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Mercy, India

There is a new shift in political interest in sanitation in India with the newly launched Swacha Bharat Abhiyan on 2 October 2014. Given this renewed interest, this paper investigates the specific context of a post-disaster situation and approaches to sanitation using the case study of Odisha, India. Progress in sanitation when juxtaposed with a disaster relief and recovery situation depends upon the socio-economic conditions, community practices in sanitation and hygiene, and political response to sanitation and disasters. This study uses empirical evidence gathered in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin in 2013. The evidence was collected through focus group discussions with communities, interviews with local non-governmental agencies, and meetings with agencies. The emerging data helps in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of sanitation in the post-disaster context in Odisha, and links the evidence to pre-existing chronic issues including open defecation practice and other socio-economic disparities. © Practical Action Publishing, 2015. Source


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/technology-news/

Today, the 25-year-old engineer boasts about his company, its 20 full-time staff and the final check he is issuing to cover the $40,000 spent on designing and furnishing the office. The firm, called Haweya for Information Technology, specializes in branding for new or restructuring businesses. Its name in Arabic means "identity." "I was shocked by the painful work situation in Gaza; there were no jobs and getting a job is very, very difficult. That's where the idea came from," Qudih said, sitting behind a white laptop on his dark wooden desk. It is a rare success story in Gaza, whose economy has been battered by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade and a 50-day war between Israel and the territory's Hamas rulers last year. Israel considers Hamas, an Islamic militant group committed to its destruction, to be a terrorist organization. Qudih said the idea for his startup had been in his mind since he entered university in 2009. Five years later, Haweya saw light after receiving support from the Mobaderoon project. The program, which means "entrepreneurs" in Arabic, is administered by the Palestinian Welfare Association, a development agency, with funding from the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. In all, there are now four business incubators and accelerators in Gaza, offering advice and financial assistance to aspiring high-tech entrepreneurs. One is run by the U.S. charity Mercy Corps. "We can say it's a trend," said Yousef Elhallaq of Mobaderoon. "It has been an actual phenomenon in Gaza and the interest in it, in part, is driven by unemployment." Haweya is one of dozens of startups that have survived despite the conflicts, the blockade and Gaza's run-down infrastructure. At best, they get eight hours of electricity on any given day. The Israeli-Egyptian blockade restricts the movement of people in and out of Gaza, and the territory is still recovering from the damage of last year's war. The closure has been a driving force for the entrepreneurs, who are forced to innovate in order to confront the unique challenges they face. Gaza startups are currently developing cheaper, local alternatives to expensive products like 3-D printers and stabilizers for video cameras. In May, the World Bank put the unemployment rate in Gaza at 43 percent and warned the economy is on the "verge of collapse" due to the war, blockade and poor governance. Hamas has ruled Gaza since driving out forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in 2007. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed, and Gaza now hosts two bloated and cash-strapped bureaucracies loyal to rival factions. The internationally shunned Hamas has struggled to pay its staff, and has not hired anyone in the public sector in the past two years. The Mobaderoon program has created about 100 jobs so far, a small number in a territory of 1.8 million people. Still, it is a notable achievement, especially in light of the public sector turmoil. In November, young entrepreneurs gathered at a hall co-managed by the Islamic University's Business and Technology Incubator, auditioning to be among 20 startups accepted into the third round of the Mobaderoon program. Each successful startup is entitled to about $10,000 in cash, machines, consultation and support, according to Elhallaq, their supervisor. In one of the few projects that don't employ information technology and communication, Dalia Abu Tahoun and her colleagues offered visitors white cheese cubes on toothpicks. Their idea was to naturally fortify soft cheese with calcium and phytoestrogens to make the nutrients cheaply and easily available for women and children suffering from fragile bones. On another desk, Ahmed al-Shuraffa, 22, showed off a project that allows smartphone users to take a 3-D tour of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The mosque, Islam's third holiest site, is a key Palestinian religious and national symbol. Al-Shuraffa, like most Gazans his age, has never been to Jerusalem and he counts this as one of the main difficulties for his project. He relies on images and data provided by friends. "Working in an environment and trying to recall it virtually in a place you have never visited, or which is difficult to imagine, is a big problem," he said. Haweya offers event management as well as web, architecture and interior designs to local and international clients, many of them in the Arab Gulf. They remotely designed the logo and stage setup for the third International Forum for Humanitarian Action, which was held in Qatar in May. The closure prevents them from signing more deals, and Qudih prays for the opening of the crossings to boost business. However, he is satisfied with what he has done so far. "It's a beautiful feeling to reach a result, where the idea has become a reality and the dream has come true in Gaza's difficult circumstances," he said. In this Tuesday Nov. 24, 2015 photo, Palestinian employees brainstorm their ideas as they compete for acceptance in the third version of Mobaderoon project, hosted by the Islamic University's Business and Technology Incubator in Gaza City. The program, which means "entrepreneurs" in Arabic, is administered by the Palestinian Welfare Association, a development agency, with funding from the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra) Explore further: Gazans turn to solar power as fuel crisis bites


