Guest: How U.S. foreign aid can feed more for less
Foreign-aid debates can quickly get complicated. Should the U.S. provide aid to Egypt after political upheaval there? How can we assist Syrians trapped by conflict? Can building better schools and more productive farms also create stability in fragile states like Afghanistan? These are difficult, complex questions with no easy answers. But some aid debates are just not that complicated.
West Bank and Gaza: Gaza Sky Geeks to launch under guidance of Portland-based Mercy Corps
Startups the world over possess much the same relentless DNA. Take, for example, the scene in the Palestinian city of Gaza, where political crises are frequent and electricity can be unpredictable. No matter what's going on, you can count on the area's growing number of tech geeks to program and strategize around the clock, planning startups that may one day make successful, big-dollar exits. That entrepreneurial spirit is the future of Gaza, hope the people behind the new startup accelerator Gaza Sky Geeks.
Jordan, Syria: Warwick native working to help Syrian refugees in Jordan
WARWICK — In the midst of the refugee crisis in Jordan brought about by Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country, a Warwick native is working to alleviate human suffering. Robert Maroni is the Mercy Corps country director for Jordan. That puts him in charge of the nongovernmental organization’s efforts to take care of a flood of refugees that doesn’t show any sign of abating. The death toll from the war was recently estimated at nearly 100,000, so there’s incentive to get out of the line of fire.
Central African Republic: Rights group accuses Central African Republic rebels of abuses
Rebels in Central African Republic have razed villages, torched homes and murdered civilians in violence across neglected rural areas that began before they seized power in March and continues today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday. Thousands of fighters from the Seleka rebel coalition led by Michel Djotodia, who is now the country's interim leader, marched into the riverside capital Bangui on March 24, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee.
Central African Republic: Attacks compound C. African Republic aid crisis
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Fighters in Central African Republic have destroyed dozens of villages since February, compounding a humanitarian crisis that affects the country's entire population of 4.6 million people, human rights and aid groups said Friday. The organizations said the international community has largely turned its back on a country that was plunged into a new round of instability when the Seleka rebel coalition ousted President Francois Bozize in March.
West Bank and Gaza: Tech entrepreneurship in Gaza: Generating hope, galvanizing new opportunity
The following guest post is by Andy Dwonch, Senior Director for Social Innovations at Mercy Corps.
West Bank and Gaza: In hi-tech, Gaza Sky Geeks sees way to break through isolation
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
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
"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
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.