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Studies in Family Planning Publishes Special Issue on Unmet Need

June 23rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Studies in Family Planning Publishes Special Issue on Unmet Need 

See: http://www.popcouncil.org/news/studies-in-family-planning-publishes-special-issue-on-unmet-need

June Issue Explores Challenges in Addressing Unmet Need for Contraception, Featuring Research and Case Studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America

NEW YORK, NY (16 June 2014) - Studies in Family Planning, a leading journal published by the Population Council, released “Unmet Need for Family Planning”-a special issue featuring ten articles, including a comprehensive introduction to the topic of unmet need. Distinguished researchers explore trends related to unmet need for contraception, and many articles point to practical strategies for increasing contraceptive knowledge and uptake, and for overcoming barriers that prevent women from practicing contraception.

“Unmet need has been an important indicator for measuring the progress of family planning programs for more than 25 years,” said John Bongaarts, vice president and Distinguished Scholar at the Population Council. “This issue features work from some of the leading minds in family planning. It explores trends, identifies issues, and proposes solutions to ensure that sexual and reproductive health programs and policies are structured to meet the changing needs of women and men over the course of their reproductive lives.”

The FP2020 goal of expanding family planning services to an additional 120 million women invites interest in exploring the reasons for nonuse of contraceptives among women with a desire to postpone or end childbearing (unmet need).

See: http://www.popcouncil.org/news/studies-in-family-planning-publishes-special-issue-on-unmet-need

A Darker View of the Age of Us – the Anthropocene

June 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

A Darker View of the Age of Us – the Anthropocene 

See: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/a-darker-view-of-the-age-of-us-the-anthropocene/

I alerted a batch of scholars and scientists focused on climate change and sustainable development to my taped talk on “Paths to a ‘Good’ Anthropocene” at the annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.

Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Australia’s Charles Sturt University and the author of “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change,” reacted bluntly. Read on for his reply to the group, which he also posted on his blog, followed by an initial reply from me. I’m going to edit a version of the video that includes my slides and will weigh in at greater length when that’s ready.

Here’s Hamilton’s critique, which doesn’t deal with the core argument of my talk (the need for a shift in goals from numerical outcomes to societal qualities) and instead focuses on my use of the word “good” in relation to an era he clearly sees as awful.

***********************************************************

Dear Andy

Thanks for sending the link to your talk on “Charting Paths to a ‘Good’ Anthropocene”. Since you ask for responses let me express my view bluntly. In short, I think those who argue for the “good Anthropocene” are unscientific and live in a fantasy world of their own construction.

If we listen to what Earth system scientists, including climate scientists, are telling us, the warming of the Earth due to human causes is a slowly unfolding catastrophe. We already have 2.4°C of warming locked in and, even under the most optimistic mitigation scenarios, it will be very hard to avoid 4°C by the end of this century. According to those best placed to make projections, a world 4°C warmer would be a very different kind of planet, one unsympathetic to most forms of life, including human life. Apart from climatic change, other manifestations of human impact in the Anthropocene, from interference in the nitrogen cycle to plastics in the oceans, only add to the grim outlook.

See: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/a-darker-view-of-the-age-of-us-the-anthropocene/

When Motherly Joy Turns to Pure Agony

June 23rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Please God, kill my children before they are born 

See: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/22572/please-god-kill-my-children-before-they-are-born/

The midwife handed her the baby. She took the tiny thing in her arms and stared at him. He was beautiful. For a fleeting moment, she felt unbound joy. He was a part of her. He was… her focus shifted. He was nothing but a hungry mouth to feed like the eight others that awaited her at the house.

Or if one could even call it a house. Two shabby rooms with a makeshift stove and a bathroom next to them was home sweet home. The ceiling leaked, the doors creaked while the paint was in tatters. Her husband had not been able to afford the repair in ages. From clothing to food, everything was scarce, except for the number of children.

She had stopped feeling the motherly joy five children ago. The motherly joy turned to pure agony when she had to watch them sleep on empty stomachs, night after night. Only when another woman in labour at the midwife’s house had told her that she could stop the whole thing by undergoing a little surgery, she mustered the courage to bring it up to her husband. That was the first time he had slapped her.

See: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/22572/please-god-kill-my-children-before-they-are-born/

Just the Numbers: The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

June 23rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Just the Numbers: 

The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

See:  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2014/06/13/index.html

For more than 45 years, the United States-through its Agency for International Development (USAID)-has been a global leader in enhancing women’s access to contraceptive services in the world’s poorest countries. Empowering women with control over their own fertility yields benefits for them, their children and their families. It means fewer unintended-and often high-risk-pregnancies and fewer abortions, most of which in the developing world are performed under unsafe conditions. Better birth spacing also makes for healthier mothers, babies and families, and pays far-reaching dividends at the family, society and country levels.

