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Oxfam in Uganda - Annual Report 2013-2014

Oxfam in Uganda - Annual Report 2013-2014 | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Throughout the year, Oxfam continued to support communities in Uganda particularly women to incre (Last year we helped 680,000 people in Uganda, particularly women, to increase their food security & incomes http://t.co/wgli2WyXhj)...
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Oxfam in Uganda - Annual Report 2013-2014

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Tanzania’s scarce midwives feel ‘helpless and heartbroken’

Tanzania’s scarce midwives feel ‘helpless and heartbroken’ | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
A dire shortage of skilled nurses and lack of life-saving equipment are putting maternal mortality goal out of reach.
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Academics back students' pro-democracy shut down - University World News

Academics back students' pro-democracy shut down - University World News | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Academics back students' pro-democracy shut down University World News More than 500 academics, researchers and university administrators from 20 institutions in Hong Kong signed a statement backing the pro-democracy movement and expressing...
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Study: Turmoil in the Middle East Threatens Global Food Security

Study: Turmoil in the Middle East Threatens Global Food Security | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it

A new study shows that continued conflict in the Middle East poses extreme risks to the world’s essential food supplies. This indirect consequence of ongoing turmoil has the potential to cause mass starvation in the future.


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U.S. to send 3000 troops to West Africa to fight deadly Ebola outbreak - WXYZ

U.S. to send 3000 troops to West Africa to fight deadly Ebola outbreak - WXYZ | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
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U.S. to send 3000 troops to West Africa to fight deadly Ebola outbreak
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Provide home health care kits to hundreds of thousands of households, including 50,000 that the U.S.
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Bordering on Lunacy: How Russia Defeated Western Journalism

Bordering on Lunacy: How Russia Defeated Western Journalism | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
RT @pistolpeteukr: @Vieta_Rusanova It is much much worst than old program http://t.co/bAAqZJPRyf http://t.co/PNQBQyoJKO
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Zimbabwean sculptors bring art to stone - Loveland Reporter-Herald

Zimbabwean sculptors bring art to stone - Loveland Reporter-Herald | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Zimbabwean sculptors bring art to stone
Loveland Reporter-Herald
She learned sculpting from her father. Tafura started sculpting at age 5 in stone. He made his own toys, which often reflected the native animals.
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Researchers Try to Save Some Middle-Eastern Languages From Extinction

Researchers Try to Save Some Middle-Eastern Languages From Extinction | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Linguistics experts say about 3,500 of the world’s languages are endangered: Some of them are spoken in Iraq and Syria.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Researchers Try to Save Some Middle-Eastern Languages From Extinction
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 16, 2014 8:18 PM

Language is arguably the most universally important of human abilities, making it possible to pass on information and experiences like a baton through generations.

But about half of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world will not last the end of this century, according to the latest predictions. There is no single cause for the extinction of a language. Some of the common causes are the overbearing dominance of a few languages, such as Arabic, French and English, the social stigmas attached to using minority languages, and the disruption of traditional ways of life.

Linguists argue that it’s in the interest of humankind to save the languages that are at risk. “The loss of a language can also mean the loss of an entire culture,” says the director of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at SOAS, University of London, Mandana Seyfeddinipur. She adds that there could be remedies to diseases that might never be passed on because after the last speaker dies, no one could understand any texts they left behind. “When a language dies then we’ll never know what those people knew,” she says.

Linguists say the ethnic violence directed at minorities in Iraq and Syria has placed additional strains on endangered languages. “It’s almost in the definition of an endangered language that it be spoken by a minority and right now and in parts of the Middle East they’re either being killed or suppressed,” says director of the Endangered Languages Project, Lyle Campbell.  Some of those Middle Eastern languages at risk are expected to be extinct in 60 years.

The most endangered language in the Middle East, according to Campbell, is currently a dialect of Northeastern Neo-Aramaic found in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains region of Iraq. There are about 2,000 speakers who have suffered greatly at the hands of the Islamic State, says Campbell. The dialect has its roots in Aramaic, once a widely spoken language that some experts believe was spoken by Jesus and the region’s rulers.

