Invest in health and education of young people, World leaders told

Investing in the health and education of young people—“human capital”—unlocks productivity and innovation, reduces poverty, and generates prosperity.

This was the clarion call during the second annual Goalkeepers events on September 25 and 26 to highlight the remarkable progress toward the reduction of extreme poverty, and the need to accelerate efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals.)

The events, co-hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were attended by Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone; President Emmanuel Macron of France; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed; and many established and emerging leaders from around the world.

The 2018 Goalkeepers events focused on the potential of young people to propel global progress and highlighted themes from Bill and Melinda Gates’s 2018 Goalkeepers Data Report.

Three new high-level partnerships, called “Accelerators,” were announced at the Goalkeepers event on September 26. These Accelerators will catalyze progress toward the Global Goals by offering funding and programmatic support toward increasing early literacy, eliminating child marriage, and empowering young people to use data to drive progress toward the Global Goals.

Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator: This Accelerator will empower young people (ages 18-35) to source and use data to hold public, private, and government leaders accountable for achieving the Global Goals. Led by CIVICUS and the Gates Foundation, with an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Institute, Restless Development, and Action for Sustainable Development, this Accelerator will provide up to 30 young leaders with hands-on and technical support, mentorship, and direct funding of up to $30,000 each. Applications will be open until October 31, 2019, and program participants will be announced in late November.

Scaling Early Literacy: This Accelerator brings together Room to Read—a leading nonprofit focused on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa—with a variety of partners to scale the organization’s approach to increasing literacy skills and helping children develop a habit of reading early in life. The Accelerator will expand Room to Read’s country-specific programming in India, Vietnam, and South Africa with $3.5 million in new funding from Credit Suisse, Dubai Cares, and Four Acre Trust, furthering Room to Read’s goal of reaching more than 1.1 million additional children in these countries over the next three years.

Girls First Fund: This Accelerator will launch the Girls First Fund, a collaborative new partnership to end child marriage. Founding donors and implementers include Girls Not Brides, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Ford Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Kendeda Fund, the NoVo Foundation, Capital for Good USA, and Geneva Global. The Girls First Fund will identify the most promising community-based organizations, particularly those led by girls, women, and youth, and provide them with multi-year funding to develop and pursue local solutions to ending child marriage.

The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards were presented on September 25, with participants including Prime Minister Solberg, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed, UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and British singer songwriter Ed Sheeran.

The Progress Award was presented to Dysmus Kisilu, founder of Solar Freeze, which provides renewable energy solutions to smallholder farmers in Kenya to increase agricultural productivity.

The Changemaker Award was presented to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide. Loyiso Madinga, stand-up comedian and Africa correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” hosted the awards.

The Goalkeepers Global Youth Poll, released on September 24, found that young people are more optimistic about their future, the future of their country, and the future of the world than older people. Levels of optimism are highest in lower- and middle-income countries, where young people (ages 12-24) are the most optimistic group across all measures. The poll also found that young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents’ generation.

The Goalkeepers campaign was launched with the release of We the Goalkeepers,” a short film based on an original piece by spoken word poet and youth activist Aranya Johar, who also participated in the Goalkeepers event. The film was directed by the award-winning director, Joyeeta Patpatia, and focuses on young “Goalkeepers” working around the world to advance the Global Goals.

FYI:

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

About Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals

On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director, and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable, and driving action. Find out more at www.project-everyone.org.

Demographic Trends Threaten Global Progress

While 1 billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty over the past 20 years, rapid population growth in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, puts future progress at risk.

If current trends continue, the number of extremely poor people in the world could stop its two-decade decline—and could even rise, shows the annual report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Despite the sobering projections, Bill and Melinda Gates express optimism that today’s growing youth populations could help drive progress. Investing in the health and education of young people in Africa could unlock productivity and innovation, leading to a “third wave” of poverty reduction, which follows the first wave in China and the second in India adds the second annual Goalkeepers Data Report.

“The conclusion is clear: To continue improving the human condition, our task now is to help create opportunities in Africa’s fastest-growing, poorest countries,” Bill and Melinda Gates write in the introduction. “This means investing in young people. Specifically, it means investing in their health and education.”

Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data 2018 http://gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/report was co-authored and edited by Bill and Melinda Gates and produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Using new data projections, the report reveals that poverty within Africa is concentrating in just a handful of countries, which are among the fastest-growing in the world. By 2050, more than 40 percent of the extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.

In the past, large youth populations have helped drive economic growth and poverty reduction. The report makes the case for leaders to invest in the power and potential of youth to continue progress. Through essays by experts and journalists, the report examines promising approaches in health and education, highlighting ways that young people could help transform the continent. According to the report, investments in health and education, or “human capital,” in sub-Saharan Africa could increase GDP in the region by more than 90 percent by 2050.

Each year, the report tracks 18 data points from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion, and sanitation. IHME projections provide three potential scenarios for indicators: better and worse scenarios based upon accelerating or reducing the rate of progress, and projections based upon current trends. This year’s report examines four topics in greater depth:

