Q&A: Mercy Corps aid worker shares observations from trip to Japan
Joy Portella, the Seattle-based communications director for Mercy Corps, has been in Japan since March 22. She spent the last four days in hard-hit communities, including Kesennuma on the northeast coast of the island of Honshu. Mercy Corps has about a half dozen staffers in Japan and is working on aid efforts with its Japanese partner, Peace Winds. In a Monday afternoon telephone interview with Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton, she offered these observations of the situation: Q: Is relief aid making it through to people in the areas you visited?
North Korea: North Korea, normally coping with chronic hunger, faces massive food shortage
A United Nations report released Friday said more than 6 million people in North Korea urgently need food aid and face chronic hunger. Margaret Warner speaks with Mercy Corps' David Austin, who recently led a delegation of aid workers to North Korea to observe the food crisis.
West Bank and Gaza: Israeli technology companies turn to West Bank for outsourcing
Military roadblocks, nine-meter- high barriers and six decades of Israeli-Palestinian hostility didn’t deter Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (MLNX) from picking the West Bank for a new software design center. “Israelis and Palestinians are in the same time zone and are pretty similar culturally,” said Eyal Waldman, chief executive officer of the Israeli maker of chips for data-center adapters. He chose the Palestinian city of Ramallah after considering India and China because of lower costs and the proximity to the Mellanox headquarters in Yokneam Elit...
Central African Republic: International Women's Day: Supporting women of the Central African Republic - in pictures
Life for women in the Central African Republic can be extremely hard. Mercy Corps has been working with women to educate them about their rights and to give them access to financial services. To mark International Women's Day we share some of their stories.
Sudan: Why southern Sudan should be watching Egypt
Egyptians recently converged on the streets of Cairo to demand the ouster of a leader they accused of being out of touch and unaccountable to his people. Seventeen-hundred miles to the south, another crowd poured into the streets of Juba to celebrate the January referendum results favoring independence for southern Sudan. The two mass gatherings were radically different, but the southern Sudanese would do well to keep their eyes on Egypt.
Peace Corps turns fifty
March 1, 2011 will mark fifty years since President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. Since then more than 200,000 volunteers have served in 139 countries. Over 13,000 of them have come from Oregon and Washington.
Giving the world's young the future they deserve
Young people represent promise. As a parent, I often look at my children and wonder: What will they make of their lives? How can I help them achieve their potential? As the chief executive of Mercy Corps, I look at young people in the world's poorest, most desperate places and ask the same questions.
How Rajiv Shah can buck the system: 5 tips from the frontlines of conflict and development
With fragile states increasingly constituting first-tier US foreign policy priorities and global development funding being targeted by budget hawks in Congress, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is making the case for his agency's relevance in the 21st century. Quoting Defense Secretary Gates' observation that "development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers", Administrator Shah argued that USAID's work serves to stabilize countries in crisis while also helping to prevent conflict from arising in the first place.
Haiti: How tech is helping the Haiti recovery
Jokebed Auguste, a 31-year-old single mother from Mirebalais, in Haiti's Central Plateau, has come to see her cell phone in a whole new light. A team leader in one of the cash-for-work programs run by the international relief agency Mercy Corps -- she oversaw 15 colleagues in an initiative to clean up roads and canals -- Auguste was among the first Haitians to begin receiving payments for the project directly through her phone. The convenience of the T-Cash system means she doesn't have to stand in line for hours at the bank, but even more important is the security.
Haiti: In Haiti, cell phones serve as debit cards
The past year in Haiti has been marked by the slow pace of the earthquake recovery. But the poorest nation in the hemisphere is moving quickly on something else — setting up "mobile money" networks to allow cell phones to serve as debit cards. The systems have the potential to allow Haitians to receive remittances from abroad, send cash to relatives across town or across the country, buy groceries and even pay for a bus ride all with a few taps on their cell phones.