Friend R.,Institute for Social and Environmental Transition ISET | Jarvie J.,Mercy Corps | Reed S.O.,u Co | Sutarto R.,Mercy Corps Indonesia | And 2 more authors.
Urban Climate | Year: 2014

Emerging literature on urban climate adaptation emphasizes the need to "mainstream" climate change resilience into city planning, while simultaneously acknowledging a frequent disconnect between planning and implementation, especially in countries where governance lacks transparency and/or technical capacity. Moreover, how to influence planning towards prioritizing climate vulnerabilities is by no means self-evident. Particularly in developing countries, policy and planning processes are often complex, murky, and can be poorly understood even by the planners themselves. This paper discusses gaps in the process of mainstreaming climate resilience in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Experience indicates that there is a common fundamental governance deficit among the three countries in that there is frequently no effective planning process into which climate change resilience could be mainstreamed. Even where governance mechanisms do function, they are often at odds with the kinds of adaptive, learning oriented processes that are at the heart of climate resilience theory. Reconfiguring urban governance is the core challenge, and within this, greater accountability and transparency. This requires informed public dialogue, where critical information about land, current and projected risks and vulnerabilities is in the public domain, and where regulatory framework, public access to redress and remedy is strengthened. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


News Article | November 19, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/internet.xml

Facebook is attempting to increase its efforts at being a Good Samaritan as it is looking to dabble in a new crowdsourcing fundraising tool to enable charitable efforts. Facebook created the Social Good Team in September to aid organizations and people who were working for humanitarian causes. Earlier in 2015, the social networking site also introduced the "Donate Now" button to help NGOs. On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Facebook revealed that it was improving its Donate button and introducing a new fundraiser tool for nonprofits. The tools and new features were crafted to enable nonprofits to spread awareness and to raise funds easily as well. "Today we're testing fundraisers - a new tool - and improving our Donate button, to allow people to donate to charities without leaving Facebook. We hope these features help nonprofits reach new supporters, engage their community and get the valuable funding they need to continue their good work," noted Naomi Gleit, Facebook's VP of Product Management. Facebook already has 37 organizations on board and three of these i.e. Mercy Corps, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and World Wildlife Fund have started using the fundraiser feature. The new fundraising tool will enable nonprofits to not only start a virtual campaign and rally support, but also raise funds and collect donations directly on Facebook itself. The donations information site also reveals that nonprofits will be able to share their goal progress, run themed campaigns etc. How to Use the Fundraising Tools The fundraising pages will operate similarly to the "create an event" feature and will be available to all Facebook users. Nonprofits will be able to start conversations and invite people. They will also be able to update the page, add videos and photos. Like other crowdfunding sites, the Facebook fundraising page will also have a progress bar that will reflect the funds raised since the start of the campaign. One will be able to donate directly to the page, as well as share the fundraising page with their friends on Facebook. Any shared fundraiser post will automatically reflect the Donate button. While Facebook is not charging its partners for the new tools as of now, it will be instituting a fee in the long term to cover operational costs.


News Article | November 18, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/internet.xml

Nonprofits can finally use Facebook features specifically tailored to their needs with new tools that not only enhance the utility of nonprofits for Facebook users, but for organizations that use it to promote their philanthropic causes. In an official statement released on Nov. 18, the social media company announced that it began exploring fundraising aids as early as 2013. "As a company we have also partnered with organizations to create donation campaigns after major natural disasters, like the Nepal earthquake," the company stated, "and we hope these new tools will help these groups do even more." The new features come in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris and Kenya — all of which saw an outpouring of support and solidarity from users for and with the victims and their mourning compatriots, as well philanthropic efforts from the social media site, from French tricolor Facebook photos to check-in apps for users to let loved ones know that they were safe. One of the major socially conscious-oriented implementations on the social site is the "fundraiser" tool, which lets nonprofits create campaigns akin to those on Kickstarter. On these campaign pages, users can track donations collected, connect to supporters and essentially "market" their specific cause. Examples of possible Facebook fundraisers include "year-end drives, themed campaigns and special projects," which the site suggested in its launch statement. Aside from the new features, Facebook has also improved its "donate" button, which now lets users give charity to various causes and organizations without leaving the website. Currently, Facebook is working with 37 different nonprofit partners (including Mercy Corps, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and World Wildlife Fund) to test out the tools, all while keeping in mind opportunities to expand its scope in the near future. As for the impetus of implementing the new tools and updated donate feature? "People raise money for disaster relief, they search for missing children, and they bring attention to the issues they care about," said Facebook in a statement. "We've seen from our community that when people take action, lives are changed. We know we can do more to enable these connections."

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