Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Faith, Hope, Charity ... Development Funding For AIDS, Malaria, Education

"President Bush has made fighting AIDS and malaria in poor nations signature issues, and now the three leading Democratic presidential candidates are laying claim to the theme of educating children in poor countries.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York proposed legislation yesterday [May 1, 2007] to spend $10 billion over five years to build classrooms, train teachers and get millions of children, especially girls, into school in the developing world. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and John Edwards of North Carolina have made their own ambitious education proposals for poor nations in recent speeches.

All three are positioning education in developing countries — which has commanded increasing, though still relatively modest federal resources — as a national security issue. The candidates say public education is an important way to combat terrorism and extremist ideas and to restore the United States’ moral standing.

Mrs. Clinton co-sponsored similar bills with Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York, in 2004 and 2006, but yesterday was the first time the legislation had Republican backers: Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama and Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon.

“This is the political stars coming into alignment,” Mrs. Clinton said, “and we hope the president will take advantage of it.”

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, federal financing for education in developing countries ranged from $100 million to $200 million; in the Bush years, it has risen to more than $500 million. Estimates of the cost of educating a child in poor countries range from $50 to $100 a year." ...

Celia W. Dugger "3 Democrats Suggest Plans for Education in Poor Nations" New York Times May 2, 2007



"As the world celebrates Global Action Week on Education, UNICEF urges donors and governments to keep their promises on education by reinforcing their commitment to the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.

This year’s Global Action Week focuses on Education as a Human Right – a right denied to millions of children worldwide. Some progress has been achieved over the past 15 years, with net enrolment for primary education in developing countries increasing from 79 per cent in 1990 to 86 per cent in 2004.

Yet the number of children out of school remains high. In the 2001-2002 school year, some 115 million children of primary-school age were not in school – two thirds of them girls, and according to current estimates, 77 million eligible children are not enrolled in school and many of those enrolled do not attend. In sub-Saharan Africa for instance, only 63 per cent of boys and 59 per cent of girls go to school – the lowest rates worldwide." ...

UNICEF On Global Action Week on Education, millions of children still not in school April 23, 2007


A Bedouin mother listens to a social worker explain women’s right to share in decisions on birth control.

'USAID helps more than seventy local West Bank [Future State of Palestine] civic organizations survive, grow, and educate vast numbers of Palestinians - particularly marginalized groups like children, youth, women, and the poor - on human rights, the rule of law, and other aspects of democratic political systems.

By and large, Bedouin populations lack access to health and education services. In addition, they have little knowledge of civics making it difficult to engage them on democratic issues. USAID sponsors a mobile clinic, serving more than 5,500 people at fifty Bedouin camps in the Jericho area of the West Bank, in which doctors, nurses, and social workers reach isolated communities and provide basic health services combined with civic education.

The team visits camps three days a week over the duration of a year. During their visits to the camp, the mobile unit team provides health and civic education, medical testing, blood testing, training in first aid techniques, and social support services.

“When we talk to them about their rights while providing basic services, they are very receptive to the ideas,” civic education facilitator Abdallah explains. “Our frequent visits build bridges of trust that will yield more civic education opportunities in the future.”'

Photo and caption credit : Tamkeen Project and U.S. AID. With thanks.


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