Author Archives: Humanosphere

Advocates urge U.S. to cease support for African agriculture initiative

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A program meant to help agriculture in Africa is causing more harm than good and should be closed, says an advocacy group. The 3-year-old New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition allowed large corporations to make land grabs that are to the detriment of small farmers, according to a new report by ActionAid. Released ahead

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Health gap between urban rich and poor getting worse


In cities, access to quality health care varies greatly between the rich and poor, from Lagos to Washington, D.C. The poorest urban children in some developing countries are twice as likely to die as their wealthy counterparts. Steps must be taken immediately to eliminate health inequality, says charity group Save the Children. Its annual State of

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Map of the Day: A new future for the World Bank


The World Bank’s influence is waning. Some point to the emerging Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as evidence of the body’s declining power, but it is the World Bank’s own projections that illustrate the change. Thirty-six countries will graduate from World Bank loans over the next four years (see the above gif). The World Bank maintains

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To get people to build toilets, turn to subsidies

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PONKRUM, Ghana — The one public bathroom in Ponkrum collapsed a few years ago. An effort to build a new one yielded a large pit that is used for trash, not defecation. For the people living in the small village near the Ghanian coast, there is no other option than going out in the open.

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Aid to poor countries fell, shows report

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By the amount spent, overall development assistance increased in 2014. But in real terms it fell by 0.5 percent and less of that money went to the world’s least-developed countries than the year prior, shows the data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) this week. With development assistance making up more than two-thirds of

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Yemen on “verge of crisis” warn UN and aid groups

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Violence in Yemen is hampering efforts to provide humanitarian assistance, warned the United Nations and aid groups this week. The separate releases from the groups urged groups in Yemen to stop immediately. “A week of heavy airstrikes across much of Yemen, where more than 60 percent of the population are already reliant on aid, will result

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Death by fire in India a big risk, especially for women


By Amy VanderZanden, special to Humanosphere In the United States, when we think about fire, we might imagine a campfire or, in the summer, a forest fire. We worry about house fires, and efforts to improve building codes and enhance fire safety to has translated into fire deaths in this country to fall to the

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News in the Humanosphere: Filipino nurses kidnapped in Libya by Islamic State

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Militants from the Islamic State affiliate in Libya kidnapped four nurses from the Philippines in broad daylight from a hospital in the city of Sirte, while several others were evacuated on Monday. Election Day in Israel: Polls show that Prime Minister Netanyahu is on the ropes in a nail-biter of an election with profound regional

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Media and NGOs: 12 leading reporters on aid and development

This is the third part in a series on the relationship between NGOs and the media. The international aid and development sector is sprawling and somewhat difficult to define. It means that the journalists covering it report on many different stories. Despite some of the tension between media and NGOs, there are some reporters who are doing

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Central America big winner in White House budget proposal

The international affairs budget in the White House request for fiscal year 2016 received an unexpected boost yesterday. The Obama administration requested $54.8 billion to fund diplomatic, humanitarian and development work for next year. It is a 7.7 percent increase that may reverse a five-year trend of spending cuts. But the devil is in the

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News in the Humanosphere: Tax fraud costs Africa $50 billion a year

New data on how illicit corporate practices and organized crime are drains on African economies: “Africa loses at least $50 billion a year to illicit practices like tax fraud, corruption and organized crime, a worrying situation that is hurting the continent’s economies, a U.N.-mandated study group warned Sunday. Illicit financial flows – which range from

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Patently unfair: On the need for more equitable drug pricing

For this Humanosphere podcast, we are talking to James (aka Jamie) Love, director of an organization that works for social justice and equity in the realm of intellectual property – patents, copyrights and those sorts of things. The organization Love runs, based in DC, has the somewhat inscrutable name of Knowledge Ecology International and it has

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The striking economic toll of Ebola and war on African countries


Ebola in West Africa and the conflict in South Sudan are causing significant harm to regional economies in sub Saharan Africa. Separate reports issued on Wednesday detailed the steep costs. Together, they show just how regions are affected by sudden crises – whether they be conflict or the spread of a virus. For East Africa,

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Wonks disagree over whether IMF contributed to Ebola crisis

A commentary arguing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) helped to weaken health care in the West African countries struggling with Ebola caused a bit of a debate between academics. Critics of the commentary say the connection between the IMF and Ebola in West Africa is tenuous and assumes the large money lender has far more

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