If you are new here, you may want to subscribe to our newsletter. Thanks for visiting!

News Behind the News
July 2011

Posted by Naomi Schalm on July 11th, 2011

GHNI staff member Richard Holt in Burkina Faso

A summary of news and reports from the field staff and interns of GHNI, Geneva Switzerland.

Burkina Faso
French GHNI staff member, Richard Holt, arrived in Burkina Faso in the midst of an attempted coup and was almost shut in for his own safety the whole time. At the last minute the door opened for him to visit a village community 500 km from the capital. This village is now in the beginning stages of Transformational Community Development.

The continued civil war has caused greater need for medical supplies, especially for burn and war wounds. Another GHNI team has gone in with over 20 bags of medical supplies. We continue to receive requests for surgeon specialists and nurses to go with us to serve in Benghazi.

The Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy convened this week with 20 delegates from 13 countries. We are thankful that through some generous donors we were able to provide scholarships for the delegates. The theme of the conference is Sustainable Solutions for Rural Poverty.

Professor Mike Shea and his team traveled to Irbil for a second time this year to continue a series in Transformational Leadership Development for top national and emerging leaders. The conference was a success and they were also invited to enjoy some of the local food and culture of northern Iraq.

Courageous young leaders and GHNI volunteers took to the streets to pass out fliers to help educate subway passengers in Cairo. With freedom comes the challenge of tolerance and commitment to obey the law, vs. vengeance and retribution. We are thankful for these young people and the many others seeking to build a safe and better Egypt.

Several GHNI Field Staff went to Bangalore, India for another TCD training of some of 700 village community workers in our partnership. We are thrilled with the results of the first series of the training and we look forward to launching TCD in 11 states in India this July and August.

Hunger and starvation may soon be facing many in Ethiopia. Jonathan Ahlschwede is heading up a volunteer team this July to work in some of our key Transformational Community Development villages. The villages have responded well to partnering with us as we strive to teach skills for sustainable independence, not dependency.

West Africa
Sokoto, Nigeria is in one of the poorest areas of northern Nigeria, with little humanitarian development. This coming November 6-13 we are seeking people to come who can help with conversational English, construction of a youth center, medical assessments in the villages and general volunteer work at our Agricultural Training Center. Let us know if you would like to come! Contact hal.jones@ghni.org.

Riots and violence are rocking Yemen, the largest country in the Arabian Gulf and also the poorest. A few years ago we completed our assessment there and we are ready to start a project in a coffee growing area.  We are taking steps to start work amongst coffee workers and to conduct training. We still need more staff and funding to start. To help contact Jeff.Latsa@ghni.org.

North Korea
Right now there is renewed famine due to floods and another year of bad harvest. We are able to get food in via some key partners to families that really need it.

Makassar is one of the poorest and yet most influential cities in Indonesia. Our eyes were filled with tears as we heard the reports from young GHNI volunteers from Switzerland who were in Makassar last month. Their lives were changed as they worked in an orphanage and on various TCD projects in the slums of Camba Berua. The next team is headed out in the fall. For more info contact Bill Morin, European Director GHNI, at Bill.Morin@ghni.org.

A disaster-relief volunteer team is preparing to go to Japan with Senator Dave Matsuura and GHNI staff member Leslie Kahihikolo. Although the disaster is out of the news, the horrendous challenge of rebuilding lives and families and homes remains the major challenge of millions of Japanese. The recovery period will take years. To help with outreach and compassion we are trying to raise funds to send professional psychologists there to train existing relief workers and counselors in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress.