers. Sources in Kotido agreed that herds have declined steeply, for different reasons. Some herders said the Jie people – the largest ethnic community in the district – were the first group to disarm, and were then raided by other clans. Others say the government’s security forces seized and sold many animals that were placed in collective cattle camps guarded by the army.

Animal husbandry experts acknowledged both factors, but added that the camps also became breeding grounds for disease after a long period of neglect in veterinary extension services.

Statistical evidence is hard to find but there is a marked discrepancy in recent figures. A 2009 stock survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics found more than two million head of cattle in Karamoja, but a vaccination campaign spearheaded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2010 found fewer than one million. Margins of error could explain some of the discrepancy, but not all of it. There may be more cow peas in Karamoja than ever before, but there do seem to be fewer cows.

In addition, there is a question of rights. “The Karamojong think they own the land but they don’t,” says an activist, who preferred anonymity. He explained that many of the more fertile areas were gazetted for conservation many years ago.

The region is also thought to have significant mineral deposits, few of which have yet been tapped, and expanded mining could spell future conflict over land.

But people seem no longer to be living in fear and, promisingly, moves are under way to transfer security duties from military to civil authorities. No-one disputes that improved security was the first and most urgent step towards improving lives for the Karamojong. Yet the construction of a new Karamoja, more integrated into the rest of Uganda, is likely to be a long and contested process.

ny/kr/mw source www.irinnews.org

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 1 Comment »

 
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