This article originally appeared on the Humanitarian Coalition’s Relief to Recovery blog here. Storm Zeina swept through the Middle East in January and left over 400,000 Syrian refugees out in the cold in Lebanon. There, 1 in 5 residents are Syrian refugees living in formal and informal settlements, unfinished shelters are collapsing under the weight of snow and …
The UK’s DFiD has teamed up with a prominent East African organization for the express purpose of speeding up development – literally. DFiD has prepared a fund that will award grants to individuals or companies that are able to come up with innovative ideas to cut transport costs in the region, which should result in greater market access and incomes for East Africa countries and their populations.
Harvey Rubin and his team at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a project called Energize the Chain, which uses the excess energy from power grids at cellphone towers to run refrigerators that keep vaccines cold in rural areas. Remote communities often lack the energy infrastructure to preserve the cold-chain, upon which so many vaccines depend. Cell towers house a 24-hour supply of energy, the excess of which is currently going to waste.
According to a recent study by the CATO Institute, cell phones can be used to document land ownership through a form of consensus community mapping that, if strong enough, could serve as proof weighty enough to force governments to formally and legally recognize the property rights of millions of displaced persons in the Global South.
The Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was formed in 1967 and since then has expanded membership and developed various frameworks aimed at increasing regional integration and development. One of the most recently developed is the ASEAN Economic Community, an economic block with a common market akin to the European Community set to take formation in 2015. For smaller member states like Laos, this could mean big development and the Laoation government is taking note. Focusing on sustainable growth for its heavily marginalized population, Laos is putting renewable energy at the forefront of its economic plan.
The Brazilian Government has named Alto Maues, a part of the Amazonas state, to be a federally protected reserve. As part of the country’s recent climate policy, the announcement has huge implications habitat conservation and for reducing rates of deforestation and CO2 emissions in the region.
A UK initiative is seeking to change teaching methodologies and streamline curriculum across the Greater Accra region in an attempt to empower girls to own their education. UK’s DFID has teamed up with the UK private sector bring solar-powered computers to classrooms, which will deliver math and English lessons via satellite that are taught remotely by teachers in the capital.
A group of scientists at McMaster University have discovered that mouthwash strips may lead to more than just fresh breath. With a grant from Grand Challenges Canada, they are developing an easy to distribute method for administering vaccines thanks to a specific polymer in the strip that preserves the vaccines at room temperature.
A new initiative in Northern Canada aims to develop housing for Aboriginal residents that are not only significantly more energy efficient than current buildings, but are also designed with cultural traditions in mind. The project, dubbed the “Northern Sustainable House” is being piloted in Arviat, Nunavut, with similar initiatives underway in Dawson City, Yukon, and Whitehorse, Northwest Territories.