“As the Need Grows, the Money for AIDS Runs Far Short.” By Donald G. McNeil. Jr. New York Times. May 9, 2010. Appeals to raise money for AIDS are ubiquitous — but the gap between what is needed and what is collected is enormous, and growing. In February, Michel Sidibé, the executive director of Unaids, estimated that $27 billion would be needed this year to fight the disease. Nothing close to that amount is on tap. Even counting what middle-income countries spend on AIDS in their own health budgets, the total has been estimated at $14 billion. The two chief sources of money are the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, begun under President George W. Bush and known as Pepfar, and the multinational Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Congress has authorized Pepfar to spend up to $48 billion by 2014, but the Obama administration has other plans. Its position, laid out by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a White House health adviser and a brother of the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and underpinning the administration’s new Global Health Initiative, is that more lives will be saved by focusing on childhood diseases and keeping young mothers alive. Pepfar’s budget is about $7 billion a year and was last increased by 2 percent, so it has warned its aid recipients to expect no increases for at least two years. Its goal is four million people on drugs by 2014. AIDS activists are furious, insisting the result will be that children are saved only to die later of AIDS. But they appear to have lost that battle.
“‘Volunteerism built on altruism is not sustainable in Africa’s health sectors’; Dr Peter Ngatia, director for capacity building at Amref, argues that day-to-day survival makes volunteerism in poor communities untenable.” Katine Chronicles blog. guardian.co.uk. May 12, 2010. In March we reported on the Katine blog that some members of the village health teams (VHTs), revived in the sub-county by the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) as part of the Katine project, were going on strike over the withdrawal of training allowances. We’ve written before about the reliance on volunteers to carry out basic healthcare in Uganda and news of the strike raised issues about the sustainability of VHTs after Amref withdraws from the sub-county next year. Amref states that it has to operate in line with government policy on VHTs, which, in Uganda, does not allow for financial remuneration, although expenses can be paid and some other forms of incentives can be offered. Amref tells us it will be talking to VHTs to see what incentives they need to continue their work and will be feeding that back to government in the hope it could influence policy. Dr Peter Ngatia, director for capacity building at Amref, based in Nairobi, has some strong views on the payment of health volunteers. In this piece, he argues why VHTs should be paid.
CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL
“Pope blames church’s own sins for sex scandal.” By Nicole Winfield. Washington Post/Associated Press. May 11, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday blamed the church’s own sins for the clerical abuse scandal – not a campaign mounted by outsiders – and called for profound purification to end what he called the “greatest persecution” the church has endured. His strong comments placed responsibility for the crisis squarely on the sins of pedophile priests, repudiating the Vatican’s initial response to the scandal in which it blamed the media as well as pro-choice and pro-gay marriage advocates for mounting what it called a campaign against the church and the pope. Speaking en route to Portugal, Benedict said the Catholic church had always suffered from problems of its own making but that “today we see it in a truly terrifying way.”
“Catholic bishops who shelter abusers go unpunished.” Washington Post/Associated Press. May 10, 2010.
“Pope sees sex scandal as greatest threat to Catholic church.” USA Today. May 11, 2010.
“Pope Benedict silences child abuse conspiracy theorists on Portugal visit.” Guardian (UK). May 11, 2010.
“Pope Issues His Most Direct Words to Date on Abuse.” New York Times. May 11, 2010.
“Brazil Church says sex abuse by clergy is a crime.” Washington Post/Associated Press. May 13, 2010.
“Diocese of Vermont to pay $17.6M to sex-abuse victims.” USA Today. May 13, 2010.
“Vatican to Detail Defense Against Charges of Cover-Up.” Wall Street Journal. May 14, 2010
“Church Crisis Shakes Faith of German Town.” New York Times. May 14, 2010.
“Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse.” Washington Post/ Associated Press. May 16, 2010.
“Editorial: Justice for Child Abuse Victims.” New York Times. May 14, 2010.
“Wyclef Jean keeps Haiti earthquake relief at forefront.” By Betty Klinck. USA Today. Award-winning musician Wyclef Jean fears that people are suffering a bit of Haiti fatigue and putting the needs of earthquake victims in the backs of their minds more than three months after the quake. Jean is starting new relief initiatives, including housing aid and amputee rehabilitation, and says more needs to be done. Since the Jan. 12 quake, Jean and his wife, fashion designer Claudinette Jean, both native-born Haitians, have been providing food, water and supplies through their non-profit group, Yéle Haiti.