The Benefits of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

A total of $610 million (of which $35 million is designated for the United Nations Population Fund) is appropriated for U.S. assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs for FY 2014.

See:  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2014/06/13/index.html

GuideStar Gives Population Media Center Gold Status

June 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Listener club in Katsina JUN 2008SHELBURNE, VT – There are a number of nonprofit organizations working to make the world a better place.  GuideStar makes it easy to figure out what these organizations are really doing, what their missions are, and whether or not they are having an impact. In June, GuideStar gave Population Media Center, an international non-profit organization, gold status.

“We push ourselves to higher levels every time we fill out or update a profile like GuideStar’s,” says Paul Ugalde, Population Media Center’s Director of Development. “We’re dedicated to meeting the highest standards.”

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit organization that creates entertaining serial dramas for radio and television that address social issues. The long-running soap operas inspire thought and conversation among the audience to increase understanding around issues like family planning, reproductive health, women’s rights, education, and HIV/AIDS.

GuideStar is an online listing service that displays key information about non-profit organizations, such as an organization’s impact and mission statements.  Their mission is to increase transparency about non-profits to allow donors to make better decisions and encourage charitable giving. GuideStar rates non-profit organizations according to three levels – bronze, silver, or gold – and they are looking for transparency and accountability.

“By achieving GuideStar’s gold status, PMC has shown again that it’s a credible organization,” says Ugalde. “PMC is consistent in its message, image, and practices. We are doing what we say we’re doing and it’s having significant impact. We deal in trust, transparency, and accountability.”

Visit PMC’s profile on GuideStar.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Nigerian Radio Drama for Social Change Expanding to 18 Million More People

June 16th, 2014 | Add a Comment

SHELBURNE, VT – A radio soap opera aimed at improving human health and enhancing human rights will now be broadcast to more than 18 million additional Nigerians. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has partnered with Population Media Center (PMC) to increase the broadcast area for a radio soap opera designed to increase knowledge around family planning, HIV/AIDS, adolescent reproductive health, women’s education, and gender-based violence. Tafigawalo (“Working Toward Change”) is a nine-month radio serial drama that began airing in southern Nigeria in November of 2013. The new broadcast begins across seven different radio stations this June.

“UNFPA is looking for partners like PMC,” says Adeola Olunloyo, UNFPA’s National Programme Officer in Nigeria for behavior change communications and advocacy, “to reach large numbers of people, particularly women and girls, and empower them to reach their full potential. They can be what they want to be. They can aspire to have a bigger life – a better life.”

Tafigawalo has been airing twice per week in the Pidgin language in three southern Nigerian states. UNFPA’s funding will expand the broadcast to several more southeastern Nigerian states, reaching the states of Abia, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, the Federal Capital Territory, Imo, and rebroadcasting in Lagos.

“I’m excited about this because it not only shows UNFPA’s confidence in our program and our ability to achieve results, but it greatly expands the reach of Tafigawalo, and that means we’ll be able to positively impact more people’s lives,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs.

The rebroadcast area includes 18 million additional people, not including the potential to reach more people in Lagos. This broadcast will more than double the population in the original broadcast area.

“PMC has produced three other radio dramas in Nigeria with promising results,” says Bill Ryerson, PMC’s President. “Sixty-seven percent of reproductive health clients in Ruwan Dare’s broadcast area named that PMC program as their motivation to seek health services in 2009. We’re pleased to have that kind of impact and are excited to partner with UNFPA to continue building on the good work being done in Nigeria.”

UNFPA agrees, which is why they decided that Tafigawalo would be a powerful way to address cross-cutting issues like family planning, girls education, and gender-based violence.

“This is a good platform to address issues UNFPA is passionate about,” says Olunloyo. “A drama of that duration allows many issues to be addressed. The characters in the drama allow people to see themselves and evolve with the characters from someone without information or with misinformation to someone who is better informed about life saving issues.”

Tafigawalo is aimed at some of Nigeria’s most pressing health and human rights concerns, such as family planning. Only 14.1 percent of people in Nigeria say they use any form of contraception, and UNFPA estimates that anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million women suffer from obstetric fistula. Tafigawalo also stresses the importance of girls’ education, which is important when only 43 percent of Nigerian women obtain a secondary education. And Tafigawalo also addresses gender-based violence, an issue that is prevalent in Nigerian communities.

