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Foundation Funds Disaster Journalism
Dec 16, 2009; trust.org | Normal.dotm 0 0 1 281 1603 NINA 13 3 1968 12.0 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false Apropos of yesterday’s newswire on techy activist tools, here’s news from the Thomson Reuters Foundation Web site that they’re funding a new venture called Emergency Information Service (EIS), which will “channel vital data from the field back up into the aid response.” In addition to funding the necessary infrastructure, trainings will be provided to on-the-ground humanitarian nonprofits, and has been designed and deployed in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. —James David Morgan
Something Rotten in Denmark?
Dec 16; Los Angeles Times | WNGO’s are getting squeezed out of the Climate talks in Copenhagen reports the Los Angeles Times among other news sources (here’s an example). Space is an issue, claim the organizers. And NGO’s numbers at the talks are being reduced daily from 15,000 last week to 1,000 today (Thursday). Some groups are not happy about this reduction and elimination of some groups all together. There are lots of stories about excessive force used against protestors by Danish Police. One account is here. A representative form OxFam America was quoted in the story “With the negotiations here in crisis we desperately need the engagement and witness of people’s organizations to keep the pressure on political leaders to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal.” Many groups are upset with what’s seen as favorable treatment of developed countries. Friends of the Earth is one nonprofit that’s denouncing some of the actions in Copenhagen.—Kristin Barrali
A Note of Gratitude to Courageous Aid Workers in 2009
Dec 14, 2009; Charity and Security | At this time of the year, it seems to us appropriate to note and honor the people who have given their lives in service of providing aid to other nations—not as military people, but as employees of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In this list, you will see employees of well known NGOs such as CARE and Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders). Remember some people employed in the nonprofit sector risk their lives on a daily basis. Because in some cases these workers are delivering assistance funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), targeting aid workers is related to U.S. foreign policies. The current approach in the Obama/Clinton philosophy at the State Department is “soft power,” relying on humanitarian aid (with an emphasis on education, for example) as opposed to military intervention (although the recent decision of President Obama to expand the U.S. presence in Afghanistan would seem to contradict this somewhat). But the challenges faced by nonprofit staff working in Afghanistan, the Sudan, Pakistan, and Yemen, to name a few dangerous places in the world, are a lot tougher than raising money to cover budget deficits. As members of the same sector, but not facing one iota of the physical and personal challenges of these people, we are taking the time to recognize our colleagues who take these risks every day in the performance of their nonprofit work responsibilities.—Rick Cohen
D.C. AIDS Funding Shifted from Needy Neighborhoods
Dec 14, 2009; Washington Post | Washington D.C. has huge numbers of people with AIDS, particularly in the predominantly African-American wards 7 and 8. But $1 million of the $3.5 million East of the River Initiative, ostensibly focused on AIDS in these wards, didn’t get there, but was diverted to nonprofits in other neighborhoods. Some of the groups in wards 7 and 8 were hardly qualified to deliver the AIDS assistance or anything else for that matter. Counseling programs were run by people without counseling skills or certifications, others by people with false academic credentials (including phony doctorates), grants went to friends of city officials or to churches affiliated with politicians, and still other contracts were awarded to organizations with track records of financial unaccountability and worse. The head of the city council, a former nonprofit human services CEO, has been active tracking the use or misuse of these AIDS funds, and the results have left him flabbergasted: “There was not one grant that had been awarded to an organization indigenous to ward 7. It was almost as if no one had thought about fighting this at the neighborhood and community level.” One would hope that D.C.’s non-voting member of Congress and its elected officials in City Hall would now gear up in outrage to make the corrections to the scandal that this article, and the rest of the investigative series, has so ably and sadly revealed.—Rick Cohen
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