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Mumbai. The financial hub in India has over 12 Million people. A city racing against the Covid infection. A city engulfed in a “Red Zone”.

Although India is the world's largest food basket, the total population of almost 1.4 billion faces a tremendous challenge distributing what it grows.

Many of Mumbai 's informal workers, who represent the backbone of the city's food distribution system, have returned to their villages.

The hundreds of thousands forced to stay behind have lost their sources of daily income and are now trying to stretch their very small savings to find food to survive. The reality is that, in many cases, Mumbai's inhabitants fear death by hunger more than Covid.

The Earth Council Geneva has been working with a network of trusted people who can ensure food delivery to the needy. Funds are currently being deployed.

Reto Braun, Chairman of the Earth Council, said: "A modest contribution to one of the most terrible situations in today's Covid world."

 

 

 

Braun is the founder of Earth Council Geneva (ECG), an organisation that works to address and increase awareness of environmental issues worldwide, where he has served as chairman for nearly 20 years. Braun also has served in a number of leadership roles at international corporations. Before founding the Earth Council Geneva, he served as CEO of Swiss Post, in Switzerland; as Chairman and CEO of Moore Corporation, in Canada; and President and COO of Unisys Corporation, in the United States.

The ECG has worked in partnership with International Medical Corps since 2002, supporting program activities centred around emergency healthcare, clean water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour change. Braun and ECG have facilitated the implementation of lifesaving projects around the world, including in such countries as Ethiopia, Liberia and Nepal, and is supporting International Medical Corps’ efforts to address COVID-19 globally.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reto Braun to International Medical Corps UK's Board of Trustees,” said Ognjen Radosavljevic, Managing Director of International Medical Corps UK. “He brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to raising awareness about some of the biggest global challenges of our time, and we are extremely grateful to have him on board.”

Braun said, “I am delighted to join International Medical Corps UK, an organisation that I have supported for many years. In the face of the climate crisis and record levels of hunger and displacement, International Medical Corps UK’s work is more urgent than ever. I’m honoured to join the organisation at such a crucial point in time.”

 

 

 

Thanks to Earth Council Geneva’s generosity, International Medical Corps has completed a water point project in Gey Talt village, which is located in Menz Gera Woreda of North Showa Zone, Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. This project included drilling a new borehole and developing a natural spring. Together, we have helped close the inequality gap as the global community moves towards the goal of 100% access to clean water.

 

I. The Borehole

Gey kebele presents fundamental challenges related to gaining access to water. Hydrogeological and geophysical surveying indicate that the water potential is very poor as massive basalt and rhyolite rocks lead to 80% run-off during rainfall rather than to replenishing ground water, which could otherwise be tapped using wells and boreholes. Of 10 wells drilled from 60-to-250m depth in Gey kebele, four of them had a small yield, only one had 4 liters/second, at Mariam Erti, and five of them had to be abandoned. Natural springs, like Asfaw Spring (described below), can be developed alongside but they tend to recede and disappear during the dry season.

Based on the results of a special hydrogeological survey conducted within a 1.5 km radius of Gey Talt village in August 2018, International Medical Corps drilled a 148-meter deep borehole in the hopes of finding 3 liters/second yield. Such a yield would make piping water into the village possible. Unfortunately, the pump test revealed that the well had the capacity of only 1 liter/second.

In discussion with the zonal and woreda water bureaus, we recommended installing a solar-operated submersible pump, an 800m pipeline, water distribution points and a 15m³ fibreglass water storage tank to make this water available to the community, albeit outside of the village limits. The community has asked for additional piping for closer access. In the meantime, the borehole has sufficient water to serve 2,000 men, women and children. In collaboration with the government, International Medical Corps organized and trained a seven-member WASH Committee (WASHCo) consisting three women and four men to sustainably manage the water system when it is fully operational.

 

II. The Natural Spring

To further improve Gey Talt village’s access to water, International Medical Corps developed a natural spring known as Asfaw Spring at Amba Tig village with a masonry storage tank, 30m pipelines and six faucets. The water system currently benefits 500 men, women and children. We handed the spring over to the community in May 2019 following testing and disinfection.

 

III. “Soft” WASH Activities

The borehole and natural spring work took place within a larger WASH project funded by other donors that addressed the continuing need for basic sanitation services and hygiene programming in Menz Gera and Kewet woredas.

