Posts from the ‘MDGs’ Category

Spotlight On: TREE AID

I got inspired to do a spotlight category because there are a lot of  NGO’s out there carrying out development work in developing countries. Some of them get more credit than others, some get more credit than they deserve and some get credit for nothing at all. I’d like to dedicate this section to NGOs, FBOs (Faith Based Organizations)  and CBOs (Community Based Organizations) that take part in development efforts at the grassroot level. The NGO I will talking about today is Tree Aid.  You can tell a  lot about them from the name. Obviously, they are an environmental organization and I have been blessed with the opportunity of volunteering for them so when I say they work really hard you know I am not making it up. Their philosophy is simple: ‘For communities in Africa, trees mean life’ also ‘tackling poverty and environmental protection are inseparable’.

Their work is focused on dry lands in the Sahel and so far they have carried out and continue to carry out projects in 4 countries namely: Burkina Faso (they have a regional office there), Mali, Ghana (North) and  Ethiopia. Their key programme areas are: Natural resource management (they work with rural communities in the Sahel to ensure that the environment is improved through using sustainable practices that are affordable), Access rights to land and trees , Food security and Nutrition (through sustainable natural resource management) and Enterprise (in recognition of the fact that communities need to earn income in order to look after their families and improve their standard of living).

I admire the work that they do especially because it goes way beyond planting trees. If you donate to charities you might wanna look into this because it will be worth your money. Their website is you could check them out for yourselves. I always advice people not to donate to just any organization, inasmuch as you want to help humanity the fact remains that not everyone who asks for money has the best intentions. Thank God for technology, check out what organizations do and what people have to say about them before donating or supporting campaigns.


Recent reports by UNAIDS, WHO and the Stop TB Foundation show that preventing TB among People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can save up to a million lives. According to UNAIDS, one in four people living with HIV/AIDS dies of TB and this could be avoided because TB can be cured. They have set a goal to reduce the number of TB deaths by half by 2015. It is almost impossible for me to imagine how horrible the combination of TB and HIV is yet many people have to live with this reality. The Stop TB Foundation report shows that even though the poor and disadvantaged are at high risk of getting TB individuals with good incomes living with HIV are also vulnerable to TB.

This report is very timely considering the fact that the UN High Level meeting on HIV/AIDS takes place from the 8th- 10th of June, 2011. The major problem however is inadequate/insufficient action. It is not exactly breaking news that TB is curable, there has been inadequate action in providing sufficient TB medication to PLWHA especially in Africa. This report serves as a wake up call for leaders on nations and organizations involved in providing care and treatment to PLWHA. As a result a new model has been launched and it calls for:

1. Testing for HIV/AIDS should be provided every 3 years in places where the disease is prevalent

2. Active treatment for PLWHA who have TB and preventive treatment for PLWHA who do not have TB

3. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started early because it would prevent TB since the ART would boost the immune system.

4. PLWHA who are diagnosed with active TB should start ART regardless of the status of their immune system.

This does seem workable but also means that national governments should not relent efforts put into campaigns that call for regular HIV/AIDS tests because as the report shows if ART is started early TB could be avoided.

It is 30 years into the AIDS epidemic and the international community is doing what they can- Every one has a role to play in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS- A barrier to girls’ education in Africa

HIV/AIDS is a pandemic that clearly took the world by surprise. Currently, according to UNAIDS 33.3 million people in the world are victims of HIV/AIDS and 22.5 of them are in Africa. Even worse, 2.3 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV . The consequences of living with this disease vary among genders. Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa face the consequences more than their male counterparts because they have to give up a lot.

Education is priceless, where there is lack of education there are a lot of problems. The  second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) set out universal primary education as a goal to be achieved by 2015. In TRADITIONAL African settings, girls have been forced to drop out school for several reasons, one of them being HIV/AIDS. This affects the girl child mostly because of the TRADITIONAL roles girls have to play in TRADITIONAL African settings. In cases where kids are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS, the girls have to drop out of school in order to work to support the rest of the family. In worse cases, the girls get married off in order to secure a better life for the family.Men who marry these young girls pay bride price to the families (bride price is inherently African culture but because of poverty parents literally give out underage daughters so as to get bride price)

Three quarters of all Africans between the ages 15-24 who are HIV positive are female. Already, there is a high level of poverty in rural Africa, getting infected with HIV only lessens the chances of ever breaking the poverty cycle these young girls find themselves in because really in the world of today, lack of education contributes a great deal to poverty.

Aside from HIV/AIDS preventing girls  from attending school, it also prevents their teachers from carrying out their duties. Teachers in rural Africa who have the disease or who have family members affected by HIV are often forced to quit teaching in order to provide care or carry out their duties negligibly as their attention is elsewhere. HIV/AIDS is a disease that attacks the body’s immune system so terribly that without the right medication it is impossible for the affected to carry on life activities like school work.

It has been proven that proper education would reduce the risk and prevalence of HIV because young people who use condoms and engage in healthy sex behaviour have lower chances of getting the virus. Also, with adequate campaigns for education, parents realise that it is important for the girl child to remain in school just as it is important for the male child.

In order to mitigate the impacts of HIV on female education, a safe environment needs to be provided for young girls in school. In this case, a safe environment would mean a healthy or disease free environment including provision of Antiretroviral (ARV)therapy to young girls in school. These have been proven to boost up the immune system of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. A safe environment should also include a stigma free environment where young girls living with this disease can attend school without being made fun of or discriminated against.

Also, HIV prevention education needs to be provided through effective use of Teachers, community leaders and local Faith-Based Organizations. With proper prevention campaigns and education, HIV and its impacts could be mitigated.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown with kids in Soweto, South Africa. [Source: Mail & Guardian Online]

Recently, Gordon Brown warned that failure to place education as a high priority will affect economic growth. Many developing countries do not look at the long-term benefits of education. Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) should include education, it is not all about providing ARVs because ARVs constitute just one aspect of care.

Finally, it is worthy to note that education in itself can prevent HIV, A UN study showed that 7 million new cases of HIV infection could be prevented in a decade if every child completed their primary education. This is because education makes them more aware and they will be able to avoid high risk behaviours. Also, education provides young girls with several economic options which helps them makes responsible choices regarding child-bearing, sex (especially commercial sex) and HIV prevention methods.

“Without education, AIDS will continue its rampant spread. With AIDS out of control, education will be out of reach.” Dr. Peter Piot,
Executive Director of UNAIDS in that statement rightly tells of what the reality young girls living with HIV face. Many NGOs are working hard to make sure that girls living with this disease have equal opportunities with regards to education. With cooperation from more people we could kick HIV/AIDS in young girls through education and vice versa.

Millenium Development Goals Monitor

Hey everyone!!!!!!!! I just found a Monitor site, the site actually counts down to 2015. You could check in everyday if you want updates on the MDGs and related stuff. It is

Obviously, it is an initiative of the UN…you can track, learn and support!