Posts filed under ‘Unicef’

For the want of a nail?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I always loved nursery rhymes, both as a child and then reading or singing them to my children when they were small. The night-time routine was always a story and then the rhymes. I would set the limit at two songs but it would occasionally stretch to three, four or more. One I loved was this:-

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

A simple analogy showing how small things make a difference. Reading the news today I want to talk about a couple of small actions and their impacts…..

Firstly, an extremely distressing story, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-18345586. For the sake of twenty pence a woman was raped and beaten so violently she was unrecognisable. I find this hard to stomach. I ask you all, have you ever given anyone a few pence so that they can make their bus fare? I have, I think most of you have too. I have also seen bus drivers allow someone on a bus when they are a few pence short of a fare. Bus drivers are able to do this, especially for young people and late at night. I know what a late bus is like, I have been on the late bus a few times. It could be described as an ‘interesting’ experience. People are loud, drunk and can be obnoxious. However, they are still people and need to get home safely.

I am sure the driver regrets his action. I am sure those passengers who remember the evening regret not passing a twenty pence piece to the woman who was attacked. It is very easy for  me to shout ‘For shame’, I admit I am shouting it in my head. They were not to know the consequences of their lack of action. They know now and have to live with that. I am so sorry that the clock cannot be turned back and this woman would not have to go through such a harrowing attack. Her life will never be the same again and that a part of her will never recover, regardless of how strong she is. I wish her healing and I hope we remember this and have the pennies to spare.

The other story I want to cover is this – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18353199. The headline – Unicef: Tackling diarrhoea and pneumonia saves 2m lives. Two million lives could be saved every year with a simple vaccination. I have blogged before about the stark fact that Pneumonia and diarrhoea account for one-third of all global deaths among children under five. Recent campaigns have resulted in the cost of these vaccinations dropping as pharmaceutical companies (finally?) recognised that humanity is more important that profit. A vaccination is now about £1.50. For the price of a loaf and a pint of milk a child can be immunised, those 150 pennies can save a life. Small change does make a difference.

There are those who read this and have a depressing counter-argument. This is hard for me to write but I know people think it. There are some who wonder if this creates another problem where a limited amount of food and water would have to be shared amongst more people. I say this; take one issue at a time and deal with that. Diarrhoea and pneumonia are not natural selection, they are diseases that cause children pain and their parents grief. I know that charities are businesses and have to look at getting the most benefit for their available funds; those choices must be harrowing to make. However, I know that many charities are focused on vaccination, it is not just Unicef. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children and many others want to achieve this aim. Saving children is the right thing to do, once this is done the next set of problems can become focus. When the problems are large then take them one at a time.

For the want of a nail?

I close, as always, with this:-Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.

  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

PS – Yes, I did send this post to the UN and will come back with any comments received….

June 8, 2012 at 11:29 am 2 comments

Oh Mr President, Please….

I wanted to open with a little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I am reading the latest book by John Connolly, The Burning Soul. Some say Mr Connolly’s books are not for the faint-hearted but I am a big fan. True, his themes can be hard but the writing and plotlines are just excellent. However, it was one sentence within the book that has given me the theme for this post. I didn’t know this fact and can’t help but wonder both why I didn’t know and why no-one is talking about this?

The sentence that stunned me? I don’t want to spoil the book so cannot quote directly but I read that one action was in contravention of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which only the USA and Somalia have failed to raitfy. That made me sit up and take notice.

I started a little Google-fest to research this post.

Most of my research has come from Unicef. Unicef’s mission is to advocate for the rights of the child. They are guided in doing this by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I will quote from their website to give you the full message, this always deserves to be heard.

‘Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards—also called human rights—set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere. With these rights comes the obligation on both governments and individuals not to infringe on the parallel rights of others. These standards are both interdependent and indivisible; we cannot ensure some rights without—or at the expense of—other rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.’

Great words, all of them. I agree with them completely. So, what is the status of this Convention?

I caveat this next paragraph by saying that this is based on my research. You may think it is limited, that could be true but I could not find any words to contradict this post. I am happy for anyone to comment here with more detail and even to tell me that I am wrong. I would happily be wrong.