“Haiti relief less than Katrina, 9/11.” By Martha T. Moore. USA Today. May 13, 2010. Four months after an earthquake devastated Haiti, Americans have donated $1.3 billion for disaster relief there, almost on a par with their giving after the Asian tsunami in 2004, according to a tally by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Four months after the tsunami struck Asia, Americans had given $1.5 billion, according to figures tracked by the center. Lower giving for Haiti could be the result of the recent recession, says Una Osili, director of research. The pace for Haiti relief donations trails that of giving by Americans after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than half the total for Haiti has been raised by the American Red Cross, which has collected $444 million, and Catholic Relief Services, nearly $136 million, according to a list of relief agencie compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
“As Cricket Grew in India, Corruption Followed.” By Jim Yardley. New York Times. May 10, 2010. Founded three seasons ago, the Indian Premier League managed to make the sport of cricket sexy. India’s corporate titans bought teams, Bollywood stars infused matches with celebrity glamour and fans from Mumbai to Dubai to New Jersey followed the league on television as its value rose to more than $4 billion. For many Indians, the league, known as the I.P.L., became a symbol of a newly dynamic and confident India that was expanding its influence in the world. Yet after weeks of allegations of graft and financial malfeasance, the resignation of a government minister and the suspension of the league’s charismatic commissioner, the league has become emblematic of something else: how much the old and often corrupt political and business elite still dominates the country. “The great pity in India is that creations like the I.P.L. became a victim of their own success,” the editor in chief of the magazine India Today, Aroon Purie, wrote this month. “Where there is money involved, especially large sums, corruption is not far behind.”
“Bill Gates visits India to check on campaign fighting polio.” no by-line. USA Today. May 13, 2010. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates traveled by boat Wednesday to a remote village in eastern India to check on the progress of a government campaign to eradicate polio that the billionaire is helping to fund. Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed nearly $1 billion to health and development projects in India, met with health workers and discussed the strategy to fight polio with immunization drives and an effective surveillance program that identifies cases early. Gates visited Guleria, a village nearly 140 miles east of Patna, the capital of Bihar, one of only two Indian states where new cases of polio continue to be reported, according to UNICEF. Uttar Pradesh is the other. In 2002, India had reported 1,613 polio cases — a number that has now come down to about 685 cases per year, UNICEF says. Polio mostly strikes children under 5 and is carried in the feces of the infected and often spread by contaminated water. It usually causes paralysis,
muscular atrophy, deformation and sometimes death. The disease has dropped by more than 99% since the World Health Organization and partners launched an initiative to eradicate the disease in 1988 through vaccinations. But the numbers of cases — fewer than 2,000 annually — have remained at a virtual standstill since 2000. In addition to India, polio persists in a handful of countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Chad, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sudan.
“What charity should Gordon Brown work for? There must be somewhere a secondhand PM could make a difference.” Badge Joe Public blog. Guardian (UK). June 11, 2010. In the the third sector? Are you in trouble? Do you need help? Then one former prime minister wants to help you. Gordon Brown told GMTV’s Lorraine Kelly just days before the general election that if he “couldn’t make a difference any more then [he] would go off and do something else. Sarah and I may go off and do charity voluntary work.” Could you suggest a deserving cause that deserves Gordon Brown, soon-to-be ex Labour leader?
“Scouts appeal for Muslim leaders.” By Kunal Dutta. Independent (UK). May 11, 2010. The scouts have launched an urgent recruitment drive targeted at Britain’s Muslim community. The move is an attempt to plug a shortfall in group leaders as the number of young people applying to be Scouts continues to rise. There are 33,500 people on the organisation’s waiting list, and the number is rapidly growing. The Scout Association will work alongside the Muslim-led charity Mosaic in an attempt to forge closer relationships with Muslim leaders and encourage them to push the benefits of volunteering within their local communities. There are 29 Scout groups in the UK with a predominantly Muslim membership, but this will be the first time that the association has formed a partnership with a community charity. The campaign, which was launched yesterday at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London, comes at a time of great growth for the organisation. Last month, it announced that the number of Scouts in the UK had increased by 16,500 since the start of 2009, the fastest growth in 38 years. Membership has now risen for five years in a row, taking total levels to almost 500,000.
“Council services in our hands; With its thousands of volunteers, could the National Trust provide a model for running local parks and libraries as town halls face financial meltdown?” By Peter Hetherington. Guardian (UK). May12, 2010. Imagine a country where parks, libraries, leisure centres and a string of other facilities run by the local council are up for grabs; where valuable buildings and assets, from schools to swimming pools and land holdings, are hived off to neighbourhood groups, parish councils, charities or not-for-profit companies. While public sector unions, and the municipal establishment, might visibly blanch at such a prospect, in the real world that we are now entering, after the insularity of a four-week election campaign, tough choices are looming. Functions seen as important, yet non-essential, face an uncertain future under any new government. With town and county halls facing cutbacks that seemed unimaginable barely 12 months ago – take your pick from a range of economies ranging from 15% to 30% overall – some of the most respected thinkers in English councils are edging towards a root-and-branch reappraisal of local services. Well before David Cameron and his advisers coined the ‘big society’ slogan, with all its connotations of DIY delivery, these radical minds were hard at work with their alternative vision of maintaining some local services with little or no cash to support them. That vision includes mobilising a small army of volunteers in communities to take over services such as libraries, alongside an ambitious new structure, perhaps emulating the National Trust, to run parks and other facilities.
