West Bank and Gaza: In hi-tech, Gaza Sky Geeks sees way to break through isolation June 5, 2013
Reem Omran, a petite dynamo with impeccable English and sparkly gold shoes, has grand plans to grow bushels of Gaza entrepreneurs. Given the tough conditions of working in this tiny coastal territory with no port of its own, her ideas and optimism may sound fanciful.
Colombia: Years of combat experience, and just turning 20 May 30, 2013
Luis Bedoya is baby-faced and skinny. And he looks ever the boy when he puts on an industrial-sized apron, thick gloves and a metal helmet — the tools of an apprentice welder at the Don Bosco center in this city in southern Colombia. It's a big complex, complete with classrooms, basketball courts, a dormitory and work rooms. It's home to boys and girls, as well as very young adults, who defected from the FARC rebels or were captured by the Colombian army.
West Bank and Gaza: For Palestinians, Google's Small Change Is A Big Deal May 15, 2013
"Google means a lot to us," he says. "[No day passes] without using Google." That might be especially true for Kumboz. He is part of Gaza Sky Geeks, an incubator for nascent IT businesses. It was started by Mercy Corps, and is funded by a $900,000 grant from Google's charitable arm. So far, Kumboz has developed a game, called Mighty Cow, in which players help save a rather sweet-looking cow from the butcher's knife.
Colombia: Colombian rebels recruit child fighters even as they negotiate to end conflict May 15, 2013
Colombia’s largest rebel organization has stepped up the recruitment of children to boost its weakened fighting units even as it talks peace with the government, according to child welfare workers, officials and community leaders.
The FP Power Map April 30, 2013
Foreign Policy magazine's inaugural FP Power Map cites Mercy Corps’ CEO Neal Keny-Guyer as one of the world’s 500 most powerful people. Editors of the May/June 2013 issue used a "'list of lists' approach, consulting the authoritative rankings for a given industry and substituting judgment where quantitative assessments do not exist," to identify the 500 people with the most influence on the world today. Keny-Guyer, who has led Mercy Corps since 1994, is recognized on the alphabetical list as a force for good.
Lebanon, Syria: Syrian refugees in Lebanon need our help April 2, 2013
Imagine the population of your town swelling with war refugees by 25 percent in one year – or even doubling or tripling in size. Imagine the competition for work, housing, and social and medical services.
West Bank and Gaza: As Obama visits the West Bank, Palestinians reach for their tech startup future March 25, 2013
Sitting in Snobar, a cool bar shaded by fir trees in deepest Ramallah, George Khadder is practically thumping the table as he speaks. A Palestinian who has worked in Silicon Valley, he talks passionately about his desire for Palestinian entrepreneurs to control their own destiny. “I came back from Silicon Valley because I believed I could affect change,” he tells me. It’s a sentiment that has been echoed during President Obama’s visit to Israel and the West Bank.
Mali: What we must get right before attention falls elsewhere February 19, 2013
Mali, long on the international backburner, is now having its moment in prime-time. Media from around the world have breathlessly covered the lightning offensive by French and Malian military forces and the liberation of the legendary city of Timbuktu. But the limelight is already beginning to fade, obscuring that the hardest task is yet to come. Restoring a degree of normality in northern Mali will mean dealing with a humanitarian emergency and building peace amid weak governance and worsening ethnic tensions.
Haiti: Haiti launches micro-finance catastrophe insurance program February 11, 2013
When Hurricane Sandy struck Haiti late last year, the home Guerda Pierre shares with her three children and mother in Cabaret, north of Port-au-Prince, was flooded — and so was the merchandise she sold to make a living. "The books, the food, everything was wet after Sandy," said Pierre. The plantain plants and beans in her garden were also destroyed. But unlike the majority of Haitians, Pierre had an insurance policy.
Resilience meets disaster economics February 6, 2013
Each January, thousands of leaders—from the private sector, civil society and government—gather in the snowy hamlet of Davos, Switzerland, to participate in the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Each year, we wrestle with weighty issues, including global recession, energy crises, and political upheavals. This year was different. Instead of focusing on the problems of today, we considered how to anticipate and better prepare for the problems of tomorrow. The World Economic Forum calls this concept “resilient dynamism.” I call it smart work that is long overdue.