After Earthquake, Nepal Sees NGO Paradigm Shift

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.

The world of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is vast and growing if you live in Nepal. Some experts estimate there is a whopping 50,000 registered NGOs (PDF) in the country, a steep increase since an NGO registration change in 1992. With that change, groups of individuals joined together in droves to create organizations to fight the languishing poverty in Nepal, a country that has been classified by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed countries since 1971. Experts also attribute the increase of Nepalese NGOs to the country’s small private enterprise sector. Most Nepalis believe the only way they can make money is through civil society where tens of millions of dollars flow through Nepal’s civil sector every year.

While many organizations follow the safe blueprint of how NGOs should operate, there are some that are devising innovative ways in which to help communities at their most basic level, especially after the earthquakes that rocked the landlocked country caused nearly 9,000 fatalities nationwide last year. The earthquakes shocked the country and exposed immense disaster relief vulnerabilities of the government as well as the throngs of NGOs that were not prepared to handle a major natural disaster.

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Video: Maternal Health Care After Nepal’s Earthquakes

If there is one thing we’ve seen over the past month or so after the earthquakes in Nepal in April and May is there is an overall concerted effort to help women who are expecting babies during the aftermath of the natural disaster.

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Aid Workers Continue Assistance After Second Nepal Earthquake

A 7.4 magnitude  earthquake hit Nepal today roughly two weeks after the last earthquake shook the impoverished nation that took the lives of 8,000 people.

Aid workers and NGOs are already in Nepal providing assistance and supplies are in the pipeline and have reached Kathmandu for distribution to remote areas. In sharp contrast to last month’s earthquake at least 48 people have been confirmed dead and more than 1,000 injured by the quake as opposed to an immediate count of thousands during the last disaster. The epicenter of today’s earthquake occurred closer to the Chinese border. Reports said aftershocks could be felt as far away as India where 17 people have died.

Direct Relief tents

Direct Relief staff in Nepal were assembling tents to augment a birthing clinic that was damaged in last month’s tragic earthquake when the second earthquake hit today. They reported that it visibly shook the mountains around them and brought down nearby buildings. Within the hour, Direct Relief reports people with injuries filled the clinic and two women went into premature labor. One of the women was experiencing serious complications, so staff raced through traffic to a referral hospital on the other side of town where she could receive more advanced care. Continue reading “Aid Workers Continue Assistance After Second Nepal Earthquake”

Day 3 Dispatch: In Nepal With Coca-Cola

I was in Nepal with Coca-Cola for a very short period of time earlier this month, but we did and saw a lot in the days we were there including:

  • (Day 1) How the local Coca-Cola bottling company is working with a Nepalese NGO that is rebuilding a community from scratch after the earthquake
  • (Day 2) How Coca-Cola is empowering businesswomen in their supply chain

On Day 3 we visited a PET (plastic) bottle recycling center run by the Himalayan Climate Initiative where we sat down with women waste workers who sort the bottles to be recycled. It was heartening to learn about the innovative ways HCI is providing benefits and dignity to the women waste workers who will remain in Nepal’s lowest caste for the rest of their lives.

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Day 1 Dispatch: In Nepal With Coca-Cola #NepalNow

It’s been raining virtually nonstop since we arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday morning. There were downpours all day without any let up until the evening. I hope we get to see the sun on Tuesday. It’s the end of the monsoon season in Nepal, but I don’t think the weather quite wants to get rid of the rain yet.

Today was our very first site visit for this Nepal trip to see Coca-Cola’s rebuilding efforts after last year’s earthquake as well as their work with women in their global #5by20 program that will empower five million women by 2020 across Coca-Cola’s value chain.

Today, we focused on how Coca-Cola is helping local NGOs rebuild after the quake as well as how Coca-Cola employees joined as a team to push through the crisis they endured after two very sizeable earthquakes.

You can read about our visit to a village about an hour and a half away from Kathmandu and how a local NGO is using innovative ways to create sustainable communities.

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Why We’re Traveling to Nepal With Coca-Cola #NepalNow #5by20

Last year I remember exactly where I was when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. I was on my way to Haiti to report on maternal health, and really good friends of mine from the International Reporting Project had been in Nepal for a very short time on a reporting trip when the quake hit. I remember tweeting them to see if everything was okay. Thankfully they were and wrote amazing, insightful articles from their harrowing experience on the ground. Even though I wasn’t in Nepal, knowing people who were and reported once the quake happened brought the crisis close to home.

The way in which countries respond to disasters varies. One thing is certain: governments cannot shoulder massive disaster relief alone. I learned this once I saw the coordinated one-year disaster relief in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Relief, I’ve learned, is always a combination of public and private partnerships that work in tandem to benefit citizens that have been hardest hit. Sometimes it is not easy and the coordination may be a bit slow-going, but the truth is private companies that have apositive, established footprint in countries with an excellent track record can benefit government and NGO partners with logistics support, private enterprise expertise, and most importantly finances.

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The Status of Nepal: The Course for Moving Forward

It has been three months since the earthquake in Nepal. Over 9,000 people lost their lives and several more were injured.  The latest figures state that over 117,000 people are displaced from their homes and over two million children have been affected. Like many countries at this time, Nepal is in great need of humanitarian assistance and help in rebuilding efforts.  However, disaster relief is a short-term issue. The fate of the country in the long term must be considered by the international community.

Nepal was already listed as one of the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake, and moving forward they will not be able to break from their rank anytime soon. However, the country does have the means to be self-sufficient with the right help.