“Posh Is Back in Britain (No, This Isn’t About Spice Girls); Revolt Against Labour Party Heralds New Era of Old-School Ties, Plummy Accents.” By Alistair MacDonald. Wall Street Journal. May 14, 2010. For many years, James Fergusson hid a secret: He was educated at Eton College, the elite private school for boys he attended with Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron, in the early 1980s. Like many Etonians of his generation, Mr. Fergusson, a freelance journalist and novelist, had grown self-conscious about his status as a man of status. In modern Britain, it had become uncool to be posh, as private schools lost their grip on the country’s top jobs and cultural tastemakers sneered at privilege. Among old boys, as the private-school alumni are known, “there was an assumption that the days of Etonians in high office were over,” Mr. Fergusson said. “And then bang, along comes David Cameron.” This week, the old boys are back in town. Mr. Cameron on Tuesday became the 19th British prime minister to have been educated by the famous boarding school west of London near Windsor—but the first since the mid-1960s. The situation is shedding new light on social mobility, or the lack thereof, in this famously class-obsessed country.
“What are the challenges facing the third sector?” Podcast: Third sector election special. Who wins it for the third sector?. SocietyGuardian speaks to the key political parties.” May 12, 2010. The starter’s pistol has been fired and the race is underway. With the general election fast approaching on the 6th of May we have been putting YOUR questions to the three main parties on the issues affecting the charity and voluntary sectors. We’ve also been getting the views of the Scout Association on how to navigate the political landscape in times of change and the best ways of achieving success in your political campaigns. Plus you may have found your email inbox clogged with charity manifestos recently. We find out what they’re for, and more importantly who’s reading them.
Who wins it for the third sector?
“Richest and most glamorous bid for glittering prizes at Ark fundraiser.” By Hilary Rose. Times of London. May 15, 2010. Not many people could take over a disused railway station on a chilly Thursday night and call it London’s ultimate private party. However, the financier and philanthropist Arpad Busson — Arki, as he is known to his friends — is not just anyone and the fundraising gala for his charity Ark (Absolute Return for Kids) was not your average night out. Uma Thurman is there, as is Queen Rania of Jordan. A seat costs £10,000. Steve Coogan is the entertainment, and the Killers are the disco. This is the night that members of the publicity-shy hedge fund industry come blinking into the light to let their hair down and raise vast sums for charity. It is Hello! meets the City in the old Eurostar terminus, transformed into Arcadia, which is quite a stretch for Waterloo.
“Stockport Academy told to improve academic standards by Ofsted.” By Nicola Woolcock. Times of London. May 15, 2010. A third school run by England’s biggest academy sponsor has been judged as failing. Stockport Academy has been given notice to improve by Ofsted inspectors. It is the third school run by the United Learning Trust(ULT) to be rated inadequate in less than a year. In November, ULT, an Anglican charity which runs 17 academies across the country, was banned by ministers from taking on any more schools until it raised the performance of its existing ones. It withdrew from plans to sponsor academies in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. Academies — the UK’s version of charter schools — are semi-independent state schools set up with backing from private sponsors.
“Historic cathedrals at risk after English Heritage funding is cut during recession.” By Theo Usherwood. Independent (UK). May 15, 2010. Cathedrals are in danger of falling into serious disrepair because of the recession, senior figures within the Church have warned. English Heritage says six cathedrals – Lincoln, York, Salisbury, Canterbury, Chichester and Winchester – need to carry out major renovations and repairs in the next 10 years. English Heritage has seen its state funding cut back, which means the dedicated pot of money for cathedrals is no longer on offer. With the loss of funding from English Heritage, the cathedrals have launched major fundraising drives.
“Boom in six-figure salaries for university big hitters.” By Jack Grimston and Gillian Passmore. Times of London. May 16, 2010. SURGING pay for university bosses has put more than 2,600 on six-figure salaries — almost four times the number in the civil service. Salary scales have been pushed up by generous rises for managers and bidding wars between universities for “star professors” who can improve research ratings. An analysis of university accounts has shown that in 2008-9 the number of employees on six-figure pay increased by 17% and the pay of vice-chancellors went up nearly 11% to an average of £219,000. The highest paid included Malcolm Grant, provost of University College London, who received £376,190. Across British universities, more than 2,600 staff received six-figure salaries in 2008-9 — after the recession had begun — compared with 925 working for English local authorities and 700 in the civil service.
“Methodists launch app for iPhone.” No by-line. BBC News. May 16, 2010. The Methodist Church has become the first major denomination in Britain to launch its own application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The new app will allow users to view bible studies and daily prayers. It is hoped it might appeal to both believers and those who might be more cautious about attending church. The app may also offer an alternative for people who want a daily dose of scripture, but are not keen on carrying a bible on their daily commute. The Methodist Church stresses that technology should complement, not replace traditional worship.