Colombia: Stand together: Mercy Corps finds Colombian connection in Portland with Timbers
As the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has shown, sport can be a way to connect people across the globe through a common interest. Here in Portland, that sentiment was brought to Providence Park through a recent visit of Colombians hosted by Mercy Corps looking to explore methods of sport for change. "The program aims to strengthen community leaders who are working with at-risk youth to harness the power of sports," said Oliver. "We use sports to translate into something broader, into life lessons that they can use."
Iraq: Why U.S. should fund democracy & governance in Iraq
Although policymakers and the news media seem surprised by the most recent crisis in Iraq, the reality is that the Iraqi state has been steadily deteriorating for months, writes Beza Tesfaye, a research advisor at Mercy Corps, in this guest post. Stoked by political rivalries and an unwillingness to reconcile, sectarian tensions have been taking a consistently violent turn since 2013.
South Sudan: South Sudan three years on
The conflict has plunged the country deeper into an ongoing humanitarian crisis. According to the latest UN figures, 1.1 million people have had to leave their homes to escape the violence; a further 400,000 South Sudanese have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Whether these people stay within South Sudan or cross borders, they place additional pressure on already stretched resources – so they rarely find the sanctuary they seek.
Iraq: Iraqis trickling back to Mosul, but bracing for more violence
When Islamic militants swept into Mosul in northern Iraq earlier this month, at least 500,000 people fled the city. Some have since returned, but many others are watching and waiting in the nearby relatively peaceful Kurdish region. The thousands of displaced Iraqis in the Kurdish region are staying with relatives and friends, in schools that are empty for the summer, and in temporary camps, said Steve Claborne, Mercy Corps’ Iraq country director.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: For displaced Syrian youth, art draws the mind out of war and into the future
PORTLAND, Oregon — The charcoal drawing was slightly larger than a man’s thumbprint. Adjusting my sense of scale, I studied the tiny sketch: a tree, bare of its leaves, straining under a stiff wind. “It’s a small drawing, but it has big meaning,” said the artist, 15-year-old Youssef. The small tree, he said, represents him. The wind that had blown the leaves from the branches represents the forces that try to blow him off course. The roots — Youssef’s friends, family and education — hold the tree firm.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Young refugees can be force for positive change
Take a moment: imagine what the lives of adolescents in Syria would look like today had they not been derailed when fighting broke out in March 2011. This year, Bayan would be completing her lower secondary schooling and preparing for her ninth-grade examination to enter upper secondary school. Instead, she fled Damascus when she was 12. Today she is a refugee in Jordan. Mohammed was 15 when he fled Homs. He should be completing his 12th grade examination and preparing to enter university or the workforce. Today he is a refugee in Lebanon.
Iraq: An emergency within an emergency in Iraq
Humanitarian organizations in Iraq are hard at work writing funding proposals as the latest upsurge in violence — and therefore displacement — in the country's north has finally started to attract donors' attention.
Iraq: Iraqi violence adds to the Middle East refugee crisis
An appeal launched by the United Nations High Commissioner for victims of Syria's civil war has raised only 36 percent of the $4.2 million the UNHCR requested. Another appeal, for Iraqis displaced earlier this year in Anbar province, is only 12 percent funded. And hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled their homes this month, raising fears that fatigued donors and cash-strapped donor nations might be unable to provide desperately-needed funds.
Iraq: Humanitarian crisis In Iraq intensifies
On Sunday, Sunni militants took over another city in the northern part of Iraq. Sectarian violence in Iraq has reached such crisis proportions that the U.S. government is considering targeted airstrikes in the country. President Obama has ruled out sending ground troops back into the country.
Colombia: Colombia's presidential candidates must put rescue of child soldiers first
CALI, Colombia — As Colombia heads into the June 15 run-off election that will determine its next president, the fate of the thousands of child soldiers in illegal combatant groups across the country is unclear. Much of the presidential campaign has centered around current negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — a domestic armed militant group known as FARC....