Nepal has many natural resources, particularly minerals like zinc and copper, but they are in limited supply and hard to get to. Agriculture is the largest source of income for the country and employs the most people. Many crops grow in the region but the most popular now are rice and corn. There is great potential for agriculture in the country if they can gain access to newer methods of farming and education.  Agriculture will not only help Nepal feed its people, but boost international trading potential.

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You’ve Seen the News. Want to Help Nepal? Send Cash!

W10001533_W260-0025-051A 7.9 earthquake hit Central Nepal today. Over 1394 people are reported thus far to have lost their lives in this natural disaster that unfortunately has been predicted by many. Much of Kathmandu’s infrastructure is in ruins, temples have been lost, electricity is out, and thousands are without shelter.

The best way to help in this disaster situation is to donate money to international NGOs that are well-versed in disaster relief. They have entire teams who are trained how to start, ask the right questions, and can deploy emergency shelter, food, water, and everyday necessities. They also know how to provide medical relief and aid and in the long run can help families with work in order to earn money in an environment that has been reduced to rubble.

I saw the wide-sweeping and effective relief efforts of international NGOs  after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines when I visited with a World Vision USA team for the one year anniversary in 2014. I know that because of large NGOs’ experience and coordinated efforts they can help disaster relief rapidly and in tandem with the Nepalese government. In fact, the UN has a coordinated system already in place called Cluster Coordination so that NGOs work together and not in vacuous sylos.

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How Is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake?

Five years ago today, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake destroyed large regions of Haiti especially Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. For the poorest country in the western hemisphere, the earthquake only exacerbated poverty matters for its citizens and its standing in the world economy. An estimated 230,000 people lost their lives and 1.5 million more were displaced. Since 2010, $13 billion has been raised to aid the small Caribbean island country, but where has the money gone?

By most accounts, Haiti is doing much better than it was five years ago, and yet there is still a long way to go to provide permanent housing for its citizens and finally do away with the tent cities that became ubiquitous with a slow-going recovery effort.

“Haiti’s recovery has not been easy. There have been – and continue to be – setbacks along the way, and there is much work still to be done to ensure political and institutional stability, democratic governance and sustainable development,” said the UN chief, Ban Ki Moon in a statement commemorating the five year anniversary of the earthquake.

While some Haitians have moved into permanent housing outside of Port-au-Prince many complain that the new homes, while much better than living in squalid tent cities, are too far away from Haiti’s capital to work. Jobs were promised near their new homes, but those have not yet materialized. And, there is still a looming question about the 8,000 cholera deaths that occurred after human waste was inadvertently dumped into major waterways by Nepalese UN workers in 2010. 700,000 people were also sickened by the disease and continue to be plagued today. Haitian groups have tried since 2013 to sue the United Nations because of the cholera epidemic, but last week, a judge ruled that the UN could not be sued.

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Women’s Empowerment Program Update Four Years On

This past week I was thinking about the time I spent in Nepal with Coca- Cola to see the devastation after the earthquake and the global brand’s response to it. The April 2015 4.5 magnitude earthquake upended lives and left cities in rubble. I saw much of it during our travels through Kathmandu and its surrounding towns. NGOs worked with their partners in the field … Continue reading Women’s Empowerment Program Update Four Years On

Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

With nearly 84% of Puerto Rico still without power after Hurricane Maria, Duracell has arrived on the island today and will distribute $1 million of batteries as well as charging mobile devices and internet access through its Power Forward initiative. When natural disasters occur Duracell helps to reconnect communities. Puerto Rico will be its largest distribution effort since it launched in 2011. PowerForward will charge mobile devices, … Continue reading Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

2 Innovative Uses of PET Bottles in Low-Income Countries That Benefit Women

PET bottles, one of the most widely used materials in the world, are used to package foods and drinks from soda and juices to salad dressings and cooking oils. It is also completely recyclable. In the United States alone, 1.5 billion pounds of PET bottles are recycled annually.

Throughout my travels to low and middle-income countries I see PET bottles thrown haphazardly in fields and streams clogging waterways and dirtying sidewalks and walking paths. In countries such as Nepal (where I visited last year with Coca-Cola), there are concerted educational efforts by environmentally focused NGOs to change behaviors around discarding PET bottles. There are recycling centers in Nepal, but not enough to completely clean its streets and countryside. It seems to be a sisyphean battle to combat PET bottle waste, but there are some who are using the bottles in innovative ways.

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Maternal Health Heroes: Interview With Christy Turlington Burns #MHHSS

We are excited to publish our fifth interview in our Maternal Health Heroes Summer Series with Christy Turlington Burns, Founder of Every Mother Counts. Throughout the summer we will speak with some of the most notable maternal health advocates in the world ahead of the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference that will be held in Mexico City between October 18 – 21, 2015. Follow the conversation at #MHHSS.

C_TURLINGTON-14 Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, social entrepreneur, model, and founder of Every Mother Counts. As a result of her global advocacy work she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of The Year in 2013, and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative Minds in 2013.  Christy is a member of the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council, an advisor to the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors and on the advisory Board of New York University’s Nursing School. She holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and has studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A four-time marathon finisher, Christy resides in New York City where she lives with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

Jennifer James: We are impressed that you are helping to spread the word about maternal health and mortality in the Unites States. When did it occur to you that there is a maternal health crisis in America?

Christy Turlington Burns: Soon after experiencing a childbirth complication following the delivery of my first child, I learned that hundreds of thousands of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths occur around the world every year.  Yet, up to 98 percent of those deaths are preventable. Once I knew about these shocking statistics, I had to know why this was happening. This led me to make a documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry,” which examines the state of maternal health in four countries Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the United States. While making the film, I learned that while 99% of these global deaths occur in developing countries, we lose three women per day in the U.S. too.

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Press

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