The current status of the Convention is that only two countries, Somalia and the United States have not ratified this agreement. Somlia cannot ratify the Convention as it has no recognised Government. This tells a tale of many more underlying issues. However, the United States has an established and recognised Government but has not yet ratified. What puzzles me is the US Government were actively involved in the drafting of the Convention. They have signed the Convention but full acceptance requires ratification.

I understand that there may be concerns within some political groups with regard to this ratification. Apparently some feel that it might chip away at the US Constitution. The Constitution is an amazing thing and I can see how many seek to protect it above all else. Also,  I recognise that it would be embarrassing to propose ratification and lose. However, does that mean you shouldn’t try?

This is my message to President Barack Obama. Please try. If you don’t succeed, then keep trying. Try until you succeed. Try until we see this –

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm 4 comments

Where Does the Money Go?

You know why I do this. If you don’t please read the About Lesley Page….

As the purpose of this blog is to (gently?) coerce any readers into donating to a childrens charity I thought I would do a little research on how your donations can be spent. I have focused on three of the big hitters, Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam. I am, like everyone, conscious of the cost-cutting measures being introduced by global Governments. These make it harder for people to look beyond their own family. I understand this; those who rely on us still need our love and financial support. However, even if it is pennies and cents shouldn’t we be looking to help a few others?

I was also interested in the value-for-money element from the charities. They are all open about their accounts and how they try to use funding for best effect. We have all heard the stories of organisations (I will not call them charities) whose ‘overheads’ mean that only a small percentage of monies raised will go to a good cause. When we give away our hard-earned income we expect it to have the biggest impact possible. Therefore, a quick summary below how my big three for today will allocate your money. Please note that this is done as best I can from internet research on the charities and my apologies to them if any details aren’t completely accurate:-

Unicef – Does anyone assume Unicef get funds from the UN? They don’t you know. All their funds come from their own fundraising efforts, be they donations, working with corporations or the sales of their cards and gifts. They raised over £60 million in 2009, a significant amount. About 22% of this will go to raising more money, spending to accumulate for future years. In total about 76% of the income raised will go to their causes. This means 4% goes to keeping the organisation going, I think this shows tight financial management considering their size and the scope of the work they do.

Oxfam – From my research the total raised by Oxfam in the last year was over £300 million. A huge amount of money but there is a huge amount of good that needs to be done. This money comes from individual and organisational donations plus some Government funding. They will use 7% of the funds to generate more income, 10% on running costs and governance with 83% spent directly on emergency, development and campaigning efforts. A lot of money but a lot of projects, I do like their option to donate to specific projects with a targeted amount to be raised.

Save the Children – In 2010 Save the Children UK had fundraising totals of just over £290 million. This came from a variety of sources, individual and corporate donations, business partnerships, Government funding for example. Future fundraising and investments uses 7% of the monies raised, retail and governance/property uses 4 % and 89% is spent on charitable activities, including 41% on one area, hunger.

Looking at the figures above I see 3 major organisations trying to do good and trying to do that good in a financially responsible manner. They use revenue to generate more revenue and keep overheads to a percentage minimum. They are open with their financial reporting but use their websites to focus on their main aims. I add some extracts from their mission statements below. I think they are worth stating, worth the little time it will take you to read them:-

Unicef – UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.

Oxfam– Oxfam International is an international group of independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. The Oxfams work together internationally to achieve greater impact by their collective efforts. Oxfam believes that Poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. Basic human needs and rights can be met. These include the rights to a sustainable livelihood, and the rights and capacities to participate in societies and make positive changes to people’s lives. Inequalities can be significantly reduced both between rich and poor nations and within nations.Peace and substantial arms reduction are essential conditions for development.

Save the Children – Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

You may read the words above and think they are high-fallutin? Perhaps you think them over-worthy or too optimistic? Then please read some of the other facts I was able to pick up from the websites, here are facts to be aware of:-

  • 22,000 children under 5 die every day. Every day.
  • One child dies every 3 seconds largely from preventable diseases that could be combated by the availability of basic health care.
  • A billion people go to bed hungry every day
  • Worldwide in 2009, there were an estimated 16.6 million children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS
  • Thousands of the world’s poorest people are losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of a new wave of land deals, including 22,500 people in Uganda who lost their homes because of a timber company.

I could add many more words, many more horrible facts to this blog but I hope these will be enough to make you think and even act?

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm 2 comments


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