Friday, January 30, 2009

Seeing Red!!!

If you were in an airplane flying over the nation of Peru and happened to gaze out of your window, you may have gotten a bird's eye-view of 100 of Peru's most famous actors, musicians, and other notable citizens, splashing the landscape in red t-shirts, forming a giant ribbon. You Prevent, the strategic plan to rid Peru's community of the stigma given to HIV/AIDS, continued its advocacy with its advertising campaign. With the help of UNDP and UNAIDS, their message is: Tolerance, Information, Respect.

This program has set out to inform the people of Peru of an issue that has greatly impacted their population and to rid the stigma attached to getting tested. With friendly images and slogans, the media, who dodged stories of HIV/AIDS, are now informing their viewers and readers wisely and helpfully.

For more information, go here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

INtegrating the OUTcasts

Were you a member of a clique in high school? Whether you were a member of the chess club, a cheerleader, a Mathlete, or MVP of the football team, it was societally acceptable for you to receive an integrated and equal education. However, young people living with HIV have experienced discrimination by society due to the lack of public education about the disease. From 2001-2007 the prevalence of HIV in Eastern Europe has increased 140 percent. People are so afraid of the social effects of being HIV positive that many have neglected to seek medical help for their condition. According to a recent survey regarding the education of HIV positive children, many citizens living in the Ukraine and Russia believe that it “would be better to create a boarding school for them, so that they could be educated separately.”

To combat the negative stigma that is associated with HIV, UNDP has launched a campaign in Eastern Europe to help promote public education about the condition and to integrate historically marginalized populations into society regardless of their status as a HIV-positive individual. Providing equal education, access to jobs, and health care are the main goals of the UNDP's work in Eastern Europe.

For more information, click here

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Most Popular Man Around

What makes Zafor Ullah such a popular man? Is it the dashing way he parts his hair or his stylish camouflage pants? Or maybe it's the stash of condoms in his house?

Zafor is a 22-year-old refugee from Myanmar living in the Nayapara Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. He is also a community health worker and he has been distributing condoms from his home for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

From 2005 to 2008, condom distribution jumped from 780 to 62,580 and dramatically reduced the incidence of STDs by 67% in these camps. Distribution is combined with training on HIV prevention and family planning education.

For more information about UNHCR, visit the website.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Forget firewood! Rice husk is the way to go!

Do you live far away from the closest forest? Is it costing you an arm and a leg to buy firewood for your stove? If so, then you should switch to a rice husk stove!

Rice husk stoves are fueled by rice husks instead of firewood. They are an ideal solution for villages with rice mills that are not near a forest. These stoves were introduced to Purainya village in Nepal, which is in this exact situation, by Nature and Human Development Centre (NHDC) with financial support from UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme.

The sudden increase in demand for rice husks has increased its cost ten-fold from Rs. 2 to Rs. 20 for 5 kg (2-7 days worth depending on family size). However, this is still significantly cheaper than firewood at about Rs. 150 per week.

For the full article, go here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fish Food!

What is your favorite food? Is it spaghetti? Or maybe it's chilly ice cream? Well, if seafood is your favorite and you live in Angola, chances are it came from Ambriz!

Today, the UNDP along with locally-based organizations have begun to implement a plan to make a life of fishing easier for all in Ambriz. The Fishermen Cooperative was created to better organize the relationship between the fishers and to support the creation of 30 individual fishing businesses. Planning for the future, Ambriz has started a youth training program, training 10 youth over the period of six months to take positions in the cooperative as mechanics, electricians, and other useful roles.

At this point in time, 90% of Ambriz has enrolled into the program and are effectively fishing and making gains in their community. So the next time you are sitting down to a herb-crusted salmon or a beer-battered fillet of whiting, think about the fishermen!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wind farms? What's next? Cloud farms?

Wind farming is a fantastic way to work your green thumb without all the strenuous digging, messy fertilizing or daily watering! But crop rotations can become a hassle.

Wind farms are on the rise in the Philippines. After completing the 33-megawatt wind farm in Ilocos Norte – currently the largest in Southeast Asia – Northpoint Wind Power Corp. plans to build a larger 40MW facility in Cagayan.

The Filipino government has shown support for wind power initiatives and aims to harness 200MW to 400MW from wind energy in the next 15 to 20 years. They also passed the Renewable Energy Bill, which will help attract investors to projects focused on lessening dependence on traditional fossil fuel.

The UNDP-Global Environment Facility is assisting in project preparation and in securing loan guarantees.

For the full article, go here. For more information about the UNDP-GEF, go to their website.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ethnic Integration in Kosovo

Can you imagine living in a country where it is legally acceptable to segregate your neighbors simply because they have different religious or cultural beliefs? It's hard to believe that since the creation of Yugoslavia in 1943, Kosovar Albanians have been ethnically segregated and have suffered violent discrimination. Luckily, the United Nations came to the rescue in 1999 following the war that erupted between Kosovar Serbians and Kosovar Albanians.

In order to prevent further ethnic conflicts from arising, the United Nations Development Programme has teamed up with CARE Kosovo to promote democratic governance and the societal integration of minorities into society. Not being able to call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency was a reality for Kosovar Albanians. Instead of providing security, the pan-Serbian police force was known to carry out atrocities against Kosovar Albanians. Thus one of the UN's first measures was to provide all the citizens of Kosovo security by desegregating the police task force.

In addition to providing security to Kosovars, the UNDP is working to incorporate minorities into government affairs and local organizations. By assisting citizens with the creation of reliable ethnically-mixed democratic governments that guarantee the equality of all persons regardless of religious or cultural heritage, the UNDP hopes to create a Kosovar society in which all ethnicities are accepted.

For more on the United Nations' work to improve ethnic relations through Democratic Initiatives, click here