A small population of native speakers doesn’t necessarily mean a language is on the brink of extinction. Campbell’s organization categorizes the vast number of endangered languages into four sub-groups: at risk, endangered, severely endangered and “vitality unknown.”

In addition to the number of speakers, researchers also consider whether the population is on the rise or fall and whether the younger generation is engaged with the mother tongue. He admits this is not as yet an exact science because the amount of data is severely limited: “It’s often a best guess, but the really endangered ones pop out at you.”

Languages in the Middle East with less than 20,000 speakers(The Endangered Languages Project)

Relatively speaking, the Arab world is not one of the most linguistically diverse parts of the globe. “Arabic has wiped through the region over the years and swept up the smaller languages,” says Seyfeddinipur.

It’s an uphill struggle to preserve what’s left. “We’re fighting a battle against time,” she says.

Her colleagues agree. “You have the big languages in the Middle East; Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish, but not much else,” says Bruno Herin, a linguist from theInstitut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, in Paris.

Some governments in the region give Arabic more official status than the minority languages. In Saudi Arabia only Arabic is officially recognized. “We have to pretend that other languages there are Arabic dialects if we want to go and study them,” says Campbell.

Herin is documenting the endangered Domari language in Lebanon with the support of a grant from Seyfeddinipur’s department. The people who speak Domari, known as the Dom, are branded as the “gypsies of the Middle East,” says Herin. “There’s a big stigma attached to the term,” he says, “so they try to keep themselves hidden.” The Dom have no ethnic or linguistic relation to Europe’s Roma populations.

The effort of Dom communities to be invisible makes it impossible to know exactly how many Domari speakers there are. Herin estimates they’re in the thousands, not the hundreds.

In 2009, before the Syrian conflict began, Herin was visiting a friend in Aleppo. He overhead his friend’s cleaning lady speaking on the phone with a family member. Unable to recognize her apparent dialect of Arabic, he spoke to the maid and enquired further. She explained that she was speaking Domari, not Arabic and that’s when he first became interested in the Dom. “Someone from outside of the region might easily mistake it for Arabic. The Dom have borrowed a lot of speech patterns from Arabs over the years,” says Herin.

Domari is an Indic language, originating in the Indian subcontinent. At some point in their history, the Dom migrated from South Asia to the Middle East. Ever since, they have traditionally been merchant nomads, says Herin.

Today, there are Dom populations in western Syria, Lebanon and southern Turkey. Since the civil war in Syria began, they’ve been the victims of violence from various fighting factions, says Herin. “They’re perceived as unbelievers by some rebels,” he says. “They aren’t seen as good Muslims despite identifying themselves as Sunni.” That discrimination has pushed the Dom to migrate to Lebanon and Turkey.

When minorities become refugees, it’s never a good thing for the survival of their language, says Seyfeddinipur. The separation from their homeland and disruption of their traditions often means the younger generations take more interest in the language of their adopted country. This certainly seems to be the case with Domari. “The Dom youth prefer Arabic—the youngest speakers of Domari are 30 years old,” says Herin. He gives the Domari language 60 years to become extinct.

To make matters worse, the language has no written form. “When the last Domari speaker dies, it will be as though the language never was. That’s why I’m intervening,” says Herin.

Saving a language from extinction involves a two-pronged attack: The first prong is to document and describe the language so that future linguists can study it and future generations can learn it. The second prong is revitalization, which seeks to increase the number of speakers. That is considerably harder because it means researchers have to provide a cultural and social context for communities to be bilingual. Success rates are historically low, says Seyfeddinipur.

Campbell also recognizes the odds, but looks to previous successes for inspiration. “We are seeing more and more language obituaries,” he says. “But Welsh in the U.K. is considered a great success story and proves it can be done.”