Community-Led Total Sanitation

International Medical Corps supported the health bureaus’ Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) program. Designed with the recognition that simply building latrines does not ensure their use, nor their impact on the health of a community, the CLTS approach focuses on establishing open defecation-free (ODF) communities by using community mobilization as a catalyst for behavior change. The principal component of the CLTS program involves a community coming together to create a map of its communal sanitation profile through observations of OD practices, and then analyzing the impact the practices are having on the community at large. Intended to ignite a collective desire for action and change, called “triggering” in CLTS, this activity also facilitates a sense of ownership of community health and hygiene issues, and lays the foundations for future investment in sanitation infrastructure and services.

International Medical Corps led a three-day CLTS training in Kewet woreda with 120 community participants, and 71 villages in Menz Gera woreda and 54 villages in Kewet woreda launched CLTS initiatives. Four kebeles in Menz Gera and Kewet reached ODF status at the end of a year, and we reinforced the CLTS initiative in Gey kebele by constructing or rehabilitating a total of 1,845 household and community latrines. We also introduced sanitation marketing, like we did in Damot Pulasa and Boloso Sore woredas of Wolayita Zone with the support of Earth Council Geneva in 2017-2018.

Improved Hygiene Practices

For many rural communities, the lack of knowledge of proper hygiene practices is a major contributor to the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that simply washing one’s hands with soap and water could reduce the deaths associated with diarrheal disease worldwide by up to 50%. In Gey kebele, International Medical Corps raised awareness of proper hygiene practices and distributed informational leaflets to complement the reinforcement of CLTS and the introduction of sanitation marketing within the targeted communities. At Gey Maryam Primary School, for example, we facilitated education among 812 students (368 girls, 444 boys) on personal hygiene, handwashing at critical times, solid waste management at school and at home, and safe water handling from the source to the household. To reinforce these messages, we also distributed 250 posters and 500 leaflets with information on safe hygiene practices at the school as well as at public gathering places and health posts.

 

 

 

Thanks to Earth Council Geneva’s generosity, International Medical Corps began designing and executing a backyard gardens pilot project in April 2019, in nine kebeles villages of Gursum woreda in East Hararghe Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. These communities requested assistance with gardens during feedback sessions conducted as part of our Positive Deviance (PD) Hearth program, which we have been implementing for the past four years.

 I. Background and Context

The UN’s July 2019 report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, states that 149 million or 21.9% of under-five children are stunted or low-height-for-age, caused by long-term chronic malnutrition. The impact of stunting is irreversible and jeopardizes a child’s survival and development because of impaired physical growth and cognitive development. One goal of the Government of Ethiopia’s National Nutrition Program 2016-2020 is to address the deep-rooted causes of malnutrition and reduce stunting prevalence among under-five children from 40% to 26%, through high-impact coordinated interventions like Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) programming. The specific target for participation of under-five children in the health system’s Growth Monitoring and Promotion (GMP) program based in health facilities is 80% by 2020.

The PD/Hearth solution for underweight children 6-59 months is a cost-effective, sustainable way of preventing future malnutrition within a targeted community by changing norms in childcare, feeding and health-seeking practices, and by building community-managed early prevention and rehabilitation mechanisms for malnutrition. Our objectives for this program are therefore to 1) improve the nutritional status of underweight children in the targeted locations; 2) make these improvements sustainable at the individual household level by educating their mothers/caregivers on how to use locally available, affordable and culturally accepted foods; and 3) prevent future malnutrition by positively influencing community norms and behaviors.

To date, International Medical Corps has organized 184 “hearths” in Gursum woreda – since 2015 in Awbere, Garawedaja and Gafra Guda; since 2016 in Biyonegya, Odanegeya and Goroseyo; and since 2017 in Diferes, Harish and Buna. Each 12-day hearth enrolls 10-12 underweight children under five and their mothers or caregivers, for a total of 1,579 children. To date, 98% have gained a minimum of 200g at the end of the hearth and experienced continuous weight gain over the following six months thanks to better feeding and improved hygiene practices in the home. These children’s siblings and neighbors have also benefited.

 II. Gardens for Food Security and Revenue

International Medical Corps is collaborating closely with the government of Ethiopia’s woreda-level Agriculture and Health offices on all implementation phases of this project.

