Niger: Hunger in Niger threatens millions February 21, 2012
The knock on the door is a sign of bad things to come. "Do you have any work?" they ask. They have fled their villages and come into the city out of desperation. Their bellies ache from hunger. "For those of us in the city, we are seeing the first signs of food crisis spreading across our country. We have seen it before. It has already started, and it is coming fast." That's what Haoua Lankoande, a manager with the humanitarian agency CARE wrote in a recent blog post from the Niger capital, Niamey.
Afghanistan: Students learn a trade in Afghanistan hotspot February 9, 2012
In an open, dusty part of southern Afghanistan where fighting between Taliban forces and NATO troops is commonplace, and jobs are scarce, an organization is working to train Afghans to make them more employable. The program seems simple enough -- recruit Afghans, supply them with job training and send them back to their communities to make a living. But the location -- in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold and active insurgency against NATO troops -- makes it more complicated.
West Bank and Gaza: Mercy Corps connects geeks from Gaza to Seattle February 8, 2012
We’ve got more than our share of tech-geeks here in Seattle. You know, the guys who work at startups, or Microsoft or Amazon, creating the next-generation of computer and web products. But we can’t claim geeks as our own. You’ll find them anywhere there’s an electric current and a connection to the Internet, even in that besieged strip of land in the Middle East called Gaza.
Haiti: After two years, Haiti still struggles January 11, 2012
The earthquake that hit Haiti two years ago killed more than 300,000 people, reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble and left an already struggling island economy for dead. Billions of dollars in international aid later, roughly 500,000 Haitians remain displaced, living under tarps or in transitional shelters, in many instances with less hope than ever.
North Korea: U.S. treads cautiously with transition December 19, 2011
The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States. Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions. Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.
North Korea: Aid Groups: Children in North Korea at risk for starvation this winter December 8, 2011
North Korea is approaching another severe food crisis, according to international relief groups who are calling on the U.S. and other governments to join South Korea in increasing aid to the reclusive communist nation. Floods and a brutal winter have cut into crop production and -- combined with rising global food prices -- have created severe food shortages throughout the country. Aid groups are increasingly concerned about the health effects on North Koreans, especially the country's children.
Gifts that say you care December 3, 2011
GIVE Grandma a bit of credit! These holidays, would she rather receive a silly reindeer sweater or help a schoolchild acquire glasses to see the blackboard clearly for the first time? Choosing the perfect holiday gift is one of life’s greater challenges, modestly more difficult than earning a Ph.D. in astrophysics. So it is time for my annual gift guide.
Doing development differently: Social and financial innovation at Mercy Corps November 15, 2011
In a recent joint interview, I had in-depth discussions about innovating for impact with Mercy Corps’ Leesa Shrader (Senior Director, Financial Services Innovation) and Andy Dwonch (Senior Director, Social Innovations). Today, Mercy Corps helps more than 16.7 million people each year recover from disasters, build stronger communities and find their own solutions to poverty.
North Korea: Head of U.N. humanitarian aid paints dire scene in North Korea October 24, 2011
SEOUL — North Koreans, especially children, urgently need outside aid to fight “terrible levels of malnutrition,” the United Nations’ humanitarian chief said Monday, in an appeal that came amid criticism that both Washington and Seoul were withholding aid for political reasons... ....“It’s all wrapped in a political process,” said David Austin, the North Korea program director for the U.S. relief group Mercy Corps.
North Korea: Autumn harvest watched warily in food-poor N Korea October 20, 2011
Scythe in hand, a woman slices through a bright green field of rice. Oxen plod down country roads pulling carts piled high with harvested stalks of grain. This autumn, as farmers fan out into fields of corn, wheat, rice and cabbage, such evocative pastoral scenes — the stuff of centuries-old Dutch landscape paintings — also are a reminder of the challenges North Korea faces in feeding its people.