Sierra Leone is one of the most frightening places in which to be a pregnant woman – with one of the world’s highest proportion of mothers dying in childbirth and 44 in every 1000 newborns failing to make it to 28 days old.
Over a year has passed since the first confirmed case of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Since then the disease has taken close to 4000 lives in the country - and the death toll continues to rise. Even though new cases have declined and are now limited to sporadic flare ups, the battle isn’t over. Grave risk to life is still posed by the strain the outbreak has placed on Sierra Leone’s fragile health systems.
4 reasons the financing for development conference matters
2015 is a pivotal year in the fight to end global poverty. In September, our elected leaders will agree on a new set of goals that will guide the development agenda for the next 15 years. These goals – currently known as the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs are ambitious; aiming to end extreme poverty, achieve universal health coverage, gender equity, and quality education for all by 2030, among other big ideas.
The tough training, the early mornings and long evenings. The sacrificed weekends and of course, the fundraising. And for what? A medal and some finish line photographs of you looking – well, not your best. So why do I and the thousands of others take part in these gruelling challenges for charity?
Stephanie Green, a VSO volunteer in northern Ghana, has been talking to women’s groups and local women leaders. She finds that the main barriers to decision-making are not only women’s lack of education and representation, but also cultural attitudes and getting appropriate funding.
I had never been to Brussels until this week when I was immersed in one of the world’s leading events on development, the European Development Days. For two straight days, thousands of people from all over the world gathered to discuss, debate and at times argue the current and future models of development. I heard about global citizenship, culture and sustainability, technology and business but what I most wanted to hear were the voices of the people directly affected by these ‘issues’ and they were not always the loudest.
The swathe of public services that simply wouldn’t exist in the UK without volunteers is staggering. Day after day, people give their time and skills to a wide range of services - from caring to mentoring and from sports to arts. Incredibly, a Kings Fund study found that volunteers contribute more than 13 million hours per year to England’s National Health Service.
Volunteering, learning and inspiring: “What is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” This is one of my favourite quotes, from a novel called Cloud Atlas (by David Mitchell). It reflects how I feel about volunteering, and particularly about individual motivation and collective responsibility. I strongly believe that as citizens of the world, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
VSO Volunteer Catherine Bedford usually works at Modilon General Hospital in Papua New Guinea, offering care and psycho social support to women who have experienced routine physical and sexual violence. Temporarily switching her post for a place at the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok, Catherine reports on how civil society organisations are demanding that the needs of people living in poverty are met by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world on May 12 each year. The date coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale – one of the most famous and internationally recognised pioneers of modern day nursing.