“The current crisis of kidnapped school girls in northern Nigeria is symptomatic of the low status of women and girls in all of Nigeria,” says Ephraim Okon, PMC’s Nigeria Country Representative when discussing the importance of Tafigawalo.

It is hoped that enhancing the health and rights of women and girls will not only improve people’s lives today, but it will also benefit Nigeria’s overall infrastructure. Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world with over 170 million people and an annual population growth rate of 3.18 percent. This means that Nigeria’s infrastructure needs to be prepared to support a population that’s expected to be more than 207 million by 2020, a short six years away.

“The writing and production of Tafigawalo is of extremely high quality, and this program deserves to be aired across the southern part of Nigeria,” said Barker as she talked about PMC’s vast experience in creating long-running radio serial dramas, like Tafigawalo, that engage audiences and effect change. “It has the power to change lives, and UNFPA’s funding will result in more lives changed.”

The rebroadcast of Tafigawalo will run until spring of 2015. PMC will be conducting research during the broadcast and at its conclusion to assess impact.

“UNFPA is really looking forward to seeing the results and hopes that many lives are transformed through this partnership with PMC,” says Olunloyo. “Due to societal, cultural, and religious barriers, many families don’t get to live fulfilling lives. If we can separate misconceptions from facts and help people make informed decisions about their health, particularly reproductive health, we can empower families to build a better society.”

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

 

ABOUT UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA):

UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency that expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. We deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA accelerates progress towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning and safe motherhood. We also advance the rights and opportunities of young people. www.unfpa.org

7 Billion and Counting: That Is A Lot of People

June 16th, 2014 | Add a Comment

7 Billion and Counting: That Is A Lot of People

See: http://www.ecori.org/beyond-the-region/2014/6/3/7-billion-and-counting-thats-a-lot-of-people.html

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution some 250 years ago, the widespread use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that began about a century and a half later and the atomic half-life of the past seven decades, humans have developed and doused land and dammed and diverted water. These practices have left a wound that continues to fester as the human population swells.

Artificial fertilizer and the commercialization of industrial nitrogen changed the world significantly, according to author Alan Weisman, who was a panelist at The Nature Conservancy’s first forum in its 2014 Future of Nature Boston Speaker Series. “Forty percent of us wouldn’t be here without it,” he said.

The global population is closing in on 7.2 billion – a mere 15 years ago it was at 6 billion. Earth’s human population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. While global population growth must be part of the conversation about sustaining the planet, it is seldom discussed. The issue is largely ignored at our own peril.

Some 40 years ago, human population was at the forefront of many discussions, because it was seen then as a barrier to economic growth, said Andrew Foster, director of thePopulation Studies and Training Center at Brown University. Today, environmental concerns associated with population growth don’t have the same place on the global agenda, he said.

Roger-Mark De Souza, director of population, environmental security and resilience at the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center, said there is another reason the population conversation has been muted.

“Politically it’s a third-rail issue in D.C,” he said. “Touch it and you’re dead. It’s the easy way out to avoid a needed conversation.”

See: http://www.ecori.org/beyond-the-region/2014/6/3/7-billion-and-counting-thats-a-lot-of-people.html

Father Aldo Marchesini and Jhpiego recognized with UN Population Award

June 16th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Father Aldo Marchesini and Jhpiego recognized with UN Population Award 

See: http://www.unfpa.org/public/cache/offonce/home/news/pid/17642;jsessionid=40D780A67AC89F43BA0FFA71D471E79D.jahia01

UNITED NATIONS, New York – On 12 June, UNFPA celebrated the winners of the 2014 United Nations Population Award: Father Aldo Marchesini, a doctor and Catholic priest who treats obstetric fistula sufferers in Mozambique, and the maternal and child health organization Jhpiego.

Both award winners have dedicated more than four decades to saving the lives and preserving the health of women around the world.

Together, their efforts have improved and expanded reproductive and maternal health care, benefiting countless women and their families.

The cause of a lifetime

Dr. Marchesini, originally from Italy, learned to treat obstetric fistula in 1973, while training at a hospital in Uganda. He knew immediately that he would devote his life to the cause.

Obstetric fistula is a complication of childbirth occurring almost exclusively in places where basic maternal health care is unavailable. Prolonged or obstructed labour tears a hole in the birth canal, leading to chronic incontinence and, often, social isolation and marginalization.