Herin is preparing for a trip to Lebanon in early 2015 where he will consult with Domari speakers. He hopes to come up with a way to codify the language in writing, which he hopes will lay the foundation for the language to thrive again. “The Dom would probably prefer an Arabic script to a Latin alphabet,” he says. “That’s the best solution because they’ll be able to apply their Arabic literacy.”

He also hopes to encourage the Dom to teach the language to their younger generations with the production of formal grammar and a multimedia dictionary.

Faced with the grim statistic that some 3,500 languages all over the world are expected to bite the dust over the next 90 or so years, Seyfeddinipur insists it’s worth the effort preserve dying languages even if native speakers are unlikely to embrace them again. “The way we speak shapes the way with think. When a language dies we loose a community’s collective wisdom,” she says, “Why is the British Museum important? Why is The Smithsonian important?”

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18 Key Figures From The Civil Rights Movement - Made From History

18 Key Figures From The Civil Rights Movement - Made From History | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
6 Oppositionists Richard Russell The patriarch of the obstructionist Southern caucus, and long-serving Senator for Georgia. Russell repeatedly marshalled the conservative Southern Democrats into...
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Almost half of child deaths occur in first month of life, UN estimates

Almost half of child deaths occur in first month of life, UN estimates | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Most are from preventable causes such as diseases like pneumonia, malnutrition and complications in labour, but new research highlights success in Rwanda (RT @LizFordGuardian: Almost half of child deaths occur in first month of life, UN estimates ...
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African Governance Architecture: Strengthening Democratic Governance

The International Peace Institute is an independent, international not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by strengthening international peace and security institutions.
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Senegal: Botswana under fire over journalist's arrest - Panapress (subscription)

Senegal: Botswana under fire over journalist's arrest - Panapress (subscription) | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Aljazeera.com Senegal: Botswana under fire over journalist's arrest Panapress (subscription) Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The New York-based press freedom watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Monday criticised Botswana for arresting a...
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S.Sudan bans all foreign workers, including aid staff

S.Sudan bans all foreign workers, including aid staff | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
JUBA, South Sudan - War-torn South Sudan has banned all foreign workers - including aid workers - and ordered they be replaced by locals, an official notice said (SOUTH Sudan has banned employment of all foreign workers, including those with NGOs;orders...
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Lack of Research Funding Is Hurting the American Dream, Leaders Say - U.S. News & World Report

Lack of Research Funding Is Hurting the American Dream, Leaders Say - U.S. News & World Report | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Lack of Research Funding Is Hurting the American Dream, Leaders Say
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Africa Union told to develop Ebola response action plan - The Standard Digital News

Africa Union told to develop Ebola response action plan - The Standard Digital News | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Africa Union told to develop Ebola response action plan
The Standard Digital News
An international health organisation has called on the African Union (AU) to develop a strategic plan to tackle the Ebola epidemic.
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International Study Finds Chicago Public Transit Lacking, Dysfunctional - Chicagoist

International Study Finds Chicago Public Transit Lacking, Dysfunctional - Chicagoist | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Government Technology International Study Finds Chicago Public Transit Lacking, Dysfunctional Chicagoist This lack of coordination and the transit agencies acting independent of each other are among the reasons an international economic group found...
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Looking back: 20 years of African language radio

Looking back: 20 years of African language radio | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
I grew up in the Eastern Cape in the 80s, we used to listen to Radio Xhosa, (now called Umhlobo Wenene) and it was the only radio station we knew. Very few houses in the village had television sets and they were only operated by using old car batteries.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 16, 2014 3:18 PM
I grew up in the Eastern Cape in the 80s, we used to listen to Radio Xhosa, (now called Umhlobo Wenene) and it was the only radio station we knew. Very few houses in the village had television sets and they were only operated by using old car batteries.
The radio was also played with PM 9 and 10 batteries as there was no electricity then. Radio was our biggest source of entertainment as we would gather around everyday at 20:00 to listen to the drama serial of that moment. Just like soapies these drama serials were educational, always carried a social message and featured a lot in women conversations. Some of the messages in the dramas were consistent with what we read in novels and short story books in primary school.