Training

Our first step was to facilitate a basic backyard gardening skills training in all nine districts from August 7-16, 2019. The participants included 107 “health development army” volunteers (all women), eight community leaders (all men) and 18 development agents (16 men and two women), who link farmers with the Ministry of Agriculture. Topics focused on site selection, initial plowing and manuring, seed bed preparation, seed rate, sowing depth and spacing, cover grass and watering, cultivation for weeding, harvesting and utilization. The training refreshed the knowledge of the development agents and enhanced the community members’ awareness of improved agronomic practices of selected vegetables, so that they can train mothers in their groups and monitor their activities.

 Seeds, Gardening Materials and Planting

The next step was to procure seeds based on the Agriculture office’s advice and the area’s land type, as well as the communities’ dietary characteristics: Swiss chard seeds (26kg), carrot seeds (79kg), cabbage seeds (20kg) and tomato seeds (81kg) for all 1,579 households; and to procure watering cans and plastic sheeting for 685 households. As of September 2019, International Medical Corps had distributed seeds to 1,146 households (73% of the total) and 284 households (18%) had started planting.

 

 

 

We are delighted to hear of Giovanni's victory in recent's election and are proud to add our congratulations. We look forward for further productive cooperation on our programs and projects.

"A thank you also to all Earth Council Geneva donors"

Reto Braun

 

 

"Thanks to all who support the Earth Council Geneva, so we can be part of these projects"

Reto Braun

 

A remarkable Canadian and friend of the Earth, Maurice Strong, died November 27th, 2015.

Maurice was instrumental in founding the Earth Council Geneva, and remained as Honorary Member of our our Board.

The Board of Directors of the Earth Council Geneva is grateful for his guidance and support. 

Below the Invitation to Attend the Celebration of the Life of Maurice Strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

On Friday October 2nd 2015, at Auditorium Scampia, Earth Council Italia presented the international preview of the project "From unsustainable disasters to sustainable development", which aims to gather signatures in support of the proposal to introduce environmental education into academic programs. More education means more nature. Preparing young people to learn about the territory andhaving more sensitivity to the environment means beginning to address those problems that now affect the entire planet and which are no longer just sensational documentaries.

Killer storms, ice-bombs, landslides of impressive proportions that change deeply the original condition of the premises are unfortunately, events to which we are assisting with driving frequency.

Not only these phenomena indicate a worrying change. Others, such the disappearance of some species and the appearance of others, in addition to the rampant spread of diseases, which are often irreversible, due to the contamination of the food chain, have little or no space at all in the news even when the alarm comes from the most accredited scientific community.

The cultural association "Dapaumpa", with the decisive participation of the RR Sound and the a collaboration of District VIII, in particular the President, lawyer Angelo Pisani and director Luciano Acciavatti, organized in a symbolic place of Naples, the Auditorium Scampia, a show that brought together two important experiences: a concert of Radiska - young artists of Scampia who from an early age chose music against all forms of degradation, and one of the accredited international organizations that has been engaged for years on issues related to protection of the environment, as Earth Council Italy, Earth Council Geneva and, above all, the Betsy Gordon Foundation.

Scampia, capital of waste and largest square to sell drugs in Europe, this Land of Fires is the only negative and widespread image of a city and a community that, on the contrary, is known worldwide for its arts -the music in particular- and its culture. Naples wants to recover its most qualified identity, and it launches a major international proposal so that, through education, the awareness that the Earth is our home increase.

The show was hosted by another prestigious name in the symbol of the Neapolitan culture in the world: Fabrizio Fierro.

 

 

International Medical Corps shares an update on the Nepal Earthquake response, while expressing their deep appreciation of the Earth Council Geneva’s modest support. 

 

To date, in just over three months, International Medical Corps’ work has benefitted more than 200,000 people in the hardest-hit communities, including:

  • 157,552 people will have greater access to care through 13 health facilities that International Medical Corps is rebuilding, in partnership with the Nepal government
  • 28,200 men, women and children benefitted from the distribution of cash grants, helping them access food and other urgently-needed supplies
  • 21,155 people are benefitting from the distribution of 4,231 hygiene kits, helping families purify water, wash their hands and maintain good hygiene practices
  • 19,625 people are benefitting from 785 newly-built emergency latrines across 5 districts, thwarting the spread of disease
  • 8,806 people have access to ongoing care through mobile physical therapy units, helping them overcome quake-related and other injuries
  • And much, much more.

Today, 2.8 million people in Nepal are still in need of assistance; many of them are also at risk from landslides and other effects of the current monsoon season.  Much remains to be done and International Medical Corps will continue to bring services to those most in need, and work with local partners and the government of Nepal to build back stronger.