    The Family Planning chapter includes an essay by Alex Ezeh, a visiting fellow with the Center for Global Development. The essay focuses on the importance of empowering women so they can exercise their fundamental right to choose the number of children they will have, when they will have them, and with whom. Ezeh notes that according to data from the United Nations, Africa’s population is projected to double in size by 2050 and could double again by 2100. If every woman in sub-Saharan Africa were empowered to have the number of children she wants, the projected population increase could be up to 30 percent smaller, from 4 billion to 2.8 billion. Most critically, this would enable more girls and women to expand their horizons, stay in school longer, have children later, earn more as adults, and invest more in their children. The chapter also explores how a novel family planning program in Kenya is providing young women with access to contraceptives.
    The HIV chapter includes modeling by Imperial College London for what Zimbabwe’s HIV epidemic might look like in 2050 and, thus, what the nation’s overall future holds. Its large number of young people have the potential to drive economic growth, but only if they remain healthy. More than half of Zimbabweans are under 25 years old and reaching the age when they are most at risk for HIV infection. If Zimbabwe scales up currently available prevention tools over the next five years, it could see new infections among 15- to 29-year-olds drop by a third within a decade. The introduction of new prevention tools by 2030, including a highly efficacious vaccine, could further reduce new cases to approximately 400 per year. Together, these interventions could avert up to 364,000 new cases of HIV among young people.
    The Education chapter includes an essay by Ashish Dhawan, chairman of the Central Square Foundation in India. Although more students in low- and lower-middle-income countries are enrolled in school today than ever before, many are not learning what they need to succeed. Unfortunately, the strategy for improving school outcomes is not as clear-cut as the strategy for improving school access. The chapter examines Vietnam’s success in achieving system-wide improvements. Though the country’s per capita GDP is only slightly higher than India’s, Vietnam’s 15-year-olds outperform students from wealthy countries like the United States and the United Kingdom on international tests.
    The Agriculture chapter includes analysis by James Thurlow, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, estimating that by doubling agricultural productivity, Ghana could cut poverty in half, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and drive economic growth. An essay by a local journalist follows the journey of a tomato from a field in rural Burkina Faso to a plate in Ghana, illustrating how many jobs it creates along the way.

Bill and Melinda Gates will produce the Goalkeepers Data Report every year through 2030, timing it to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the UN General Assembly. The report is designed to highlight best practices and help hold the Gates Foundation, its partners, and leaders around the world accountable. It aims to document not just what is working, but where the world is falling short.

In conjunction with the report, Bill and Melinda Gates are once again co-hosting the Goalkeepers event in New York City during the UN General Assembly. On September 26, dynamic young leaders from government, business, technology, media, entertainment, and the nonprofit sector will discuss innovations and approaches to achieve the Global Goals.

Participants include young leaders like David Sengeh, chief innovation officer for the government of Sierra Leone; Trisha Shetty, Indian lawyer, social activist, and founder of SheSays; King Kaka, Kenyan musician and activist; and Aranya Johar, Indian spoken word poet. Other speakers include Graça Machel, international advocate for women and children’s rights and co-founder of the Graça Machel Trust; Richard Curtis, writer, campaigner, and Project Everyone co-founder; and Stephen Fry, actor, writer, and presenter. Performers include British singer songwriter Ed Sheeran and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Additional speakers will be announced soon.

Co-hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates, the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards will be presented on September 25, the evening before the Goalkeepers daytime event. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF, the awards will celebrate outstanding youth-focused work around the world that is directly linked to the 17 Global Goals. The four award categories include the Progress Award, Changemaker Award, Campaign Award, and Global Goalkeeper Award.

Notes:

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals

On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Sugar Dating in Kenya

One in five young women in universities in Nairobi has had a sponsor. That is an older man/men who have given them gifts or money in exchange for sex.

About 252 Female university students ages 18 to 24 years old participated in a research by the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics that was meant to understand the prevalence of and attitudes towards sponsorship of young women in Kenya.

sugar relationships 2

‘Sugar dating’, ‘Sponsorship’ (in Kenya), ‘Mentorship’ (in Nigeria) or ‘Blessings’ (in South Africa) all refer to the same concept: intergenerational, transactional, sexual relationships.

Some of the key findings from the 32-page report are:

Sugar relationships

BBC Africa has produced this long-form multimedia story of a few young Kenyan women who are involved in sugar relationships. They pick findings from the Busara report that questioned 252 female university students between the ages of 18 and 24. They found that approximately 20% of the young women who participated in the research has or has had a “sponsor.”

Download the Sugar Dating: An Investigation of ‘sponsorship’ in Kenya, here.

 

Gut bacteria may hold key to creating universal donor blood type

The key to changing blood types may be in the gut.

Enzymes made by bacteria in the human digestive tract can strip the sugars that determine blood type from the surface of red blood cells in the lab, a new study finds. That’s important, because those sugars, or antigens, can cause devastating immune reactions if introduced into the body of someone without that particular blood type. A few enzymes discovered in the past can change type B blood to type O, but the newly discovered group of enzymes is the first to effectively change type A to type O.

“That’s always been the biggest challenge,” lead study author Stephen Withers, a biochemist at the University of British Columbia, told reporters Aug. 21 at a meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston. [Body Bugs: 5 Surprising Facts About Your Microbiome]

BLOOD IN DEMAND

As anyone who has given blood at the Red Cross can attest, type O blood is in high demand. That’s because it lacks antigens on its cell membranes, making it the “universal donor” blood type — people of any blood type can take a type O transfusion without their immune system reacting to the red blood cells.

This video offers more insights on Making Universal Donor Blood From Other Blood Types 

Read more here Gut bacteria may hold key to creating universal donor blood type 

 

The Gap in Global Guidelines on Human Milk Banking — Malnutrition Deeply

Then there are religious questions that have slowed the expansion of human milk banks in settings with large Muslim populations. The Islamic faith includes the concept of milk kinship, where the sharing of breast milk creates familial ties and, as a result, marriage prohibitions. Human milk banking, where breast milk is often pooled from a variety of donors, creates clear challenges for Muslim families, who worry that an infant might end up later married to a milk kin.

via The Gap in Global Guidelines on Human Milk Banking — Malnutrition Deeply