Important messages

The messages were presented in different angles but were always around humility, preparation on how men and women should carry themselves in adulthood, perseverance in marriage, respect for elders which is also biblical. Religion and culture were like hand and glove which brings me to how Fridays were spent. Friday nights had a slightly different programme, the drama serial were replaced by a gospel music show called "Amasi Abekw'elangeni".

Traditional gospel groups and artists particularly those who sang in IsiXhosa were very popular then. Some of the groups that featured regularly were Amadodana Asewisile, Holy Cross Choir, Youth with Mission, Ivangeli Loxolo etc. and people in the village sang their songs in many gatherings like weddings, funerals, prayer sessions for the sick and any event that brought people together.

One of the most popular shows in the station was called Khumbul' ikhaya, loosely translated as "go back home". On this show lines would be opened for listeners to phone and announce the names of their loved ones who had not been home for a while. The people who were announced had left home for job opportunities in other cities particularly those cities that had mines like the Gauteng, Free State, North West and they just never went back home for various reasons. Just like the television show which airs SABC 1 on Wednesdays, most of those who never went back had left kids were with relatives and grandparents.

Radio has always been a powerful medium with its own unique strengths because even though the radio station never helped listeners to physically go and look for the loved ones like the TV programme does, the word would spread and somehow some people would yield to the call and go home. It was an emotional show as the caller would be asked to relay a message and they would in some cases mention on the radio people who had since passed on, how the kids miss the their parents, plead and beg with the loved one to go back home if and give assurance that they would be accepted even if they came back with nothing. 

Station choice

Even though we've always had national radio stations in the country, relevance to our situations were key and in the Eastern Cape, there was no radio station that carried relevant content to the IsiXhosa speakers like Umhlobo Wenene. I only heard about other radio station stations when I came to Johannesburg in 1995 to start with my grade 9. The excitement that there were other radio stations different from what I knew made me abandon the station I grew up listening to for a couple of years. I still listened to other African Language stations, but it was Ukhozi particularly their drama serials which were at 15:00 and very popular in the townships.

Once again the station choice was informed by the environment and relevance. In Johannesburg townships, IsiZulu is the most spoken language. In Katlehong where I grew up, Sundays were not complete without Lesedi's FM which had Ntate Thuso preaching about various topics from morality, responsibility, the fear of God etc. Almost every second house would have Lesedi FM playing so loud, you could him hear from a distance as other people would play the radio in the house and sit outside basking in the sun or doing house chores like cleaning the yard. It did not matter whether people were church-goers or not, religion has always been a big part of black people in South Africa, with the majority supporting Christianity.

The evolution of radio

A lot has since changed in our radio space, African Language stations have mixed line-ups catering for the young and old. Most presenters and producers have qualifications, some in media and have become assets in the stations, unlike the olden days when most presenters were former teachers. With the growth of social media usage, some African language stations have caught up and have started marrying radio with social media platforms which makes it easier for them to understand and interact with their listeners. There are those radio stations that are still lagging behind because they either have no strategy or they have not embraced change and analysed the benefits closely but there's been notable progress.

One of the biggest debates in the advertising industry whenever the public broadcaster (owner on national African Language stations) had road shows to share insights about their audiences, has always been that it seems like African language stations are one big radio station broadcasting in different languages because of the similarities of the audiences, programming line-up etc. Whether that is the case or not, I do not think that is a perception someone should lose sleep over trying to change.

That question perhaps has not been answered satisfactorily because no one has spent time in all South African provinces long enough to thoroughly understand what sets a Zulu speaker, born and bred in Kwazulu-Natal apart from a Sesotho speaker, born and bred in the Free State as an example. Having worked and listened to all African Language stations in the country, I have noticed a lot of similarities which I will not dwell on. A lot of companies have done research, presented their findings as facts but the most factual research remains personal experiences which we don't possess enough of.