“The following year, 1974, I went to Mozambique and I began to operate on every woman appearing in my hospital,” Dr. Marchesini said. Those who arrived for treatment were “suffering and rejected women,” he explained.

How Bangladesh’s female health workers boosted family planning

June 16th, 2014 | Add a Comment

How Bangladesh’s female health workers boosted family planning
Contraception delivered through female community health workers has helped to reduce birthrates and infant mortality

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/06/bangladesh-female-health-workers-family-planning

Wearing sandals and draped in a dark-blue sari, Aparajita Chakraborty glides into the cluster of hilltop homes with the self-assurance of someone who has long been making house calls.

She has. For more than 30 years, Chakraborty has been visiting this extended family, doing checkups and dispensing advice. But she is no doctor, she’s a community health worker who has been dispatched by the local hospital. Yet she has won the trust and gratitude of the surrounding villages by saving lives – mainly from cholera and other deadly diarrhoeal diseases.

With all the men away, either working in the rice fields or having migrated to the city, Chakraborty quickly gets down to business in the family compound of half a dozen homes. She and a colleague conduct a group interview, asking four women personal questions such as: when did they last menstruate? Are they taking the pill, or using another method of family planning?

One woman explains that she stopped taking the pill when her husband began working in Chittagong, a day’s journey away. She resumed her use of contraceptives immediately after his surprise visit. By then it was too late, and she is now expecting their third child.

Another woman says she is not using any form of contraception. The woman’s husband, it transpires, had a vasectomy after their fourth child. But he doesn’t want his brothers to know for fear they will think him impotent. So it’s a secret, albeit one that has been documented by hospital staff, along with every birth, death, marriage, divorce and other vital statistic of 225,000 people in the region.

Chakraborty knows more intimate details about the community than they know about one another. But discretion is paramount, she says: “I keep what I hear to myself. I feel like I’m part of the family.”

She is part of an all-female cadre of community health workers who span this portion of Bangladesh‘s low-lying delta, carefully maintaining one of the longest-running and most detailed health and population data sets in the developing world.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/06/bangladesh-female-health-workers-family-planning

Ehrlich & Tobias Exclusive: The Biological Bottom Line

June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment

“Why Impact Investors Must Come To Terms With the Biological Bottom Line”

 © By Paul R. Ehrlich and M. C. Tobias

When Nicholas Stern released the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (October 30, 2006) for the British government, it was already clear that global warming, resultant weather anomalies and the overall consequences of unheeded business-as-usual greenhouse gas emission syndromes represented a huge challenge for portfolio management that had unambiguously put governments on notice. Despite continuing havoc amongst the participating nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it had become clear that they should prepare for accelerating depletion of every major life-support system, and the corresponding societal chaos and economic loss which would result from escalating global temperatures and their impacts on climatic patterns and thus on biodiversity. Climate disruption presented new, but sobering opportunities; epiphanies regarding the true capacity of taxation to collectively cap the shadow now cast upon every financial market worldwide (*1) and on the future of civilization itself. (*2)

More recently, in her essay for the e-journal, Greenmoney.com, “Building a Sustainable Global Economy,” Mindy Lubber, President of CERES, wrote, “This should alarm every investor looking for long-term value creation, because climate regulatory risks alone could cost investment funds $8 trillion by 2030, according to the international consultancy Mercer.” (*3)

While the SEC and several European investor groups have now awakened to the extent of mandating environmental audits at some level of stringency, requiring a degree of transparency that should shed light on the risks to investors of new weather patterns generated by new concentrations of GHGs (greenhouse gases).  Meanwhile, biodiversity itself remains enmeshed in a seemingly impossible double-bind: there is simply no way as yet to accurately reflect true economic value of an individual, let along an entire species, or mosaic of interacting populations. All we know is that society is completely dependent on the mosaic of other organisms for its very existence.

In our book Hope on Earth: A Conversation (University of Chicago Press, May, 2014) we engaged in a discussion hinging upon the various ethical and pragmatic components of the one versus the many and of the future prospects of humanity. And we do it in a context not just of climate disruption, the loss of biodiversity, toxification of Earth, threats to health, poverty, racism, sexism, inequity and other factors the blight the human future.  Do human responses to individual plights reflect in any way an approach to realistic valuations of those individuals to this generation and future generations? Is the proclivity for heavily discounting the future and turning a blind-eye to likely ecological catastrophe built-in to a narcissism that would subject future generations to every manner of havoc as long as people are able to consume to their heart’s content now.  Is it in any way ethical for those of us in rich nations to disregard the consequences to others today, to say nothing of our own descendants?

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