Learning from radio

I cannot articulate the impact other African languages has on their respective tribes but can talk about Umhlobo Wenene. The station was an extension of the community I grew up in. It re-enforced the values I was taught as a child, I have not found the same values in any other commercial radio station we have in the country. I have been entertained by music, challenged by political, social, religious debates and have certainly learnt lot from independent commercial stations, but African language stations have a way of making one feel at home, give a sense of belonging, confirm identity and evoke a sense of pride about our heritage. 

The variety of content makes it easy for one to switch between many societal roles. There is no shame in being a business executive who is perceived to fall within the high end of the market, but still be able to adapt and be humble enough that when in the townships or rural areas, you participate with ease in community activities and live the values we were brought up with. I have learnt that constantly striking the environmental balance is key, being born in the rural areas, grown up in a township and now living the suburbs
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Ebola, tsunamis and droughts — how gender inequality undermines community ... - Devex

Ebola, tsunamis and droughts — how gender inequality undermines community ... - Devex | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Ebola, tsunamis and droughts — how gender inequality undermines community ...
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Resilience is hardly a new concept in the field of international development.
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6 ways UNDP is promoting gender equality in Egypt

There is no progress without gender equality!! See how UNDP Egypt is promoting the participation of women in all spheres of public life, as well as helping e...
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IU Researcher Working To Preserve Endangered Language

IU Researcher Working To Preserve Endangered Language | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
An Indiana University researcher has begun a two-year effort to preserve a language spoken by just a few thousand people in a mountainous region of Mexico.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 16, 2014 8:19 PM

An Indiana University researcher has begun a two-year effort to preserve a language spoken by just a few thousand people in a mountainous region of Mexico.

The Ayook or Mixe language contributed the word "cacao" to English, but has remained distinct from the other languages which arose in and around south central Mexico‘s Sierra Madre de Oaxaca mountains.

Linguistic anthropologist Dan Suslak is working on an Ayook dictionary, but his research doesn‘t stop with the language itself.

He‘s collaborating with a filmmaker to record hours of videotaped recollections about aspects of Mixe life from genealogies to methods of cultivating corn.   

And Suslak says the language itself offers clues to Ayook history by reflecting the influence of other cultures in the region.   

Suslak says Ayook differs from other languages in the way it sorts the world into a hierarchy.

Where English uses word order to make clear who did something to whom, Ayook assumes a higher-ranking noun is acting on a lower-ranking one.

If it‘s not, the sentence adds a suffix meaning "other way around."

" A lot of the vocabulary could suggest things about, maybe, who the elites were a thousand years ago, two thousand years ago," says Suslak. "Also who was teaching whom about what plants were good to eat, how to keep track of time."

Suslak spent time in Mexico this summer and will return this winter for a couple of months.

The research is being funded by a federal grant.

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Research and actions to consume less and share more

Research and actions to consume less and share more | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
“Research & Degrowth, (R&D) is an academic association dedicated to research, training, awareness raising and events organization around degrowth.”

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New video: “Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development”

New video: “Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development” - Official Socialist Webzine (New video: “Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development” http://t.co/4RyzEfBQ20)...
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Law students write handbook on Zambia juvenile justice - Cornell Chronicle

Law students write handbook on Zambia juvenile justice - Cornell Chronicle | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Cornell Chronicle Law students write handbook on Zambia juvenile justice Cornell Chronicle Produced by the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and the International Human Rights Clinic, both of Cornell Law School, and the Center for Law and...
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Law students write handbook on Zambia juvenile justice - Cornell Chronicle

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Sudan Security Confiscates Copies of Two Newspapers - AllAfrica.com

Sudan Security Confiscates Copies of Two Newspapers - AllAfrica.com | NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development | Scoop.it
Sudan Security Confiscates Copies of Two Newspapers
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We are also forced to cover news items according to NISS editorial prescriptions.
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